Dreaming about visiting Koh Lipe? In this practical guide, you can find all the information you need to plan your trip, including the best things to do, how to get there, where to stay, eat & drink, travel costs, and many tips 😉
After spending some days in Bangkok I was dying to go to an island.
There’re so many beautiful islands in Thailand that sometimes it’s really hard to decide which one to visit.
From the paradisiacal to the trendy, and the overly touristy to the full moon party island, Thailand certainly has a stunning piece of land surrounded by water for every preference that will make you feel fortunate to be there.
It was while I was doing research to find the most beautiful island in Thailand that a friend told me about Koh Lipe.
I’ve never heard of it before, and I was intrigued to find out that it’s known as the Maldives of Thailand.
2021 Practical Guide to Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe is the southernmost island in Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea, 60Km from the Thai mainland and only 30Km from Langkawi, Malaysia.
It’s part of the Adang Archipelago, a group of more than fifty islands, and on the border of the Tarutao National Marine Park, one of the first parks created in Thailand in 1974.
Once you arrive in Koh Lipe, you will easily understand why it’s called the Maldives of Thailand. The unbelievably turquoise crystalline water that is so characteristic of the Maldives, will welcome and mesmerize you.
The island is covered with lush vegetation, has three beaches (Pattaya, Sunset and Sunrise), a main street called “Walking Street.” and is relatively small (2Km long and 1 km wide).
To move around it is very easy and it takes no more than 15-25min to walk from one beach to another.
There are hotels for all budgets, plenty of restaurants serving local cuisine, bars, ATM’s, massage places, stores and travel agencies.
The nightlife is quiet and most of the bars on the “Walking Street” close around midnight.
Koh Lipe Beaches
Koh Lipe has sandy beaches with crystal clear calm and warm water, which makes the island a perfect place for snorkelling. In fact, 25 percent of the world’s tropical fish species are found in the area.
The three main beaches share similar characteristics but they are slightly different from each other.
This large sheltered bay has powdery sand, really good “pools” to swim in, and is so absolutely stunning, that when you arrive there, you won’t believe it’s true.
This is where the two ports are located and the ferries arrive and depart. So, because of that, the beach can be very busy, and sometimes there are even bars playing loud music.
You can find good options for accommodation and easy access to the bars and restaurants on the “Walking Street.”
This beach extends along the Eastern side of the island and has a pleasant breeze during the whole day.
It’s my favorite beach in Koh Lipe and the best one for snorkeling and water sports.
It changes completely during high and low tides, with “rough” water and wind at high tide; and calm, shallow and transparent water at low tide.
As the name suggests, this is where the sun rises and waking up early in the morning to see it is totally worthwhile.
However, towards the end of the afternoon, the atmosphere gets so relaxing and laid-back that lying down on the sand and grabbing a drink will make you feel blessed.
Some of the best hotels, resorts and beach bars are located here, and it is also the best spot for pictures.
This small bay on the west side of the island has some rocks, calm water, and is relatively undeveloped compared to the other two.
There are tranquil and low-key bars and restaurants, and also a camping area, which gives it a hippie-style atmosphere. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset.
However, I didn’t spend too much time on Sunset Beach because it is the one that I liked least on the island.
Tours & Activities
While in Koh Lipe you should not miss the opportunity to do an island hop.
You’ll visit some stunning islands with different formations and characteristics, incredible places for snorkelling, and if you’re lucky enough, you can have your own private beach.
All boat operators provide the same four basic island-hop programs, and A and B are the most popular ones.
Koh Lipe’s favourite snorkel route, with the first snorkel reef only 15 minutes away by longtail boat.
You’ll visit Jabang, Koh Hin Ngam, Koh Rawi, Koh Adang and Koh Yang.
The tour is from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM, and costs 650 baht (US$ 22) per person.
A quick tip: Don’t forget to take a waterproof camera when you go on those tours. The Good Gears has some really nice ones.
1 hour away by longtail boat, the far islands consist of a cluster of small islands and often less crowded.
This tour include a visit to Koh Hin Sorn, Koh Lugoi, Koh Dong, Koh Pung, Koh Bulu, Koh Ngam and Jabang.
It’s from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and costs 750 baht (US$ 25) per person.
From 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM, visiting Jabang, Koh Hin Ngam, Koh Yang and Koh Dang to see the sunset from the ocean.
Price: 450 baht (US$ 15) per person.
From 1:30 PM to 8:00 PM, visiting Jabang, Hin Ngam, Yang and Adang Beach to see the luminescent plankton at night.
Price: 900 baht (US$ 30) per person.
Prices are very similar at all the boat operators but a good tip is to negotiate with one of the longboat operators and do a private hire, with some friends if you can find them.
I did that and we ended up paying half of what it would’ve cost us. It also means you can decide the length and timing of the various parts of the trip.
I only took the program B tour and it was the best thing I did during my stay in Koh Lipe. The islands are spectacular and it’s going to be hard to decide which one you like most.
10 Best Things to Do in Koh Lipe
Some of the best things to do in Koh Lipe are:
1 – Taking a walk around the island and the “Walking Street.”
2 – Grabbing a drink in one of the beach bars and restaurants.
3 – Eating plenty of delicious and fresh Thai food.
4 – Going to a waterfall in Koh Adang.
5 – Climbing Koh Adang to get a birds-eye view of the Maldives of Thailand.
6 – Snorkeling
Whether on Sunrise Beach close to two tiny islands, on Pattaya and Sunset beaches, or on a boat trip to some of the other islands nearby.
7 – Kayaking
Some of the hotels provide free kayaks and snorkel masks for its guests.
8 – Diving: Koh Lipe has some of the best dive sites in Thailand.
9 – Relaxing in one of its beaches.
10 – Taking a boat trip to explore the other islands that are part of the archipelago.
What to Do in Koh Lipe: 1-Day Itinerary
If you’re planning to visit Koh Lipe and want to the get the most out of it, here is an itinerary for one day on the island.
It will be a packed day and I hope you will have the energy to keep up with me!
– Wake up at 6:00 AM to see the sunrise.
– Rent a long tail boat and do the program B.
– Beat the crowd by asking your captain to depart before all the other tours.
– Take advantage of having your own boat and stay longer at the islands you like most.
– Come back from the tour around 5:00 PM, grab a drink and relax at Sea la Vie Bar located on Sunrise Beach.
– Around 5:30 PM head to Sunset Beach for the sunset.
– Finish your night in Maya Bar, the coolest bar in Koh Lipe, situated right at the centre of the Walking Street.
– Go to bed and rest because this itinerary is just for one day, and I expect you will want to spend much more time on the island.
After your visit you’ll understand why this in one of my favorite islands in Thailand.
Safe travels and have fun in Koh Lipe!
More posts that might interest you:
- Modern Sathorn Hotel Review, Bangkok
- The Best Tour in Thailand Departs From Aonang!
- Alisea Pool Villas: Your Dream Villa in Aonang
- Having the Time of My Life in Phi Phi
- A Weekend in Langkawi, Malaysia
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I always use World Nomads Travel Insurance for independent travelers. It’s easy to buy, extend & claim online, even after you’ve left home.
Get your travel insurance here.
Tips for Visiting Lipe Island
Where is Koh Lipe?
Koh Lipe is a small island in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago of the Strait of Malacca, in Satun Province of southwest Thailand, close to the Malaysian border (check the map here).
How to get to Koh Lipe?
To get to Koh Lipe isn’t easy, and this is the reason the island is less crowded and popular compared to Phi Phi and Phuket, for example.
There are basically three options:
Departing from Bangkok, you need to take a 1½h flight to Hat Yai, a 2h minibus drive to Pak Bara, and finally a 1½h ferry trip to Koh Lipe. Check the latest van and ferry prices here.
A journey that can take up to 6-7h, and if you take a bus or a train from Bangkok it will be even longer…
I know it’s exhausting, but totally worth it, though!
You can book your flight with Skyscanner, that’s the website that I use and trust.
From other parts of Thailand
You can take a ferry from Langkawi, Malaysia. Currently, there’s just oneferry company, Bundhaya Speed Boat, operating this ferry service.
The ferry operates up to 7 times each week and takes around 2 hours 15 minutes.
Best time to go?
The best time to visit Koh Lipe is from November to February when the sun shines every day. March to April is the hottest time, and from April to October is the rainy season.
How many days should you stay?
It isn’t easy to get to Koh Lipe and the journey can take half of your day.
To make your trip worthwhile, I highly recommend spending at least 3 days on the island.
Where to stay?
I stayed at Kathleen Beach Resort & Spa, and if you’re looking for hotels I can also suggest:
Where to eat & drink?
- On The Rocks Restaurant at Serendipity
- Sunrise Beach Restaurant
- Elephant Café & Bar
- Papaya Mom
- Nee Papaya Thai Food & BBQ
- The Box
- Café Tropical
- Sea La Vie
- Ten Moons Restaurant
- Maya Bar
Read the reviews of the restaurants on Trip Advisor.
How much does it cost to travel to Koh Lipe?
* Mandatory National Park Entrance Fee: 200 baht (US$ 7)
∗ AirAsia Package: around 3,800 baht (US$ 90)
* Three nights at Kathalee Resort & Spa: 25,800 bath (US$ 864) with breakfast included
* Private boat: 2,500 baht for 8 people (US$ 9 / person)
* Ferry to Langkawi: 1,000 bath (US$ 33)
* Drink at Maya Bar: 200 baht (US$ 7)
* Average meal: 200 – 300 baht (US$ 7 – 10)
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