Koh Lipe: Ultimate Guide to Discovering Thailand’s Hidden Gem
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Koh Lipe: Ultimate Guide to Discovering Thailand’s Hidden Gem

Welcome to Koh Lipe, a small yet breathtaking island in the south of Thailand, known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and serene beaches. It is one of the lesser-known islands of Thailand but going here is worth the trip as Koh Lipe promises an unforgettable experience. This comprehensive travel guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make the most of your trip to this stunning island paradise.

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Getting to Koh Lipe

By Air

The nearest airport to Koh Lipe is Hat Yai International Airport (HDY), which is well-connected to major cities in Thailand and Southeast Asia. From Hat Yai, you will need to travel to Pak Bara Pier, which is about a 2-hour drive. Avoid booking shuttle services and taxis at the airport, instead book online to save money.

By Ferry

Typically, you get to Koh Lipe from taking a ferry. From Pak Bara Pier in Hat Yai, you can take a speedboat or a ferry to Koh Lipe. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. Speedboats are faster but can be a bit bumpy, while ferries offer a more leisurely ride. Make sure to check the schedules and book your tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist season (November to April).

It is also possible to take a ferry straight from Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe and Langkawi to Koh Lipe.

Boat docked in North Point beach with crystal-clear water of Koh Lipe, Thailand

By Bus and Train

For those traveling on a budget, buses and trains are available from Bangkok to Hat Yai. While buses are cheaper, the train offers a scenic and comfortable journey. From Hat Yai, you can then proceed to Pak Bara Pier and catch a ferry to Koh Lipe. If you are considering stopping at Hat Yai for a couple of days, check out our guide to the best things to do in Hat Yai.

Arriving train in Hat Yai Train Station
Hat Yai Train Station

Where to Stay in Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe offers a range of accommodations to suit all budgets, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels.

Luxury Resorts

  • Idyllic Concept Resort: Located on Sunrise Beach, this resort offers luxurious rooms, a stunning beachfront, and excellent amenities, including an infinity pool and a gourmet restaurant.
  • Akira Lipe Resort: Situated on Pattaya Beach, Akira Lipe Resort is perfect for travelers seeking comfort and elegance. The resort features modern rooms, multiple swimming pools, and a beach bar.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Mali Resort: With its prime location on Sunrise Beach, Mali Resort combines comfort with affordability. The resort offers beautiful bungalows, a spa, and a beachfront restaurant.
  • Mountain Resort Koh Lipe: A beautiful beach-front property on North Point Beach, featuring bungalows, pools and free breakfast.
Front view of Mountain Resort Koh Lipe with the white sand beach, one of the best hotels in Koh Lipe
Mountain Resort Koh Lipe

Budget Accommodation

  • The Chic Lipe: A budget-friendly option with clean and modern rooms located near Walking Street, providing easy access to shops and restaurants.
  • The Noi Guesthouse Koh Lipe: Perfect for backpackers, this hotel offers quaint rooms with laundry and Wi-Fi, right in the heart of the walking street.

Beaches and Activities in Koh Lipe

The beaches are surely the main draw of Koh Lipe. We loved being able to walk to any beach with our snorkeling gear and be able to find tropical fish and coral reefs.

Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach is the main beach on Koh Lipe, known for its powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters. It's the busiest beach on the island as it is where the main pier is and where most boats for tours depart and arrive. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops nearby. It's an excellent spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports like jet skiing and parasailing.

Sunrise Beach

As the name suggests, Sunrise Beach is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. This beach is quieter than Pattaya Beach and offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. The calm waters and beautiful coral reefs make it ideal for swimming and kayaking.

Man standing at Sunrise Beach with pink sky color at Koh Lipe
Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe

Sunset Beach

For a more tranquil experience, head to Sunset Beach. Roughly, a 20-min walk from Pattaya beach, this smaller beach is perfect for those seeking peace and relaxation. As the day ends, it becomes a popular spot to watch the breathtaking sunset.

North Point Beach

Continuing the naming creativity, the northern point of the island is called North Point Beach. These picturesque sandy shores offer great views of Koh Adang, which is beautiful as sunset. Come back after dark for some excellent nightlife at Zodiac Beach Bar.

White sand beach with people bathing at North Point Beach, one of the spots to see in Koh Lipe
North Point Beach, Koh Lipe

Diving and Snorkeling in Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is a diver's paradise, with numerous dive sites teeming with marine life. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver, there are plenty of options available.

Diving

  • Adang Sea Divers: Offers PADI-certified courses and guided dives to various sites around Koh Lipe, including 8 Mile Rock and Stonehenge.
  • Koh Lipe Diving: Known for its experienced instructors and well-organized dive trips, Koh Lipe Diving is a great choice for exploring the underwater world.
Snorkeling in Koh Lipe with purple coral, one of the things to do

Snorkeling

For those who prefer snorkeling, Koh Lipe offers some of the best spots right off the beaches. The waters around Sunrise Beach and the nearby Koh Kra and Koh Usen islands are teeming with colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs. There are also two main tours which visit the surrounding islands:

Both of these options can be booked in a Private Tour and both pass by Koh Hin Ngam where you would learn about a local legend of the origin of the stones.

  • Koh Lipe Inner Tour: Visit nearby islands and reefs, such as Jabang Dive Site and Koh Yang Island.

Exploring the Island

Walking Street

Walking Street is the main thoroughfare of Koh Lipe, lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and massage parlors. It's the perfect place to stroll in the evening, enjoy delicious street food, and shop for souvenirs.

Going around the island

There are no motorized cars on the island - it is possible to explore the entire island by foot. For longer trips, there are locals offering transport service with their motorcycles to get you to your destination.

Koh Adang, nearby island from Koh Lipe

Take a day trip to the nearby Koh Adang, part of Tarutao National Marine Park. This larger island offers excellent hiking opportunities, including a trek to the viewpoint for a panoramic view of Koh Lipe. You can also explore the island's waterfalls and pristine beaches.

Sand bar of Koh Adang at sunset, nearby island from Koh Lipe
Koh Adang

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the coastline of Koh Lipe at your own pace. You can paddle to nearby islands or simply enjoy the serene waters around the island. For the best vibe, time this activity around sunset.

Kayaking in Koh Lipe at sunset close to Koh Adang,one of the things to do

Dining and Nightlife

Koh Lipe offers a variety of dining options, from traditional Thai cuisine to international dishes.

Restaurants

  • Elephant: A popular spot on Walking Street, Elephant serves delicious Thai and Western dishes in a relaxed setting.
  • On The Rocks Restaurant: Located at the Serendipity Resort, this restaurant offers stunning views of the sea and a menu featuring fresh seafood and Thai specialties.
  • King Crab Restaurant - Also along the Walking Street, you can choose your fresh fish or shrimp on display at the entrance to the restaurant. All meals come with generous amounts of sides.
Two plates of fresh seafood meal at King Crab Restaurant, Koh Lipe
King Crab Restaurant, Koh Lipe

Bars and Nightlife

  • Reggae Bar: A laid-back bar on Pattaya Beach, perfect for enjoying cocktails and live music in the evening.
  • Maya Bar: Known for its vibrant atmosphere and creative cocktails, Maya Bar is a great place to dance the night away.
  • Zodiac Beach Bar: Located at North Point Beach, visit this spot for some nightlife. They're also a good destination if you're looking for some full moon party.

Practical Tips

Best Time to Visit Koh Lipe

The best time to visit Koh Lipe is during the dry season, from November to April, when the weather is sunny and the sea is calm. The monsoon season (May to October) can bring heavy rains and rough seas, but it's also a quieter time with fewer tourists.

Snorkeling in Koh Lipe with corals and jellyfish, one of the things to do
Koh Lipe snorkeling

Health and Safety

  • Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be very hot, so make sure to drink plenty of water.
  • Sun Protection: Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and seek shade during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Insect Repellent: Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, especially in the evenings. Use insect repellent to avoid bites.

Money and Currency

Koh Lipe has several ATMs and currency exchange facilities. It's a good idea to carry some cash (Thai Baht), as smaller establishments may not accept credit cards.

Internet and Connectivity

While Koh Lipe offers decent internet connectivity, Wi-Fi can be slow in some areas. Most hotels, restaurants, and cafes provide free Wi-Fi for customers, but you can always get an affordable e-sim to stay connected.

Drone Shot of Koh Lipe at sunset with clear water and boats and tourists around
Koh Lipe

Final Thoughts

Koh Lipe is a true tropical paradise, offering stunning natural beauty, exciting activities, and a laid-back atmosphere. We were surprised on how a small island can have everything you need - access to several amenities, good and affordable food, great underwater adventures, and vibrant nightlife. Truly, Koh Lipe has something for everyone. Use this travel guide to plan your trip and make the most of your time on this enchanting island. If you have questions, you can message us directly on Instagram.

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Safe travels!

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