Koh Lipe: Ultimate Thailand Island Experience
Koh Lipe is a tiny island in the verySouth of Thailand. To be more specific, in the province of Satun, not far from the Malaysian border. Especially the colorful underwater world and the surrounding coral reefs make Koh Lipe a popular spot for divers and for all who love snorkeling. But also, the island itself is beautiful. Many even consider Koh Lipe as the most amazing island of Thailand. On Koh Lipe you will find dream beaches like out of a travel magazine: white powder-sandy beaches and turquoise-blue sea make this place a popular holiday island. Whether backpackers or luxury vacationers, divers or beach lovers – a trip to Koh Lipe will guarantee an unforgettable experience and going there is well worth it!
In this travel guide we show you the best beaches, unique things to do and most amazing excursions at Koh Lipe. In addition, there are plenty of tips and information about how to get there and best places to stay! Perfect to plan your ultimate Koh Lipe itinerary.
General info about Koh Lipe Island
Koh Lipe is the southernmost island in Thailand and is located almost on the border with Malaysia. This island pearl is together with Koh Adang and many other small islands of the surroundings a part of the Tarutao National Park and is therefore under nature protection. A real highlight besides the white beaches is especially the magnificent underwater world, which you can marvel at while snorkeling and diving. Comparable spots can be experienced in Thailand, perhaps also on the Similan Islands, but there are no accommodations there.
What makes Koh Lipe unique in Thailand are certainly the breathtaking beaches. Especially the turquoise blue sea colors and the powder sugar soft snow-white sand has earned this paradise the nickname “the Maldives of Thailand“. Thanks to its size of just 4 square kilometers, you can comfortably walk from one dream beach to the next and theoretically swim and snorkel at a different beach every day.
And yes, Koh Lipe is still worth it! Of course, there is more going on here today than 20 years ago. There is a lively walking street with countless stores, 7Eleven, some bars and pubs that provide a good atmosphere. Nevertheless, the beaches of the island are partly still quiet and in no case overcrowded. It would be a pity if you missed this island pearl on any trip to Thailand.
Best Things to do at Koh Lipe
The island Koh Lipe is world-famous for its amazing beaches and the unique turquoise-blue sea which can hardly be found anywhere else in Thailand. But not only the beaches and bays make the island so special, you can also experience a lot! Here are the best things to do and excursions of Koh Lipe:
Koh Lipe Walking Street is a narrow street full of cool bars, delicious restaurants, cafés, shopping facilities, tour operators, diving schools, street food stalls with cheap food, halal food, massage parlours, hostels and much, much more. Also, if you are looking for an ATM and for currency exchange, you will find plenty of them inside the Walking Street. During the day, there is not much going on. But after sunset the Koh Lipe Walking Street is the place to enjoy the nightlife, to eat and to celebrate. By the way, the entrance to the walking street is at Pattaya Beach and it almost leads down to Sunset Beach.
Tip: One of the coziest and best-rated backpacker hostels on the island is the Bloom Cafe & Hostel. Guests love the chic ambiance, cleanliness and location!
Best Beaches at Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe has 3 main beaches and a few smaller hidden bays. Since the island is pretty small, you can theoretically get around all the fantastic beaches in one day. Or enjoy a new paradise bay each day. Koh Lipe is not over-crowed, like some says, and you still find enough quiet places to relax. But which beach is the best? Here are the absolute best beaches of Koh Lipe, that should not be missed.
For many visitors, the Karma Beach is the most beautiful beach in Koh Lipe and also, we found this place just breathtaking. Furthermore, there is one of the best viewpoints on the island. Up there you have an incredible view down to the Karma Beach and the impressive sandbank. Also, you will look over to the neighboring islands such as Koh Adang. Those who love snorkeling will find some good spots at the end of the beach! The Karma Beach with its impressive white sandbank is one of the top attractions of the island Koh Lipe and a visit is highly recommended.
Tip: This fantastic view can be found from the viewpoint of the Mountain Resort. While having a cool fruit shake at the restaurant’s terrace, you can marvel at this incredibly beautiful atmosphere.
The Sunrise Beach is probably one of the most popular beaches of Koh Lipe and is well known for its picturesque sunrises. Also, this beach is absolutely heavenly and the place to be at sunrise. The beautiful white sand invites to relax and enjoy the wonderful colors of the turquoise blue sea. At the southern part of the beach you will find some cozy beach bars and great accommodations. For swimming, you should visit the northern part of the beach. That beautiful part of Sunrise Beach is adjacent to Karma Beach and is also suitable for snorkelling.
Tip: The lovely Wapi Resort is a nice little hotel, right on the Sunrise Beach. The location is ideal because from here you can quickly get to the walking street and to the beach.
The Pattaya Beach is the island’s main beach and is located in the southern part of Koh Lipe. The approximately 1.5-kilometer long beach has direct access to the Walking Street and along the long bay there are many cool bars and restaurants. In case you want to swim here, you better choose the lower end of the beach. The upper part is always very busy with transport boats coming and going to the island. Nevertheless, the beach is really nice. Again, here you will find, an absolute Caribbean flair, turquoise blue sea water and white fine sand.
Tip: The Chareena Hill Beach Resort spoils its visitors with incredible views of the entire Pattaya Beach! The beautiful Sanom Beach is also not far away.
Sunset Beach is one of the quieter beaches on Koh Lipe. Here you will hardly find any tourists. Instead, there is really relaxed atmosphere, a handful of cozy bars and some budget accommodations. This beach is also great for snorkelling and the many trees provide cool shade. Many come here only in the late afternoon to experience the Sunset Beach for its famous sunsets.
Sanom Beach is absolutely paradisiacal and is still one of the absolute insider tips on Koh Lipe. In this small bay you will find velvety white sand and beautiful crystal-clear sea. On the beach itself is only one bungalow area and if you stay here, you can call this idyll almost your own. Of course, non-guests can also visit the beach, so don’t miss this jewel on your Koh Lipe itinerary!
Tip: At the bottom of Pattaya Beach, a small wooden walkway leads over to Sanom Beach. Just walking there is an experience that should not be missed on any vacation on Koh Lipe.
Another lovely attraction on Koh Lipe is the small temple on this tiny island. Of course, this one is not comparable to the famous temples of Bangkok, but still this sacred place has something very special about it. A little hidden in the forest, hardly a tourist strays to this mystical place. Actually, a real insider tip! You can reach the Koh Lipe temple by walking from Walking Street towards Sunset Beach.
Excursions and Day Tours
If you have the chance to visit Koh Lipe, then you should definitely book one or two tours to explore the surrounding islands and the Tarutao Marine National Park. Here are the best excursions from Koh Lipe:
Koh Lipe Viewpoint
Do you want to see Koh Lipe from above? Then you should definitely hike up the Koh Lipe Viewpoint located at Koh Adang island. From here you have the best view down to the complete island. Hiking up won’t take you long, there are 3 viewpoints – the first is after 15 minutes. If you are lucky, the friendly island dog will come with you. Koh Adang can be easily reached by Taxi boat from Sunrise Beach. Also, the islands beaches are a dream, great places for snorkelling and swimming.
Diving and Snorkeling
As mentioned above, Koh Lipe is the ultimate divers Mecca in Thailand. The underwater world around Koh Lipe is unique and so even experienced divers can’t stop talking about their amazing dives. Not surprisingly, there are a variety of diving schools, dive centers and snorkeling tour operators. Really popular is the Forra Dive Resort, which is since 1997 the oldest dive center on Koh Lipe!
But also on a snorkeling excursion, you will be amazed by the extremely species-rich and colorful marine world. There are colorful soft corals and small nemos (clown fish) waiting for you to get to discover! Mostly, there are 2 different snorkelling tours offered. Depending on the tour, you will visit Monkey Island (Koh Dong), Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, Koh Hin Ngam and many more!
Another great activity on Koh Lipe is kayaking. With a kayak, you have the opportunity to experience this beautiful island from the sea and take some outstanding pictures. Sporty people circle the island in about 3 hours and at the same time, they have the chance to explore the most beautiful beaches of Koh Lipe. In the various bays you will always find cool beach bars, perfect for a break, and to enjoy the island feeling.
Tip: Kayaks are offered for rent at various hotels and resorts. Taking enough drinking water and sun protection is a must for this trip.
How to get to Koh Lipe
Although the island is located in the south, getting to Koh Lipe is very easy to organize. During the peak season, daily ferries and speed boats operate from Krabi or Koh Lanta via the small islands of Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan and Koh Bulon.
If you have time and are planning to do Island Hopping in Thailand then you should definitely check out this perfect route from Krabi to Koh Lipe.
Alternatively, you can also travel from the mainland. By plane from Bangkok to Hat Yai Airport (1.5 hours), by minivan from the airport to Pakbara Pier and from there by speedboat to Koh Lipe.
Tip: At 12go.asia you can find the exact ferry times and you can buy your transfer ticket and ferry ticket in advance.
Where to Stay at Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe is known not to be the cheapest place in Thailand, but there are some really fantastic hotels on the island for a vacation. Nevertheless, you can still find some cheap hostels, bungalows and resorts. We have put together our accommodation recommendation and hotel tips for Koh Lipe…It’s worth a look!
- Backpacker Hostel: The Bloom Café and Hostel is one of the best hostels on the island. It is located centrally inside the Walking Street and near to all major beaches.
- Bungalow at the Beach: Zodiac Beach Resort is located on Pattaya Beach. Especially nice is the direct beach location and the clean wooden cabins.
- Top Accommodation: The Ten Moons Lipe is located right on the Sunrise Beach of Koh Lipe. Best is the large and intact coral reef just right in front of the hotel; perfect for snorkeling!
- Hotel on a Dream Bay: The Serendipity Beach Resort is a dream hotel on its own small beach. Also the reef is beautiful and wonderful for snorkeling.
Conclusion: Koh Lipe enchants with beautiful beaches, an intact underwater world perfect for snorkeling and diving, velvety sand and turquoise sea colors, which one hardly finds anywhere in Thailand. Although the island is busier than years ago, you will still find very quiet places to relax and enjoy.
Find the best accommodation at Koh Lipe:
More Paradise Islands around Koh Lipe:
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