Is Koh Lipe worth visiting?
For reasons we can’t understand, Koh Lipe is often forgotten about compared to other popular Thai islands.
We think this is a big shame, as Koh Lipe is the perfect place to get away from it all, something that’s hard to find nowadays!
Sitting in the south of Thailand near the Malaysian border and only a stones throw away from Langkawi, this tiny island has still managed to preserve a small slice of Thai paradise.
A small downside though is that this paradise comes at a slightly higher cost than other destinations in Thailand. It’s not extortionate, but prices are slightly higher when it comes to accommodation.
Putting prices aside though, Koh Lipe truly embodies a tropical island vibe. It has all the cliche elements you expect; powdery-white beaches, turquoise rolling waves and largely uninterrupted peace.
Don’t worry though, there are still several things to do and you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants and bars. Not to mention island hopping till your heart’s content exploring Tarutao National Park.
Where to stay on Koh Lipe
If you hate the hassle of organising trips, you’ll love Koh Lipe. With really only 3 main places where everyone stays, it’s pretty easy to make your choice.
Location #1: Pattaya Beach – the liveliest beach of all three
The first steps you take on Koh Lipe will be on to Pattaya Beach, as this is where the boats drop you off. This comes with the advantage that you won’t have to carry your luggage too far!
However, being the island’s main beach, Pattaya tends to be noisier than the other two beaches. This is due to the larger number of boats and the livelier nightlife. It’s still pretty quiet when you compare it to other places in Thailand though!
Good news though, if you’re looking for nightlife, it’s centred around Pattaya. There are a number of late-night bars and restaurants lining the beach as well as the place to find the daily fireshow – outside Reggae Bar!
The nightlife is still pretty tame compared to the other Thai islands, but if you’re looking for ultimate tranquility one of the other beaches may be a better fit.
Location #2: Sunrise Beach – the prettiest place to stay
As the name suggests, Sunrise Beach is the place to stay if you love watching the sun ascend into the sky each morning.
Located on the eastern side of Koh Lipe, Sunrise beach is recommended by many as the best area to stay. The resorts have flocked to fill this demand, meaning most of the high-end hotels and resorts are located on Sunrise Beach. Don’t panic though, there are still several budget options available for the travellers watching the pennies.
Beside Sunrise beach being the prettiest beach to stay on, this side of the island also offers some awesome snorkelling opportunities.
Just off the shore, you’ll find a colorful underwater world which remains largely interrupted. This is mainly thanks to the small amount of boat traffic on this side of the island.
An extra bonus, on clear days when you pop your head above the water, you may even see Langkawi in the distance.
Location #3: Sunset Beach – off the beaten track
If you’re more of a sunset fan then you can situate yourself on the smallest beach of the three; Sunset beach.
Situated along the west coast of Koh Lipe, this side captures more of an off-the-beaten-track vibe; a secluded beach that brings you back to nature and simplicity.
For accommodation you’ll find mainly beach bungalows as opposed to the resorts found on the other beaches.
There are only a few laid back bars and restaurants in this beach area. Luckily, it’s only a 10 minute walk to Walking Street, the main ‘town’ located between Sunrise and Pattaya beach..
How to get around on Koh Lipe
Getting around on Koh Lipe is pretty simple really. There are only a few motorised vehicles and the island being so small, your main option is by foot.
To give you an idea of how small the island really is, you can walk from one side to the other via Walking Street in about 15-20 minutes.
Don’t feel like walking? You’ll be able to find several longtail boats on Pattaya Beach that will take you anywhere on the island for around 50 baht.
Alternatively, there are also a few motorbike taxis with a sidecar that can usually fit 3 people plus luggage for the same price as the boats. You’ll be able to identify these taxis by the purple vests that they wear.
Pro-tip: Check with your accommodation to see whether they offer pickup from the port.
Gecko Routes top things to do on Koh Lipe:
Being a tropical island, you can probably already guess the kind of activities available – beach bumming, island hopping etc.
Of course you can do that on Koh Lipe too, but we wanted to focus on activities that are really unique!
#1 Explore the surrounding islands in Tarutao National Marine Park
Tarutao National Park consists of 51 islands, so there’s plenty to explore – both above and below the water.
Embarking on one of the many boat trips means you can cover more ground and discover the stunning hidden-away beaches the area has to offer.
We recommend the Koh Lipe Morning Snorkelling Tour, costing just 680 baht ($22), including lunch.
On this tour you have two route choices:
- Visitings to some of the bigger, more well-known islands like Jabang, Him Ngam, Koh Yang and the spectacular Koh Adang.
- Discovering the smaller, hidden gems such as Hin Son, the barely inhabited Koh Bulon, Monkey Beach and many more!
Klook offers a price guarantee on all of their trips, so if you find the price cheaper elsewhere, they’ll pay you back twice the difference!
#2 Hang out around Walking Street
Walking Street is more than just a street that gets you from A to B. Located in the heart of Koh Lipe, you’ll most certainly end up strolling along this street to get to the different beaches, but the area deserves more of your time.
It’s essentially the ‘town’ of the island and has pretty much everything you need – ATMs, 7elevens, massage parlors, restaurants, bars, shops etc.
Once you’re done wandering, pick a bar and just enjoy watching the world go by! It’s a great place to people watch as the street can get rather busy.
Besides the large choice of bars and restaurants, Walking Street is also the place to book boat trips to explore the surrounding islands. You’ll find plenty of tourist information and dive centres ready to assist you.
Pro-tip: there are only a handful of ATMs on the island, so it may be easier to just bring enough cash with you in case the ATMs are out of service.
#3 Clean up the beach with Trash Hero
Trash Hero organise weekly beach clean-ups and educate volunteers on the impact plastic waste has on our environment.
The organisation spends a few hours starting at 10am every Monday on Pattaya Beach, scouring the beach collecting any rubbish that is littering the environment. Just look for the bright yellow t-shirts!
As well as witnessing the consequences of careless waste management, it’s a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people on the same mission as you.
Pro-tip: Trash Hero has gone global so make sure to check their website to see where else you can get involved.
#4 Spend the day on a deserted beach on Koh Adang
Being the highlight of most boat trips, many travellers decide that Koh Adang deserves more than a fleeting visit. Instead, many dedicate a whole day on Koh adang island.
Not only is Koh Adang larger than Koh Lipe, but this island remains largely unspoilt and peacefulIt embodyies what most Thai islands were like 20 years ago.
The island is only a 5-10 minute boat ride away and will cost you around 100 baht each way. You can hire a boat from any of Koh Lipe’s main beaches.
Pro-tip: Arrange a pick up time from Koh Adang to Koh Lipe with your boat captain to avoid the hassle of finding another boat.
As the island is part of the National Park there is an entrance fee of 200 baht. This lasts for 5 days so if you haven’t got your fix in one day you can always go back for more.
#5 View Koh Lipe from Koh Adang viewpoint
Whilst you’re visiting Koh Adang, don’t miss the hike to the viewpoint on Chado Cliff, giving you a birds eye view of Koh Lipe.
The hike takes around 45 minutes from the ranger station to the highest point on the island at 690m. Along your hike you’ll come across 3 viewpoints; the first one after 10 minutes, the second after 25 and the best of all – another 10 minutes.
Once you reach the top, you’ll likely be breathless not just from the hike but due to the stunning views that will span ahead of you. Here you can experience Koh Lipe from another angle and appreciate how small the island really is.
#6 Explore the underwater world by snorkelling and diving
Koh Lipe is often overlooked by many travellers, which is quite surprising considering that the island offers some of the best dive sites in all of Thailand.
The underwater world of Koh Lipe has exceptional visibility and has some of the last spots in Thailand that flourishes with soft and hard coral.
These admirable conditions don’t just attract visitors like you and me. The thriving ecosystem invites a whole host of sea life including barracuda, seahorses, trevally or even whale sharks and rays if you’re lucky.
Thanks to these great dive sites, you’ll find plenty of dive schools offering single dive trips, day trips and PADI or freediving courses.
The dive schools are mainly situated around Pattaya beach, giving you direct access to the boats. Conveniently, you can reach most dive spots after just 10 minutes in a boat including Stonehenge, 8 mile rock and Far Islands, to mention a few.
If you just prefer to snorkel, there’s also lots of action right off the coast of Koh Lipe. The best snorkelling is around 2 tiny islands by Sunrise beach; Koh Kra, in front of the school, and Koh Usen, in front of Idyllic Resort.
You’ll be able to rent a mask for around 50 baht or you can take your adventures slightly further afield and rent a kayak for 200 baht/hour and paddle round the island.
#7 Experience the heavenly cuisine Koh Lipe has to offer
Koh Lipe has become a fusion of cuisines, offering traditional Thai foods, international dishes, cafe culture and not to forget – awesome pancakes.
Madame Yoohoo’s pancakes won’t disappoint you, especially the banana and peanut butter ones. Her stall is hard to miss as she yells out ‘Yoohoo pancake’ to any passersby!
Another top pick is Cafe Lipe. The rustic, back-to-nature aesthetics of the place creates a chilled and personal vibe in which to delve into a delicious breakfast or lunch. The bread is baked fresh everyday and the fruit juices are a must-try!
#8 Enjoy the chilled nightlife Koh Lipe has to offer
Koh Lipe is no party island. Most bars close around midnight, 2am at the latest. Nevertheless, the island offers a chilled nightlife, where you can chat with fellow travellers while listening to live music or even busting some moves together.
Drinks on Koh Lipe are slightly more expensive than other places in Thailand, but it wouldn’t be Thailand if there was no happy hour. Ten Moons bar offers 2 for 1 cocktails everyday between 4-6pm, all whilst enjoying the amazing view of Sunrise Beach.
Open until 2am, Sea La Vie is relatively new to Koh Lipe and owned by the same people who run the popular Maya Bar in the town centre. Like many bars in Koh Lipe, also Sea La Vie is a beachfront bar with a very chilled and a great ambience.
The music choice sets the scene with the deep house beats merging perfectly with the sound of the waves.
How To Get To Koh Lipe?
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Bangkok||6.5hrs-22.5hrs excl. transfer time||1,270 THB-1,460 THB ($42-$48.50)||Bangkok to Koh Lipe|
|Phuket||5hrs-13hrs||1,050 THB-2,050 THB ($35-$68)||Phuket to Koh Lipe|
My favourite places to stay in Koh Lipe
Location, location, location! This hostel is the perfect spot for those travelers who want to explore the island. Less than 400m to 3 different beaches, you can spend your day soaking up the rays at a new spot every day. This hotel offers semi-private, cubicle style, rooms and is very well-known for its friendly staff and cleanliness.
- Excellent location
- Very clean
- Friendly owners
- Walking distance to the beach
Private rooms start at $30 per night
This hostel & cafe is situated in a great location within walking distance to plenty of sights and beaches. The hostel is extremely, offers very comfortable beds and clean towels every day. The owners and staff are very friendly, welcoming and will assist in any way possible. The on-site bar that often provides live music is a great place to relax with a cold drink and enjoy the island vibe.
- Great location
- Comfortable beds
- On-site bar
- Friendly staff
Private rooms start at $36 per night
Your own private bungalow! Nestled in the nature of Koh Lipe sits this amazing resort. Just 50m from Walking Street and less than a 5-minute walk from the beach, it’s the perfect location. If you’re looking to enjoy nature and enjoy the peace and quiet but still be close to the action then this is definitely the spot for you! They offer free water, coffee, and tea and there is also a restaurant on-site.
- Great location
- Comfortable beds
- Private bungalows
- Surrounded by nature
Private bungalows start at $53 per night
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