Island hopping between Koh Chang, Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Wai is an easy and inexpensive way to expand you holiday horizons. The islands are not too spread out, an hour only by speedboat to Koh Mak, 2 down to Koh Kood, so you can breakfast on one and lunch on the next with little or no effort.
Koh Chang, Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Wai all have their own unique atmospheres, so hopping from one to the next, a few days at a time on each, gives you a excellent feel for the overall area. Coupled with that, island hopping allows you to cater to all tastes, important perhaps when travelling with family or as a group. You could get stuck into lots of activities on Koh Chang, indulge in some proper partying too, before recovering over in Koh Kood, with some serious beach time and luxury getaway indulgence.
Island Hopping – November to April
From November to April, island hopping is very easy with the two companies, Bang Bao Boats and Nor Nou Kai Bae Hus Speedboat, plying the waves daily. Bang Boat Boats, out of Bang Bao, has either a slower once a day wooden boat or twice daily speedboat. Nor Nou, out of Kai Bae Beach, operates just one speedboat service per day. The speedboats prices are pretty much identical, the wooden boat cheaper. Transfer from your resort is included in the price, a complete guide is here.
The two companies head to different piers on Koh Mak, one on the north west side, one on the south west side. It doesn’t make any difference to you as the island is small and if you call ahead, your resort comes and picks you up anyway or failing that, there are cheap little songthaew taxis on hand. On Koh Kood, you get dropped at your resort pier, simple charming wooden constructions that stretch out from the beaches. Koh Wai is tiny but its handful of resorts also have their own piers and the boats will drop you direct.
To travel in the opposite direction, the procedure is exactly the same, with free transport on Koh Chang to deliver you to your resort from either Bang Bao or Kai Bae Beach.
Of course, you can throw in any variations you want between all the islands. Every year in November, we do our own island hopping just to keep our hand in, from Koh Chang to Koh Kood, Koh Kood to Koh Mak, Koh Mak to Koh Wai, Koh Wai back to Koh Chang, a fabulous 10 day trip.
Island Hopping – May to October
From May to October, the rainy, green or low season depending on your preference, the boats between the islands stop running. This is due both to the low demand and to the sea conditions, which become less benign, with large waves, swells and sudden storms frequent. This does not mean you cannot travel to each island but rather you must return to the mainland each time and go from its respective piers.
From Koh Chang to Koh Mak, this is relatively straightforward, as you can take the ferry and then simply hop on a Trat bound songthaew taxi, asking them to drop you at Laem Ngop Pier (for Koh Mak). Laem Ngop Pier, sometimes also known as Krom Luang, is located just a few kilometres up the road from either of the Koh Chang ferry piers at Centerpoint or Ao Thammachat.
Koh Kood is more problematic, as its mainland pier at Laem Sok, lies some 40km away from those Koh Chang ferry piers in the middle of the back end of nowhere and there is no public transport. The best way, though not the cheapest, is to use private transfer from your Koh Chang hotel, costing around 2,300bt for a car, 2 persons. This includes the ferry tickets from Koh Chang but not the boat tickets to Koh Kood. Alternatively, there is a convoluted share minibus route which picks you up from your hotel on Koh Chang and takes you to a meeting point near Trat, a PTT petrol station no less. Here you are swapped into the free transport coming from Trat on its way to Laem Sok.
Going in the other direction, you can take the free transport from Laem Sok back to Trat and take the taxis from there down to the Koh Chang and Koh Mak Piers.
Getting between from Koh Mak pier to Koh Kood Pier can be done with a chartered taxi, though you will need your bargaining skills or you can book a private transfer, where the car will meet you off one boat at one pier and whisk you up to the next one.
Island Hopping – Final Thoughts
So island hopping is definitely worth throwing into the mix as you plan you holiday. Of course, you can pick one island only and have an equally fabulous time, but it does give you another exciting option. Tag on a trip to the temples at Angkor as well and you could be onto the holiday of lifetime…