Koh Lipe is one of the 51 islands that makes up Tarutao National Marine Park. Located some 80km off Thailand’s southern coast, it used to be one of the country’s most beautiful islands. Sadly, the influx of tourists has made it the subject of rapid development projects in recent years.
Fortunately, its surrounding turquoise waters is another story. Just a few meters from its shores are colourful corals that are home to a wonderful marine life – 25% of the world’s tropical fish species to be exact! This, along with Koh Lipe’s still pristine beaches, makes it a famous destination for snorkelling and diving.
As the island straddles the waters along the Thailand-Malaysia border, it’s a great jump-off point for travellers who want to experience both countries in one trip. From the Malaysian side, the best way to reach Koh Lipe is via Langkawi.
If you’re planning to travel the 40km from Langkawi to Koh Lipe, then you have 3 options: a 2-hour ferry from Telaga Harbour; a 1.5-hour ferry from Kuah Jetty; or a 4.5-hour ferry via Satun. Rates range from $34 to $39.
We recommend taking the ferry from Telaga Harbour if you’re coming from the main tourist area of Pantai Cenang in Langkawi. It is nearer than Kuah Jetty, so you will be able to save on taxi fare. Combined taxi and ferry rates start from $39.
The advantage of Kuah Jetty is that it offers more ferry choices during the high season. Although the taxi ride to Kuah is more expensive, ferries from here are a bit cheaper. Total fares start from $37.
During the low season (June to October), there might not be as many direct ferry options for the Langkawi to Koh Lipe route. On the off-chance that tickets are sold out for your desired travel date, you have an alternate route via Satun. This 4.5-hour journey involves 2 ferries and a minivan. Rates start from $34.
Keep in mind that you will be crossing a timezone. Langkawi is one hour ahead of Koh Lipe.
Customs & Immigration
Customs and immigration offices are at both Kuah Jetty and Telaga Harbour in Langkawi.
As you would in an airport, you should arrive at your desired port at least 90 minutes before your ferry’s departure time. Your luggage will be screened at customs and your passport will be processed for immigration.
After that, you can board your ferry bound for Koh Lipe. You are to surrender your passport to the ferry’s captain. He will be in charge of taking care of it until you reach the island, where he will hand it over to their immigration officials.
In Koh Lipe, your final drop-off point (after you transfer to a smaller water taxi from the floating dock) is at Pattaya Beach, during high season, and Sunrise Beach, during low season. Their immigration checkpoint is also located in these areas.
Your passports will be safely delivered to the immigration officers. Normally, they need 10 to 15 minutes to process the passports. Wait for your name to be called and once you get your passport back, you’re free to go to your hotel!
Note that when entering Thailand via water or land, some nationalities are only given a 15-day visa. Double-check your visa stamp upon receiving your passport to ensure you don’t overstay!
Telaga Harbour is our preferred departure point because of its proximity to the main tourist area in Langkawi. It is located just 15km north of Pantai Cenang and you can easily reach it with a 20-minute taxi ride. Rates start from 30 MYR ($7), but if you’re hoping for cheaper rates, you can also try looking for shared taxis.
At least 2 ferry companies depart from Telaga Harbour: Jumping Frog and Satun Pakbara. The journey takes 2 hours with a regular ferry and 1.5 hours with a speedboat. You can book your tickets online via BookAway, with fares from 134 MYR ($32).
Below are the ferry schedules from Telaga Harbour in Langkawi to Koh Lipe:
Kuah Jetty is a great alternative especially if you’re travelling from Langkawi to Koh Lipe during the high season. You’ll have more ferry options here. The only downside is it’s a little farther away (20km east) from the main tourist hub of Pantai Cenang.
You can reach Kuah Jetty through a 40-minute taxi ride with prices from 40 MYR ($9). If you’re travelling solo and don’t mind sharing a ride, you should be able to find a shared taxi in the town centre.
Bundhaya Speedboat and Jumping Frog Travel are the 2 ferry companies operating from Kuah Jetty in Langkawi to Koh Lipe all-year-round. Travel time is between 1.5 hours to 3 hours, depending on which company you book with. Fares start from 117 MYR ($28) when you book through BookAway.
You can find the ferry schedules from Kuah Jetty in Langkawi to Koh Lipe below:
From October to June, Klook offers 1 or 2 trips every day for the Langkawi to Koh Lipe route. These depart from Kuah Jetty. The schedule varies depending on the month that you are travelling in, but you can easily check this on their website. Travel time is 1.5 hours and a ticket costs 100 MYR ($24).
Another option is Langkawi Ferry Services, which offers direct trips from November to early June. The price of a one-way ticket is 117 MYR ($28). However, they’re not available to book online, so you’ll have to check their website for ticket reservations and schedules.
Kuah Jetty, Langkawi to Koh Lipe by Ferry via Satun
Up until a few years back, direct ferries from Langkawi to Koh Lipe were only available during the high season. This last option via Satun used to be the alternative for tourists travelling this route during the low season.
Nowadays, you’ll still find a few direct ferry options from June to October. But just in case they run out of tickets for your desired travel date or you just want an adventure, know that there is an alternative indirect route when travelling from Langkawi to Koh Lipe.
First, you’ll have to travel to Tammalang Pier in Satun, a southern province in Thailand.
Ferries operating from Langkawi to Satun depart from Kuah Jetty. This is located some 20km east of Pantai Cenang and a 40-minute taxi ride will cost you around 40 MYR ($9). If you’re travelling solo, you can also try finding a shared taxi for a cheaper fare.
Langkawi Ferry Services offer 2 trips for this route daily. However, if you want to complete this journey within the same day, you’ll have to take the ferry that departs at 09:30. Otherwise, you will be too late for your ferry connecting to Koh Lipe.
Travel time is 1.5 hours and a ticket costs 35 MYR ($8.50). You can buy them at the port or you can reserve a ticket by calling them beforehand. Contact details are available on their website.
For your reference, below are the 2 ferry schedules:
Langkawi Ferry Services
1 hour 30 minutes
35 MYR ($8.50)
Step 2: Satun to Koh Lipe by Ferry
Duration: 1.5 hours Cost: 515 THB ($16.50)
From Tammalang Pier, you’ll need to take a minivan to Pak Bara Pier, which is located 70km north. Note that the minivan ride takes another 1.5 hours, so time your connecting ferry accordingly.
At Pak Bara, you’ll have at least 4 ferry choices to reach Koh Lipe. There are several departures from 09:30 to 15:00 every day. We recommend that you book online through BookAway to guarantee a seat. Fares start from 515 THB ($16.50).