What’s so attractive about the place that is considered as the “Maldives of Thailand”?
Koh Lipe is a small island in the Adang-Rawi archipelago, Satun province, southwestern Thailand, near the Malaysian border. It is the southernmost island of Thailand and part of the beautiful Tarutao National Marine Park.
You can get to Koh Lipe by going to Bangkok, then to Had Yai by plane. In addition, you can also take a train or bus to Had Yai, but the trip will be very long and the price is also not much cheaper than the plane. After arriving in Had Yai, take a taxi or minibus to Pak Bara, from here take the boat to Koh Lipe.
If you go to Had Yai in the early morning, you will arrive at Koh Lipe in just one day. This is a road segment throughout the year. Every day there is a bus leaving Had Yai at about 8.30am, connecting to the express train at Pak Bara at 11h30. In peak seasons, the government will add an evening service to visitors.
The first people to set foot on this island were a group of nomads from Malaysia, called Urak Lawoi. Next, the island was frequently visited by Chao Ley people who traveled from one island to another to find the most favorable fishing locations, nurturing themselves and their tribe.
Gradually, Chao Ley settled in Koh Lipe and was granted the right to live on the east coast of the island (Dawn beach). These local people still rely on fishing, but thanks to the development of tourism, their livelihoods are gradually changing. Some have opened restaurants that cater to local cuisine, cruise hire, or taxi ride.
Koh Lipe is considered the most important island in the Adang group, as it has the largest number of settlers. In addition, it is also a gateway between many islands and land travel. During the year, about 1,000 people lived in Koh Lipe. The most outstanding activity on the island is scuba diving. In addition, many beautiful beaches, moderate weather and relaxed atmosphere make for an ideal Koh Lipe vacation.
The island has four main beaches: quiet Dawn (Sunrise) beach stretching the coast of the South China Sea quite, eye-catching Pattaya main beach with the white sand and the bungalows overlooking the sea. This is where taxis, cruise ships dock, leave noisy harbor all day long. Karma beach at the western tip is the ideal diving site. Finally, Afterglow Beach, the least developed place in Koh Lipe, is also the perfect place to end your day of fun. On the island there is a walking path that runs through the center of the island, linking Pattaya beach and Sunrise beach. Along this road, visitors can find a lot of cheap resorts and a lot of bars, bustling shops.
Koh Lipe has quite a lot of rental bungalows, resorts, from popular to luxurious ones to enjoy beautiful natural beauty. Koh Lipe is famous for being crowded, so many visitors have to sleep on the beach, especially during peak seasons.
Winter season in Koh Lipe runs from October to May. Many Thai come here for weekends and holidays, and sometimes they have to book a few months in advance. The peak period lasts from December to February every year. Most of the rooms on the island are full, so if you do not book in advance, you will find it hard to find the right place. Popular reservation is usually fully booked, especially on Christmas or New Year, the weeks before and after the two holidays.
In fact, this is the whole situation of Thailand, so the advice is to book in advance. If not, you should come here during low season from May to October. Although there are many shops off on this occasion, there are still many places working all year round. This season is called “green season”, when the island is relatively quiet. Good news is hotels can give out a discount of 50% off.
You can walk to visit the whole island. Many concrete walkways connect the beaches, but much of it is not lit in the evening, so you have to carry the torch. For those who do not like to walk, you can take a motorbike taxi around the island for about 1.2 – 5 usd. The long tail boats will take you to and from any location on the island for about 1.2 usd. Unfortunately you will not be able to rent a motorbike or car here.
Every February, you can help the islanders keep the Adang Islands clean of trash. From 10am, the Garbage Heroes will gather in the Pattaya beach walkway to scatter the many beaches around the island collecting plastic bottles, old sandals, food bags, shampoo bottles … Garbage Heroes is an non-profit organization helping businesses on Koh Lipe, in return, they are supported on boats, garbage bags, food water drinks per week for volunteers.