Public transport on Koh Chang takes the form of the ubiquitous white taxis (songthaews). These are usually Toyota pick-ups that have been converted by adding a covered top and bench seating in the back. Scores of these taxis cruise the streets of the island looking for customers.
Basically two kinds of Koh Chang taxi service are available; shared taxis and private taxi hire. Some taxis operate a share passenger service, operating between two set points, and pick up and drop off as many passengers as they can carry. The most common routes for the shared taxis are between the two ferry piers and the beaches on the west coast.
The prices for Koh Chang taxis from the ferry terminals are 50 Baht to White Sand Beach, 60 Baht to Chai Chet and Klong Prao, 80 Baht to Kai Bae, 100 Bbaht to Lonely Beach and 120 Baht to Bang Bao. Shared taxis on Koh Chang usually operate during daylight hours only when the ferries are running.
Private taxis on Koh Chang are a convenient, if more expensive, way to get around the island. Basically you can just flag down a passing taxi, tell them where you want to go and negotiate a price. Prices aren’t set and haggling is a very good idea since you may be presented with an eye-watering first gambit. If you plan to return late at night it is also be a good idea to arrange a return pick-up with your driver. The later at night it is the harder it gets to get a taxi.
Many of Koh Chang’s hotels, spas and restaurants offer a free pick-up and drop-off service for customers as a way to attract business. This is a hassle-free alternative to taxi travel so it is well worth a phone call to see if you can arrange a lift.
It is also worth noting that Koh Chang roads are not always in the best state of repair. Many visitors decide to hire motorbikes to travel around the island. This is certainly a more convenient way of getting around, but it is also vastly more dangerous.
Always wear a helmet if you rent a motorbike, and refrain from consuming alcohol if you plan to drive home after a night out. Rental costs start at around 200 Baht a day, and passports are normally left as deposit.
Remember to carefully, and conspicuously, check over your bike for any scratch or damage which might later be pinned on you upon return. Thailand is notorious for tourists getting ripped off for phantom ‘damage’ sustained when hiring motorbikes, and unfortunately Koh Chang is no different. Demonstrating that you are acutely aware of these scams is the best way to avoid any problem.
The busiest time of year sees an almost constant procession of people who have had a motorbike accident in and out of the local hospitals and clinics. For what it’s worth unless you are an experienced motorbike rider then it might be worth relying on Koh Chang taxis as a safer and more secure form of island transport.