The southernmost island of Thailand is no longer an insider tip, yet it is beautiful. Only four and a half square kilometers in size this island is part of the “Tarutao National Park.” Once populated by sea nomads, there were only a handful of bamboo huts on the beaches. To reach this little paradise, you had to put up with some effort in the past. It has changed drastically today because every day new visitors arriving by speedboats. Where once thick jungles grew, more and more bars, shops and hotels sprouting up. You will not be alone on Koh Lipe, but if you are looking for white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and breathtaking sunsets then Koh Lipe is the place for you. This island more than lives up to its name as “The Maldives Thailand.”
Climate And Travel Times
Here you can expect temperatures over 30 degrees all year round. As usual for Thailand, the best time to visit this island will be between November and April. During May to October, the southwest monsoon brings a lot of wind and rain. However, a visit to the off-season will be enjoyable for one or another since it will be not so crowded at this time. However, the operation of the resorts, restaurants, diving schools, etc. is also being cut back considerably to carry out various construction measures. So it might be a bit louder.
As already briefly described the arrival was only possible by ferry in the past (once a day). Of course, this has changed, and there are three different routes now.
1. By plane to Trang or Hat Yai. From there it will take you round about 2 hours to Pak Bara by minibus. Here you will hop on a speedboat for about 90 minutes until you finally will reach the little paradise.
2. From the north, you can enter the island by boat from:
2.1 – Koh Lanta – 3 h transit
2.2 – Krabi – 7.5 h transit
2.3 – Phuket – 5.5 h Transit
3. From the south, you can travel from the island of Langkawi (Malaysia). The transportation from the ferry terminal “Kuah Jetty” takes about 1 hour. But first, you have to do some paperwork (Thai entry form). At the check-in, your passports will be collected. Don´t worry, that’s common, and you’ll get it back with a stamp. On Koh Lipe, you have to enter Thailand officially. Here are two counters at Bundhaya Resort and Bunga Resort. One to two customs officers watching over the proper procedure. Attention: please be careful and do not bring shells or corals with you. That can quickly be expensive, apart from the fact that something like this has lost nothing anyway in the luggage. Since we were on a Malaysia trip, we decided spontaneously for a detour to Koh Lipe.
The Beaches On Koh Lipe
The small island has three beaches to explore (Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach). There should be something for everyone, and you should visit everyone.
1. Pattaya Beach: – A beautiful, long beach, with fine powder sand. The water is flat and crystal clear in the shore area. I rarely saw such a coloring. On this beach, the ferry dock and many other longtail boats are located, which are attached with anchor ropes on the beach. Swimming here can be difficult. There are countless bars, massage parlors, and resorts right on the beach. Accordingly, it is crowded both in the day and in the evening, whereby you should not miss a stroll in the dark. Walk barefoot in the sand, listen to the sound of the sea or enjoy a cocktail in one of the colorful bars. I can assure you, that is pure holiday feeling.
2. Sunrise Beach: – This beach is a bit smaller and quieter on the opposite side of the island. As you can easily tell by the name, you have come here to enjoy a beautiful sunrise. But not only that because near the beach you can snorkel on the reef. Finding Nemo sends his regards. You can admire these colorful little creatures in their natural habitat, although the extent of the tsunami destruction (2004) is still visible. Only very slowly corals form again, and so it will probably take decades until the ecosystem has recovered. Attention: Watch out for the countless sea urchins and watch steps.
3. Sunset Beach: – Still a little smaller and quieter than Sunrise Beach. This beach is located to the west of the island. Here you will find two beach bars that sweeten your day on the beach. Grab a bottle of wine, a beer or whatever you want. Sit in the sand and enjoy the sunset, because it is breathtakingly beautiful.
A little tip: Especially in the west of the island there are many small private beaches of the resorts, and they are charming. Somewhat by accident, we landed in one of these resorts. Fortunately, I would like to say, as we often had the resort beach entirely for ourselves. There’s nothing more, pure idyll.
Since we decided spontaneously for a trip to Koh Lipe, the selection of accommodations was somewhat limited. Luckily we found the Resort Pitiusas Beach via “Agoda” and fell in love immediately. The booking went smoothly even in the short term. Arrived at the resort, we were welcomed friendly. The view from the terrace was indeed heavenly. Palm trees, sandy beach, sparkling water and the neighbor islands in sight.
See for yourself on the pictures or even better, check it out locally. The resort is made up of simple bamboo huts that are anything but luxurious, but they don`t have to. A bed, a closet, a toilet, a sink, a shower and space for our backpacks. We did not need more than that, because the luxury we got was the view of the sea ahead. Small trails led up to the huts. Each of them has a small terrace with a hammock, in the shade. The absolute highlight is the small private beach. Deserted and very dreamy he lies at the foot of the resort. Again, you can snorkel near the shore.
The equipment is available at the resort, as well as many other things. Kayaks, fishing trips and much more you can book here. Grab a kayak and explore the island from the water. Since I like to go fishing, I have to spend a day on the water, which I will undoubtedly share another post with you. I would highly recommend this little gem and would say that our Koh Lipe was more relaxing because of this resort. That will undoubtedly apply to you if you can cope with simple accommodations.
Shopping And Excursions
As idyllic our accommodation, as crowded was it in the center of the island or on Pattaya Beach. Directly from the ferry dock, you get into the “walking street,” where countless souvenir shops, dive centers, restaurants, bars, travel agencies, and boutiques are lined up like the string of pearls. Sometimes you have to push through the masses, but you can go shopping here to your heart’s content. There are no banks on the island, but countless ATM’s.
The dive centers or travel agencies offer all kinds of excursions. Snorkel tours, glowing plankton in the dark (highly recommended), fishing trips to the neighbor islands, which are uninhabited. Do not book the first best offer. Get an overview of the island and choose the right one for you.
In conclusion, it should be said that Koh Lipe is not the cheapest spot in Thailand. Mass tourism has arrived on this island. Nevertheless, this small island is a paradise, and if you explore the surrounding islands from here, you will experience pure nature. Come to Koh Lipe, spend a nice time there and keep it in your memory. I will surely come back again.