10 Things You Should Know About Ko Lipe
You must have read so many stories about this place, Ko Lipe. Some websites suggest that it is considered as the “Maldives of Thailand” while some suggest this is the most beautiful island in Thailand.
So how much do you know about Ko Lipe (Ko or Koh means island)?
1. Ko Lipe is in Southern Thailand
Ko Lipe is not located near Bangkok or Phuket or Koh Samui. Ko Lipe is located in Southern Thailand in the province of Satun. Satun is located at the border of Malaysia northern state Perlis but the island is near Langkawi Island of Kedah, Malaysia.
Ko Lipe is a small island in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago of the Andaman Sea bordering Tarutao National Marine Park. It is south of Ko Adang and Ko Rawi.
Many describe the island as small but it will take more than hour to venture the whole island. The original settlers are called “Chao Ley” or sea gypsies and yes, they are still around.
2. Going to Ko Lipe
There are few ways to travel to Ko Lipe but the easiest is via speed boat from Pak Bara, Satun and Langkawi Island, Malaysia. You can also travel from Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, and Trang.
From Kuala Lumpur, you can fly to Hatyai and take a van to Pak Bara Pier and take a speedboat to Ko Lipe or fly to Langkawi and take a speed boat from Telaga Harbour. However, you can only travel from Langkawi during peak season which is November to May.
The speedboat travel time is around one and half hour depending on tour companies for both destinations. Most of the speedboats will stop at Pattaya Beach of Ko Lipe.
You can discover more of Thailand if you travel from Hatyai and you can stay one night in Pak Bara in Satun. The seafood in Pak Bara is fresh and cheap.
3. Ko Lipe Immigration Counter
How do you stamp your passport when you travel from Langkawi? Don’t worry as Ko Lipe has a dedicated Immigration Counter for travellers from Langkawi in Pattaya Beach.
You just have to check in and check out at the Immigration Counter before taking the speedboat to Langkawi. Your tour guide should guide you on this.
4. Ko Lipe Police Station and Hospital
Even though Ko Lipe is a small island but it is very safe. To make it safer, there is a police station on the island. The police station is located behind the immigration counter at Pattaya Beach.
I never heard about any safety issues in Ko Lipe but with the police around, it makes it safer. You have no problem walking around the island from day till night.
There is a small hospital at the Sunrise Beach as I was told but I never been there. That makes it safer for the locals and tourists in case of accident or emergency.
5. Seasonal Time in Ko Lipe, Peak and Low Season.
If you plan to travel to Ko Lipe, please mark your calendar properly as there is seasonal time. The high season or peak season is from November to May. The super peak should be from December to February. During the peak season, you can take ferry or speed boat from all the available destinations such as Pak Bara, Langkawi, Phi Phi, Ko Lanta and Trang.
The Low Season is from May to October and you can only get to the island via speedboat from Pak Bara. Why is it called the Low Season?
From May to October, it usually rains with strong winds. It is tropical climate monsoon so it can rain for days or just certain time of the day. It all depends on Mother Nature but the likelihood of rain with strong winds is higher.
During the peak season, the island is packed with tourists and the hotel rates are higher. It is even higher during the super peak season.
During the low season, the island is quiet and the hotel rates are lower. Like I mentioned, rain or no rain it depends on luck and Mother Nature so please plan your trip to Ko Lipe wisely.
6. Ko Lipe Three Main Beaches
Even though Ko Lipe is not that big, there are three main beaches (minus the other small private beaches). They are Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach (Hat Chao Ley) and Sunset Beach (Hat Pramong). All the beaches are filled with hotels and resorts.
This is Ko Lipe’s main beach and most boats will stop here. It is a white sandy beach with powerdy sand, clear blue water and you can find many people sunbathing here in the afternoon and also many tourists coming in and out.
As I mentioned earlier, the Immigration and Police Station is located at this beach near the Southern End. It is also near the Walking Street.
Sunrise Beach or Hat Chao Ley
This beach covers the entire Eastern side of Koh Lipe. You can probably spot Ko Tarutao during a clear day but I was told that you can spot Langkawi Island from this beach, that I am not sure.
There are very prominent two small islands at this side of the beach, Koh Kra and Koh Usen. Thus, the school, the hospital and the Chao Ley village is located here.
Why is it called the sunrise beach? You get the best sunrise view on the island here. For the best time please ask your tour guide or the hotel front desk.
Sunset Beach or Hat Pramong
The Sunset beach is a small bay located at the Western side of the island. I never been to this beach but it is more laid back and more green.
You get the best sunset view on the island at Sunset Beach.
7. Chao Ley Fishing Village & Murals
Chao Ley or the sea gypsies are still living on the island. There is a fishing village at the Sunrise Beach. You can visit the fishing village at the middle of the Sunrise Beach or from the middle of the island near the entrance of the Walking Street.
Since it is not a natural tourist spot, there are no signs but you can ask around.
The fishing village is clean and recently there are projects to promote them. There are murals painted all around the village showing the lifestyle of these sea gypsies. These beautiful painted wall murals remind me the murals in Penang.
8. Walking Street & Nightlife
Is there any nightlife in Ko Lipe? The answer is yes and only at Walking Street. The walking street is stretched from Pattaya Beach to the center of the island. The walking street is filled shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, massage centres, convenience stores and stalls.
The scene in Walking Street might not be as glory as other popular tourist islands in Thailand but it is good enough.
You can find many food here and it is cheaper than the hotel or resort food. If you need a foot massage, you can find a couple of massage centres here. Bars and pubs can be spotted. There are quite a few souvenir shops so you can shop here.
Of course the pricing is slightly higher than what you are paying in Satun or Hatyai. I find the Walking Street quite enjoyable and you can definitely snack or have a proper food for dining. The Thai food and seafood here is good. This is the place to shop some souvenirs for your friends or family.
The whole street is quiet down when it reaches midnight. Probably some hotel lounges or bars will open later than that.
9. Muslims and Halal Food
Good news for Muslims, Halal food is plenty in Walking Street. There are Halal signs or you can easily recognize them through the menu. Thai version of “roti canai” is very popular here too among the others such as seafood.
A Halal Restaurant.
10. More than 50 Hotels and Resorts
Koh Lipe might be a small island but there are more than 50 hotels and resorts. From backpacker style hotels to five star resorts, there are plenty to choose from but first come first serve.
Anda Resort in Ko Lipe, book at http://www.agoda.com/anda-resort
During peak season, most of the hotels are fully booked so do book early to save more. One of the best hotel booking website to book is Agoda. Check out their recommendation and awesome discounts at http://www.agoda.com/city/koh-lipe-th.html