Ko Lipe is the most southern island of Thailand, located near the border of Malaysia. Ko Lipe is most often described as a paradise island, I totally agree! It’s one of the most beautiful island of Thailand. It’s a little bit harder to reach than for example Ko Phi Phi or Ko Lanta but if you have the time then Ko Lipe is worth the journey!
Few things you should know about Ko Lipe
1. If you’re an animal lover this island is for you! There are so many dogs and cats on Ko Lipe and they’re all super sweet and well taken care of by the locals.
The WiFi on the island is really bad, so if you’re looking for a place to work and relax at the same time, Ko Lipe is not for you.
2. To actually get to Ko Lipe you’ll need to pay 200 Baht. The island is part of a national park which include Koh Adang and several other surrounding islands. The ticket is valid for 5 days. In front of Sunrise Beach there is a platform where the speedboat takes you. You’ll pay for the NP, get the ticket (make sure to keep it save if you’re planning to go to the other islands) and off you go to Sunrise Beach, Ko Lipe!
3. The island is getting more popular every year. If you’re looking for an island with less tourists then Koh Mook for example might be a better option!
4. Ko Lipe is more expensive than other islands, I’m guessing because it’s harder to reach. It’s the most expensive island in Thailand I’ve been to, so if you’re planning a trip to Ko Lipe this is something to keep in mind!
Things to do on Ko Lipe
Ko Lipe is not a big island, you’ll only need 3 days to see everyting but I would suggest to stay 5-6 days if you also want time to relax.
There are a few beaches on the island: Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach. The names will give away a few clues as to where the best places are for the sunrise and the sunset. Pattaya Beach is located at the end of the main street called the Walking Street. On this street you’ll find a lot of restaurants, bars and hotels.
There aren’t many excursions available on the island, just a handful of snorkeling and diving trips. Every touroperator offers the same kind of tours. The cheapest one is 550 Baht, takes about 5,5 hours and you’ll visit 5 places. The second option is 650 Baht, takes about 6 hours and you’ll visit 6 island. These two are the most popular tours. There is also a Plankton and Sunset trip (about 1400 Baht), which includes a BBQ and snorkeling after dark!
Another possible (half) day trip is taking a longtailboat to Koh Adang and visit the viewpoints. You can rent a longtailboat for 100 baht (each way). Go to Sunrise Beach and ask to be taken to Koh Adang to see the viewpoints, the guys from the rental service will know! To get to the viewpoints is not the easiest task, the path is in some places like a jungle and it takes about 30-45 minutes to reach the first viewpoint. After that the second viewpoint is not hard to reach and you’ll have great views on Ko Lipe from this viewpoint. There is also a third viewpoint a little bit higher up the mountain if you like to continue the walk.
Eating & Drinking
As I mentioned before the Walking Street is the best place to go to if you’re looking for food and drinks. There are 2 grocery store, one of which is a 7-11.
Bloom Bar: Nice little cafe with good coffee, shakes and food. The WiFi here is one of the best on the island, still not that great compared to the mainland but better than some other places on Ko Lipe. There are a few really sweet cats who made this cafe their home, so if you’re a cat fan take a peek here.
Elephant Coffe House & Bar: Little bit more expensive but they offer mostly western food if you’re craving that.
Mme Yoohoo: For the more traditional Thai food and tastful fruit shakes Mme Yoohoo is one of the best on the island. The place looks run down with plastic chairs and tables but the food is excellent and the shakes are one of the cheapest on the island. It’s kind of hard not to find Mme Yoohoo: if you’re walking through the Walking Street you’ll hear an old woman saying “yoohoo, yoohoo”, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
King Crab: One of the bigger restaurants on the Walking Street. They serve only Thai food here but even for people who are not keen on really spicy food this is a good place to order dinner.
Phi Phi Bakery: Small bakery with homemade bread! Good place to get breakfast, they open at 7.00.
Cafe Lipe: this cafe/restaurant is right on Pattaya Beach very close to the Walking Street. They have good shakes and food (mostly Thai food though). This cafe is a nice place to relax.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get to Ko Lipe is to fly to Hat Yai, take a bus to the pier and then the speedboat to the island. From the airport to Ko Lipe is about 4,5 hours (1,5 hours to the pier and 3 hours by boat). AirAsia and NokAir have combi tickets available if you fly from Chiang Mai or Bangkok. Included in the price is the flight, the bus to the pier and the boat!
There is a ferry between the Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta and Ko Lipe but only during high season. If you’re planning on going to Ko Lipe during low season keep in mind that the only means of transportation is a speed boat.
If you only have a few days left in Thailand and you’d like to visit an island then Ko Lipe might not be the best choice. The trip to the island is long and rather difficult, especially the boat journey is a pain in the ass. For me it took a lot of patience, instead of a 2-hour boat trip (from the mainland) it turned out to be a 3,5-hour boat trip and all this by speedboat which is not the most comfortable way of traveling.