Koh Lipe, though located 177 km. over water and 400 km. by land (then boat) from Phuket Island, is certainly one of the top tours you can book during your Phuket vacation. Koh Lipe Island is located about 60 km. from the mainland Thailand province of Trang in Southern Thailand. The island is shaped like the letter ‘r’ with the long side measuring 3 km. with the short side at 1.8 km. The bay has ultra-soft sand and crystal-clear turquoise water. The most popular beaches are: Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach.
Nearby Ko Adang Island at eight by five kilometers and Ko Ra Wi Island at ten by five kilometers and the seventeen other islands around Koh Lipe add an interesting dimension. Travelers can spend weeks exploring the various islands, diving and snorkeling, and eating great cuisine.
Less than ten years ago, Koh Lipe was known as just another backpackers’ island, with little to do except drink and watch the waves go by. Today Koh Lipe has plenty to do with some nice resorts and restaurants. The level of traveler to the island has been upgraded, and backpackers the likes of Khaosan Road in Bangkok are not often seen. Another draw of Koh Lipe, in addition to the nineteen surrounding islands, is all the great diving sites to explore. This is one of the top places in the world for sailboats, yachts, and catamarans from all over the world to stop by.
Main activities at Koh Lipe include snorkeling and diving, swimming, walking the beaches picking up shells, eating and drinking. There is a long walking street area where during daylight you can lunch at small restaurants and shop at small shops for souvenirs for friends. At night, Walking Street becomes like a small Soi Bangla in Patong Beach, with nightclubs, restaurants, and of course live and recorded music.
Snorkeling and diving are major attractions for Koh Lipe. The diving spot named “Stonehenge” is an incredible spot, you have to see to believe. Underwater limestone karst-like granite formations dominate the seascape. There is an incredible variety of sea-life around the hard and soft coral reefs. Fish you may see include leopard sharks, mackerel, large devil rays, big schools of barracuda, jack trevallies, tuna, honeycomb moray eels, and fusiliers are frequently found. Water depth is around five to twenty-five meters.
There is a variety of accommodation found on Koh Lipe Island. Mali Resort is located on Pattaya Beach at the bay in the south and is highly rated for a three-star hotel. They have beach side bungalows and cottages for singles or up to four people. Serendipity Resort, on the far East side of the island, has a private beach and a very high rating. This is a five-star resort and is priced around 9,000 Thai Baht per night. Need privacy? Mountain Resort Koh Lipe is the furthest resort north, and rather secluded.
There are some excellent restaurants on Koh Lipe. La Luna Italian Restaurant, in the east central part of the island, has the top-rated food above all others. For Indian food, the Bombay restaurant gets great reviews. For Thai food, most of the top restaurants make it, so you’re probably best to choose a restaurant based on ambiance and location – and order your Thai food.
Tours from Phuket to Koh Lipe:
– KohLipe.net has tours leaving from Phuket’s Rassada Pier daily for just 3,400 THB per person to Koh Lipe. The trip stops in Koh Phi Phi and takes about ten hours over the water.
– La Moet (www.lamoet.com) offers charter tours on their luxury sailing boats from Phuket to any island destination in Thailand, including Koh Lipe.
– Phuket All Tours (www.phuketalltours.com) offers speedboat rentals for the day at 18,000 THB, considerably less than La Moet, but not nearly as relaxing. If speed is essential, take a van down to Satun and a boat to Koh Lipe.
Reviews of Koh Lipe are somewhat mixed, with most commenting about how stunning the natural beauty of the place is as well as how poorly maintained the beaches are with trash occurring too often and how construction of new buildings has become annoying to many.