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 stone’s 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 cliché 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 until your heart’s content exploring Tarutao National Park.
Also read: Top 8 Things to Do in Koh Lipe
Where to stay on Koh Lipe
If you hate the hassle of organising trips, you’ll love Koh Lipe. With really only three 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 because 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 Koh Lipe’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 some nightlife at Koh Lipe, 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 fire show – outside Reggae Bar!
The nightlife is still pretty tame compared to the other Thai islands, but if you’re looking for ultimate tranquillity, 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.
Sunrise beach on the eastern side of Koh Lipe 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 on Sunrise Beach. Don’t panic, though, because there are still several budget options available for the travellers watching the pennies.
Besides 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 colourful underwater world that 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.
Check out the Top 8 Things to Do in Koh Lipe
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 Koh Lipe 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 three 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.
How to get to Koh Lipe
Being much smaller than many of the popular Thai islands, the number of accommodations is also smaller. This means that prices are higher on Koh Lipe, and a lot of the accommodations are luxury resorts that come with a price tag. Places tend to start around $30 for a room, a lot higher than the rest of Thailand, but also cheaper than most of the world.
Here are our favourite places to stay in Koh Lipe, for all budgets:
Nest Hostel - Budget Friendly
Nest Hostel isn’t the kind of place that you shout from the rooftops about, but it is one of the cheapest and best-rated places to stay on Koh Lipe. The rooms are clean, comfortable and peaceful. Dorm rooms are also available if you want to save even more money.
Here you’re only 300m from Pattaya Beach and within walking distance of the other main beaches on Koh Lipe. The staff are amazing and make you feel instantly at home.
- Clean and comfortable rooms
- Close to the beach
- Amazing staff
- Dorm and private rooms available
Dorm rooms start from $13 per night.
Lipe Garden Beach Resort - Treating Yourself
When visiting a tropical island like Koh Lipe, the dream is to stay seconds from the beach right? Lipe Garden Beach Resort helps you to make that dream come true. You can hear the gentle sound of waves crashing from your bungalow.
The rooms are simple, but comfortable, each coming with their own private balcony with a seating area and hammock. As well as the perfect beach location, you’re also close to the Walking Street and pier.
- Directly on the beach
- Bungalow style rooms
- Private terrace
- Great location
Bungalows start from $55 per night.
Ananya Lipe Resort - Treating Yourself
The best way to describe this place is with one word — WOW! Ananya Lipe is the kind of resort most of us can only dream of. The beautiful rooms have swim-up pools or you can go for a swim in the huge lagoon-style pool and grab a drink from the bar while you’re still in the water!
Tired of the pool? Don’t worry, the beach is only steps away. And that’s if you can be persuaded to leave your stunning oasis of a room and huge bathrooms. If you opt for a room with a jacuzzi, you’re probably never going to want to leave. This place is amazing!
- Huge swimming pools
- Beautiful and comfortable rooms
- Right on the beach
- Delicious free breakfast
Rooms start from $161 per night.
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Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.