Koh Chang Bridge Plans (Really!)

Koh Chang Bridge – Be Careful What You Wish For

Laem-Sing-BridgeDo you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? Well I do so I’ll forgive you for not believing what I’m about to write.

You see last April 1st in a practical joke we announced plans to build a bridge from the mainland to Koh Chang. But they weren’t true. I made it up totally just for a bit of fun. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

But now it seems that reality is catching up with fantasy.

The Koh Chang Hotel and Business Group held a meeting on the 12th of September. This group of local (Thai) businessmen and counsellors took a vote at this meeting that agreed in principle to the construction of a bridge from Koh Chang to the mainland. The Gamnan (kinda like the mayor) of Koh Chang Mr. Wanrung submitted the proposal. He said that he had expected there to be a bridge to the mainland by the time he’d reached thirty years old but now he was nearly fifty and one still didn’t exist.

Now the simple fact that local businesses vote to say that they want a bridge doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen straight away. It is a major capital project and a huge undertaking. But it is certainly a sign of intent and maybe indicates that it is now a topic of discussion and that it might really happen in the not so distant future.

It is certainly feasible. The distance to cover is around 8km but the sea is less than ten metres deep all the way across. And Thailand does seem to love a major public works project. After all local officials are given supervision of huge amounts of money and they seem to enjoy this for some strange reason.

So what would that mean for Koh Chang?

Well from a selfish point of view Island residents will be far more connected to the mainland. We will be able to come and go from the island in the evening. We’ll also be able to get to places without the sometimes hideous delays involved in catching the rust buckets ferries.

Koh Chang could expect a lot more tourism as it becomes easier to get over to the island, particularly for Bangkok and other Thai residents to drive down in their cars. In the past on holiday weekends they have sometimes had to wait for many hours to get to the island by ferry. This deterrent would be removed.

But a bridge would put major stress on Koh Chang’s infrastructure. There is still only really one road remember and even that still doesn’t go all the way around the island.

Remember also that Koh Chang is a Marine National Park. There is supposed to be a priority placed on ecology and the environment. There must be some concern that we would go the same way as places like Phuket and Samui. Whilst I’m sure the National Park would leap to charge everyone the park entry fee as they leave the bridge that doesn’t mean that this would actually help preserve the island’s beautiful ecology.

You could expect a large increase in land and property prices both on the island and also on the nearby mainland. You’d also expect an increase in crime as eager thieves become able to vacate the island with their spoils. There would be the added safety of being able to leave the island quickly in a medical emergency. In fact all of the pros and cons stretch further than the bridge would.

But a bridge would also take away that certain something that you get from living on an island. Islands are just different to ther places. A marriage to the mainland would take something special away from Koh Chang that it could never get back.

UPDATE 11/10/2016

There was a meeting yesterday between Koh Chang businesses and Trat government officials at Ban Phu Resort on the mainland.

Topics for discussion were plans to complete the road round Koh Chang and plans to build a bridge to the mainland.

The verdict seems to be that they favour the idea of doing one or the other but they aren’t sure which. The (very good) idea of actually asking people came up. So they decided to give out a questionnaire to actually ask the people of Koh Chang what they thought. And there will be, drum roll, 400 questionnaires circulated to canvas opinion.

If anyone is lucky enough to receive one then please share and we’ll get it translated.

What do you think about these plans?
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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About the author

Dave

Admin and most other stuff at The Koh Chang Guide

Posted on by Dave in Koh Chang News 2016

20 Responses to Koh Chang Bridge Plans (Really!)

  1. Nina Baum

    Koh Chang don’t need more people! It will die slowly will die out nature..think about it and for Buddha sake nobody is hungry on the Island! Why not happy with what they have? People always want more! I think its a bad idea beter buy new and qiucker ferries!

     
  2. Kristel Golsteyn

    Even though bussiness wise it would bring in so much more, good for all of us working or having business here, I would still object to the plan. I would even go further and ban cars to come on, in stead promote a regular very cheap taxi shuttle service on the island 24 hours available (songthaew 20 bht per customer) and only local cars, keep all other cars on the mainland. Would make the island so nice! Koh Chang green and clean!

     
    • Fash

      I totally agree, better ferries and better taxi fairs

       
    • Jens Bryndum

      I agree, Kristel. Perhaps add free parkinglot on the mainland and provide free ferrytickets to people who use it.

       
  3. Tristan Follin

    Modern, fast, clean ferries and a good, safe circular road would do a lot for tourism in Koh Chang whilst preserving and continuously protecting this jewel as a National Park…

     
  4. Rebecca Childress

    From a tourists perspective….I would never come to Koh Chang if it had a bridge. Ive been to many places in Thailand and SE Asia and Koh Chang is the best place yet. It has a super special feeling to it. Bring cars, traffic jams,and people and ypu wont have that anymire. It will be gone overnight. For the peopke who have cone here to live…think about why you came. And for the people who have always lived here…do you really want to be invaded any more than you already have been? You have paradise here…dont spoil it with a bridge. You wont really be an island anymore…you will just be a peninsula…part of the mainland…with one very busy street on and off!!!

     
    • tata air car

      117David (“Gulf Coast Pastor”),Thanks for your kind remarks. I am unaware of any plans for a book but interest in this subject has strained the capacity of certain web sites.Blessings, brother.Adam

       
  5. Terry (ex local) Crofts

    The idea of a bridge would be the last straw, even on long weekends the Thai population kills the serenity of Koh chang and the rubbish that is left on the beach by these weekenders!!!.

    The suggestion of non car ferries is good but the ferry operators will fight tooth and nail to keep their busininess.

    up grade the ferries have just a passenger ferry service and two for cars and trucks.

     
  6. Artem A

    Thai goverment built a lot of infrastructure. It is logical that the administration of the island wants to build something. I remember that a project construction of the road between Bang Bao and Salak Phet, it has not been approved by the Government the incredible cost. I think this project will meet the same result.
    The bridge is not the solution the problem of traffic jams. Traffic jams are connected solely with the increasing number of cars in the country.Every Thai and Farang is committed to come to the island on own car, and all travel at the same time in the same days. About departure from the island at all funny, traffic jams begins at 11-00 am after check out in most hotels. The construction of the bridge, without increasing the existing road network, will lead to more traffic jams and increasing number of road accidents. The expansion of the road network on the island is technically impossible without the destruction of nature. The solution will be exclusively build parking for cars on the mainland and creation of a public transport system on the island. People go by car, because inadequate prices for songtew, no timetable, no prices, every driver is trying to take more money, inventing fare, especially in the evening and at night. This decision will be many times cheaper than building a bridge and attract much more tourists. Most of the tourists never been on the east side. But they would all have been there, if small, air-conditioned buses would go in the direction of Bang Bao to Salak Phet every hour.

     
  7. Lyle G Martinez

    I think this may be a ploy to simply to lean on the owners of the Ferry Services to have a better service.
    The logistics of moving that much lumber and concrete material to Trat province would make accessibility to Koh Chang almost impossible during the construction process, with the roads clogged and destroyed by heavy equipment.
    Then there is the issue of what land would be acquired to position this bridge and how to acquire the 25 billion baht + necessary, while fighting the opposition of the Ferry Owners.

     
  8. Huw roberts

    Been to Koh Chang twice. It is a beautiful island just the way it is. A bridge will completely ruin it and turn it into another typical tourist hotspot. It has a fragile balance already between preserving the natural beauty of the island and catering for tourists. An influx of people will force more development and ruin the island. Please please no bridge!!

     
  9. Huddy01

    Thanks for the comments everyone.
    So the verdict so far is 1 in favour and 8 against. Seems like we don’t want a bridge!

    Some good alternatives have been suggested. Although asking the ferries to improve their service might be tricky. You could threaten to take away their licenses although someone was telling me the other day that the Ao Thammachat ferry has never even had a license! I think do to their size and power the may be hard to pursuade.
    Also any system that allows residents to come to the island but not visitors would be pretty hard to police and open to abuse. Can’t see the ferries turning away trade.

     
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  11. David Newman

    Please don’t build the road connecting the 2 sides of the island, it would become a racetrack like the isle of man.
    I think its too steep anyway, been there.

    A Bridge please would ease traffic, but should ask for entry fee.

     
  12. OfficialTravelNews

    Is the ferry always a problem when crossing with a car ? Do people always have to queue or is it possible to avoir the queue ? Thanks.

     
    • Dave

      Hi,
      You always have to queue for the ferries but it isn’t usually too bad outside holiday weekends. The best tip for a small queue is get there early.

       
    • Dave

      Ferry isn’t always a problem. Avoid public holidays and Friday’s(arriving) and Sundays (departing.

       
  13. bangkokstick

    Of course sooner or later a bridge will be built, and people who still want to stay on an island will stay on KO MAAK or KO KUUD and other islands around ? So why is anybody stupid enough to complain what is obviously needed ?

     
    • Dave

      Needed why?

       
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