Koh Lipe Thailand
Koh Lipe in Thailand is a tiny, quiet island on the west coast. The island is a great escape from crazy Koh Phi Phi and busy Phuket. Koh Lipe is many people’s favorite escape of the islands in Thailand.
Use this Koh Lipe Thailand guide to visit one of Thailand’s best kept secrets.
by Alexandra Krajanova
About Koh Lipe, Thailand
The sound of the reggae music and guitars in the air, chilled atmosphere, cold beer, clean beaches, no cars, barefoot walks around the island, fantastic food, sea gypsies, diving, snorkeling — you name it and Koh Lipe has it!
Koh Lipe is often referred to as the best kept secret in Thailand; you will be simply flattered to know that unlike the other Thai islands in the Andaman Sea, Koh Lipe has somehow managed to avoid the masses of travellers hopping on and off the boats every day.
Getting to Koh Lipe, Thailand
Koh Lipe is 60 km off the coast and is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park. In Thailand’s high season (November to May) there are five locations from which you can take a ferry or a speedboat to Koh Lipe: Pak Bara, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Trang, and Langkawi.
During the low season (June to October) there is only one daily connection from Pak Bara which leaves the town around 11.30am. The trip on the speedboat takes about 2 hours and be prepared to pay about 650 Baht one way, 1200 Baht return, but you can try to negotiate as there are several companies competing (in Pak Bara).
The ferry takes about four hours and costs a little less. There is no pier in Koh Lipe, but sea gypsies – known as Chao Ley – will pick you up from the boat for 50 Baht and bring you to the beach of your choice.
Accommodation on Koh Lipe
The Koh Lipe Island has four main beaches: Pattaya, Karma, Sunrise and Sunset Beach. Most of the accommodation starts at 300 Baht and can be found on Pattaya Beach. Most places have electricity only during a certain period of the day – usually until midnight. In resorts that offer diving, you can get up to a 25% discount on your daily room rate when you agree to dive.
Note: Be aware that Koh Lipe is a popular destination within Thai people; during the peak season and on holidays rooms tend to fill up. Book in advance around Loy Kratong (November 24th), the King’s Birthday (December 5th), Songkran (April 13 – 17), Christmas, and New Years Eve. Some travelers end up sleeping on the beach during these times!
Nightlife on Koh Lipe
Most bars are scattered around Pattaya beach which turns into a charming place just before the sunset. Every bar along the beach brings out knee-high tables and serves cold beer and cocktails. In the high season Thai bands play in one of the bars every night. A great night of dancing on the sand can be easily found in both corners of Pattaya Beach.
You will certainly not go hungry in Koh Lipe. There is a long stretch of budget restaurants serving Thai food along the road from Pattaya Beach to the village – all of them have similar menus.
If you are craving some food from home, your taste buds will be happy to know that in Koh Lipe you can find thin, crispy Italian-style pizza (Bundhaya Resort, Pattaya Song, Fino); steaks and Mexican food (Banana Tree); real cheese, home-made humus, smoked salmon, and real coffee (Kafair Bakery and Coffee). If you prefer the daily catch of a fresh seafood from a local fisherman, make your way to Pattaya Beach. Every night there is a seafood barbecue in most of the restaurants.
Diving on Koh Lipe, Thailand
Tarutao National Marine Park has one of the best dive sites in all of Thailand. Seas around Koh Lipe are full of marine life such as hard and soft corals, turtles, leopard sharks and mantas; the 2004 tsunami had little impact here. For experienced divers, there is a ship wreck of the Thai fish processing ship at a depth of 35 meters.
There are seven dive shops on the island with similar prices and service. Opt for the dive shop with no language barrier and a generally positive atmosphere. Two dives cost between 2000-2600 Baht including lunch. Most of the dive boats offer snorkeling (around 500 Baht per day).
For snorkeling without a boat, head over to Sunrise Beach and check out the marine life around the small island – just 20 metres off the beach. Snorkeling gear can be rented in dive shops or in small shops in the village for 50 Baht for mask and snorkel; A pair of fins adds 50 Baht per day.
You can rent a kayak from various spots on the beach and explore different parts of the island by water.
There are several hiking trails on Koh Lipe; neighboring islands of Rawi and Adang offer some great lookout spots and waterfalls. Ask around on Pattaya Beach for transportation.
If you feel a little lazy in the afternoon take an advantage of many places in the village offering traditional Thai massage for reasonable prices. Batik course is offered by Lipe Resort if you need to take a break from the beach.
Tips for Koh Lipe
- There is no ATM machine on the island so arrive with enough cash in your pocket. Otherwise, you can change traveller’s cheques (in an internet cafe along the main street) or you can get cash back on your Visa or Master card (5-8% fee) in various resorts or cafes. Bunhdaya Resort offers the best exchange rate for your dollars, euros or pounds.
- From November until May there is a temporary ATM at Pak Barra Pier. There is also an ATM in Lang-nu, a small town just five minutes from Pak Barra Pier.
- Opened on November 1, 2009, there is a fully functional immigration office on Koh Lipe. They are able to handle exit and entry into Thailand, visa extensions, and overstays. The immigration office is located at the eastern part of Pattaya Beach, next to Bundhaya Resort. Travelers arriving from Langkawi, Malaysia will be guided through the immigration process by the ferry company. If you are traveling to Langkawi you will have to go through immigration one hour before taking the boat.
Be Aware: Visa on Arrival over land or sea to Koh Lipe Thailand is only 14 days!
Check out: Koh Lipe Thailand.
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