Koh Lipe or Lipe Island is the southernmost Thai island in the Andaman Sea near the Malaysian border. It can be reached either from Thailand or Malaysia’s Langkawi island. It resides within Tarutao National Marine Park as part of the Adang-Rawi Archipelago along with Koh Adang and other nearby islands.
Koh Lipe has three main beaches with Pattaya beach being the main docking port for boats coming and going from the island. This flurry of activity all day changes the atmosphere of the beach making it one of the less appealing options when looking for a chilled beach to spend the day or for swimming. The one-kilometre sandy strip is lined with all types of accommodation, restaurants and bars and is the main entry point for Walking Street. After the sun goes down, the beach is very lively along with Walking Street. It does have a party vibe and you can catch a beach fire show and enjoy late-night beats.
Sunrise Beach is the largest beach on the east of the Koh Lipe and the most popular. Its 1.2km strip of white sand is narrow at the southern end and broadens as you head more north. Most Koh Lipe resorts line the northern end of the beach along with many restaurants. There’s good snorkelling all along its coastline to see its abundant marine life. In high season this beach can become crowded as people enjoy sunbathing by its aqua calm waters. In the low season, it becomes the departure point for day trips to islands nearby such as Koh Adang.
As per its name, Sunset Beach is the most popular nearing dusk as people come to enjoy watching the sun go down. This small beach is situated on the west coast and is only 400m in length. It’s less developed than the other main beaches with a handful of beach bars for visitors to grab a drink and a few beachfront bungalow resorts. This beach has a very calm laidback atmosphere and its calm waters make it perfect for swimming.
Koh Lipe Walking Street
Of the lesser-known beaches, Bulow Beach is a 400 metre stretch of fine white sand which is an extension of Sunrise Beach with exceptional views of the entire southern coastline of Koh Adang. It is less busy than Sunrise and its calm crystal clear waters are fantastic for swimming and snorkelling. There is only one resort and restaurant here and nothing else, making it a quiet little beach paradise. Likewise, Billa Beach is located between Sunset and Pattaya beaches and is characterized by rocky surrounds which makes it more secluded. This beach is much quieter than other beaches around the island and offers very good snorkelling. Sanom is just a short walk along a wooden sidewalk from Pattaya Beach. It features vivid turquoise waters striking contrast against the powder white sand and excellent diving. It has a secluded feel to it like Billa Beach.
Situated on the north coast is the tiniest beach on the island called Pitiusas Beach, measuring a mere 20 metres in length. It’s a pleasant 20-minute walk from Walking Street through the centre of the island past Hantalay temple. The beach is serviced by one rustic resort and to use the sun lounges you need to be a guest of the resort.
Like most islands in Thailand, there is a Walking Street that is the centre of commerce and entertainment. Most businesses, shops, bars and restaurants operate along the street the 480-metre long road. The street comes alive in the evenings and is full of people coming to shop, eat, drink and have fun. It doesn’t have a decadent party atmosphere but rather a late dining vibe catering to travelling families and couples.
There is only one temple on the island, known as Wat Hantalay. The temple is located on a hill in the jungle on the road from Sunrise Beach to Sunset Beach and monks live within the temple complex. There are two shrine halls, one with a statue of the Buddha and another with a statue of Brahma, also known as the ‘four faces Buddha’. Visitors are welcome to come and meditate in both these shrine halls
A popular thing to do is visit some of the other islands in the archipelago. Koh Lipe’s quiet neighbour, Koh Adang is an unspoilt slice of paradise. Most visitors take a day trip and short boat ride to Koh Adang from Koh Lipe but there are one or two places to stay overnight if you wish or camping is another option. The island features tall pines, exquisite empty beaches, no roads or development. Snorkelling is sensational just 20 metres off the shore with coral reefs filled with tropical fish. The best way to discover the many beaches on offer is to charter a long tail boat for the day. Or visitors can hike up to one of three panoramic viewpoints of the beauty Andaman Sea and Koh Lipe. Another hiking option is to see Pirate Waterfall which can be reached by a difficult 3 km trek through the dense and slippery jungle. The falls are about 7 metres tall and a source of fresh water.
Another option is to take a trip to Koh Kai. This tiny island is located between Koh Tarutao and Koh Adang and can be accessed via boat from Koh Lipe. It can only be visited as a day trip as it doesn’t have any accommodation facilities in which to stay. The island has a beautiful beach and is best known for its iconic rock arch formation at the end of the beach.
Koh Tarutao is the largest island in the archipelago being 26 km in length and 11 km in width. It is home to the national park headquarters. The only motorised transportation on the island consists of minitruck taxis and the motorcycles of the park rangers. Bicycles can be hired at some spots around the island. Visitors can stay at basic bungalows located throughout several bays around the island or rent tents. At Ao Ta Lo Woo Pier there is a historical trail that extends for 2 km. The trail will lead to a few historical buildings related to the political prison that was once built before World War II. Along the trail, there are visitor information signs detailing interesting facts about the dark history of the island.
The peak season is January to March which sees droves of tourists hitting the island and the highest prices. The weather is spectacular with blue sunny skies, seas breezes and temperate evenings. High season from November to May sees a steady stream of tourists visiting and the weather becomes hotter as it heads into April and May. The low season is the end of May to October when the island is the wettest but yet its greenest. Days are still warm but you will see more overcast conditions and rainfall. Some businesses close during the low season because there are fewer tourists overall. Any month during this season is the best time to visit Koh Lipe.
Given it is an island, supplies cost more to import so prices will be higher than the mainland, but comparable with other island tourist hotspots. Koh Lipe hotels seem to be more expensive with fewer facilities than the nearby islands like Koh Lanta. During the high season expect the average rates to be around AUD 110 per night for basic accommodation.
From the Thai mainland, you must take a ferry from Pakbara Pier, the main port in the southern province of Satun. To Koh Lipe, it costs about 650 baht and takes 90 minutes.
In high season Koh Lipe can be extremely busy. So if you’re looking for a less crowded Thai island experience, the neighbouring islands may be more of what you’re after such as Koh Adang. But if you’re set on visiting Koh Lipe then the low season from June until November might be a good alternative. During this time of year, it is cooler and rains on and off. The island becomes more peaceful and less crowded. Lipe hotels drop their prices so you can get good deals
Most travellers recommend 3-5 days to take in the sights and relax. Beyond that, boredom may set in.
Koh Lipe is so small that you can walk to most places but if you prefer, there are motorbike taxis on hand to take you around. It is generally a set price to go anywhere on the island.
There is no airport on Lipe island. The closest is to fly to Hat Yai International Airport. From there you will need to go to Pak Bara pier and onward via ferry to Koh Lipe.
Yes since July 2020, Koh Lipe like wider Thailand is open for domestic tourism but Co-vid 19 safety precautions must be practised. There are limited ferries operating. Check directly with individual operators for more details.
It can take up to 5 hours via ferry departing from Rassada Pier Phuket to Lipe island with ferry services operating twice daily.
Koh Lipe is 183 km by sea or 375 km by land from Krabi.
How to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok the quickest way is by taking flight to flight to Hat Yai International Airport in Southern Thailand. From Hat Yai, you will need to go to Pak Bara Pier in Satun, the main pier for Koh Lipe, which takes about two hours from the airport. The ferry from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Lipe costs about 650 baht and takes 90 minutes.
The cost of living in Koh Lipe is a bit more expensive than in the other islands but travelling costs there are not much different from going to the other islands.
Koh Lipe is a small L-shaped island in the southwest of Thailand near the Thailand-Malaysia border. It belongs to the Satun Province in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago, immediately on the outskirts of the Tarutao National Marine Park. (Although it is also regarded by some as part of the park).
The name Koh Lipe (also spelt Ko Lipe, Koh Lipeh, Koh Lipey) means “paper island” in the language of the Chao Ley, the sea gypsies who were the original inhabitants of the island.
Koh Lipe is small, yes, but as Thailand’s “island paradise” as declared by visitors, you wouldn’t be satisfied with a mere weekend stay. And it’s an island, so you might read on this “travel guide” for your Koh Lipe holiday.
– Walking shoes – you’ll be doing a lot of walking, if not swimming or snorkelling so you must protect your feet
– Breathable shirts – these are lightweight, easy to dry, and best to be of natural fibres.
– Light water repellent wind-breaker jacket for light showers or a windy day.
– microfiber towel – another light and quick dry travel essential. Easy to pack too.
– Swimsuits (at least a couple)
– universal adapter
– water bottle – a common must-bring to Thailand, to be sure your – drinking water is safe
– daypack – for all your stuff when going around the island or island hopping
– Large backpack – Get one with good weight distribution, large enough for all in this list and other stuff, with a lot of pockets and slots to organize your things.
Definitely! Koh Lipe is small enough to walk around anywhere.
There is not just one single best beach in Koh Lipe. Dubbed “island paradise” for the many amazing beaches, Koh Lipe can boast of the following beaches recommended highly by travellers and guest reviews.
Pattaya Beach. It is the biggest and most visited among the beaches of Koh Lipe, situated on the southern tip of the island. A good spot for snorkelling (as well as beach volleyball and frisbee games) but not for swimming since this is the landing point for ferry boats during tourist season, as well as fishing boats. The bay around Pattaya beach is large enough for kayaking trips. Significantly, Pattaya Beach is what makes Koh Lipe called a party island, being the hub for parties and nightlife activities with a number of beach bars and resorts with exciting nightlife events.
Sunrise Beach. Also known as Hat Chao Ley Beach, Sunrise Beach is located on the east side of Koh Lipe, five minutes from Chao Ley, a town inhabited mainly by sea gypsies. Thus, its location makes it an excellent spot to watch the sun rising. Hence, the name Sunrise Beach. At the same time, Sunrise Beach is a popular snorkelling spot because divers don’t have to go far to enjoy the colourful marine life, plus the breeze is refreshingly cool throughout the day in the area, making Sunrise Beach a favourite hang out of sunbathers too.
Sunset Beach. Called Hat Pramong in Thai, Sunset Beach is The Place for watching the spectacular sun setting down on the clear water of the Andaman Sea and fade into the horizon. On a secluded lagoon in the western side of Koh Lipe, it is regarded as a great spot for relaxing or for swimming.
Sanom Beach. Another secluded beach with powdery white sand with calm waters in varying tones of turquoise for swimming or just sunbathing. There is a small jungle nearby so you’ll have mynah birds, parrots, hornbills as company sometimes. Sanom Beach is more popularly known for great diving opportunities, even called world-class by some divers, plus it is a short walk away from Pattaya Beach. This beach hosts some seaside bungalows and a dive centre.
Billa Beach is a small secluded beach fronting the Andaman Sea, not as populated as the other beaches, so you can be assured of relaxing in peace and quiet.
There are also beaches on the north and west coasts of Ko Lipe that most visitors don’t know about. The Pitiusas Beach, Secret Beach and Bulow Beach. Beyond Mountain Resort you can get to that tiny “secret” beach from which you can have a great view of neighbouring Koh Adang.
Koh Lipe has been declared on lockdown as of Thursday 5 August 2021, by the governor of Satun province when 32 new covid-19 infections were confirmed after the rapid antigen testing had been done.
“All transport to and from the island will be halted for two months while the province implements disease control measures, treats infected patients and sends supplies to residents of the island,” said Ekarat. “After two months, we will evaluate the situation and consider reopening the island for tourists.”
The announcement also declared the barring of fishermen not only around Koh Lipe, but including Adang and Bulone islands, to minimize the risk of the virus going to the other islands.
Small as Koh Lipe is, the island has an approximate 800 resident population.
It is pronounced as Ko Lee-pae. Phonetically, it is pronounced as ” lii-bay” with emphasis on the first syllable with “Koh/Ko” pronounced “gaw” (G with a very terse vowel).
The size of Koh Lipe is not big enough to have an airport. From the other big cities in Thailand, you fly to Hat Yai airport, the nearest to Koh Lipe and also one of the major hubs of southern Thailand. From Hat Yai, you take a shuttle bus to Pak Bara pier, from which there are ferry boats that will take you to Koh Lipe. There is a 67-kilometre distance between nPakbara Pier to Koh Lipe, and the ferry boat ride will take an hour and a half.
From Trang Airport, one can get to Koh Lipe in three ways – Minivan-speedboat that will take 4 hours; a private car then ferry that will take an hour and 15 minutes; and minivan then bus then ferry that takes a total of almost 5 hours.
From the Trang Railway Station, on the other hand, one can book the travel online and choose one of 2 direct services daily from Trang to Koh Lipe. From the station, a minivan takes you to the pier from which to take a speedboat to Koh Lipe. The whole trip will take around 3 hours and 45 minutes.
With more than 30 islands nearby and much more coral reefs so accessible, snorkelling in Koh Lipe is still one of the best snorkelling experiences in Thailand. Guest reviews recently state that the increasing popularity of the island should not deter travellers from visiting because accordingly, there is nowhere in Thailand or even Southeast Asia can one have fantastic snorkel spots in great condition and within easy reach. Here are the most recommended sites in Koh Lipe.
Sunrise Beach. Just near this beach are 2 smaller islands, Koh Kra and Koh Usen (across Idyllic Resort). Sunrise Beach is shallow but the water around the 2 neighbouring islands are deep enough to let divers see the rich marine life, like the colourful fish species and coral reefs. In the north side of Sunrise Beach, there is also a spot in front of Mountain Resort where snorkelling is good regardless of low or high tide levels. Sunrise Beach has a good number of shops from where to rent mask and fins at reasonable costs.
Sunset Beach. Another are in Koh Lipe with good snorkelling sites (not much for swimming, though) is Sunset Beach. The left side of Sunset Beach turns into a deep cliff for really incredible snorkelling. The corals start off Sunset Beach so it would be best to dive at this spot during high tide.
Pattaya Beach. Both sides of Pattaya Beach gives the best spots for snorkelling in this area. On the northernmost tip of Pattaya Beach, in front of Site Resort is a small beach called Zanom Beach, where really fantastic snorkelling just off the beach is possible!
Around the middle area of Pattaya Beach is a good spot but a little farther to the water. At the same time, the water on Pattaya Beach can be “crowded” when the ferry boats pick up and drop off passengers.
Langkawi, an island of Malaysia is near enough to Koh Lipe that you can get there by boat. There is a regular Koh Lipe Langkawi ferry route that connecting Thailand to Langkawi Island. There are 3 boat options to Langkawi – speedboat, high-speed ferry, regular ferry. These boat trips do the Koh Lipe Langkawi route up to 7 times weekly, with the trip taking from one hour to an hour and a half.
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