Koh Lipe: A little pearl of Andaman

koh lipe pix1

Koh Lipe: A little pearl of Andaman

Koh Lipe is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea.  Besides crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, Koh Lipe has nurtured numerous aquatic diversities such as coral reefs, sea anemone, and underwater animals and those have earned Koh Lipe as one of the top diving sites in the world.  Being recognized as Maldives of Thailand, Koh Lipe has been named a romantic island after Phuket, Pattaya, or Koh Tao.

Koh Lipe: A fact sheet

map of koh lipe pix
Map of Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is the island in Satun province, Thailand.  The island is in a proximity to Malaysian border and just a few kilometers away from Langkawi island of Malaysia.  Koh Lipe has the approximately 3 square kilometers of land area with a shape similar to a boomerang.  The name “Lipe” has stemmed from the language of local habitats meaning “flat” which corresponds to the flat landscape of the island.  Koh Lipe has 3 famous beaches: Pattaya, Sunrise, and Sunset.

How to go to Koh Lipe from Bangkok?

Bangkok remains a popular starting point for tourists who want to explore exotic Thailand.  In fact, there are several ways to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok but the most convenient and time-saving method is to travel by air.  Since Satun has no commercial airport, tourists may opt to fly to Hat Yai or Trang airport instead.

Air Asia pix
Photo: courtesy of Air Asia Co.,Ltd

Flying to Hat Yai airport

Flying to Hat Yai airport is highly recommended because of more flight available from Bangkok to Hat Yai than those to Trang.  Currently, there are 4 domestic airlines servicing from Bangkok to Hat Yai: Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air, and Thai Smiles Air. Regardless of whatever airline you choose to fly, make sure that you fly as the earliest flight as possible.  Our suggestion is that you arrive at Hat Yai airport no later than 9:00 am.

Once you exit the arrival hall, head to the taxi counter outside. There is a direct minibus service from Hat Yai airport to Pakbara ferry pier for 300 Baht/person.  It approximately takes 2-hour drive to get to Pakbara Pier.

Flying to Trang airport      

Even through Trang airport is closer to Pakbara than Hat Yai airport, fewer flights are available from Bangkok to Trang.  You also need to ride the airport bus to travel agencies in the town and then ride the microbus from Trang to Pakbara.  We recommend you book a private bus in advance so the driver can pick you up right at the airport.  Otherwise, you may miss 11:30 am ferry boat and have to wait for the next ferry.  For more information, please contact Andrew tour

pix of Pakbara pier
Pakbara Pier

There are 4 major ferry and speedboat operators servicing from Pakbara Pier to Lipe Island.

1. Lipe Ferry and Speedboat Co., Ltd Tel: 081-919-1413

Website:   http://www.travelsatun.com/a-LipehFerry/index.php

2. Satun Pakbara Speedboat Club Co., Ltd Tel:

Website:    http://www.travelsatun.com/a-satun-pakbara/index.php

3. Tiger Line Travel Co., Ltd Tel: 074-732-510

4. Adang Sea Adventure Tour Co., Ltd Tel: 074-783-3338

You must pay 20 Baht/person for pier fee before boarding the boat.  It is advisable to drop by at the local toilet on the mainland because a toilet is not available on the boat.

Ferry and Speedboat Timetable

From Pakbara to Koh Lipe

Departure

Time

Type of

vehicle

CompanyArrival Time
TarutaoLipe
11.30SpeedboatLipe Ferry and Speed Boat12.0013.00
SpeedboatBandaya Speedboat12.0013.00
Ferry BoatTiger line travel Co,.Ltd12.0013.00
12.00SpeedboatAdang sea adventure tour13.0014.00
13.30SpeedboatLipe Ferry and Speed Boat14.0015.00
SpeedboatBandaya Speedboat14.0015.00
Ferry BoatTiger line travel Co,.Ltd14.0016.00
14.00SpeedboatAdang sea adventure tour15.0016.00

From Koh Lipe to Pakbara

Departure

Time

Type of

vehicle

CompanyArrival Time
TarutaoPakbara
09.00SpeedboatAdang sea adventure tour10.3011.30
Ferry BoatTiger line travel Co,.Ltd10.3011.30
09.30SpeedboatLipe Ferry and Speed Boat10.3011.30
SpeedboatBandaya Speedboat12.0013.00
10.30SpeedboatAdang sea adventure tour11.3012.30
SpeedboatLipe Ferry and Speed Boat11.3012.30
SpeedboatBandaya Speedboat11.3012.30
13.30SpeedboatBandaya Speedboat14.0015.00
14.00SpeedboatAdang sea adventure tour15.0016.00

Ticket Price (Thai Baht)

TypeCompanyCharge (one-way/round trip)
Pakbara-TarutaoTarutao-LipePakbara-Lipe
Speed boatLipe Ferry and Speed Boat350 / 600400650 / 1,200
Bandaya Speedboat350 / 600400650 / 1,200
Ferry BoatTiger line travel Co,.Ltd350 / 600400650 / 1,200
Ferry BoatAdang sea adventure tour350 / 600400550 / 1,200

Note: Ticket price does not include long-tail boat charge from floating pier to island.  The charge is 50 to 100 Baht depending on destination.

Before boarding the ferry or speedboat, it is recommended to stock up some inventories on the mainland because the price may go up 2-3 times on the island.

There are 2 types of boat services running from Pakbara to Bangkok: Ferry boat and Speedboat.  A ferry boat can carry up to 100 passengers/trip while a speedboat with 4 engines will carry up to 60 passengers/trip.  Some boat may stop by at Tarutao national park.  If you want to visit Tarutao island, please check with your ferry or speedboat operator.

Suggested Carrying Inventories

  • Flashlight
  • Mosquito repellant spray or lotion
  • Snack foods (buy from a convenient store on the mainland)
  • Sunblock lotion
  • Waterproof bag
  • Small purse for your cell phone or wallet

Koh Lipe has no permanent pier, therefore, all tourists must disembark on the floating pier and board a long-tail boat to one of three destinations: Pattaya, Sunrise, and Sunset Beach.  A long-tail boat can carry up to 10 passengers/trip.

Accommodations on Koh Lipe

pix of sawan resort
Resort on Koh Lipe

Most of the resorts or hotel accommodations are scattering around 3 major beaches.  Starting from Pattaya beach, Bundhaya resort is a first-class resort on the busiest beach of Koh Lipe or you may want to check out a nearby Varin resort.  On the Sunrise beach, we do suggest Serendipity resort, a luxury resort with a private pool villa.  For those who want to enjoy sa unset view, the mountain resort is definitely the resort of your choice.

During high season (from November to March), the room price starts shooting up due to limited resources on the island.  There are also several budget accommodations (less than 1,000 Baht) available for tourists.  Most of them have no in-room air condition and private bathroom.

Attractions

Koh Lipe has offered various attractions ranging from white sandy beaches to a stunning coral reef.  Tourist can enjoy walking on the white sand, snorkeling on crystal clear water, diving into the deep blue sea to witness one of the great coral reefs, or just browse the walking street.  Let’s look at them one by one.

 1.  Pattaya Beach

pix of Pattaya beach
Pattaya (Bandhaya) Beach

It is formally known as Bundhaya beach but gradually changed to Pattaya to reflect the fast-growing community and nightlife as the city of Pattaya itself.  It is the busiest beach and the main transportation hub on Koh Lipe.  You can test a variety of fresh seafood menus at near-by restaurants but their business time has started in the evening through the middle of the night.  Pattaya beach is also the center of numerous facilities such as convenient stores, island tour, and the starting point of a well-known Lipe walking street.  Please be advised that Pattaya beach is the major transportation hub and there are many long-tail boats going from and away.  If you want to engage in any water activities, it is advisable to avoid the busy area.

 2. Sunrise Beach

pix of Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach

It is probably the most beautiful beach on Koh Lipe with white sand, crystal clear water, and a series of pine trees shading throughout the beach.  Unlike Pattaya beach, Sunrise beach has fewer tourists and it is also known as a sunbathing paradise.  There are some decent resorts and restaurants offering exotic foods on the beach front.  From Sunrise Beach, you may take a walk to Mountain resort or you can ride an auto-bike taxi for 50 Baht.

 3. Sunset Beach

pix of Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach

If you prefer a tranquil atmosphere with fewer tourists around, Sunset beach is definitely the place of your choice.  The beach itself may not be as attractive as other beaches on this island but it can be offset by a spectacular viewpoint.  The best sightseeing spot is on the top of Mountain resort which you can enjoy great views of a deep blue sea, a great line of coral reef, and sand ridge.

4. Lipe Walking Street

pix of Lipe walking street
Lipe Walking Street

Lipe walking street is by far the commercial hub of Koh Lipe.  Lots of tourist attractions such as restaurants, convenient stores, diving tour operator, souvenir shops, Internet café, Pharmacies, medical clinics are cramped up on a 1-kilometer long pedestrian street that connects Pattaya and Sunrise Beach together.  The business hour starts from 6.00 pm throughout midnight.

 5. Jabang Pinnacle

pix of jabang pinnacle
Jabang Pinnacle

This is the best spot to do a skin diving because it is a home of various kind of corals and other underwater animals.  Corals in Jabang pinnacle are in a shallow water, therefore, only skin diving with a snorkel is enough for viewing corals under water.  However, Jabang pinnacle is notoriously known for its intense current.  Therefore, tourists are required to hold on the rope all the time during skin dive.

 6. Koh Hin Gnam (Rock Island)

pix of koh hin gnam
Koh Hin Gnam

Koh Hin Gnam lacks sandy beach but, instead, it is covered by round-shape black pebbles.  Over hundreds thousand years, the current has crushed and scrubbed pieces of rock on this island until they became round-shape and smooth pebbles.  The locals do believe that every piece of pebble belongs to the god of Tarutao and it shouldn’t be taken away from the island.

 7. Koh Dong (Koh Hin Son)

pix of koh hin son
Koh Hin Son

Koh Dong is actually a selective group of 6 tiny islands and another excellent spot for scuba diving because of the density of beautiful corals around this area.  Among little islands, one island stands out of other islands due to its bizarre shape.  It is called Koh Hin Son.  A one-day-trip tour usually stops by and let tourist snap some photos of pencil-shape rock.

 8. Koh Rawi

pix of koh rawi
Koh Rawi

As a part of Tarutao national park, Koh Rawi offers quietness for relaxation.  Geographically, this island is surrounded by rock and stiff cliffs.  The most popular photo spot is probably a timber swing tied to a tree which you can see many on the beach.  Most one-day-trip tours usually stop by here because Koh Rawi has provided public facilities such as local restaurants and toilets.  Please be aware of monkeys on this island who often scrounge left-over foods or personal belongings from tourists.

 9. Koh Adang

pix of woman sunbathing on the beach
Sunbathing on the beach

Koh Adang is clearly visible from the Sunset Beach on Koh Lipe.  Like Koh Rawi, Koh Adang is also a part of Tarutao national park and budget tourist’s paradise.  Comparing to Koh Lipe, Koh Adang has offered low-budget accommodations like public guesthouses and campground where tourists can set up their tents here.  You may walk up the high cliff to the popular scenic spot where you can see the whole part of Koh Lipe and Langkawi Island from afar.  Unfortunately, Koh Adang is now suffering from beachfront erosion because of severe waves that are taking a bunch of sand away.  Without a solid ground, many pine trees around here start collapsing one after another.  This issue needs to be addressed and taken care of as soon as possible.

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