Koh Lipe is one of Thailand's most popular vacation destinations, but is it worth the hype? We've been to Koh Lipe several times and have found that it does live up to its reputation as the Maldives of Thailand with its soft powdery white sand and coral reefs but a lot of things happened since our last visit 10 years ago. There is a street on the Island nowadays and there are motorbikes and so much more hotels than since our last visit, so is it still worth a visit?
We think it definitely is yes but it can be packed during national holidays like Songkran or new year and Christmas and Chinese new year but if you avoid those days it's still as beautiful as 10 years ago.
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 are especially the magnificent underwater world, which you can marvel at while snorkeling and diving.
What makes Koh Lipe unique in Thailand is certainly the breathtaking beaches. Especially the turquoise blue sea colors and the powder sugar soft snow white sand have 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.
Here are some of our favorite things to do at Koh Lipe and where to stay and the best way to travel to the small Island in Thailand
How to get to Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe, the small island pearl in Thailand’s Andaman Sea, is one of the most impressive travel destinations in the country. The many dream beaches and an intact underwater world amaze tourists from all over the world. Due to its location in the very south, close to the Malaysian border, getting to Koh Lipe takes a bit longer and is maybe not as easy as getting to other holiday islands in Thailand. But how to get to Koh Lipe?
The best way to get from Bangkok to Koh Lipe is to book a domestic flight to Trang or Hat Yai. The flight takes around 1.5 hours, and getting to both airports is usually a real bargain. Consider: the earlier you book your flights in Thailand, the cheaper the ticket. The flight then typically costs around 25 to 50 euros.
Tip: The best way to find cheap flights is online, for example on WayAway
Then you must catch a minibus and continue to Pakbara Pier in Satun. From both airports (Hat Yai and Trang) the journey will take around 1.5 hours. Tickets for the minibus are available on-site at the airport, but can of course also be booked online in advance at 12Go. which is everywhere accepted in Thailand
Once you arrive at Pakbara Pier, the journey to Koh Lipe continuously by speedboat. In the main season (approx. Nov-May) the crossing to the island takes place 4 times a day at 9.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 1.30 p.m., and 3.30 p.m. Again, 1.5 – 2 hours driving time by boat should be planned.
Tip: You can easily organize your journey on 12go.Asia.
From Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe
Since Koh Lipe is located in the Andaman Sea, holiday regions such as Krabi, Phuket, and also Koh Lanta are well situated to easily get to the desired island.
The longest journey is from Phuket to Koh Lipe. If you want to take the speedboat or speedboat ferry, you should plan a trip of around 7 hours.
But also the journey from the mainland of Krabi to Koh Lipe is easy to organize. First, you take the minibus from Krabi to Pakbara Pier in Satun and then continue the journey by speedboat to the island. You can expect around 4.5 – 6 hours for the entire trip.
Another popular island that can be a good starting point to get to Koh Lipe is the beautiful island of Koh Lanta. With the speedboat, you can reach Koh Lipe in just 3 hours!
The journey from one island to the other is easy to organize online or on-site. The exact times, tickets, and prices can be found on 12Go.Asia.
How to get Tickets
As already mentioned, cheap airline tickets should be booked as soon as possible. Domestic flights, such as those from Bangkok to Hat Yai or Bangkok to Trang can be found on flight search engines online.
There is a wide range of transfer options as well as combination tickets (ferry, train, flight, minibus, etc.) for all of Thailand on 12GO.Asia. The reviews will help you choose a good company. In addition, you can also find the exact departure times, the duration of the trip, and how much getting to Koh Lipe costs.
Best Things to Do on Koh Lipe
During a holiday on Koh Lipe, in addition to the wonderful beaches like the amazing Sunrise Beach, a fantastic underwater world awaits you.
Around the island are beautiful coral reefs that are perfect for snorkeling and diving. The colorful underwater world makes the island an ultimate diving mecca in Thailand. In the evening, you can have fun on the lively Koh Lipe Walking Street where there are numerous restaurants, shops, and bars.
Koh Lipe is the perfect island to spend your vacation on. It has great beaches, but it also has plenty to do. You can walk along the beach at low tide, go snorkeling or scuba diving, and enjoy some Thai food with your friends or family.
If you're looking for something different than just relaxing in paradise then check out this list of activities:
Kayaking - There are several types of kayaks available at local shops. They come with lifejackets so don't worry about getting wet either :)
Snorkeling - This was my favorite activity because you can just walk out of your bungalow and jump into the ocean and can see many coral and sea life. You can go snorkeling in any area of the island, but I recommend going on a tour with an instructor because they know all the good spots. Our tour guide took us out on a Longtail boat which had plenty of room for our group of 6 people. He first showed us some coral reefs that were beautiful in color and then took us to an area where there were a lot of fish swimming around!
One of the most popular activities on the island is the 7 Island tour, which takes you on a boat ride to explore some of the most breathtaking islands and snorkeling spots in the area. The tour starts early in the morning, and you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the pier. From there, you will board a longtail boat and set out on your adventure. The first stop on the tour is Koh Hin Ngam, also known as the "Beautiful Stone Island." This island is famous for its smooth black stones that cover the entire beach. It's a perfect place to take some Instagram-worthy photos
The next stop is Koh Rawi, a secluded island with pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Here, you can relax on the beach, take a swim in the sea, or snorkel around the island's vibrant coral reefs. After Koh Rawi, you will head to Koh Adang, a beautiful island that is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park. This island is known for its stunning views of the surrounding islands and its lush greenery. You can take a short hike up to the viewpoint to get a panoramic view of the area.
The fourth stop is Koh Yang, a small island with an excellent snorkeling spot. Here, you can swim with colorful fishes and explore the island's unique underwater world.
The fifth stop is Koh Hin Son, also known as the "Magic Island." This island is famous for its mysterious rock formations that resemble human faces and animals. The local guide will tell you the stories behind these formations, and you can explore the island's beaches and take in the unique scenery.
Next, you will head to Koh Kra, a small island with a beautiful beach and coral reefs. You can snorkel around the island's vibrant coral gardens and swim with the fish.
The last stop on the tour is Koh Usen, a small island with an incredible snorkeling spot. This island is known for its crystal clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and abundance of marine life.
After Koh Usen, you will head back to Koh Lipe, where the tour will end. The 7 Island tour is a must-do activity when visiting Koh Lipe, and it's an excellent way to explore the surrounding islands and discover the natural beauty of the area.
One of the best things to do in Koh Lipe is scuba diving and exploring the magnificent underwater world. The island is surrounded by a coral reef that extends for miles and contains thousands of fish species. The best way to experience this marine wonderland is through either scuba diving or snorkeling. You can easily book with Viator as in that way you are sure you get your money back if something happens and you have to cancel
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. Koh Adang can be easily reached by Taxi boat from Sunrise Beach. Also, the island's beaches are a dream, great places for snorkeling and swimming.
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 parlors, hostels, and much more. Also, if you are looking for an ATM and for currency exchange, you will find plenty of them inside Walking Street. During the day, there is not much going on. But after sunset, Koh Lipe Walking Street is the place to enjoy the nightlife. By the way, the entrance to the walking street is at Pattaya Beach and it almost leads down to Sunset Beach.
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 overcrowded like some say, 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.
North Point Beach Koh Lipe
For many visitors, North Point Beach is the most beautiful beach in Koh Lipe, and 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 North Point 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! North Point Beach with its impressive white sandbank is one of the top attractions of the island of 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.
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 a place to be at sunrise between 06:30 and 07:30 you will see also the monks collecting food passing by as you see in the photo.. The beautiful white sand invites you 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 North Beach and suitable for snorkeling.
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.
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 a beautiful crystal-clear ocean. 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 at Koh Lipe.
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 snorkeling and the many trees provide cool shade. Many come here only in the late afternoon to experience Sunset Beach for its famous sunsets.
Where to Stay at Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe has a stunning selection of beautiful beach bungalows, luxury accommodations, and cheap backpacker hostels. If you are not sure which hotel to book yet, we have put together a few accommodation tips for Koh Lipe.
Hostel: The Bloom Café and Hostel is one of the best and cheapest hostels on the island. It is centrally located on Walking Street, and all the island’s beaches can be reached by a short walk.
Beach Bungalow: The Lipe Graden beach resort is located at Pattaya Beach and amazes the direct beach location and clean wooden huts.
The resort has beachfront luxury rooms with sea views and in the garden, you find bungalows with aircon and fan bungalows, all brand new and very cleanly designed.
Eco resort Castaway resort Koh Lipe is the only Eco resort on the Island and was also one of the first hotels here. We visited this place 10 years ago and during our recent trip and everything is just the same. Great bungalows beautiful views, a lovely restaurant with sea views. The resort doesn't use Aircon and they don't use plastic which is absolutely great if you care about the oceans as most plastic we use will end up in the oceans.
Luxury Hotel: The Ten Moons Lipe is located directly at the sunrise beach of Koh Lipe and the large and intact coral reef, right in front of the hotel, provides you with the opportunity of snorkeling. The perfect hotel for a very special vacation!
Luxury Hotel Bulow Casa Grand View Resort & Spa This resort is located at the North Beach and you just walk out of your bungalow to the most amazing beach at Koh Lipe with a huge sandbank
Luxury Resort Serendipity Beach Resort Koh Lipe Serendipity Resort, situated gracefully on Koh Lipe, Satun, Thailand, is a gem for your perfect getaway with serenity, privacy, and comfort that fulfill every purpose of your stay. Overlooking the azure water of the crystal clear Andaman Sea, Serendipity Resort isn’t only a place to fill your relaxing day with a glittering wave but also a place to color any kind of special day with your special one. The secluded beach is embraced by wooden chalets and ocean-facing private pool villas promising a relaxing yet pleasurable stay
Here are some resources to help you get your trip going:
Travel Essentials What's in my bag: To help you get started on packing, here are my essential travel and photography gear
Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
Car Rental: DiscoverCars.com is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.
Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.
Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions
Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency
Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.