The 999 Bus, operated by The Transport Co. from Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal at Ekkamai on Sukhumvit Road, has now dropped its “Thais only” policy and is running a normal if reduced service down to Koh Chang and Koh Mak.
During June and early July 2020, the company only allowed Thai citizens to use the service – you needed to present a Thai ID card to book a seat. That policy, which caused a stir in social media circles with foreigners residing here unhappy at its apparent prejudice, has now been overturned.
You can now travel on the service provided you present your passport. Alternatively, you can also use your Thai driving licence as proof of identity.
Reduced Service due to Covid-19
Due to the lack of customers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the 999 Bus is however running a reduced service. There is currently only one trip per day at 07.45 from Ekkamai, cost of 261bt per person. This will stop at the Transport Center at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 08.20 if there is a booking. Otherwise, the next stop is normally Chantaburi Bus Station.
If you are travelling with someone, you can sit together but if alone, social distancing is being observed with no one permitted to sit alongside you. You must wear a mask throughout the journey, no eating allowed. It is advised to go the day before to secure your seat.
The bus reaches Centerpoint Pier at 13.30 to 13.45. You will be sold the ferry ticket to Koh Chang (80bt) by its local agent, Relax Tours. The ferry company then provides a battered old bus come truck to run you to the end of the pier. The crossing takes 45 minutes.
Once on Koh Chang, you use the local songthaews to travel to your resort. Please bear in mind these only leave when full. Most likely, the taxi will take you on to Ao Sapparot Pier, where it will hopefully find more passengers off the other ferry coming from Ao Thammachat.
The return back to Bangkok is at 14.30 only from the mainland side. You must allow enough time to get from your resort to the pier and for the 45 minute crossing. Once again, due to the low numbers, Centerpoint is itself operating a reduced service. Ferries from the island currently depart at 11.00 and 13.00 – best to check when buying the ferry ticket over. You reach Ekkamai Bus Station in Sukhumvit at 20.30+ depending on traffic.
Going to Koh Mak with 999 Bus
For Koh Mak, Relax Tours will organise a songthaew from Centerpoint Pier to Laem Ngop Pier, about 10 minutes down the road. In theory, the cost is 40bt per person but there may well be a minimum charge.
At Laem Ngop Pier, you may just making the 14.00 (Leelawadee). If you miss that, you have either the 14.30 (Seatales) or 15.00 (Suansuk) if they are running. If they not running, your final option is the 16.00 (Panan). All speedboat seats to Koh Mak are 450bt per person – once again, Relax will sell you the ticket.