I had the opportunity to visit Koh Lipe 4 years ago when it was still pretty much unknown to tourists and back in February 2016, I revisited Koh Lipe to find that globalization was taking its toll on the remote island. The island was no longer the paradise it was back in the days, but that said, I am happy to tell you that the snorkeling around Koh Lipe is still one of the best spots in Thailand and the fact that it is becoming more popular should not be the reason to skip this island.
Just, maybe don't stay on the island too long. :)
Where to Stay on Koh Lipe
Baan Peang Por Hostel is a new hotel/hostel located at the center of the island, a few minutes walk away from the main walking street and the sunset beach. You will be sleeping in a cool-looking small cabin built for 2 people equipped with a fan and 2 confortable matresses. All the cabins are located in a beautifully-decorated garden where you can easily access the shared bathroom and the common area. The common area is a big wooden patio with bean bags, computers, and all the facility you need. The cool thing about this accomodation is that all in all it is a hostel but you have the privacy of a cabin instead of a dorm room. The Baan Peang Por hostel is the perfect balance between budget and comfort.
How to Get to Koh Lipe
The best way to get here is to fly into Bangkok and from Bangkok to Hat Yai. I would recommend you browse through Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight from where you live to Bangkok that best fit your itinerary.
Taking the ferry from the Pak Barra Pier in Satun province is the only way you can get to the island from the mainland. The ferry leaves between 11:30 to 14:00 depending on the season so you may have to stay overnight somewhere if you are traveling from afar.
If you are coming from Bangkok, the most efficient way is to take an AirAsia flight to Hat Yai and from there get a transfer to Pak Barra Pier. Some AirAsia flights do provide the transfer as well so it might be worth looking into that.
Once you arrived at the pier, you can buy the ferry ticket to the island from the many operators at the pier. The price should be around 700 baht one way and it should take around 90 minutes.
Once you arrive at the island, you will have to go through a ticket booth on a floating platform where you will have to pay the entrance fee (200 baht) AND a non-negotiable 50 baht fee to get to the island via a long-tail boat. This has recently been introduced and the fee to the island will go into preserving the nature around the island.
How to Travel Around Koh Lipe
The whole island can mostly be covered on foot but if you have a lot of luggages then you can also get an official tuk-tuk recently installed by the government with a starting price at 80 baht depending on how far you are going.
This place is quite cheap compare to all the other countries in the world. If you are planning a trip here, you can expect to pay around 25 - 45 USD per day per person and that should include accommodation and 3 meals.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Thailand, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.
Cool Things to Do on Koh Lipe
One of the best thing you can do around the island is to go snorkeling. Koh Lipe is surrounded by over 30 islands and hundreds of reefs all within easy reach of the island. Nowhere else in South East Asia will you find so many snorkel sites so easily reached and in such great conditions.
You can easily spend a whole day snorkeling around the inner islands and another day snorkeling the outter islands. You can hire your own private long tail boat to go where ever you want or you can go with the organized tours that you can find every where on the island.
There are 2 main snorkeling day trips you can take, all of them similar to each other except the islands you are going. Usually, one will focus on the inner islands and the other the outter islands. The snorkeling equipments and lunch are provided if you went with the tours. The price should be around 500 - 700 baht per person.
Go to the Monkey Island
If one of your dream is to play with monkeys than your dream will be fulfilled 300 times over on this island. There are hunreds of monkeys on the island and you will be able to experience them up close without having to worry about their aggressiveness.. most of the time. Just try not to feed them, otherwise they will become use to it and be aggressive if they don't get what they want.
I have no personal experience diving around Koh Lipe but I have heard many people praised how beautiful the reefs are around here. One of the best diving sites in Thailand like the 8 Mile Rock and the Yong Hua Shipwreck are all located within reach. You may also be able to witness sharks, whale sharks and manta rays if you go far out enough.
See the colorful reefs at Koh Jabang
Deeper into the ocean near Koh Jabang is an area with one of the most colorful coral reefs you can experience. Since the water around the area is much deeper and untouched by us, you will be swarmed with all kinds of fish as you dive down to see the colorful reefs. Nothing more surreal than that!
Digital Nomad Friendly Cafe
Thailand is truly becoming the hub for digital nomads. No matter how remote the islands are, you will have no trouble finding a great cafe for you to work from. On Koh Lipe, the best cafe to work from is the Bloom Bar. With its cozy atmosphere together with great breakfast and of course, working wifi makes this place my go-to cafe to work from when I am on the island. Even though the price maybe a little expensive but nothing is cheap on the island and what you are getting is a great coffee and an ability to watch videos on Youtube without having to wait for it to buffer every few seconds. The approximate location of the cafe is as shown below. It is on the walking street and you should be able to find it easily when you are on the street.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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