We left our hotel in Bangkok at about 8.30 in the morning and took a taxi across town to Ekamai Bus station. We were in the morning rush hour and so from the Sathorn road to the bus station took us a good forty five minutes. On arrival we bought a ticket for the 999 bus to Laem Ngop for our island adventure on Ko Chang.
The Bus was your normal size 50 seater Mercedes Benz which was parked up in front of the terminal. I had pondered on getting a Minibus but in the end decided on the coach as we thought we might be safer in the larger bus which did come with seat belts and also had a toilet in the back.
The total cost for two tickets to Laem Ngop was 550 baht, pretty cheap considering you’re on the bus for best part of six hours which includes a twenty minute stop at a service station for a toilet break and a quick bite should you need it, beware though they depart pretty damn quick from the break and we received some stern looks and words from the driver as we were the last two people to get back on the bus.I’m not sure what the difference is between the 999 and a minibus but I guess it might be the number of stops you make on your journey. We seemed to stop every twenty minutes for the first two hours which gets a bit tedious but then you can’t complain when you think about the cost of the fair and the coach does have air con which was very cool and on one occasion very calming when the driver had to brake hard and we swerved to avoid something, the bus rolled from side to side and there was a deep thud as we hit the grass verge on the centre reservation , my heart was in my mouth as well as the rest of the passengers as we were jolted into upright seat positions . Whatever it was the driver didn’t stop so I presume no lasting damage was done; one good thing about these buses is that they seem to be fitted with a speed limiter as most of the time we were being passed at about sixty mph by open topped pickups carrying workers and stacked high with fruit. For once in my life I was pleased not to be travelling in the fast lane, better late than never as the saying goes.
We arrived at the port and bought two ferry tickets, about one hundred baht each and we were taken down to the jetty in a small minibus where a huge rust coloured roll-on car ferry awaits us. We get on board along with about fifty other people and twenty-odd trucks and begin our crossing to the island which appears to be about five miles in the distance and from where we are looks like an enormous dark green moss-covered mountain. It takes about an hour to make the crossing and as we get closer to the island the dark green moss reveals itself to be a mass of tropical rain forest with huge trees towering into the sky. We land on the east coast of the island where we are met by numerous taxis which are big white pickup trucks with drivers anxious to get us on board.
Everyone on our taxi seems to be headed for White Sand Beach, the driver collects sixty baht from each of the passengers and were quickly on our way. It’s a twenty minute ride over the hilltop to the west coast. We reach the top of the hill and begin the winding descent emerging from the lush green forest around a steep rock face and the west coast reveals itself, a magnificent palm lined stretch of white sand.
The taxi drops us off in the centre of White Sand Beach road and we head off in search of a room. This was the part of the trip that was unscripted although we did have a few prompt cards in the bag and one of them pointed us in the direction of Paddy’s Palm resort which happened to be a five minute walk from where we were and at nine hundred baht a night , very reasonable too. We had been on the road for most of the day, the bags were getting heavy and we needed a drink, so we said yes to Paddy’s and checked in.
Having found somewhere to put our heads down for the night we headed back out to check out the beach, we didn’t have far to go. We take a short walk down the hill, a slip across the road and we are on the beach at last, flip the sandals off and dip our toes in the ocean.