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Koh Lipe Island: The Maldives Of Thailand

Updated on August 2, 2016

Koh Lipe island is a small resort in the very south of Thailand not in the Andaman Sea. It's the only island in the Butang Archipelago with people living there. Koh Lipe was discovered by tourists in the early 90s but only recently has its popularity really increased.

I have visited Koh Lipe IsIand and can safely say that it is beautiful. And it is a resort that is well worth visiting. If you are taking a holiday in Thailand, make sure you consider visiting Koh Lipe. If you decided to go there, great! You will have a great time.

There's a ton of information about Koh Lipe online. This article will bring the best and most important topics together in one place. They are...

  • Visiting in low season or high season
  • How to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok
  • Choosing a hotel on Koh Lipe
  • Activities to do on Koh Lipe
  • Nightlife, bars and restaurants on the island

In summary, visiting Koh Lipe is cheapest in the low season. High season is hotter, but busier and more expenisve. Hotels go up in price - and beach front rooms are very expenisve in high season.

However, in high season there are more activities available to do in the day. More places are open and there are full programs of snorkeling and diving trips available.

The nightlife is a lot livelier in high season. Twice as many bars, shops and restaurants are open. But it takes longer to get served and it's much busier.

Visit my site for IN-DEPTH guide to everything Koh Lipe has to offer including pictures, videos, articles and more!

The biggest test of how nice a holiday destination is 'Would you go back?' For Koh Lipe, the answer is a resounding YES. It is simply beautiful and a perfect holiday.

A postcard perfect shot of the tip of Sunrise Beach on Koh Lipe Island
A postcard perfect shot of the tip of Sunrise Beach on Koh Lipe Island
Koh Lipe island from the air
Koh Lipe island from the air

Visiting in low season or high season

Low season: May - November

Cheaper prices quieter and more rain

High season: December - April

Higher prices, hotter weather, busier, better nightlife and more activities

Choosing to visit Koh Lipe in high season or low season all comes down to personal preferences. The high season is busier, there are more activities available to do, and the nightlife is more vibrant. Plus, the weather is hotter and dryer.

If you're the person who likes quiet beaches and seclusion, then low season is better. There are very few people on the island, about 50% of all the bars, restaurants and shops are closed, and it's really peaceful and romantic on the beaches. Yes, there's a greater chance of rain. But visit in the early part of low season and it should still be hot with plenty of sun. I was there in mid June for a week and it only rained a couple of times at night.

See Koh Lipe island on the map....

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How to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok

It's possible to get from Bangkok to Koh Lipe in under a day.

  • Leave Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport on an early flight no later than 10AM. This will arrive at Hat Yai International Airport at around 11.30AM.
  • Take a mini van direct to Pak Barra Pier and arrive there aroun 2pm.
  • Take the last speedboat over to Koh Lipe around 3pm and arrive on the island between 4pm and 5pm.

Some airline providers also include a mini van and ferry boat transfer service. This make organising travel a lot easier. There's less change of getting lost or missing connecting transport if it is planned out by the airline.

Personally I don't like to rush. So I would recommend staying for one night in Hat Yai and taking a boat the next day after feeling more refreshed.

It's also possible to reach Koh Lipe from Phuket or Krabi. There's are nicer places to stay for a night or two. However, the ferry ride from Phuket to Koh Lipe is five hours. While s ferry from Krabi to Koh Lipe is four hours.

Essential items for a trip to Koh Lipe

For day...
For night...
Mosquito spray
Indigestion tables
Swimming Costume
Snorkel gear
Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, in low season
Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, in low season | Source

Choosing a hotel on Koh Lipe

Hotels on Koh Lipe are expenisve in high season. But in low season they are much less - maybe a third of the price. The general rule of thumb is this - the nearer the hotel room is to the beach, the more expensive they are.

Some beach-front bungalows even in low season are 5,000 baht ($130 a night) or even more. While in high season the price will double or even triple.

Firstly, choose a hotel resort according to your budget. Get the best room possible for what you can afford.

Secondly, decide whether you would like to stay on Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach or Sunset Beach. Pattaya Beach is the most popular beach on Koh Lipe, it is big, wide and great for sunbathing and swimming. Plus, accommodation on Pattaya Beach is a good price. (My personal recommendation is Bundhaya Resort).

Sunrise Beach does not have as many hotels, but the beach is narrower and a bit quieter. Hotels on Sunrise beach are more expensive, and include some luxury premium accommodation like Idyllic Concept Resort and Serendipity Resort.

The view from the restaurant at Castaway Resort, a popular hotel on Koh Lipe Island
The view from the restaurant at Castaway Resort, a popular hotel on Koh Lipe Island

Sunset Beach is not so popular. The accommodation and hotels here are older, and more basic wooden style bungalows.

There are also guest houses inside the island without beach views. These are found along Walking Street and they are the cheapest on Koh Lipe - perfect for backpackers and people on a budget.

Thirdly, choose whether you would like a traditional wooden bungalow or concrete accommodation. On Pattaya Beach, Akira Lipe Resort is modern. But Bundhaya Villas and Resort are also a modern, clean design.

Some people say that it is easier for bugs and mosquitoes to get inside the wooden bungalows. There may be some truth in this. But if you get to Koh Lipe, you will get bitten at some point by mosquitoes regardless of where you stay.

Activities to do on Koh Lipe

Ok, now we're getting to the good stuff - the many amazing things to do in Koh Lipe. From snorkeling to kayaking, or massage to cycling around the island, there is lots to keep everybody entertained. Here are four great ideas for activities in Koh Lipe

  1. Take a snorkeling day trip: The boats will travel to neighboring islands. These are simply breathtaking and a great chance to get off and have a look around these uninhabited paradises. Plus the clear waters of Koh Lipe are sublime. You don't even need to be able to swim to enjoy snorkeling, as life jackets are provided.
  2. Cycle around the island: Hire a bicycle and pedal around Koh Lipe's narrow paths. This is a great chance to make your own mini-sightseeing tour of Koh Lipe. You can see the native homes as well as all three beaches. And get a feel for the whole island and where things are located.
  3. Chill out with a Thai massage on the beach: There are few things more relaxing in Thailand than having a traditional Thai oil massage. And what better way to do it than on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world? Exactly. The views of the Andaman sea look even better when you're being massaged.
  4. Hire a kayak and paddle round the island: Koh Lipe is such a small island that it's possible to actually paddle around it yourself. Just hire a Kayak for two or three hours and set sail. The waters are so calm that you don't even have to be very experience. Plus, put a picnic in the kayak and stop off at one of the nearby deserted islands for your own lunch.

My underwater shot of a Finding Nemo Clown Fish, taken while snorkeling on Koh Lipe
My underwater shot of a Finding Nemo Clown Fish, taken while snorkeling on Koh Lipe

My video of snorkeling on Koh Lipe

The fish around Koh Lipe love tourists, and this one even swam right up to my camera
The fish around Koh Lipe love tourists, and this one even swam right up to my camera

Nightlife, bars and restaurants on the island

There's no doubt about it - Koh Lipe's nightlife is really unique. It's such a small island with so much crammed into a tiny space. This makes for a great carnival atmosphere. There are loads of great bohemian style bars. And some good restaurants, too.

Much of the nightlife is actually closed in low season. However, this is perfect for people who like peace and quiet. In high season the party atmosphere is better and there is live music, but it also takes longer to get served food. And it's a lot busier and more hectic on the island.

Please leave a message below or share on social media if you have enjoyed this guide to Koh Lipe.


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    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 

      3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Thanks for a view of Koh Lipe. It's not an island I know, but one that will have to be considered for one of my future visits to Thailand. Alun


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