Koh Lipe is one of the Thai islands that has been on our wish list for a while but because of its remoteness it seemed to always get postponed. We had the perfect opportunity to visit when Tim and Kim came over for a holiday and were looking for an island get-away. Koh Lipe is in the South Andaman Sea in southern Thailand’s Satun Province. It’s very close to Malaysia, in fact on a clear day you can see the Malaysian island of Langkawi from Koh Lipe. It belongs to the Adang-Rawi Archipelago on the outskirts of the Tarutao National Marine Park and its beaches and coral reefs are beautiful.
It’s a long adventurous day getting to Koh Lipe from Bangkok. We flew with Air Asia from Bangkok to Hat Yai, then we took a mini-van from Hat Yai airport to the Pak-Bara pier which took around 2 hours, then we boarded a speedboat to Koh Lipe which took around 1.5 hours. I’ve read that the speedboat ride can be very bumpy and sometimes downright scary, for us it was bumpy on the way to the island and really smooth on the return thankfully without any scare factor!
The speedboat stops at a couple of tourist spots along the way – first at Tarutao National Park and then Koh Khai.
Our second stop at Koh Khai has the ‘archway to eternal love’ along with a gorgeous beach.
Finally we arrived at our destination…lovely Lipe!
We were surprised that our little hotel picked us up at the beach – what great service!
We stayed in a small beachfront bungalow resort on Pattaya Beach and the location was great. Koh Lipe is small enough that you can walk around the entire island. There’s a walking street that’s central to everything where you can find all sorts of shops, restaurants/bars, and a selection of street food stalls. Prices on Koh Lipe are higher than other areas in Thailand but it is a remote island so everything has to be shipped over.
We loved sitting on the beach in the evenings in front of our hotel as the sun set, watching the fire dancers perform while we enjoyed sipping on a cold beer.
We spent most days exploring all the beaches on the island. A really pretty beach is Sunrise Beach which is a great beach to watch…you guessed it! We didn’t actually drag ourselves out of bed for sunrise but Tim and Kim did and they said it was very beautiful.
One of our favourite beaches was Sanom Beach. It’s right next to Pattaya Beach but it was never busy and the snorkeling from shore was quite nice.
My favourite spot to snorkel from shore was the beach where the Pitiusas Resort is located. I spent a lot of time in the water here and I think this area has some of the islands best coral. After all this is where I saw my first Seahorse!
I think our least favourite beach was Sunset Beach. Nice enough to watch the sunset but that was about it for me.
A word of warning, some of the trails around the island look like this! We were looking for a viewpoint…didn’t find it.
Not to be missed is a daytrip to some of the outer islands for snorkeling and sightseeing. The islands are gorgeous and some places you will have to yourself. We hired a longtail boat driver/guide through our hotel to take us out for the day, we had a blast and saw some amazing things under the sea and above!
Our first stop was at Koh Hin Sorn to see the rock formations and Koh Phai to snorkel amongst a wide variety of corals.
We stopped for more snorkeling at Koh Dong.
We made a brief stop at Koh Rokroy, they will check your national park passes here.
After all that snorkeling, we were starved! Our boat captain took us to a stunning white sand beach on Koh Rawi for a picnic lunch. It was perfect! We ate, lazed on the beach, and swam in giant schools of fishes.
After our lunch break we headed to Koh Yang for some snorkeling.
Since I love rocks, this stop was pretty cool. Koh Hin Ngam is an amazing stone island!
Our final stop of the day at Jabang was a show stopper! A pinnacle of soft corals in an array of colours. Warning: do not enter the water here without a lifejacket securely on. The current was raging and I was not able to swim in it at all. There are ropes around the site that you hang on to in order to view the coral and then your boat captain will pull you back to the boat. If you miss grabbing one of the ropes I seriously do not know where you would end up but you certainly wouldn’t want to go without a life jacket! That being said this was one of the most beautiful underwater sites!
Check out our snorkel video…
Koh Lipe was fantastic and the surrounding islands are truly beautiful. The snorkeling is really good and the fact that you can snorkel from shore all over the island makes it more fun. It was a fantastic holiday with our good buddies and we are happy we made the effort to see it!
Where we stayed: Charming Lipe Villa 👍