Koh Lipe is one of Thailand’s most beautiful little paradise hubs, home to amazing beaches, delicious food and friendly locals. Wander around the palm tree-studded island, soak up some rays and enjoy a sunset-Chang or two. Koh Lipe beach life is the ultimate way to chill, and each sandy haven is easy to reach by foot. This island is built for relaxation, so grab a book and hit the beach…
Sunset Beach is a tiny little bay, with around 200m of soft sand to relax on. One end of the beach has a few rocks and trees that provide shade, but this little strip of sand normally gets plenty of sunshine during the day. This beautiful bay is tucked just off a main road, and is well-signed all over the island.
Despite being known for its amazing sunset views, I actually preferred going in the afternoon when it was empty. This is the perfect Koh Lipe beach for you if you like quiet places where you’re left to yourself. There are several routes you can take to get here, and half the fun is trekking through the overgrown paths and emerging on a hill looking over the turquoise waters. It’s an incredible view, and you’re in the perfect place to cool off. Expect clear water, fine sand and gentle waves.
Sunset Beach tends to get pretty busy in the evenings, try and head here around 5.30pm to enjoy the sunset and get ready for some incredible colours across the sky. There is a small bar selling cold Changs (Thai lager), so get settled in and make the most of nature’s beauty. The beaches here are kept quite clean, so be responsible with your waste!
Over in the east of the island, Sunrise Beach is a lovely, quiet area for anyone who wants to swim. This beach is around 800m long, so there is plenty of room to set up camp and enjoy the glorious weather. One end of this beach acts as a little dock, with quite a few boats coming in and out, and constant un-/ loading of goods here. Keep walking and you’ll find a haven of stillness and sunshine.
The beach here is nice and clean, and the waters are perfect for swimming, floating around and snorkelling. You can rent a mask and fins if you like, or just enjoy the clear waters and explore on your own. This was my favourite Koh Lipe beach for its serenity – the waves here are calm and you can easily wander away from any beach-front resorts to find total peace.
The time of sunrise obviously varies with the season, but you should try and get here by around 5.45/6am. The colours of the sky are unreal, and you’ll get hot surprisingly quickly, so take your bathers and enjoy a sunrise-dip. There’s an amazing resort here, Castaway’s, which has a beautiful sun terrace and delicious food. Relax here with a coffee after your morning excursion to catch the sunrise.
Pattaya Beach is the main beach on the island and is the first one that visitors see, making it the busiest of the three. You can relax here while waiting for your boat, and the immigration office is here, too. It’s really close to Walking Street – the ‘main road’ here that’s crammed full of restaurants, bars and quirky souvenir stalls. Its perfect location means that you won’t find a quiet spot to yourself, but you’re sure to meet other travellers.
This beach is around 1km long and is lined with bars, resorts and little massage stalls. If you like your beaches on the lively side, head here for music and lots of fun. There are various places where you can hire sunbeds, which makes a change from the other two, much quieter beaches. This Koh Lipe beach has a real holiday feel and fun vibe to it. Make the most of the beach volleyball, football and loud music from some of the beach-front bars.
Getting to Koh Lipe
This island can be a bit of a hassle to get to, but it’s so worth it as soon as you’re enjoying the sunshine on a Koh Lipe beach! Many people come here from nearby Langkawi, with the ferry crossing taking around two hours.
If you’re outside of Thailand, fly to Hat Yai airport (you can fly to Bangkok first, then here) and head to Satun pier. From there, a ferry will take you to Koh Lipe in around two hours. This is the best option for those on mainland Thailand, too. You can normally buy packages that include your flight, shuttle and ferry across.
There are regular ferries from Koh Lanta, Phi Phi and Phuket. A ferry from Koh Lanta will take around two and a half hours; from Phi Phi will take about seven hours and from Phuket will take about five hours. Bear in mind that ferry times and crossings may vary depending on the season and weather.
More info can be found here, though it’s often best to book any ferries through a travel agent in person. This way, you may be able to get a cheaper rate and avoid the commission rates that website often charge. Check how online prices vary with travel agents and find the best deal.
Take note of what season you are travelling in – there is an immigration office in Koh Lipe for those coming from outside of Thailand, but it’s only open during high season (October – May). If you’re visiting outside of these dates, you may have to visit the main immigration office in Satun before heading to Koh Lipe.
Anyone already in Thailand is fine to visit whenever they like, bearing in mind that some accommodation and restaurants will close for low season. This island is best visited during the summer months – partially for the perfect weather, but also for ease of travel, organising visas and having regular ferry schedules.
Koh Lipe beach life is definitely relaxing, but there are other things to do if you fancy something a bit more exciting than sunbathing.
Snorkelling here is pretty good, and the reef around Sunrise Beach has lots to offer. You can also rent out kayaks and paddle around in the sunshine, which is lovely. The ocean tends to be pretty calm here and is normally sheltered from the wind, making it perfect for swimming.
Head out on a Discover Dive or work towards your PADI while enjoying all that the ocean has to offer. Sunrise Beach really has something for everyone! Each Koh Lipe beach has something special to offer, but this one was my favourite.
Yoga is popular here, as it is on every tiny paradise island. Head to Keiritas Yoga studio and get bendy. These Ashtanga-based classes are tiny (expect around five other people, normally) and are really focused on giving you the best possible experience. They also offer mini retreats on the island if you fancy combining yoga and scuba diving!
Walking Street is really fun to wander around in the evening, and has lots of stalls offering tasty food, bespoke jewellery and handmade crafts to take home.This street is also home to a 7-Eleven (mini-mart) and medical centre. There’s plenty of street-food to choose from, as well as restaurants and bars. Head to Bombay for incredible Indian food, Nee Papaya for local treats and vegan options, and Elephant for amazing brunches and Western comforts.