If you’re looking for the ultimate tropical getaway, then look no further than Koh Lipe, Thailand. Nestled in the Andaman Sea, Koh Lipe is a small island paradise that boasts some of the most beautiful beaches, world-class diving, and vibrant marine life in the region.
Join us as we explore this breathtaking destination, from the crystal-clear waters to the powder-sand shores, and everything in between.
Getting to Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe may be a secluded island paradise, but it’s still relatively easy to get to. The closest airport is in Hat Yai in Southern Thailand. From there, it’s a 2-hour drive to the Pak Bara pier. From the pier, you can take a ferry to Koh Lipe. The ferry ride takes around 90 minutes.
While it may seem like a long journey, trust us – it’s worth it.
There is no permanent jetty in Koh Lipe for embarking and disembarking. Instead there’s a reasonably stable floating jetty. Getting on and off the boat can be a little challenging if the sea isn’t calm, so not ideal for the infirm or elderly.
Getting through Customs
You may be arriving in a tropical paradise, but customs regulations still apply. As chaotic as the outdoor customs ‘office’ initially appears, the process is surprisingly efficient and we’ve never had to wait longer than a half hour.
Most nationalities are given a visa on arrival. After this you will also have to pay 200 Baht for a Tarutao National Park entrance fee that is valid for 5-days. Keep this Entrance Ticket with you at all times, even when you’re laying out on the beach.
If you booked a hotel in advance, there is usually somebody waiting to transport you to the hotel directly after you’ve cleared customs.
When it comes to accommodation on Koh Lipe, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious resort or a budget-friendly bungalow, there’s something for everyone on this island.
Koh Lipe is a small island with limited resources. While there are plenty of accommodations to choose from, it’s a good idea to book in advance to ensure that you get the best possible deal.
One of the main draws of Koh Lipe is its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. From Sunrise Beach to Sunset Beach, there’s no shortage of sandy shores to explore. But perhaps the most popular beach on the island is Pattaya Beach – a favorite among visitors.
Personally, we prefer the more chilled out Sunrise Beach.
Diving, Snorkeling, Kayaking
Koh Lipe is known for its world-class diving and snorkeling spots. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there’s something for everyone in the waters surrounding this island.
Some of the most popular spots include the Koh Lipe Marine Park, Koh Adang, and the Koh Tarutao National Marine Park.
You’ll be blown away by the vibrant coral reefs, colorful fish, and other marine life that call these waters home.
We’ve tried snorkeling on both sides of the island, with better results from Sunrise beach.
When swimming or snorkeling from Pattaya Beach, you may become aware of tiny stingers in the water. Nothing serious – like a live jellyfish sting – but a little uncomfortable nevertheless.
We understand this can be from microscopic jellyfish larvae (sealice) or detached jellyfish stingers.
If you enjoy kayaking, some hotels – such as the Kathalee Beach Resort and Spa – provide complimentary use of their kayaks (and snorkeling gear) to their guests. From Sunrise Beach there are some picturesque small island that you can reach by kayak.
Note however that the sea conditions here change unpredictably day by day, and some days the water is too shallow and rocky for comfortable kayaking, or even snorkeling.
Explore the Island
While the beaches and underwater scenery are certainly impressive, there’s more to Koh Lipe than just that. Take a walk through the island’s small back streets or a morning stroll along the beaches. The island is small, so you can easily explore it in a day.
A visit to the nearby Koh Tarutao National Marine Park is also highly recommended. After all, you’ve already paid for your entrance ticket.
One of the highlights of Koh Lipe is its vibrant Walking Street, which is located in the heart of the island. Not so much ‘Walking Street’, as ‘Motorbike Alley’, this bustling pedestrian street is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening.
Walking Street is a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts to bring back home. From handmade jewelry and clothing to traditional Thai crafts, there’s something for everyone here.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Walking Street’s wide selection of restaurants and street food vendors. From traditional Thai dishes to international cuisine, there’s no shortage of options here. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as the spicy green papaya salad or the fresh seafood.
As the sun begins to set, Walking Street comes alive with a bustling nightlife scene. Many of the bars and restaurants offer live music and entertainment, making it a great place to unwind after a day of exploring the island.
Since the legalization of Marijuana in Thailand, you’ll also find plenty of coffee shops where you can indulge in your favourite weed.
One of the great things about Koh Lipe is that it’s still relatively unknown to many travelers. But as more and more people discover the island, it’s important to consider sustainable tourism. This small island paradise is home to a fragile ecosystem, and it’s up to all of us to help protect it.
When visiting Koh Lipe, be sure to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the local government and marine parks, and do your part to help preserve this beautiful destination for generations to come.
Unlike other popular destinations in Thailand, such as Phuket and Koh Samui, Koh Lipe has managed to maintain its charm and authenticity, making it a great place to escape the crowds and truly unwind.
How much will a short visit cost?
Most visitors don’t spend longer than a few days in Koh Lipe. The longest stay we had was for 6 nights, which is great if you just want to relax and take everything at a slow pace.
A more typical 3-night trip will cost around 17,000 Baht (€450) in total for 2 people, including the return boat trip, a good hotel with breakfast, and sufficient cash for eating out.
So what are you waiting for? Koh Lipe is a highly affordable tropical destination, and a great addition to your visit to Thailand or Malaysia.
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