Completely updated 2017 Koh Lipe Thailand Guide. How to get to Koh Lipe, ferry schedule, best Lipe hotels, restaurants, beaches, things to do in Koh Lipe, and a Koh Lipe map 100% updated for 2017. We spent 2 weeks on the island in December 2016 to completely update this guide.
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A short video from our last trip in the 2017 season showing some of the best Koh Lipe has to offer. Beautiful sunrises on Sunrise beach, amazing day trips, stunning white sand beaches, and finishing the day with a great sunset on “sunset beach”. After watching this you’ll know why they call this island the Maldives of Thailand! Enjoy planning your trip to Lipe, it is a very special place to us and I hope after your visit you’ll feel the same!
Koh Lipe can be reached year around from Pak Bara, Thailand. In high season boats also run to Langkawi, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and several small islands in the Andaman Sea. We have taken speed boats both from Pak Bara and Langkawi Malaysia. There are many ways to get to Koh Lipe, if your island hopping you can easily tie in Koh Lipe. To book tickets to Koh Lipe from Krabi Town, Ao Nang, Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, or Koh Lanta click here.
There are a few ferries that make a stop at a few islands in the Tarutao National Park as opposed to a direct ferry to Koh Lipe. One of those islands in Koh Khai which has a picture perfect stone arch. These boats add an additional hour or so onto the journey to Koh Lipe. If you want to stop at a few of the islands as before booking if the boat is going directly to Koh Lipe or stopping at Koh Khai.
Pak Bara pier is the only place where you can travel to Koh Lipe at any time of the year. All the other routes are closed during monsoon season due to rough seas. Check the Koh Lipe ferry schedule as during high season additional boats may be running.
Ao Nang/Krabi to Koh Lipe ferry is a shuttle and ferry combination ticket. Take a minivan from Ao Nang/Krabi to Trang, then a ferry to 2-hour ferry to Koh Lipe. To see all ticket options and book online click here.
Koh Lipe is the most Southern island in Thailand, located just 60 km from mainland Thailand lies the island of Koh Lipe. The closest pier is in the town Pak Bara. On a clear day it is even possible to see Koh Lipe from Langkawi Malaysia, which is 30 km away.
While in Koh Lipe, day trips to the surrounding islands are popular and recommend as they are the best way to explore theTarutao National Park. Koh Lipe happens to be part of the Adang Archipelago, which is a cluster of about 10 uninhabited islands in which Koh Lipe is the only inhabited island.
Koh Lipe hotels can be found for all budgets, and all the modern amenities if you wish to have them. It’s however, pricey compared to other destinations in Southeast Asia. Koh Lipe is slightly more challenging to do on a backpacker budget, but can still be done. Like most of Thailand prices fluctuate greatly based on the season, if you’re on a budget it would be best to avoid peak season. Several Koh Lipe hotels peak season rates are double the price of their low season.
Accommodation is available all over the island, but we prefer to stay on Sunrise Beach. Why? It’s the prettiest, biggest, quiet at night, plenty of good restaurants, there are less boats, and you can see the sunrise and the sunset (at the top of the beach). We have spent time on all Koh Lipe beaches and listed below hotels in Koh Lipe we’d stay in suggesting accommodation on all three Koh Lipe beaches.
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Best Value Koh Lipe Accommodation – Salisa Resort
Our go to accommodation on Koh Lipe. We’ve spent over 3 weeks at Salisa Resort. We first stayed here in February 2015 for a week and again in November 2016 for two weeks. Best location and bang for your buck. Great beach, lounge chairs, right next to a Happy Vibe beach bar (no noise at night), 2-minute walk to Walking Street. Breakfast is included and it’s made to order with several choices.
Facilities: AC, hot water, WiFi, tv, beach towels, fridge, restaurant onsite, free breakfast
Best Affordable Koh Lipe Luxury Accommodation – Ten Moons Lipe Resort
If you are looking for luxury look no further. Ten Moons is right on Sunrise Beach, and it has the softest sand in all of Koh Lipe. Located near the end of Sunrise beach, therefore the beach is more private and gets less foot traffic. Approximately only five-minute walk to Walking Street.
Facilities: king size beds, AC, TV/DVD, fridge, sofa bed, wifi, beach towels, private balcony, and breakfast.
Koh Lipe Sunset Beach Hotels
Staying on Sunset Beach you’ll have a quiet secluded hotel with amazing views and the best sunsets on Koh Lipe. A walk into “Town” will take 15 minutes or a quick taxi ride away for only 50baht.
Koh Lipe Pattaya Beach Hotels
The busiest beach on the island has several resorts and affordable budget huts. Pattaya beach is lively night beach bars and great seafood restaurants and is right at the end of Walking Street making it easy to explore the island.
Koh Lipe has 3 main beaches and a handful of smaller beaches, sometimes private beaches. The main street in Koh Lipe is called “Walking Street” but motorbikes & motorbike taxi’s do drive on Walking Street. Since 2013, there are official motorbike taxi’s (with sidecar) that can fit a couple of people for a fixed price 50 baht per person. We fit 3 adults with luggage without a problem. The taxi drivers wear a purple vest you’ll be able to spot them if you’re looking for a ride. It cost 50 baht per person from Pattaya Beach to our hotel Salisa Resort on Sunrise Beach with our luggage.
Most recently everything is connected by concrete roads, and it usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes to walk from Sunrise Beach to Pattaya Beach.
During the night, most roads are lit by streetlights but it’s always a good idea to take a headlamp or use a flashlight app if you go out and explore after dark. We feel safe walking around at night and on the beach in Koh Lipe but always use precaution.
Weekends typically are busy all year on Koh Lipe, as local Thai and Malaysian tourists flock to the island for a weekend getaway. Transport and Koh Lipe hotel reservations are highly recommended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, especially if they fall on a national holiday.
There are 3 main Koh Lipe beaches: Pattaya, Sunrise, and Sunset. There are several small private beaches as well. Hands down our favorite beach is Sunrise beach. Sunrise is the only beach we will stay at when visiting Koh Lipe.
Pattaya beach is Koh Lipe’s main beach, it’s location is a large sheltered bay with really soft powder sand and crystal-clear blue water. In high season, all Koh Lipe ferry boats arrive on Pattaya Beach. Immigration and Police offices are located closest to Pattaya Beach. Up and down Pattaya Beach you will find dozens of accommodation from beach bungalows to luxury resorts, restaurants, and beach bars. You can access Walking Street right from Pattaya Beach, and Sunrise & Sunset Beach are only a 15-minute walk away. If you’re looking for a quiet beach, Pattaya isn’t the beach for you. Due to the boats & late night bars, it can be loud. We personally wouldn’t stay on Pattaya Beach due to noise, we much prefer Sunrise Beach.
Sunrise Beach stretches the entire eastern side of Koh Lipe, it is the perfect beach to go on long walks. Sunrise Beach is our favorite beach, it has very little boat traffic. Therefore giving you space to go out for a swim or a snorkel. Best beach for relaxing in peace all day in the sand, going into the ocean for a dip, and yet only a five-minute walk to Walking Street and you’re in “town.” Sunrise Beach also gets an amazing breeze all day & night, that breeze is much needed on hot days or nights if you’re in a room without air conditioning.
Hotels are much more spread out on Sunrise Beach compared to Pattaya Beach, there are several restaurants and a few beach bars that mainly operate during the day. If you looking for beach bars at night with fire throwing etc that would be on Pattaya Beach. Most of the high-end hotels & Koh Lipe resorts are located on Sunrise Beach, even though there are still several budget options available. If you’re lucky, it’s even possible to see Koh Tarutao and Langkawi (Malaysia) on a perfectly clear sunny day.
Sunset Beach is the smallest of the 3 main beaches on Koh Lipe, as its name suggests you will get great nightly sunsets. If you are looking for more of a quiet secluded beach location Sunset Beach is for you. There are a few very chill restaurants & bars. Sunset beach is about a 15-minute walk into “town.”
Don’t head to TripAdvisor looking for the best restaurants, the list is wrong. We found that the bigger restaurants with more marketing budgets have an advantage. We have spent over 4 weeks eating at as many restaurants in Koh Lipe as possible. Here is our top 10 restaurants in Koh Lipe.
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Sunrise Beach Restaurant
Hands down our favorite restaurant on the island and in the world. The restaurant is right on Sunrise beach, the best Thai food with your toes in the sand looking out to the turquoise water. The best thing on the menu is chicken Penang curry (90 baht). Meals are 70-120 baht.
On The Rocks
Great lunch spot set up on the rocks looking out to the ocean. It’s more affordable than you’d imagine considering it’s in one of the most expensive hotels on the island Serendipity. They have curry, pizza, seafood, steak, sandwiches, etc. The best part is beers 65 baht, cheaper than any of the beach bars. Located at the end of Sunrise Beach next to Ten Moons Lipe resort.
There are several Indian restaurants in Koh Lipe but Royal Indian is the real deal. Get the garlic naan and chicken tikka masala and you won’t be disappointed. It’s located not far from the Harmony hotel but on the opposite side of the street. PRICE
Good Mexican food is hard to find in Asia and Aroy Mexican is a rare gem. They have tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc. Their most popular item is their combo platter for two people which comes with for 400 baht.
One of our go-to lunch spots and it’s right next to the popular Happy Vibes beach bar on Sunrise Beach. Salsa has really good mango shakes 100% fruit 90 baht. Their spring rolls are the best on the island. Meals 70-120 baht.
La Luna Italian
Fresh pizza and handmade pasta is their specialty. We highly recommend the La Luna pizza and gnocchi with pesto. They also have good affordable wine. Mains 200-350baht. Located just off of Walking Street on Moo 7.
Known for her smoothies and pancakes this cute old gramma will be yelling “Yaa Hoo pancake pancake pancake”. She still runs her food cart but opened up a super affordable restaurant with large menu. Mains 80-140 and shakes 40-70. Beer is as cheap as the connivence stores. Located on Walking Street. Mains
The best bar on Walking Street also has a huge burger for only $$baht or they have a backpacker special 100baht for a set Thai menu. Free peanuts at the bar, beers are reasonably priced 70 small Chang. Located on Walking Street.
Seafood BBQ where you pick fresh seafood or meats and pay by weight, pick how you want it cooked, pick your glaze/seasoning, and add some sides like baked potatoes or rice. The size of the prawns available are out of this world. Pictured above are prawns that were 1,000 baht a kilo. There are several seafood BBQ restaurants on Walking Street and on the beach. Prices vary but typically 200-500 person. Rak Lay is on Walking Street.
This is the #1 restaurant, but it’s just okay. The most popular things on the menu are their burgers and pizza. This is just an average burger, nothing to rave about. If you don’t have many days in Thailand I wouldn’t waste my time eating here and instead indulge in some authentic Thai. If you’ve been traveling around Asia and craving a burger than give it a go. It’s super expensive for what it is, 400 baht for a burger and fries. Located on Walking Street.
Koh Lipe has a great selection of chill beach bars and a handful of bars open late into the night. If you are looking for a beach day with umbrella drinks head on over to one of the beach bars and get to day drinking! Koh Lipe is not your party island, it is nothing like it’s Phi Phi or Koh Phangan which are party island central!
The drinks on Koh Lipe are much more expensive if you are coming from Bangkok or Chiang Mai. A small Singha/Leo at a Happy Vibes beach bar or Sea La Vie Beach Bar is 100 baht ($3), at restaurants/bars in town for a small beer 60-90 baht or 110+ for a large beer. Mixed drinks and cocktails range from 160-250 baht ($5-8), where as in Chiang Mai a large beer is 80 baht.
Happy Vibe Bar located on Sunrise beach right in front of Salisa Resort. Happy Vibe Bar has beach chairs & loungers available for customers, they play great music and have a DJ on certain days of the week. Really good umbrella drinks for 200 baht ($6.50), beers are 100 baht, shakes for 100 baht BYOB booze to add in to save a little money.
Ten Moons Lipe Resort on Sunrise beach has buy 1 get one half off set cocktails from 4pm-6pm daily. Not only is Ten Moons resort located on the best part of Sunrise beach but their happy hour rocks. 300 baht ($8) for two strawberry daiquiris is unheard of on Koh Lipe. We didn’t eat here but the menu was very reasonably considering it is a 5-star resort.
Cocktail Bar on Walking Street, all cocktails are 100 baht and beers for 80 baht. UPDATE CLOSED AS OF NOV 2016 There are only a few wooden stools out front so come early or get your drink to go. They have a large selection of drinks like: caipirinha, mojitos, sex on the beach, etc. They are open 6p.m.-1a.m.
Like I mentioned above Koh Lipe is not a party island. Only a handful of bars are open past 11p.m. and all of which close around 1a.m. Your best options are Corner Bar & Rainforest which are on Walking Street, Peace & Love Bar or Reggae Bar on Pattaya Beach, Happy Vibe Bar on Sunrise Beach, and Boom Boom Bar on Sunset Beach.
The cheapest place to buy liquor or beer isn’t at 7 eleven, many of the mom and pop shops are much cheaper. Liquor is only is “legally” for sale 11am-2pm, and 5pm-12am 7 eleven enforces this liquor law.
Two of the most popular day trips from Koh Lipe are Program 1 and Program 2. You can also hire a private longtail boat for the day to take you wherever you would like to go. We rented a private longtail in December 2016 right from the taxi boat shack on Sunrise Beach. The prices they offered were fair we didn’t negotiate 1500 baht for private program 1 and 2000 baht for private program 2. When hiring the private boat we were able to leave a little later than the group trips, therefore when arrived at the first stop most boats were leaving. When hiring a private longtail boat make sure to rent a mask & snorkel.
Day Trip Program 1
Day Trip Program 2:
Whether you are dive certified or not, diving if you have time you should go diving in Koh Lipe. There are several dive shops around Koh Lipe. We checked out several shops, not only looking at their prices but their knowledge of where they were going out the next day and what I could expect to see, ask questions about their equipment, and see what times they will be back. The most popular dive shops in Koh Lipe are: Castaway Resort Dive shop, Adang Sea divers, and Satun dive shop. We dove with B.K. Dive Resort and Adang Sea Divers, and highly recommend Adang Sea divers.
If you love snorkeling you will be head over heels with diving. What better place in the world to do your first dive than diving in Koh Lipe? Discovery dives are for those wanting to try out diving under the closer supervision of a dive instructor. During a discovery dive, you will learn some of the basic scuba concepts, practice scuba skills in swallow water and then off to explore the underwater life. I would suggest at least a 2-tank dive, as your first tank will go fast as you are adjusting to diving and getting your breathing under control.
2017 Prices for Adang Sea Divers
Enjoy sunset- Koh Lipe has some of the most spectacular sunsets we’ve ever seen. Don’t take it for granted. Every night is another great sunset, grab a blanket & beer and make your way over to Sunset Beach or the end of Sunrise Beach and catch the free show. There is this great little beach bar that has 60 baht Chang beers and 100 baht mojitos. We’ve had mojitos in Trinidad Cuba and know a good mojito from a bad one, these ones are pretty tasty!
Hike to the Koh Adang Viewpoint – For the best view of Koh Lipe you’ll have to take a longtail boat over to Koh Adang, boats cost 100 baht per person and can be arranged at the taxi boat stands on Sunrise Beach. It is possible to also kayak from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang. Once on Koh Adang stop in the rangers office to look at the island map to located the start of the hike. There are 3 viewpoints, with the third being the best. It will take about 45 minutes to an hour to make it all the way to the third viewpoint. Make sure to bring enough water, there is a restaurant on Koh Adang just before the trail starts with large bottles of water for 30 baht.
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Soak in some rays and get a tan- That’s what Koh Lipe is for! You’re on one of the best beaches in the world take advantage of the weather! Cool off in the water, just go for a swim and float around. Just don’t forget the sunscreen, the sun is no joke in Koh Lipe.
Get lost- Well you technically can’t get lost on Koh Lipe because it’s only 2km long and 1km wide. The best way to explore Koh Lipe is just walking, follow the road see where it goes. This is the best way to find the beach that is right for you and stumble upon some local restaurants & bars.
Rent a kayak – Rent a kayak for a few hours or the whole day. There are several other small islands right in front of Sunrise Beach that can be accessed within 10 minutes, and some gorgeous beaches to relax on. Kayaks are as cheap as 300 baht a day or 150 an hour. Most hotels have them for rent, our resort Salisa Resort had them as well as Sunrise Beach Restaurant.
Get a beach massage– Right next to our there were beach massage ladies. All throughout Koh Lipe prices were 300 baht an hour for Thai massage/Foot massage, 400 baht for an oil massage, and 500 baht for aloe massage. I suggest getting a Thai massage your first day on Koh Lipe as you shouldn’t be sunburnt YET. Trust me you wouldn’t want a Thai massage with a sunburn. If you happen to get to much sun make sure to get an after sun aloe massage to help heal the sunburn and provide a cooling effect. Beach massage places usually close after sunset, but in town on Walking Street most massage places are open until 11p.m. Massage prices are pretty fixed throughout the island, but in town a few places maybe 50 baht cheaper.
We just returned from Koh Lipe during peak season, we spent 5 nights of fun in the sun. Let’s go through an average cost for a day on Koh Lipe for 2 adults. The prices are much higher compared to Chiang Mai where we currently are living.
Looking to visit Koh Lipe on a budget? Make sure to check out our blog post “Koh Lipe, Thailand on a Budget- $30 a day” – Budget guide here