Koh Lipe is a small island located in the south of Thailand. It is so close to the Malaysian border that you can see one of the most well-known Malaysian islands, Langkawi, from Sunrise beach on Koh Lipe. Even though the island is becoming more popular among foreign tourists in Thailand, it is still undeveloped. The island is mainly frequented by local tourists in Thailand since it’s so far away from Krabi and Phuket. Koh Lipe is the perfect paradise island. Here is our Koh Lipe Thailand Travel Guide which includes everything you need to know:
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Is Koh Lipe worth visiting?
In our opinion, Koh Lipe is worth visiting if you have the time. The island isn’t as developed as other popular tourist islands in Thailand. However, it’s one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand and has some of the most breathtaking coral and sealife we have ever seen.
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When is the best time to visit Koh Lipe, Thailand?
The best time to visit Koh Lipe is from November to March. During this time of the year, there is not a lot of rainfall in Thailand and the temperatures are hot but comfortable. From November to March the average temperature on the island is 30°C (86°F). The time when the island has the most visitors is during December.
How long should you stay on Koh Lipe, Thailand?
Koh Lipe is a remote island and feels like paradise as you step out of your resort straight onto the white sand beaches. As much as we would all love to stay on this idyllic island forever, we all know this won’t be possible.
The island is quite small and apart from swimming, snorkelling and diving, there isn’t much else to do. For this reason, we will recommend between 3 to 4 full days on the island. This will give you enough time to relax on the beach and even do a day trip to some of the surrounding islands in the area.
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Where to stay on Koh Lipe?
Koh Lipe has three main beaches known as Sunset Beach, Sunrise Beach and Pattaya Beach. So where should you book your hotel? Let’s look at each of these locations:
Sunset beach is located on the western side of the island. This beach is smaller than what we expected and there are only two resorts in this area. This beach is great for sunsets as the name suggests however this isn’t the best beach on the island.
During high tide, there is almost no beach left to sit on and during low tide, the sea is foamy and there is black oil on the beach which we assume is because of the boats in the area. This is strange since the other beaches on the island don’t show any signs of oil.
Sunset beach is only a 10-minute walk from Pattaya beach but you might have to take a motorbike taxi to the walking street and sunrise beach. If you are looking for a quiet place to stay on the island we would recommend Sunset Beach.
But if you are looking for the beautiful white sand beaches that Koh Lipe is known for, maybe rather consider Sunrise or Pattaya beach.
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Sunrise beach is located on the eastern side of the island. It is a large beach that stretches over 1.5 km long. You want to stay here if you are looking for a quiet area that isn’t too far from all the restaurants.
Almost all the resorts along Sunrise beach are located right on the beach so you can walk straight from your room into the water. There are restaurants located near walking street on the island but the rest of sunrise beach is undeveloped.
At Sunrise Beach there are a lot of longtail boats that can take you to nearby islands for day trips and snorkelling.
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Pattaya Beach is the main beach on the island. This is the first beach you will see when you arrive since all the speedboats stop here. The beach is also 1.5 km long.
Pattaya beach is the best of both worlds. There are a few resorts built on the beach and there are many restaurants. This is also where the walking street is located which is basically the heart of the island.
Convenient stores, pharmacies, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars can be found on the walking street. This beach is perfect during the day and it doesn’t have as many longtail boats as Sunrise beach however at night it can get busy and noisy.
This is where we would recommend you stay if you want to be close to all the restaurants and convenience stores and just want to have an absolutely beautiful beach right at your feet.
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Where to Stay on Koh Lipe, Thailand?
Here are the top 3 hotels recommended by us:
- Castaway Resort Koh Lipe– A 3-star resort on Sunrise beach. Featuring one or two levels, the wooden bungalow is perfect for an island holiday. It’s basic and perfect for budget travellers. Rated 8.5/10 on booking.com
- Wapi Resort– A 3-star resort located on Sunrise beach. The resort has beautiful brick bungalows and a restaurant on site. It’s perfect for medium-budget travellers. Rated 8.8/10 on booking.com.
- Bundhaya Resort– A 3-star hotel located on Pattaya Beach on Koh Lipe. The resort offers beautiful rooms and bungalows. It also has a pool and restaurant. If you are looking for something a bit fancier, this is the option for you Rated 8.3/10 on booking.com
How to get around Koh Lipe?
On Koh Lipe, you can’t bring your own transport. The only way to get around the island is by either walking or paying a motorbike taxi to take you to where you want to be. Walking is a good option since the island is small and you can easily walk from one beach to another beach and it will take between 10 and 15 minutes. The motorbike taxis cost 50 baht per person and will take you anywhere on the island.
We walked from Sunset to Pattaya beach since it was only a 6-minute walk from our resort but we did prefer to pay for the motorbike taxis to take us to and from Sunrise beach.
Is the island touristy?
Koh Lipe is not as touristy as the islands closer to Phuket and Krabi. Most of the tourists that visit here are local tourists. The small island of Koh Lipe is also limited by the number of rooms that are available on the island.
The island is developed enough to provide you with everything that you might need while staying here. However, things like big shopping malls, big convenient stores and fast-food restaurants cannot be found here. Most of the islanders can speak English and English menus can be found in all the restaurants.
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Things to do on the island?
As you already know Koh Lipe is a small island. There isn’t much to do except relax on the beach however if you come to an island that is as beautiful as Koh Lipe this is exactly what you want to do. Sunbath on Pattaya beach, Snorkeling trips from Sunrise beach and breathtaking sunsets from Sunset beach. Some other things you can do is day trips:
Day trip to Adang Island
Adang island is a 10-minute boat ride from Koh Lipe. It’s a popular snorkelling destination since it’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful coral reefs in Thailand. Adang island itself has a few places to stay and is a popular camping spot but Koh Lipe is the more popular choice.
There is a viewpoint on the island that you can hike to. The hike takes you past three lookouts and will take about 45minutes each way. This viewpoint allows you to see the whole island of Koh Lipe from above. There is also a waterfall on the island that is a 3 km hike.
Book a Day Trip from Koh Lipe
How to get to Koh Lipe, Thailand?
Koh Lipe is located in Satun Province. This is about 380 km from Phuket, 230 km from Krabi and 950 km from Bangkok. Due to its remote location, you may be required to use a combination of different modes of transport to get here. Such as bus and ferry/speedboat or plane, van and ferry/speedboat. There is a wide variety of ways to get to Koh Lipe but for this guide, we will only mention the most popular ways.
The closest pier to Koh Lipe in Thailand is Pak Bara Pier in Satun Province. The speedboats leave at 9:30, 11:30, 13:30 and 15:00 daily (During covid the last speedboat leaves at 13:30). The ferry leaves at 11:45 only once a day. The boats from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Lipe costs around 650 baht one way or 1200 baht return, and the journey takes about 90 minutes.
How to travel to Koh Lipe from Bangkok?
There are many ways to get from Bangkok to Koh Lipe. The easiest and fastest way to Koh Lipe from Bangkok is to fly to Hat Yai airport in Songkla. Flights are not normally expensive and start from 700 baht. If you are interested in this option see the next heading.
Another option is to take the train from Bangkok to Koh Lipe. The trains depart from Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok. From here you will travel to Hat Yai on the southern line. The prices for the trains vary depending on the class and time of the day you travel. We recommend a sleeper train as the journey will take about 16 hours. These sleeper trains cost anything from 900 baht to 2000 baht. Once you arrive in Hat Yai you can catch a taxi or van to Pak Bara Pier
The last option is to take a bus from Bangkok to Koh Lipe. The bus departs from the Southern Bangkok Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) or Khao San Road and drops you off at Hat Yai Bus Terminal. Once again when you arrive in Hat Yai you can catch a taxi or van to Pak Bara Pier.
How to travel from Hat Yai Airport to Koh Lipe?
Hat Yai Airport is the closest airport to Koh Lipe. From here some buses and vans depart at 08:00, 09:30, and 11:00 to Pak Bara Pier. This journey takes 4 hours and costs between 750 to 800 baht. Two hours by bus or taxi and two hours on the ferry from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Lipe. You can also take a private taxi from the airport to the pier or even rent a car from the airport and drive to the pier yourself.
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How to travel to Koh Lipe from Krabi?
The best way to get from Krabi to Koh Lipe is by taking a boat. This journey can take from 4 to 6 hours depending on the weather. The high-speed ferry from Krabi to Koh Lipe departs from Klong Jilad Pier in Krabi Town. The ferry doesn’t travel directly to Koh Lipe, it makes a few stops at other islands along the way.
How to travel to Koh Lipe from Koh Lanta?
The best way to get from Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe is by taking the ferry. You can take the ferry from Saladan Pier on Koh Lanta. It takes about 3 hours and costs around 1700 baht. You can also take a speedboat from Koh Lanta. It also takes about 3 hours and costs around 700 baht.
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How to travel to Koh Lipe from Phuket?
There are two main ways to get to Koh Lipe from Phuket; by bus and by ferry. The ferry is the easiest and fastest way to travel. It takes about 5 hours and costs about 2500 baht per person. The three top companies to use are:
|Bundhaya Speedboat||08:30——— 5h——— 13:30||2,550 THB ($76)|
|Satun Pakbara Speedboat||08:30——— 5h——— 13:30||2,550 THB ($76)|
|Tigerline High-Speed Ferry||08:30——— 4h——— 12:30|
11:00—– 4h 45m——- 15:45
|2,550 THB ($76)|
Taking the bus is cheaper than the ferry but takes more than twice as long. As with all the places mentioned above you will take the bus from Phuket bus station to the bus station in Hat Yai. From here you need to take a taxi or a van to Pak Bara Pier to catch the ferry to Koh Lipe. Most companies offer a combined package and the best will be to book with one of those companies to ensure that you make it to the pier on time. The best companies to use are:
|Dee Travel Hat Yai||08:15———- 5h15m———- 13:30|
12:15———- 5h15m———- 17:30
|650 THB ($19)|
|Smart En Plus||08:00———- 5h30m———- 13:30|
10:00———- 5h30m———- 15:30
12:00———- 5h30m———- 17:30
|From 750 THB ($22)|
|Satun Pakbara Speedboat Club||08:00———- 5h30m———- 13:30|
10:00———- 5h30m———- 15:30
|900 THB ($26.50)|
How to travel to Koh Lipe from Langkawi, Malaysia?
If you are already in Malaysia this can probably be the easiest way to get to Koh Lipe. Of course, you have to be on Langkawi island already. From Langkawi, two ferries go directly to Koh Lipe either from Kuah Jetty or Telaga Harbor. This ferry costs around 1000 baht and takes about 90 minutes.
Please remember that these direct ferry from Langkawi to Koh Lipe only runs during the high season which is from November to April/May. (With covid this trip could be more difficult due to the travel restrictions)
If you want to travel from Langkawi to Koh Lipe in the low season you will have to take the ferry from Kuah Jetty on Langkawi to Pak Bara Pier in Satun and then from Pak Bara Pier take the ferry or speedboat to Koh Lipe. The ferry from Langkawi to Pak Bara Pier cost about 350 baht and the boat from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Lipe cost 650 baht.
Remember to allow for passport control since you will be travelling from one country to another country.
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