Exploring Koh Lipe, Thailand
Updated: Feb 24
Thailand counts a bunch of charming islands and during our first visit to the country last December, we got to explore a few of them. And although we really liked Phuket and Phi Phi, if we had to only choose one Thai island to go back to, we'd probably pick Koh Lipe.
Located in the South Andaman Sea, very close to the Thai- Malay border, Lipe is easily the closest place to paradise we've ever been to.
Due to its shallow waters it doesn't even have a harbour, which also means that it's a car free island! The only vehicles allowed are bikes and tuk tuks.
So, if you're looking for laid back destination, where you can enjoy beach life to its fullest, be in you swimsuit all day every day and walk bearfoot all around the place, then Koh Lipe is the right place for you.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
We arrived on Lipe island by sea from Phuket, for 2400 Baht/person (almost 61,5 euros). We took the boat from Phuket Rassada Pier and the ride was 6 hours long. The ferry took us to a floating platform just a few miles away from the beach and from there a long tail boat took us to the shore (50 Baht extra/person). Everything on Koh Lipe is in a short walking distance as the island is honestly tiny, so once you get there you can easily walk to your hotel or just grab a tuk tuk for a few baht.
WHERE TO STAY
The island has many options when it comes to hotels and luxurious resorts, but make sure to book early during high season to get a better price. We stayed at The Reef hotel and couldn't recommend it more. The rooms were simple yet elegant and cozy, the staff was very friendly and the breakfast was delicious (especially the egg menu!) We'll definitely choose it again if we ever go back to Lipe, as it really felt like home!
(Photo taken from The Reef's website)
(Photo taken from The Reef's website)
THE BEACH LIFE
1. Pattaya beach
This is the first beach you'll see when you reach the island, as it's where long tail boats will get you to. It's also the island's largest and most crowded beach, with lots of activities from kayaking to volleyball. Pattaya beach is also home to most of the island's night life.
2. Sunrise beach
Located on the east side of the island, Sunrise is a 2km long, white sanded beach with beautiful turquoise waters and lots of restaurants and bars along it. As its name claims, it is also famous as a stunning sunrise viewpoint and it will reward you for the early wake up.
3. Sunset beach
Located on the other side of the island, you'll find the Sunset beach which is famous for its...sunsets! Who would have guessed so! The sunset beach is much less crowded and with fewer options when it comes to food and beach activities.
WHERE TO EAT WHAT
Nee Papaya for Fresh sea food
If you're looking for fresh yet cheap sea food, look no further than Nee Papaya! Located on the Walking Street, it offers a huge range of fish and shellfish and you can actually choose the ones you want and have them grilled right in front of your eyes.
Sunrise Beach Restaurant for Thai food on the best location
Feet in the sand, delicious Thai food in your plate and the most relaxing sea view you can imagine. Nothing more needs to be said for this restaurant!
Madame Yoohoo for Yummy Panckaes
This is where you'll find tasty and cheap Thai dishes and also some of the islands best pancakes! The place is owned by an old lady who's yelling "Yoohoo yoohoo" adding just a bit of craziness to your lunch!
Sea la Vie for Cocktails
Hands down our favourite beach bar ever! Located right on Sunrise Beach, Sea la Vie made us wanna stay on Lipe forever. You can enjoy your drink laying on your sunbed or hammock or sitting on a comfy cushion, right by the sea, listening to some relaxing lounge music.
If you have plenty of time on the island and want to fill it with some extras, here are some ideas for you:
Koh Lipe sets up the best scenary for a peacful yoga retreat. Most studios are part of Lipe's resorts but visitors are usually welcomed too. The only "independent" yoga studio is Keirita's, which also happens to be located right next to the mentioned above The Reef hotel. Although we didn't try it, we had heard the best!
Even though you can enjoy traditional Thai massage all over the island, it feels so much better to enjoy it by the water!
Scuba diving and Snorkeling
These are probably the two most famous activities on the island thanks to the stunning coral reefs around the island. You'll find plenty of agencies that organise such day trips but if you wish to just snorkel you can even rent some equipment and do it on your own.
As mentioned before, Koh Lipe is located very close to the Thai- Malay border, Langkawi being the nearest Malaysian island. So hopping onto a ferry to Langkawi is a popular choice for most travellers. Keep in mind that if you do so, you'll have to go through immigration procedure, once again with your feet in the sand as the immigration office is on Pattaya Beach!
If, however, Langkawi has been your previous destination, you can get the ferry to more Thai islands like Lanta, Phi Phi, Phuket and more.