What to do on Koh Lipe

What to do on Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is a Thai island in the Andaman Sea near the border with Malaysia.

Even less known than Koh Lanta and decidedly less known than more touristy islands such as Kho Pha Ngan, Koh Tao o Koh Samui, I think I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favorite in Thailand.

Before arriving on Koh Lipe I was looking for a small, cozy place with a beautiful sea and where I could wake up in the morning, dive into the water and do a bit of snorkelling.
Where there is no rush and where there are neither cars nor scooters to provide the soundtrack to my days.

Here I found exactly what I was looking for and above all what I expected from a Thai island: a small island surrounded by a blue sea that vaguely reminded me of the Caribbean.

Bungalow on the beach, the possibility of walking without shoes, small enough to be explored on foot and silky white sand, the kind that never burns even if the sun is shining in the sky and it is 35 degrees.

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All you need is a swimsuit, a sarong and a mask to fully enjoy the beauty and simplicity of this island where there are no 7elevens (supermarkets) or Mc Donalds or designer restaurants but only small art-poor cafes, bamboo tables and structures, mats on which to lie down and perhaps fall asleep after a day in the sun.

I found my little corner of peace at The Hideway Koh Lipe where I stayed for about a week before heading to Malaysia.

Sleeping on the island is quite expensive compared to other places in Thailand, but it is really worth it.

In fact, here I had enough time for long walks at sunset, to work in peace, meet people and have fun going to bed happy and satisfied, eager to wake up the next day to dive back into the splendid sea and swim with colorful fish that instead of being afraid and running away they get closer to man.

Wood and bamboo bungalows directly on the beach, hammocks and silence. Sometimes the only noise you hear is that of the speed boat engines.

Life on Koh Lipe passes slowly, there isn’t much to do other than sunbathing on the beach or taking boat trips to discover the numerous nearby islands, snorkelling and for those who dive scuba diving.

The beach comes alive in the evening the suggestive bars with lounge music light up, the scenery is romantic and fire jugglers will entertain you with acrobatic performances while you enjoy a cocktail or a Chang beer in the moonlight.
Splendid Koh Lipe, where the blue sea, tropical fish, national parks and deserted beaches will make you feel for a few days Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

Kho Lipe

What to do in Kho Lipe

Koh Lipe is really small and you can get around on foot without any kind of problem.
We don’t rent scooters so the only way to get around is on foot or by bicycle.
For those with heavy luggage there are some taxis, such as golf cars that will take you to your destination but if you arrive light you will be able to appreciate the beach of this island from the first minute.
Given the size of the island, you can visit all the main beaches of the island in one day: Pattaya, Sunset Beach e Sunrise Beach.

My favorite is Sunset beach where you can also do some snorkeling near the shore and there aren’t too many boats to disturb the swim.

Don’t be fooled by the name, the sunset is not seen here but from the other side, although I have to admit that waiting for darkness to arrive on this beach gave me some great moments even though I was literally with my back to the setting sun.

Apart from sunbathing and eating in some bars with bamboo tables and wooden buildings, scuba diving seems to be the main activity here. It’s very easy to find a school to learn to dive in these seabeds colored by tropical fish.
There are numerous scuba diving schools, a course to obtain the Padi certified it costs approx 12,000 baht (€300)generally if you purchase a course you are given free accommodation (like in Honduras).

For those like me who prefer to stay above the water rather than being under the water, boat tours can be organised snorkeling and pesca with stops swimming in coral seabeds where you can have fun with the fish and without having any tank on your back, stopping on white and uninhabited beaches in the national park and discovering the life of the island’s fishermen up close.

Agencies organize these tours for 550/650 baht per person it depends on what tour you want to do, but if you ask some locals you can arrange the same tour for almost half.

We paid 4000 baht each and our guide was the Signor Dand as well as the owner of the guest house where I stayed and a native of the island for generations. A generous and always smiling man who knows the island and the surrounding areas perfectly and who will be able to make you appreciate the beauty and simplicity of these places even more, he will provide you with hook, bait and line to let you catch what you can within a few hours it will become your lunch.

Kho Lipe

Where to sleep on Koh Lipe

The island is full of guesthouses, hotels and resorts.
The costs are significantly higher than other destinations in Thailand but the cost is worth it, it is still a destination for a few whose notoriety is growing quickly and for which I believe it is worth arriving before mass tourism arrives.

As with most hotels in South East Asia the reference site is Booking.com a constantly growing hotel booking site specializing in Asia.

How to get to Koh Lipe

From Krabi there are two options, one cheaper and one more expensive. Koh Lipe can be reached by sea for 1800 baht or by land to Satun and then by speed boat to the island for 850 baht if booked at the guest house in Krabi or a travel agency.

I did my calculations and in this case relying on an agency costs less than arriving independentlyjust think that the boat from Satun costs 650 baht to which if we add the costs of getting from Krabi to Satun and any tuk tuks you can easily reach more than 1000 baht and more worries about coincidences.

If you come from Phuket it is recommended to arrive in Krabi, which seems to be the best starting point to reach the island, and from there organize the transfer to the island as written above.

Alternatively if you arrive from Malaysia There are also 2 options here and with different costs:
Via boat from Langawi (Malaysia) or Penanag. Cost 1800 baht or by land to the port and boat to Penang (Georgetown) for 800 baht. Also in this case, booking through an agency is more convenient than doing it independently.

Most of the agencies on Koh Lipe asked for 1000 baht but the small agency in the book shop, just in the middle of the walking street, you recognize the shop because the only one with so many books, sold me the same ticket for 800.
The cost does not include the taxi boat (50 baht) which you must necessarily take to get from the beach to the platform (about 2 minutes by boat, perhaps less).
The departure for Penang is at 9.30 from the platform, then to get to Pattaya beach take the taxi boat at 9 while the arrival is scheduled for 7-8pm, remember that Malaysia is an hour longer than Thailand.

Read also: Trekking all Cameron Highlands (Malaysia)

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