Thailand’s southernmost island is where you want to be for your perfect island getaway. Koh Lipe is that kind of place you will find everything you dreamed of when you thought of Thailand: white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, traditional colorful boats, an easy good vibe and delicious Thai food and cocktails. On top of all this goodness, the island is tiny, the life underwater is quite preserved and it’s still not a crazy busy island. That doesn’t mean it’s a boring destination though as there are many incredible things to do in Koh Lipe that will keep you happy and busy for days.
Koh Lipe has been called by some visitors “the Maldives of Thailand”, and it’s a very affordable island. Koh Lipe is a bit more expensive than other places like Railay and Koh Phi Phi Island but still offers pretty reasonable prices. So, what are you waiting for to start your Koh Lipe travel planning? I have prepared a list of the best things to do in Koh Lipe for you, so I hope you enjoy it!
When is the best time to visit Koh Lipe, Thailand?
Before I spoil you with the best Koh Lipe activities, let’s start by choosing carefully the best time to visit this charming island.
Just like all islands in Thailand, Koh Lipe weather is pretty much the same throughout the year temperature wise, so be ready to feel hot when you visit Koh Lipe. The water is also pleasantly warm all year round. What you need to watch out for is the monsoon season, which happens at different times of the year.
From about April/May until October/November it rains on the West coast of Thailand, where Koh Lipe is located, that leaves you with a great and long dry period that goes from November to April, considered the high season in Koh Lipe. The peak of the season, when you actually should consider booking your Koh Lipe accommodation way in advance, is from mid-December until mid-February.
During the low season, you might face some of the businesses on the island closed as well as some rainy days, but on the other hand cheaper prices and a less touristy paradise. With that said, it’s always a good time to visit Koh Lipe in Thailand.
How long to stay in Koh Lipe, Thailand
Hard topic! I still haven’t been to all the islands in Thailand, but Koh Lipe is my favorite one so far and by far. It’s hard to describe this little paradise, I mean, it’s easy but you need to see it for yourself. I think what attracts me the most is the good vibe on the island, locals are always smiling, you can walk everywhere, all beaches are good for swimming and very good looking, the water [oh, Dear, the water on this island…] is unbelievably blue, crystal clear, the food is super yummy, and there are tons of options of accommodation in Koh Lipe.
I could easily spend a week there, actually even more. Considering the fact most people don’t have a lifetime holiday and would like to see more in Thailand than just Koh Lipe, I would say 3 days would be enough to do the main things. Honestly, Koh Lipe is a bit far from the main attractions in Thailand, so once you made the effort of going all the way there, you might as well stay for a few days.
How to get to Koh Lipe in Thailand
Once Koh Lipe is an island, the only way there will be obviously taking a boat. Not funny, I know! It’s not that easy to get there, and that’s why we wrote a detailed guide with routes, timetables and prices, to help you find the best way to travel to Koh Lipe. Read our how to get to Koh Lipe guide here and travel hassle-free.
If you are in a hurry, here is a little practical information on how to travel to Koh Lipe from Bangkok, Langkawi and Hat Yai.
– How to travel from Bangkok to Koh Lipe? To get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok you will need to buy a combination ticket, also called a joint ticket, with flight + van + ferry. Usually, the best option is to fly to Hat Yai and from there take a van + ferry to Koh Lipe.
– How to travel from Langkawi to Koh Lipe? Langkawi is an island in Malaysia located quite close to Koh Lipe, and during high season ferries are connecting the two islands. As Langkawi has an international airport, depending on where you are traveling from, it might be a good idea to check flights to Langkawi and then a boat to Koh Lipe. Check the prices and options to get from Langkawi to Koh Lipe here!
– How to travel from Hat Yai to Koh Lipe? Hat Yai is a great destination because of its food scene and shopping opportunities, and it’s close to Koh Lipe. To travel from Hat Yai to Koh Lipe you will need a combination of a bus or van + ferry. Check the prices and options to get from Hat Yai to Koh Lipe here!
Best places to stay in Koh Lipe
Alright, by now you already know when is the best time to visit Koh Lipe, how to get there, what is Koh Lipe weather like and how long you should stay in paradise. The question you might be asking now is where to stay on the island. So, let’s talk about that before getting to the best places to visit on Koh Lipe in Thailand.
Without a doubt, the best places to stay on Koh Lipe are either Pattaya Beach or Sunrise Beach. They are both in the center of the island, near each other and near everything else. Koh Lipe Walking Street, which is also a great place to stay, connects both beaches so you will be literally within walk distance to all main spots if you choose your accommodation in one of these 3 spots.
Read our ultimate guide to where to stay in Koh Lipe here! The best beaches on the island with accommodation for all types of travelers and budgets.
I have personally stayed both in a budget beach resort in Pattaya Beach called Varin Beach Resort, next to the Walking Street and also in a hostel in the Walking Street. I absolutely loved the location. First, because when you arrive on the island, the piers are right there, almost in front of the entrance to the Walking Street in Pattaya Beach. That means you don’t need to go far with your luggage. If you want to enjoy Pattaya Beach a bit more in peace, you just have to walk a little bit towards either end of it. It’s also super nice to easily access the Walking Street for your meals and any sort of shopping you might wanna do.
Finally, staying in Sunrise Beach, especially if you can afford a beachfront bungalow, is just a dream. Waking up right there at the beach, watching the beautiful sunrise and admiring the turquoise sea right in front of you all day long is just priceless.
Choosing the best place to stay in Koh Lipe can be an overwhelming task as the island has excellent resorts, fantastic hotels, and affordable hostels. To help you out, we wrote a guide to where to stay in Koh Lipe, click here and read it.
Things to do in Koh Lipe, Thailand
Are you ready for the best of Koh Lipe? I am excited to share with you my 10 favorite things to do in Koh Lipe, but it’s so hard to rank them I decided to make a random list of them instead. This way you can decide for yourself what suits you better.
Without a doubt, the main attraction here is Mother Nature with a generous dose of chilled-out vibe on top. The perfect combination for a perfect holiday, isn’t it? Let’s get started…
#1 Sunrise at Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
I highly recommend you to start your days on Koh Lipe welcoming the Sun at Sunrise Beach. It’s so nice to wake up early, grab a sarong or your yoga mat and walk towards Sunrise Beach while the island still sleeps. Although many people enjoy doing this, Sunrise Beach is a very long one, so you can always find a spot to isolate yourself, do your meditation and yoga routine or just stare at the horizon while the show happens.
Although I didn’t get a chance to check them out, you have the option of joining a yoga class or a meditation session beachfront during sunrise at either Keirita’s Yoga or Castaway Yoga. They are both highly recommended by travelers.
I will talk more about things to do at Sunrise Beach in Koh Lipe later on.
#2 Sunset at Sunset Beach, Koh Lipe
I have watched the sunset from two different beaches on the island, Sunset Beach and Bulow Beach. I liked them both, here are the facts about both of them.
The Sunset Beach in Koh Lipe is totally worth going to. It’s a bit more isolated, slightly farther and harder to get to. It’s easier to use your favorite map of Koh Lipe to guide you up and down the little roads of the island. You will pass by the cute Buddhist Temple on the way there [if you have time, walk a little bit around the peaceful temple, remember to cover yourself with your sarong a little bit if you do so, to show respect towards the monks]. Finally, you will find a small sign pointing to Sunset Beach, go down the small path and there you are. It’s a tiny and cute beach, you will find some longtail boats available there in case you want a taxi boat for your way back or even to cross over to the next island Koh Adang. There are a few options of accommodation there, and there is a cool bar called Happy Mojito. Just grab your drink and be happy!
Bulow Beach in Koh Lipe is actually connected to Sunrise Beach. It’s the northernmost point on the island. Just like in Sunset Beach, there are longtail boats available if you need a taxi boat anywhere around Koh Lipe. I actually accessed this beach from Sunset Beach. I arrived at Sunset Beach around lunch time and decided to walk over the rocks until the next little bit of beach, which is still considered Sunset Beach, where they have an adorable little vegan cafe [I will talk about it later on]. After having a couple of swims and my Pina Colada, I headed to Bulow Beach for the sunset.
Perhaps because it’s closer to Sunrise Beach and to most accommodations compared to Sunset Beach, Bulow Beach ends up with more visitors during sunset time. But it’s actually super nice to see so many people gathered around, lying comfortably on the white sandy beach, just waiting for the magnificent spectacle of the day, while watching others enjoying themselves kite surfing. Although there are no bars or cafes right there, there is a big resort nearby with a live DJ playing at the beach and some cocktails going on. This area of the island provides you with that cool festival feeling.
#3 Diving or Snorkeling in Koh Lipe
If you love the ocean, especially the underwater life, I strongly recommend you to go scuba diving. Diving in Koh Lipe is fantastic as the coral reefs are quite preserved in the island surroundings. There are many dive centers and dive sites to choose from, and you don’t need to be a certified diver to do so. I chose to go diving with Pura Vida Diving, and the dive sites I visited were amazing. The corals and fishes are very abundant and colorful, just the way I love.
If you are not into diving, you have the option of joining a snorkeling tour, which has the benefit of visiting the islands around Koh Lipe as well. Most of the programs cost between 600 to 800 THB. You can always just rent some snorkeling gear and go snorkeling from the beach as the island has beautiful coral reefs all around it. If you want to book your snorkeling tour in advance, you can do it online and choose a departure in the morning (click here to book) or afternoon (click here to book).
Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!
#4 Kayaking or Paddleboarding in Koh Lipe
A great way to keep it more personal and not having to join a tour to explore the reefs and beautiful spots in the Koh Lipe would be to rent a kayak or a SUP board directly from the beaches. Many resorts and beach bars offer them for rent for very reasonable prices per hour or per day, it’s up to you. You can even adventure yourself and cross over to Koh Adang, but only if you are experienced, and please, check out the currents before doing so, as they can get very strong. Otherwise, just take a longtail boat to this amazing neighbor island.
#5 Visit Koh Adang
I know we are talking about things to do in Koh Lipe, but Koh Adang is Koh Lipe’s neighbor island, and it’s just beautiful and I mean it. Much bigger than Koh Lipe, Koh Adang is pretty much inhabited, I believe there is only one resort on the entire island. People say it’s exactly how Koh Lipe used to be a few years ago. Koh Adang is still covered in lush green forest, and it has incredible and empty beaches to offer you, along with stunning coral reefs as well as a beautiful track to a waterfall and a viewpoint where you can entirely spot Koh Lipe from. Yes, it’s worth it!
Some of the snorkeling tours will take you there, but you can also adventure yourself there by catching a taxi boat instead, which will cost you about 150 THB each way. This will be a much nicer experience if you like to just take your time exploring and do your own thing. Just remember to take some money with you to pay for your way back to Koh Lipe as well as to pay the National Park fee of 200 THB. When you get to the island, the park rangers will take care of charging you this fee. Oh, bring some water and food with you also, there is not a lot being offered on the island.
Once you are there, make your way to the waterfall, to the viewpoint, to the beaches, go snorkeling, take loads of beautiful photos and take some time for doing nothing! Enjoy!
#6 Go beach hopping in Koh Lipe
By now you probably realize almost all the best things to do in Koh Lipe involve the beach, so you can’t go wrong; spend your days going from one beach to the other. Here are the main ones, but you can always just get lost walking all over the island chasing new ones. You can walk all around the island, it’s super small, there is no way you will get lost. So what’s the best beach in Koh Lipe?
Let’s start with Pattaya Beach Koh Lipe, the one you arrive at when you get to the island. This is a beautiful beach just like all beaches on the island, the piers are there, Immigration is there, and beach parties happen there every night. Pattaya Beach is also where the Walking Street starts, and most beachfront bars and restaurants are located. As I stayed at a resort in Pattaya Beach, it was amazing to have my breakfast staring at it after having watched the sunrise at Sunrise Beach. It’s a great beach to walk around from one end to the other [maybe even walk all the way to Sanom Beach], suntan, go swimming and take lovely photos.
Sunset Beach Koh Lipe is a small and hippie beach where you can obviously watch the sunset from. Sunset Beach has a beautiful view of Koh Adang and a very chilled-out vibe. Just grab a book, a cocktail at Happy Mojito and enjoy the sunset.
Sunrise Beach Koh Lipe is the longest beach in Koh Lipe and where most beachfront resorts are located. It’s the most beautiful one. Also, where most longtail boats are anchored throughout the day, get ready for amazing pictures. I found it was also the beach where I could see more of the local life, if you just stroll up and down Sunrise Beach from sunrise to sunset time you will be able to watch a bit of the local life. Fishermen fishing, boat captains chatting and waiting for customers to arrive, kids playing after school, women watching the sunrise, locals flying kites, and so on.
Watching the sunrise, swimming, snorkeling, having a beer or so, suntanning, reading a book, meditating, kayaking, paddleboarding, you name it, you got it. Just get out there and do your thing, but don’t forget to have a pitstop at Sea La Vie, an amazing beachfront bar that looks like a treehouse, you can’t miss it.
#7 Enjoy the best restaurants in Koh Lipe
From very local Thai food [always a great option] to super Hipster cafes, international restaurants and view top ones, you got it. I find it hard to talk about food because taste is a very personal subject. I will list the places I have been and enjoyed, but you guys should go on your personal gastronomic adventures.
Benny’s On The Beach: it’s a very cozy and hipster cafe and vegan restaurant located on Sunset Beach. They serve super healthy food, drinks and some cocktails. They have tables and some beach chairs available, as well as kayak, snorkeling gear, and SUP board for rent. Worth saying it’s right on the beach in a quiet area.
Sea La Vie: located in the middle of Sunrise Beach, this hippie bar/cafe is a great place to visit. It’s right on the beach, so the view is just awesome, the decoration is super cool, it makes you feel like you are in a treehouse, so just make sure to go there at least for a couple of drinks and enjoy it. You can even choose to spend the whole day while enjoying the beach, they also have kayaks available and some BBQ going on at night time.
Mountain Restaurant: you don’t want to miss the most beautiful viewpoint on the island, this restaurant is located inside Mountain Resort Koh Lipe and accepts outsiders. The food isn’t really expensive, but you can choose to just order some drinks while enjoying the fantastic view out on their balcony. They won’t be happy if you just go there for the photo, so make sure to take some time to enjoy it up there, it’s worth it.
Bombay Indian Restaurant: this restaurant is near the end of the Walking Street, towards the Sunrise Beach end, it’s not at all fancy nor expensive, but it’s very delicious. I love Indian food, so I had a blast after a full day at the beach.
Café Tropical: this cafe/restaurant was a great surprise also. It’s also located in the Walking Street towards the Sunrise Beach end, and it offers a friendly atmosphere for a healthy meal. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner you are looking for, they have loads of yummy and healthy options for you. What I loved about it is they are vegan and vegetarian friendly! Oh, they have a great variety of delicious drinks also.
Elephant Koh Lipe: this restaurant/bar is located in the Walking Street and it was a great surprise for me. Not only is it super cute, but it’s also got an amazing vibe. First, the food menu was great, although very western and a tiny bit pricey compared to Thai prices, it was mouth-watering delicious. The drink menu was very vast also, and the cocktails were delicious. On top of that, they have live music every night, more like a sing along kind of thing, anyone was welcome to just grab the mic and sing a song or two, or three. It’s a great way to meet new people and relax after stressful days in paradise [LOL].
Now a few tips on where to eat in Koh Lipe by Nat and Rob. Koh Lipe restaurants that they’ve tried, loved and recommend:
Sunrise Beach Restaurant: the best curries we ate in Koh Lipe paired with an incredible view. The restaurant is literally on the sand of Sunrise Beach, order a Penang Curry, and thank us later.
Paolo Italian Pizza: our fave pizza in Koh Lipe, perfect for a quick bite before heading to sunset, or between one drink and another. The pizza is delicious, the little shop is always full, you can eat at the restaurant counter or take away. It’s located at the end of the Walking Street towards Sunrise Beach.
Madame Yoohoo: you can’t miss this restaurant in Koh Lipe. How to find it? Easy, on the Walking Street, listen to a lady screaming “Yoohoo, Yoohoo” and you are in the right place. The food wasn’t the best, but the Roti (Thai pancake) with Nutella and banana was crunchy outside, soft inside, and incredibly delicious.
Noy Wahgcha-aon Thai Food: at the end of the Walking Street towards the Sunrise Beach, you turn left and search for Noy Wahgcha-aon Restaurant. It’s a simple one, but the grilled fish, the Papaya Salad, and the Tom Kha Gai soup were so good that we went there a couple of times.
Bloom Bar: go there for incredible salads, fancy omelets, and gourmet coffees. It’s more on the hipster side, and the prices are a bit higher than the traditional Thai food, but the food is tasty and worth the price tag.
The Box Restaurant & Hotel: great for Spanish taps with beers, perfect for those nights you want to taste something different in a cool restaurant right in the middle of the Walking Street.
#8 Explore the Walking Street in Koh Lipe
Over the list of things to do in Koh Lipe, visiting The Walking Street has got my heart, it is very entertaining, and that’s where you will find the travel agencies to book your Koh Lipe snorkeling or diving trips. That’s where you will find many restaurants and bars, massage parlors, super cute shops full of swimwear, clothes, souvenirs, shoes, and much more. There is also a supermarket, some ATMs and convenience stores, even 7-Eleven is there.
People walk up and down the Walking Street all day long, but it seems like you will really see who is on the island at night time, everyone makes their way to the Walking Street for some shopping, some food and drinks. Plus, if you are a Sunrise type of person like I am, just before or after Sunrise, you might be lucky to see the Buddhist monks collecting the daily almsgiving. I always love watching that, for me, it’s a beautiful way to witness the respect, compassion, and devotion given to the monks who humbly give the society an opportunity to make merit.
#9 Koh Lipe nightlife
I am not a big night person, my favorite way to spend my nights is actually sleeping [LOL], but I found Koh Lipe super chilled, with quite a few options for night entertainment for a small island.
At Pattaya Beach there are some options for you like a Reggae Bar and a couple of places that throw beach parties right on the sand, with neon lights, fire shows, people juggling, good music and nice drinks. This side will be more like a taste of the traditional Thai Full Moon Party. As you exit the Walking Street, just look for the fire to the right and to the left of Pattaya beach.
At Sunrise Beach you can enjoy Sea La Vie as I mentioned earlier for some nice chilled cocktails during the day and possibly carry on with some electronic music at night.
Zodiac Bar at the North end of Sunrise Beach is also a great option to chill to the sound of great music and a fantastic view. Don’t miss the happy hour around sunset time and just carry on with the night there.
There is a Sports Bar on the island near the Walking Street at Sunrise Beach end, it’s called OMG Sports Bar & Restaurant. It’s very comfy, they serve tasty cocktails, there is a pool table there, and they have a movie session every night at 7 pm.
Not all bars at Sunset Beach are there throughout the whole year, but they do have pretty good parties at Sunset Beach with great DJs also. For a chilled vibe, I loved Happy Mojito.
Most people end up at the Walking Street as most bars of all kinds are there. My favorite one was Elephant Koh Lipe with great drinks, great food, and great sing along live music. Maya Bar is beautiful, with a chilled romantic atmosphere and lovely cocktails and music. Corner Bar was more for those trying to meet people, it’s right on the corner of the Walking Street, and it’s set up in a very welcoming way, as you take a sit you can get entertained by the amount of people just walking by.
For a day person, I think I rocked LOL, and by the way, in general, prices were pretty ok considering Koh Lipe is a very secluded and small island, pretty much the same prices as you will pay all over Thailand. Cheers guys!
#10 Thai Massage, Meditation and Yoga classes in Koh Lipe
After a full day diving, snorkeling, sun tanning, walking around the island, and sipping on your Pina Colada, trust me, you will need a Thai Massage. If you are afraid it’s too intense, choose the oil massage instead or even Aloe Vera massage in case you’ve got an overdose of sun. Ask them to go soft or medium and you are safe. It’s slightly uncomfortable during the massage itself as they go deep in the tissues and stretches, but once it’s over, the relaxation lasts for hours. The Walking Street is full of parlors with very reasonable prices, that’s where I got mine.
Another great option to end your day on the island is joining a sunset Yoga class. There are a couple of schools on the Island like Keirita’s Yoga and Castaway Yoga. Check their schedule as you reach the island because it can change throughout the year. Both of them also offer relaxing Sunrise Yoga Sessions at the beach as well as Meditation Classes. What a great way to start and finish your day in this paradise called Koh Lipe.
Well, I think that’s all the travel tips to Koh Lipe I can share with you today after two visits to the island. Now, you are ready to start planning what to do in Koh Lipe, and I am sure you will love this tiny little piece of land above the Andaman Sea.
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Author: Franci Kohler is a traveler stuck in Thailand. Founder of VOA TOUR, a travel consulting company specialized in weddings, tours and transportation for Brazilians in Krabi, Thailand. Fascinated by the body, mind and soul, whenever not working, you will find her doing some yoga, meditating, petting dogs, trekking, diving, beach bumming, or having some wine over good conversations. She will find beauty in pretty much anything! Check out her Instagram @francikohler