Siem Reap to Ko Chang

Jump to story list

First published 9th January, 2008

So you're done with the temples and it's time for some serious beach time. Where better to head than the glorious islands in Thailand's Trat province? Afterall the pier at Laem Ngop is just a share taxi, tuk tuk, bus, another bus and a songtheaw ride away. Then from there you just need to settle on which island -- Ko Chang, Ko Maak, Ko Kut, Ko Wai -- oh decisions decisions. Read on for the inside line on how to get between the two -- and yes, it is possible to leave Siem Reap after breakfast (not brunch!) and be on the island in time for a before-dinner dip.


Siem Reap to the border
We cover this extensively in our "How do I get from Bangkok to Siem Reap" story, but to save you one mouse click, here's the details: There are three main ways to get between Siem Reap and Poipet (the border town between Cambodia and Thailand and an absolute armpit of a town) -- tourist minibus, share taxi, pick-up truck.

The tourist minibus should be avoided At All Costs as it will inevitably transform into a scam-bus not long after leaving Siem Reap and you'll have precious time wasted as they waste your time. Take our word for it -- do not take a tourist mini bus service to Poipet -- they are all scams.

The pick-up truck is only an option if you're trying to prove yourself to your travelling partner as being a hard-as-nails, down and dirty budget traveller. You'll certainly be dirty by the end, in fact you'll be absolutely filthy. You'll also lose time in Sisophon (where you'll need to change from one heap of junk to another) and you won't get to Ko Chang in the same day. You will save a few dollars though. If you still want to do it by pick-up, be a bit of a softie and opt for a seat inside the cabin.

A share taxi is the way to go -- either hire the entire car yourself or buy a seat (or two) in one. This is, by far, the fastest way to get to the border. Expect to pay US$25-35 for an entire car.

The border
The Poipet border can be a bit time consuming at times, depending on crowds and how hard the officials feel like working. The most important piece of advice is to ignore all touts -- ALL of them. You're best to get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Once you're through both sides of immigration, continue on to the market and take a tuk tuk to the government bus station in Aranyprathet (6km away). A crossing can take as little as ten minutes or as long as three hours -- this can be a real wild card when it comes to doing the ruins to beach run in a day.

Route map
Here's the route map played out on a Google map -- click on each of the blue icons for more information, or zoom in to see areas in more detail.


View Larger Map

Aranyprathet bus station
Aranyprathet bus station has buses to both Bangkok and Chanthaburi, but there are no direct buses to Trat. Instead, you need to catch a bus to Chanthaburi and then change buses there. The bus to Chanthaburi should take around three hours.

Chanthaburi
There's no need to leave the bus station as buses to Trat leave from the same terminal you'll be dropped at coming from Aranyprathet. The bus to Trat should take between 1.5 and two hours.

Trat
Once you are in Trat, you need to get a songtheaw to one of the three piers that serve the Ko Chang island group. All three piers are around an hour from Trat by songtheaw.

Laem Ngop to Ko Chang
There are three piers that send boats to Ko Chang. The main Laem Ngop pier, Centrepoint Pier, 4km north and Thammachart Pier some 9km from Laem Ngop. The later two both double as car ferries and while Thammachart drops you at Ao Sapparot on Ko Chang, the other two, Laem Ngop and Centrepoint, will drop you at Dan Kao, which is a little further from all the main beaches.

Ferries leave Laem Ngop six times a day between 07:00 and 17:00, take an hour and cost 100B. From Thammachart, ferries leave nine times daily between 07:00 and 19:00 and take just 30 minutes, costing 100B. From Centrepoint departures are similar to Laem Ngop -- six times daily between 07:00 and 17:00, take around 45 minutes and cost 100B.

All of the ferries are met on Ko Chang by songtheaws which will transport you to your beach of choice.

Laem Ngop to Ko Wai, Ko Maak and Ko Kham
There is one slow boat a day from Laem Ngop pier to Ko Wai, Ko Maak and Ko Kham, leaving Laem Ngop at 15:00, taking around three hours and costing 300B. Speedboats services are also available.

Laem Ngop to Ko Kut
Boats leave Laem Ngop every Friday, Saturday and Tuesday for Ko Kut, but they leave at 09:00 so you'll need to overnight in Trat to get these. They pass by both Ko Wai and Ko Maak.

Overall trip time:
Siem Reap to border: 3 - 4 hours by share taxi
Border clearance: 1 - 3 hours
Tuk tuk to Aranyprathet bus station: 15 minutes
Bus to Chanthaburi: 2.5 - 3 hours by bus
Chanthaburi to Trat: 1.5 - 2 hours by bus
Trat to Laem Ngop: 1 hour by songtheaw
Laem Ngop to Ko Chang: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Laem Ngop to Ko Wai: 2 hours
Laem Ngop to Ko Maak: 3 hours
Laem Ngop to Ko Kut: 3 hours


About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.


Read 27 comment(s)

  • That's great, I am leaving for Siem Reap in the morning and need to get to Trat the next day or so, I will give this a go....

    thanks

    Leigh

    Posted by Leigh Williamson on 13th December, 2008

  • This is great, thank you.

    I have a few questions:
    a) Roughly how much should we expect to pay for the Aranyaprathet – Chanthaburi bus trip?
    b) Same goes for the Chanthaburi – Trat bus trip?
    c) Same for the Trat songthaew to the pier?
    d) Is it possible to catch a taxi directly from Aranyaprathet to the piers in Trat? If so, do you have any idea how much this would cost, and how long it would take?

    Thank you so much, I know that's a lot of questions! We're making the trip in March and I want to iron out all details before hand to make the trip as smooth as possible.
    Thanks

    Posted by JessandScott on 17th December, 2008

  • JessandScott,
    I don't know the exact prices -- would expect each of the two bus trips to be around the 100-150B range.

    Songtheaw to Laem Ngop from trat is 50B (per person) last I heard.

    Direct trip from Aran to Trat -- not that I know of -- the standard route is via Chanthaburi.

    BTW, you're better off asking questions like these in the main forum as more eyeballs will see them than here in the features section. The Thailand forum is here.

    Posted by somtam2000 on 17th December, 2008

  • Thanks so much somtam2000, those prices are really helpful. I'm only new to this site and didn't even realise there was a main forum!
    :) Ta

    Posted by JessandScott on 17th December, 2008

  • Hey any info on renting a van from the Poitpet border to Pattaya?

    Posted by m&m Freeze on 25th December, 2008

  • Is it possible to catch a direct bus from Aranyaprathet to Pattaya

    Posted by Andrew on 15th March, 2009

  • does it really take an hour from trat to Laem Ngop pier ???
    do you take a taxi???

    Posted by ricaa on 10th July, 2009

  • anybody know of an organized tour that might go directly to Ko Chang from Siem Reap?

    (thanks for this article, just seems like a bit of a haul)

    Posted by davipinks on 22nd July, 2009

  • Has davipinks got an answer to his question of 22 July 2009? Or anyone else have other ideas of going from Ko Chang to Siem Reap?

    Posted by G Moore on 13th September, 2009

  • Just returned from a trip to Cambodia, having "tested" the suggested trip I have the following remarks:

    1. The road Siam Reap to Poipet is now fully sealed, hiring a taxi at Siem Reap to Poipet takes 2 hours and costed me $30 (peak season).
    2. The public bus from Aranyaprathet to Chantaburi takes 4,5 hours (not 2-3 hours as mentioned) without delay.
    3. The public bus from Chantaburi to Trat takes 1 to 1,5 hour to cover 65 km.

    We departed from Siem Reap at 9 AM to reach Trat at 7 PM. I think it's pretty hard / impossible to do the trip in one day using the suggested travel schema. You could do it when you take a taxi from Aranyprathet to Leam Ngop, advertised / quoted at 2200 Baht. By bus I think it's always necessary to spend a night in Trat, but don't worry, Trat is very nice / pleasant to spend a night. Guest houses are very good value, and you can eat dinner at the night market.

    Posted by Remco G on 18th January, 2010

  • We did this trip on 14th January 2010. There are lots of travel agents in Siem Reap offering it. All say you'll get to Koh Chang at 8pm but one told me that it'll be 4pm-4:30pm at the latest because the road is now sealed. I was also told it'd be a big VIP bus with toilet all the way.

    I was happy to pay USD12 per person. We were picked up from our hotel at 7:50am by tuk-tuk and taken to the coach place. It's all Westerners on the coach but a friendly bunch - some were just going to the border, some to Bangkok, some to Pattaya and a few to Koh Chang.

    After a couple of pick-ups in town, we left Siem Reap at 8:30am for Poipet, 155km away. Each passenger gets a sticker for their shirt (blank - Bangkok, Py - Pattaya, X - Koh Chang) We arrived at the border at 11:15am and pass out of Canbodia easily and walk to the Thai immigration post.

    We then have to wait about 80 minutes while all the Thais walk through the border virtually unhindered while Westerners are closely examined. We eventually get through by 1:15pm and are herded to a fleet of minibuses which seem to leave every five minutes once full to take travellers to a cafe. We have lunch and then, once there are enough to fill a minibus, set off for our destination.

    Since Koh Chang is less popular than the other destinations in Thailand, we have to wait for around an hour. We then get on a minivan (no, not a VIP bus - no toilet) with eight others heading for Koh Chang. Leaving at around 2pm, we arrive at the Trat ferry terminal at 5:45pm and then have to wait for the ferry which turns round and leaves Trat at 6:30pm.

    Arrive on Koh Chang at 7pm and pile onto a taxi van (ten seats on the two benches and standing room at the back for three). The fare is fixed - Lonely Beach 100thb per person (White Sands 50thb). Because some people had no accommodation the taxi driver is happy to stop, let them see if rooms are available and then hop back on again.

    We eventually get to Lonely Beach by 8:30pm and check into our hut (only one night). Since you arrive late in Koh Chang, I suggest you try and book accommodation in advance - Nature Beach Resort is perfect and on the beach - huts are 400-800thb but it is possible to get a discount for longer stays.

    I'm pretty sure you can do the trip in reverse - lots of travel shops on Koh Chang list Siem Reap as a destination.

    Posted by borisborough on 24th January, 2010

  • I did this trip on 27th Jan. Siem Reap to Koh Chang.

    Its pretty easy to find transportation direct to Koh Chang which charges around USD13 per person. Just look for travel agents along the streets in Siem Reap and most will offer such packages but its almost impossible to reach Koh Chang by 6pm as some of them claim. You will likely reach Koh Chang by 730pm onwards.

    Anyway you get picked up from your accomodation in Siem Reap at 8am by a minibus which will transfer you to a bigger bus. A lot of time will be wasted waiting for other travelers to board the bus. The travelers will be a mixture of people heading to various parts in thailand, koh chang, bangkok, pattaya, etc. The bus will take you to Poipet border where you will clear the Cambodia customs. It took me about 20minutes to do this as i was the first few in the queue. After this you will have to walk about 10minutes to the Thailand customs where the clearance will be slightly faster as its more organised. About 15minutes for this. And the waiting for other travelers start again when you have crossed over to thailand.

    A transport will take you to some location, it was some hotel in my case, for you to board a minivan to Koh Chang. This is where the other travelers will split to head to their respective destinations. You can have your lunch at the hotel. Its not a high end hotel, just some small hotel with reasonably priced meals. In my case, the minivan took us all the way to Koh Chang but we had to pay about 50BHT per person to the driver to get to White Sands Beach in Koh Chang. The USD13 only covers transportation from Siem Reap to Koh Chang, including the ferry.

    I recommend renting a motorbike in Koh Chang if you have experience riding a bike. Its cheap and convenient to go exploring the island. Parking isn't a problem with bikes either.

    For accomodations in Koh Chang, i found a pretty decent one which faces the sea and is just meters away from it. Its called Apple Bungalow at White Sands Beach and can accomodate 4 pax (BHT2000). Very worth it as you can literally rip out your shirt and run into the sea within seconds! : )

    So to summarise, YES there is an easier way to get to Koh Chang from Siem Reap. Just get a bus ticket from the travel agent and follow the flow. Its also a nice way to meet fellow travelers and share experiences.

    Posted by BJ on 2nd February, 2010

  • borisborough,

    What travel agent did you go with? I will be doing this trip next week and heard there are a lot of scams with these agents so a reccomendation would be nice!

    Posted by Jenine on 2nd February, 2010

  • Hi Jenine

    There's a strange practice in SE Asia whereby, once you start on a journey, the initial organisers take your ticket from you. This seems to be quite normal but it does make it difficult to know who you're travelling with.

    The travel office I booked with handed over the tickets in an envelope which states "Neak Pich Travel & Tours, No.02 (near CCB Bank), Sivatha Street, Phum Mondol I, Khum Svay Dongkum, Siem Reap Angkor, Cambodia. Tel: (855-63) 969 699, 063 761 822, 012 575 789, 092 222 220. E-mail: neakpich@yahoo.com"

    This is a travel office on the main straight road into the centre of town, just a little further than the junction which branches off to make the central "triangle". It's between the Cambodian Commercial Bank and Dead Fish Tower restaurant (nos 3 and 86 in the Lonely Planet cook map).

    Whatever they say though, you won't get onto Koh Chang before 7pm ish.

    Enjoy your trip.

    Posted by borisborough on 2nd February, 2010

  • We just did this trip too using the itinerary above as our guide.

    We hired a private car from Siem Reap to the border (2ppl, 30 USD total; 6:30am-8:30am). Since we arrived at the border early, the crossing didn't take too long 30-45 min? Once in Thailand we hired a tuk-tuk to take us 6km or so to the bus station (80 THB).

    The bus station in Aranyaprathet is not well marked, so we wandered around a bit looking for the bus to Chantaburi. Eventually someone who spoke a little english said the next bus to Chantaburi would leave at 10:30am. The bus arrived and we departed a little closer to 11am (150 THB/pp). After a couple hours and only a few km traveled, we realized we were on a local bus instead of the express bus (also departed a.p. at 1030). This local bus took about 4.5 hours instead of 2-3.

    After the frustration of being stuffed on an over-crowded and slow bus, we hired a taxi/modified truck to take us directly to the Centrepoint ferry. This was 500 THB (total) and well worth it. We arrived just in time for the 5pm ferry and managed to watch the sunset from our hotel on Lonely Beach.

    Long day, but well worth it!

    Posted by stevent on 6th February, 2010

  • Anyone traveled by road Seim Reap to Battambang,Battambang to Pailin crossing then onto Chanthaburi
    Thanks

    Posted by Derek on 1st March, 2010

  • Hi there!

    Is it possible to get a taxi from Aranyaprathet to Chanthaburi? Or straight to Koh Chang?
    Or must it be a bus that you take? After reading these postings, we have decided to stay a night in Chanthaburi to break up the trip a little.

    Thanks.
    Hannah

    Posted by Hannah on 6th March, 2010

  • Hi...

    So, after crossing the border, you can just catch a taxi straight down to Koh Chang. It is a LOT more expensive, but still super cheap in Western standards. It costs 2200 baht to take a taxi to Koh Chang and you'll get there in half the time. If you are travelling with a couple of people, it turns out to be quite cheap...

    Just thought I'd let you know this is what I discovered yesterday when I crossed the border.

    Posted by Hannah on 9th March, 2010

  • Hi,
    is the taxi fare from the border to Koh Chang for the Taxi? Or per Person?!
    Please tell me, because we will be there in about 2 months.
    Thanks,
    Joachim

    Posted by Joe on 17th March, 2010

  • hi there,

    am in siem reap now and want to go to ko chang on either friday (april 2nd) or saturday (april 3rd). would like to share a cab with others. cab to the border and then a cab further to ko chang on the thai side. if interested please leave me a message on how to reach you at the reception of tanei guesthouse.
    looking forward to travel with you.
    cheers.
    thomas

    Posted by Thomas on 1st April, 2010

  • We will make this jurney in the opposit direction in december. (2 adults and 3 children) Is the jurney eqvually practicable i a day and do anyone have any price examples for this?

    Posted by Agge on 18th April, 2010

  • We plan to go from Siem Reap to Koh Chang on either September 30 or October 1. We have 2 persons and would like to share a taxi from Siem Reap to the border and then a taxi directly to Koh Chang.

    If anyone has same planning, would you please write me a short message at jianmin01@hotmail.com.

    regards
    Jemmy

    Posted by Jemmy on 9th August, 2010

  • We booked a trip from our hostel. We payed $15 each and got a very comfortable bus ride to the border. Just before the border we all got different colored stickers on our shirts depending on where we were heading.. Green ones for ko chang. At the other end of the border minibuses waited, and after 5 minutes of hassle to find the right one we sat in a mighty comfortable AC minibus that raced to get us on the last ferry over to ko chang.

    No scams, no nothing. One of the most comfortable trips I've ever had.

    Just pay a little more and your experience will be good as can be.

    This was in December 2010.

    Posted by kristoffer_zaar on 11th January, 2011

  • Hi All,
    Keen to do this route at the end of the month. Question- will this all be a lot harder/longer on a Sunday? Just looking like the way my schedule is working out.
    Thanks!
    Oli

    Posted by OB on 7th February, 2012

  • AWESOME info! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Posted by Paula Wallem on 14th April, 2012

  • Hi kristoffer_zaar,
    Which hostel booked this trip for you?

    Thanks!

    Posted by anya1mt on 27th June, 2012

  • We used this article as a guide for this itinerary on 30th March 2013. Though accurate, it's still tricky to do the trip by public bus in one day. We set out at 07:30 from Siem Reap by taxi (25$/trip), reached the Cambodia-Thailand border at Poipet at 10:00 (a 15' stop in Siem Reap, the driver wanted to exchange money). The border was closed for some reason. Finally, with immigration etc. we got at the Aranyaprathet bus station at ~11:30. Firstly, to catch the bus to Chanthaburi you have to go past the stop for the Bangkok bus, go through the market, turn left, cross a dual highway and catch the bus at a stop on the other side of the road. It was supposed to arrive at 12:30, it went by at 12:15 and we almost missed it. Nobody really speaks English, but they effectively guided us by pointing in the general diretion. You buy tickets on the bus, 160 baht pax, don't expect to get an actual ticket. Journey is 4 full hours, with Thai comedy blasting on the TV, two short stops on the way. We arrived at Chanthaburi at 16:30 with rather slim chances of making it by bus for the last ferry at 19:00. We finally got a songtheaw to Thammachart Pier (700 baht for 2 pax), we were there at ~18:00. I'm not sure you can make it on time for the last ferry if you continue by bus from Chanthaburi to Trat and then by songtheaw to the pier. In any case, ferries from the other piers (Laem Ngop, Centrepoint) stop running at 17:00, I think those are out of the question.

    Posted by Bill on 12th April, 2013

Add your comment

Feature story quicklinks


Newsletter signup

Sign up for Travelfish Burp!

Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.

We respect your email privacy