Travel to Koh Kood Island with a Dog

The city of Trat is the start point for most travellers heading to their island in tropical paradise (for information on how to transport a dog to Trat click here). All guesthouses are able to book boat tickets, but tickets can also be booked from the offices located near the Trat Market. A ticket of 350 Baht includes taxi service from Trat to the pier, the ferry ride, and taxi service to your guesthouse/resort in Koh Kood. The two primary ferries to Koh Kood are the Ko Kut Express and Ko Kut Princess (Koh Kood and Ko Kut are the same name for the island). Songthaews (converted truck bed with bench seats) are the common form of taxi service in Thailand. Dogs are allowed on songthaews at the discretion of the driver and attitude of the other passengers. To date, Zala and I have not had an issue.

On the Ko Kut Express

On the Ko Kut Express

The Ko Kut Express allows dogs with the exception of holidays and weekends during high season due to crowding. Have your guesthouse check in advance. Zala rode free of charge.The trip from the main land to Koh Kood is an hour. Be prepared for photos and looks of fascination from fellow passengers. Songthaews will be waiting at the pier to take passengers to their guesthouses and resorts. The trucks get packed tightly with people so, as always, know your dog’s threshold before you put them in this situation.

Many high end resorts such as Peter Pan Resort allow dogs. A few budget friendly guesthouses such as PD Guesthouse and Mata Guesthouse also allow dogs free of charge (no dogs allowed at Cozy Guesthouse). The island has a large population of stray dogs. They are an unavoidable part of island life. PD and Mata guesthouse in particular have a large pack of strays. Please see my article on walking a dog in thailand for advice on handling stray dogs.

Koh Kood is still relatively undeveloped and untouched. Be sure to bring enough cash for your entire trip. There are no ATMs on the island and only the big resorts accept credit cards. Dog restrictions do not exist. Your dog is free to explore the white sand beaches off leash with you and join you for meals. Enjoy your stay in tropical paradise!IMG_0569


How to Take Your Dog From Chiang Mai to Trat

Transportation and accommodations can be frustrating to find for pet lovers in Thailand. Here is what Zala and I discovered on our journey to the opposite end of Thailand.

Bangkok Airways is the only airline that will fly 45kg of (Dog+Crate) as checked luggage. Bangkok Airways has always been real great about keeping Zala out of the sun and minimizing her time in a crate the best they can. And as a bonus, I get fed a full meal and as many drinks as I can hold during a 55 minute flight. Meal price is included in the ticket with 21 meal options to chose from ranging from Muslim meals prepared in accordance to Halal rules to gluten free.

Unfortunately, only Bangkok Air’s airbus 319 and 320 can transport Zala’s large crate. The ATR 72 is the only airplane that flies from Bangkok to Trat, and it will only accept a 80 cm long x 45 cm wide x 65 cm crate with a max combined weight of 20kg. Bangkok Airways is the only airline that flies from Bangkok to Trat.

From Bangkok on down, the journey must be completed on the ground.
There is no train.
The cheapest transportation service is the bus. According to a few reviews, individuals have taken cats and puppies in small crates and stowed them below with the luggage.
This is not an option for a 70lb Dutch Shepherd.
The next option is to rent a car. To my knowledge, there are no car rental options in Trat. Any car rental would need to be returned to Bangkok or Pattaya. This is not great option for those choosing to stay in Trat for a long period of time. The drive is at least 5 hours long.
The last option, and most expensive, is a van service. Renting a vehicle with a driver is common in Thailand. You can even rent a songthaew for a day if you wish. The only driver service I found that was willing to transport my big dog + luggage was Bangkok Beyond.

My driver (Tony) was waiting for me at the airport with my name on a sign. I had an entire minibus at my disposal. Zala was allowed out of her crate, and she got to hang her head out the window and enjoy the ride all the way down to the bottom of Thailand. I was given complimentary drinks and essentially free rein to ask for bathroom breaks and meal stops as I pleased. If I had not been anxious to get to Trat before nightfall, I may have taken advantage of this luxury.IMG_0379

The cost of this van service was 5550 baht. This is a lot of money to pay in Thailand for a simple trip from Bangkok to Trat. But the cost of a plane ticket including all my excessive luggage (Zala) is roughly the same amount as the van service and this was a trip my dog got to enjoy instead of being cooped up in a stuffy box.

Your options are a bit more limited in Thailand, but it can be done. I honestly believe Zala and I enjoyed our van journey more than we ever would by skipping over in a plane.