A Guide to Koh Lipe, Thailand

A Guide to Koh Lipe, Thailand

Koh Lipe is a tiny island in Thailand where there are no cars and it’s socially acceptable to wear no shoes 24/7. I found out about Koh Lipe when I was on tiktok searching "best beaches in Thailand" and as soon as I saw it, I added it to our itinerary. The coast line here is dotted with the most incredible beaches, beach side cafes and hotels; pretty much ANYWHERE you stay on the island will be either on the beach or 2 minutes from the beach. 

Have a look at how beautiful Koh Lipe is on my tiktok here

Best time of year to visit? 

I went to Koh Lipe at the start of January and it was dry and sunny. This is meant to be 'peak season' but because not many people know about Koh Lipe, their version of 'busy' is nothing compared to islands like Phuket and Phi Phi. I would recommend visiting sometime between November - April for consistent weather and calmer seas.

How to get there?:

There is no airport on the island so the only way to reach it is by boat. We made the mistake of going via Phuket which ended up being a 7 hour speed boat ride.  I would say the best way to get here is by flying into Langkawi and then getting a 1 hour ferry from there. You can also get ferries from different islands in Thailand, but keep in mind that Koh Lipe is pretty much as far away as you can get (it is practically Malaysia!)

Book ferries here.

How to get around?

  • By foot - Tourists can’t hire scooters and there are no cars or proper roads on the island. The island is very small so it only really takes 20 minutes to get from one side to the other. There is a street connecting both sides called the 'walking street' which is full of restaurants, cafes and shops. During the day there will be locals riding their scooters through this street as well as people walking, but from 6pm you are only allowed to walk through. When you arrive by boat, the lack of transport can be a bit annoying if you have to drag your suitcase through the sand but if you let your accommodation know when you arrive, they will be able to help you and arrange a 'taxi' for you.
  • By 'taxi' - Some locals have turned their motorbikes into mini taxis that will fit about 2 people and 2 suitcases on it, so you can still use these to get around the island. The only reason we used taxis was when we were feeling lazy and it was too hot to walk!

What is there to see and do?

  • Beaches - the beaches here are unmatched. Crytal clear, dead flat, amazing snorkelling, hermit crabs running around. Usually one side of the island is windy and it swaps day to day, so just head to the quiet side and always have access to calm beaches. You can snorkel, hire SUP boards and canoes.
  • Food - there are so many quirky and beachy restaurants and cafes to pick from. 
    Our favourites:
    • Zodiac bar, the coolest bar right on the beach (a very tiki vibe). Do yourself a favour and google this place! A must visit.
    • Cafe Lipe - we ate here so often. Great food, cheap and right on the beach as well.
    • Sanom beach resort - I am not 100% on what the restaurant was called, but if you head here, there is the cutest cafe perched under the trees on a secluded and tucked away beach.
    • On the rocks restaurant  - click on the link to see the view... enough said 
  • Day trips to Ko Rawi and Koh Adang - hire a long tail boat to take you to the small and uninhabited islands on either side of Koh Lipe. Watch my tiktok here on how incredible it is! 

Where to stay?

We stayed in 2 different places during our stay. 

  • Bella Vista - (located port side) which had everything we needed, cheap, right on the beach, breakfast included. 
  • Irene Resort - this place is what dreams are made of. A bit on the pricier side but it truly is an incredible experience from the moment you check in. Watch my tiktok on it here

Other options that look good:

My tips and favourites:

Which side of the island is better? 

In my opinion, the best beaches and the 'better side' of the island is on the side of Sunrise Beach. Head here and you will be surrounded by water so blue it looks fake, stunning resorts, quirky beach restaurants and bars. You will also have a direct view of Koh Adang here, an island opposite Koh Lipe where you can hire a private long tail boat to take you there. 

A must do while in Koh Lipe?

You must book a private long tail boat to take you over to Ko Ra Wi (the opposite side of the island to Koh Adang). You can book this through any of the tour shops in the Walking street and you will depart from the main port. This was the highlight of our trip. We had no idea what to expect and were absolutely blown away. A short 30 minute boat trip will take you to an uninhabited island that truly looked like it was out of the Avatar movie. We had the entire beach to ourself and spent all the time we wanted swimming, eating and snorkelling. The driver will then take you up the coast where you can ask him to stop where ever you like for snorkelling, beach picnics or swimming; EVERY beach was empty. This cost $75 AUD for half a day. Watch my tiktok on Ko Ra Wi here.

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