We used to live in Trang in the South of Thailand for about 1.5 years, Koh Lipe was one of the closer islands for us to visit but it also turned out to be one of our favourite places to visit in the whole of Thailand.
We have been twice now, in 2018 & 2019, and have plans to go again in 2020.
This island is very small, it has a couple of little roads going through the Island, these are mainly used by the few motorbike taxis, some mopeds and hotel transfer cars but these are very quiet generally. So to get about you can safely walk on these small track roads, or paths that spread out through the Island. You can walk from one side of the Island (Sunrise Beach) to the other side (Pattaya Beach) via the Walking Street in under 20mins at a stroll. Walking the length of the island will take quite a bit longer then that, but this just helps you gauge the size of the place.
Despite its size do not be fooled into thinking there isn’t much to discover, there are multiple beaches you can try and find, tiny islands of the beaches to snorkel around and you can even take day trips to near by Islands like Ko Adang.
There are many beautiful beaches on the Island to discover (see suggestions below), and the sea is warm, and mostly very clear with great snorkelling. Snorkelling in lots of locations in Thailand has declined a lot in recent years, and the same is true on Koh Lipe, but it is still alot better than many other Islands.
Some Islands can just feel a bit too crazy and packed, especially on the beaches and in the evenings where you can hear parties going on all night, but this Lipe is far more quiet and relaxed.
It is not as quiet as islands like Koh Mak but far quieter than places like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Tao. We loved this as there was a good atmosphere, things to do in the evening (see below for suggestions) but around Midnight most places shut down and the whole island is silent so you can get a good nights sleep. (There is a couple of exceptions, for example on Pattaya Beach there is a place called Art Beach Club, this stays open longer and causes quiet a bit of noise, we didn’t stay near here so it was no problem, so just avoid staying anywhere near that place and you should be fine.)
WHERE TO STAY:
CASTAWAY RESORT – This is a beautiful resort we stayed at in 2019 with some friends. They have these awesome bungalows, some set right on the sand and the others close by, they have a rustic feel so feel more authentic than other places we have been. This is one of the top places we would recommend, ESPECIALLY the food at the beach restaurant.
MALI RESORTS – In 2018 we were able to stay at BOTH Mali Resorts on Koh Lipe, they have a resorts on Pattaya Beach and Sunrise Beach. Both are beautiful and have a mix of beautiful bungalows and hotel rooms with stunning grounds and restaurants. These are higher quality and price than most places on Lipe, but a great option if you want something a little more special. The Sunrise Resort has a Swimming Pool, this is quite unique on Lipe as most hotels do not have one.
GIPSY RESORT – This is a cheaper option. Bungalows right near the beach, basic but do the job. Our friends have stayed here several times and for the price it is a GREAT option. Its a couple of resorts down from Castaway Resort.
WHAT TO DO:
BEACHES AND SNORKELLING – The best things to do on this island is discover its many beaches and explore the water, and this is also something you can do for free if you bring your own snorkelling gear, although it can be purchased for quite cheap on the island.
- SUNSET BEACH – Like the name suggests, THE place to watch the sun set on Koh Lipe. Just take a walk in time for sunset or take a Motorbike Taxi (50baht per person). You can also spend the day on the beach, it is not the best beach on the island, for example the sand isn’t as soft but its a great place to visit.
- PATTAYA BEACH – This is the busiest beach on the Island and the bay where all the boats come in, so many do not like it, but there is something fun about being on a busy beach, lots to see. Also in the evenings there is a great reggae bar on this beach and lots going on.
- BULLOW BEACH – This is something you may have seen on any classic picture of Koh Lipe, a sand bar stretching out into the ocean, the sand is so soft and its a great place to relax and swim for the day. Its a bit of a walk to get there but worth it.
- SUNRISE BEACH – This is one of the longest beaches and is so beautiful, we spend most of our days in this part of the Island. Just off the beach is also a couple of stunning little islands you can kayak out to or snorkel around.
- SERENDIPITY BEACH – At the south end of Sunrise Beach there is a little cut through going past Serendipity Beach Resort to a secluded little bay, this is a perfect little beach and our personal favourite.
This map shows the locations of beaches we would recommend:
EAT & DRINK – Like most of Thailand, this Island has some really great places to grab a drink or some food. Here is a list of our personal favourites.
- ELEPHANT – This is in the Walking Street, it has one of the best atmospheres on the Island. Grab some food, everything is good, and stay for the live music. Everyone joins in, and if you can play maybe you can jam with them. Its one of the great places to spend the evening.
- CAFE TROPICAL – A sister restaurant of Elephant, this Vegan/Vegetarian place has some of the best food. We went once and just kept going back. Their breakfast, lunch and dinners are all worth trying.
- LA LUNA – A list wouldn’t be complete without an Italian, and La Luna is our pick. Everything we tried from the menu was super tasty, especially the Pizza. Its a little more money than other places but worth the extra for a good bit of Italian Food.
- CASTAWAY RESORT – The restaurant at this resort is very special, the atmosphere overlooking the beach, the style, the cocktails and especially the Breakfast or as it ended up being for us most days a Brunch. Although we were staying at the resort itself people came from all over the island for the Brunch at this place.
- PAOLO ITALIAN PIZZA TAKEAWAY – We went here most days to share a slice of 100baht pizza. It was a cheap lunch/snack after chilling on the beach and was ALWAYS yummy. Its a few bar stools set against a Wood Fired Oven Shack and is worth every penny.
Koh Lipe is situated in the South West of Thailand, a 1.5 to 2 hours boat journey west of Satun (right near where Thailand borders Malaysia)
HOW TO GET THERE FROM BANGKOK:
TRAIN/BUS – From Bangkok there are various companies that can take you by Bus or Train to Hat Yai, these take around 12-15hours and will cost between 700-1200baht depending on how comfortable the transport is. We personally like taking the train, it takes longer but is more comfortable and fun. (Book a Train or Bus HERE)
You can also get to Koh Lipe by Boat from Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Langkawi & Ao Nang
From any of these areas search for Ferry/Speed Boat Tickets HERE