Koh Lipe, an exotic island in the Andaman Sea, part of the Tarutao National Marine Park, is as similar to every other party spot of Thailand as it is different from them. To be honest, Koh Lipe is unique, in more ways than it can be mentioned - it is a place you go to party, it is a place you to go to dive, it is a place you go to kayak, it is a place you go to sunbathe, it is a place you go to see the best sunrise & sunset, it is a place you go to laze in your resort... all of this and more from an island which is about 2km in length and 2.5km in width. Yes, it is so small that you can explore the entire island on foot. Basically, if you want to enjoy your short vacation in style you go to Koh Lipe.
We spent a few days between Christmas and New Year in Koh Lipe.
Here are, according to us, the places you should visit when you are in Koh Lipe.
Pattaya Beach: While this is not the most beautiful beach in Koh Lipe, it is the most happening one. This is also the beach where we stayed during our visit to Koh Lipe. Pattaya Beach is full of surprises. If you go to the beach early in the morning when the tide is low, you can get close to a few corals just by walking into the water. You will find all kinds of colourful fishes in and around the corals. Going into the water to see the colourful fishes early in the morning just after the breakfast was our favourite thing to do in Koh Lipe. Dive in deeper and you get to see even more fishes swimming with you. In the afternoon, when the tide is high, the beach gets pretty crowded. You will not be able to see any corals, but it is ideal time to go for a swim, play some water sports or just bathe in the sun with a cocktail or beer in hand.
There are lot of options to stay in Pattaya Beach for all kinds of budgets. Moreover, its proximity to the Walking Street, availability of bars and pubs, which stay open late into the night and make-shift piers for entry & exit makes it an ideal place to stay when in Koh Lipe.
Sunset Beach: We went to the Sunset Beach on two consecutive days to catch the perfect sunset. On the first day, we walked from our resort at Pattaya Beach to Sunset Beach. It was a 10-15 minutes walk. When we reached, it was just 10 minutes left for the sun to set so it was crowded, thus difficult to event hunt for a place to just stand and set up our GoPro. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sunset, with the hill cradling the sun before it vanishes behind it.
On the second day, we got a little adventurous and thought of taking a long tail boat from Pattaya Beach to Sunset Beach. We really wanted to ride a long tail boat as we never got a chance to ride one because we took a speedboat in and out of Koh Lipe. It was a thrilling ride as the sea was rough at that time (a week before Pabuk hit Thailand). As we wanted to grab a nice spot to enjoy the sunset and setup our GoPro for the perfect timelapse video (which was eventually spoiled by a mischievous kid at the last minutes of the sunset), we planned and reached about two hours in advance. We decided to sit at the one and only family run shack at the beach and enjoyed some coconut ice-cream. The family running the shack are very friendly people and they also provide free mats to everyone visiting the beach to sit and view the sunset. On this day we got to experience the most beautiful sunset that we had ever seen. It was such a wonderful burst of colours and the experience was unreal.
It gets quite dark after sunset, so if you don’t feel like walking back to your resort, you can always take a taxi. The fare is THB 50/person.
The Sunset Beach is quite small compared to the Pattaya Beach and Sunrise Beach and there are not too many resorts on the beach, so it will be difficult for you to get a place to stay here. But, if you are in Koh Lipe you should not miss the sunset here - it is the most amazing thing ever, especially when the sun is cradled by the hill just before it vanishes behind it engulfing the sky with its amazing colours.
Sunrise Beach: If you’re not staying at Sunrise Beach (there are quite a few resorts for that if you want to), then you have to get up early and walk in the dark to reach the beach to experience the sunrise in Koh Lipe. There are no taxis available during that time so your only option is walking. We walked in pitch darkness from our resort at Pattaya Beach to Sunrise Beach via Walking Street. It is a little eerie as you will hardly see any people around, even on the otherwise crowded Walking Street, and all the shops are closed (except Seven Eleven, though). Nevertheless, Koh Lipe is a safe place. If you’re lost (which is unlikely in the age of Google maps), just find the nearest Seven Eleven store and ask the employees for direction and they will help you out. The total walking time from Pattaya Beach to Sunrise Beach was about 15-20 minutes. We found Sunrise Beach to be the least crowded beach (compared to the Sunset Beach during sunset and Pattaya Beach during the rest of the day) in Koh Lipe, owing to the unavailability of transport in that odd hour. Most of the people who were there with us during the sunrise were the residents of the resorts on Sunrise Beach. Since it was a little cloudy, we did not get the perfect sunrise, but it was still beautiful and worth a visit.
Walking Street: Like every other happening place in Thailand, the Walking Street in Koh Lipe is the center of attraction, with it becoming a must-visit during the evenings. You can find numerous restaurants, pubs, massage parlours, souvenir shops, ATMs, etc over here - you name it, you will get it. Our favourite bit about the Walking Street was the street food stalls. We had some really good grilled seafood, coconut ice-cream, pancakes and slush at the street food stalls. While the restaurants on the Walking Street serve food through the day, it is from 6pm onwards that places comes to life with its colourful lights, loud music, smell of grilled Thai food and people's chatter. But beware; everything comes to a close by 11.30pm. If you still want to continue your party, move to the handful of bars on Pattaya Beach, which are open a little longer only.
Hantalay Temple: This is the least known and least spoken about place in Koh Lipe, but beautiful nonetheless. We had no clue that a temple exists in Koh Lipe until we came across it on the way to Sunset Beach. Do check it out if you are walking to Sunset Beach and have some time to spare.
If you are visiting Koh Lipe and need any help booking your speedboat/ferry, hotels in Koh Lipe/Hat Yai, car rides to/from Pak Bara Pier/Hat Yai Airport, you can get in touch with us and we will help you with the bookings.