7 Reasons Koh Lipe is Thailand's Most Dreamy Island Destination
Being Thailand's Southern most Island, Koh Lipe is often left out of the well worn backpacker trail.
It may be small, a little bit more expensive to get to, and reaching it requires a farther distance to travel, but it is a once in a lifetime bucket list destination that you will never forget.
Koh Lipe is nestled in Thailand's southern most province of Satun. Bobbling in the Southern Andaman sea, Lipe borders an Asean Heritage protected national park called Tarutao. The marine life here is some of the most spectacular and unique in all of Asia, making Lipe a scuba and snorkeler's paradise.
Don't let the underwater marvels that mark this uniquely distinct destination trick you; what is on the shore is just as remarkable.
With pristine white powder sands and unicorn blue waters, it's easy to see why they call it the Maldives of Thailand.
Without further ado:
7 reasons Koh Lipe is Thailand's most Dreamy Island Destination
1. Pattaya Beach
As your boat travels through the Andaman sea, drawing closer and closer to Lipe, you will feel your jaw become more and more unhinged, and I guarantee by the time you reach Pattaya it will be scraping the bottom of the boat's floor. Your eyes will expand and contract, expand and contract, thoughts will race through your mind, "is this Heaven?" you will ask yourself. It is then you will know you have reached Pattaya Beach.
Arriving to Koh Lipe is different than other busier Thai Islands -- there is no well-worn wharf and ferry dock welcoming you in to the island's shore; no busy pier with large boats coming and going. There is instead a small, humble landing dock set 100m off shore where you will be dropped with your things. Here you will be greeted by longboat water taxis who, for a small fee of 50 baht, will take you from your transport boat to shore. Be advised that although there is conflicting information on whether Lipe is technically a part of the Tarutao National park, you will be charged a park entrance fee of 200 baht upon arrival. 200 baht is well worth the natural beauty and chill vibe of this gorgeous island.
The small bay of Pattaya will curve its welcome mat around your shoulders, drawing you in with its natural beauty surrounding and welcoming you to the fantasy land that is this destination.
2. Sunrise Beach
If soiling your pants isn't your thing, you may want to reconsider stopping on Sunrise Beach. A long sweep of glowing brilliant white sand, dripping into turquoise water so clear its glass-like in nature, Sunrise Beach really is soil-yourself-stunning.
The classic Thai longboats line up on its shore, and numerous, more pricey eateries and accommodations are sprawled throughout its beautiful sand. Seriously, make sure you pack polarized lenses for this visit. The sand here is so white that on a typical, high season, cloudless sky day, the sand resembles snow -- minus all the cold and wetness of the other white stuff (hallelujah).
3. Snorkeling Lipe
No trip to Lipe is complete without jumping in that crystal water with a set of goggles. 25% of the world's tropical fish varieties call the reefs around Lipe's shore home, making this one of the best snorkeling locations in South East Asia.
On Pattaya Beach there is a roped off section for snorkeling, but on Sunrise Beach be mindful of where the boats are coming and going and how deep you end up drifting. The beach below the Mountain Resort is often secluded and has rocky outcroppings -- an awesome spot to get close up to all of the colourful fish in the sea.
4. A Walking Score of 100
I imagine Lipe's cozy walking street to be reminiscent of Koh Phi Phi 15 years ago, (I would say 10, but I visited around then and again more recently and it was tres loco and packed both times). It is not by any means a sleepy hollow here on Lipe, but it's not shoulder-to-shoulder crammed in with Spring Breaker types spilling their buckets on your sandals and shoving you as they run squealing by * I may or may not have been this certain person at one point in time.* It's a low key, chill crowd found here with a more relaxed nightlife than some of its northern neighbours.
No cars are used on the island, and walking its parameter is totally more than doable. There are transport carts/motorbikes available for hire that can take you from one corner of the island to the next, but with its small size of about 3.5 km long and 2.5 km wide, it is easy to get anywhere you want to go by foot.
5. Sunset Beach
By this point I am sure you are sensing a theme here: Koh Lipe is a beach lover's dream destination, with curve of white sand after curve of white sand. Sunset Beach is located on the the west side of Lipe, accessible by a roadway that runs east/west across the north central area of the island.
It is one of the island's quieter beaches to relax and watch the sun go down. There is a campsite here if that's your thing, and a small eatery where you can enjoy fresh Thai eats and a cold Singha.
6. Amazing Food
I know it is sacrilege to eat and recommend cuisines outside of the country you are visiting, for example recommending a pizza place in Lipe would be balls backwards...but I am going to do it anyway *sorry not sorry*. There is an Italian community on Lipe, and they do in fact have stunning pizza fresh from wood fire ovens served with Chianti by a charming Tuscan girl at La Luna Pizzeria. It was nice to enjoy a decent bottle of wine and some thin crust pizza-- totally delicious and chill after the strenuous activities of hitting the beach all day.
The prominent Indian population in this area of Thailand also makes for some of the most delicious Indian food I have tasted in my lifetime, but forgive me as a trip to India hasn't happened yet.
I ran my butt over to Bombay restaurant Koh Lipe spot for breakfast lunch and dinner for fresh raita, naan, and southern Indian style curry numerous times. I could not. Get. Enough.
Fresh seafood is also a big thing on Lipe-take a stroll down the walking street and fresh shell fish nearly nips you as you walk on by.
7. The View From Mountain Resort
Order yourself a double -- you're going to be here awhile.
This may very well be the crown jewel in taking in the beauty of Lipe. The resort patio I can't say much about, but the view...well the view is truly something else. This is somewhere you may find yourself everyday while on Lipe, so staying here is not the worst plan for easy access.
You know those cheesy signs your mom has in her bathroom "Life is not measured by the amount of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away" well time to call in the cliches, 'cause this shiz is fo' real and it's here on Lipe.
The view spans across the sparkling bright blue sea to the smaller islands across and over to the beach below. The sand shimmers against the soft shore, and the lush tropical surroundings pull you in.
getting to koh lipe
Hat Yai is the nearest mainland airport to Lipe. Many Thai Airlines service Hat Yai airport with non stop daily trips from Bangkok. From there you can travel by minivan or taxi to Pak Bara. From here you can catch the 70 km, (43.5 miles), ferry to Lipe.
Daily speed boats also make the trip from Koh Lanta, reaching Lipe in around 5 hours dock to dock.
For more information about getting to Lipe, check out Koh Lipe.Net here.
Sending friends -- new and old -- to remarkable destinations is our thing. If you go to Lipe please share your thoughts!