Koh Lipe is a very tiny tropical island, in the southernmost part of Thailand. Located very close to Langkawi, in Malaysia, it is known for being a snorkeling paradise. Here, crystal-clear waters are filled with colorful corals and diverse marine life, just a couple of meters from the beach.
This tropical island is still a bit under the tourists’ radar due to its harder-to-reach location, hence why it’s far less crowded than the popular Krabi or Phi Phi Islands. But despite its walkable-in-30-minutes size, there is just no way to get bored on Koh Lipe! Here are the best things to do on the island:
1. Beach Life – Enjoy the Salty Hair
Pattaya Beach: this is where you’ll arrive! Pattaya is the most popular beach on Koh Lipe and most of the beachfront restaurants, hotels, and beach bars are located here.
Sunrise Beach: located on the island’s east coast, it is the longest beach on Koh Lipe and offers stunning sunrise views. Make sure to visit the small secret beach next to the On the Rocks Restaurant (location here).
Sunset Beach: as the name suggests, this is a great spot to watch the sunset. It is much quieter and less crowded than the other beaches.
North Point Beach: the island’s postcard! Located between Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach, this beach is famous for the white sandbar that appears at low tide.
Two secret beaches on Koh Lipe are the Lipe Secret Beach and Pantai Galah Beach, which are only accessible by boat or kayak, from Pattaya Beach.
2. Visit Nemo – Go Snorkeling!
Koh Lipe is renowned for its vibrant coral reefs and marine life and you don’t have to go far to visit Nemo! The colorful corals are located just about 50-100 meters from the beach, and you can float over it for hours on end (get that reef-safe sunscreen ready!).
You can snorkel basically anywhere around the island, but here are some of the best spots:
- Kla Island: our absolute favorite, you can easily swim to it from Sunrise Beach and snorkel around it. Here you’ll find lots of clownfish, parrotfish, and needlefish swimming about the colorful corals. If you are lucky, you might even spot a turtle!
- Koh Usen: just like Kla Island, you can also swim to it from Sunrise Beach, in about 10-15 minutes. We recommend you go in between high and low tide, to avoid strong currents.
- Sunset Beach: right in front of Bayview Sunset Resort, there’s a really nice snorkeling spot amongst the rocks.
Pro Tip: Always check the tide before snorkeling on Koh Lipe! You should avoid swimming during high tide due to strong currents, and you should note that low tide is very low, meaning your belly will be a few centimeters away from the hundreds of spiky sea urchins that rest on the corals.
You can rent snorkel gear and fins at most hotels and beachfront resorts on the island for around 80-100 baht for the day.
3. Kayak to a Secret Beach
If you think swimming to the small islands off the coast of Sunrise Beach is too challenging, you can rent a kayak instead. Kla Island, specifically, is home to two small secret beaches where you can leave your kayak and go snorkeling from there.
You can rent a kayak at the Forra Diving & Bamboo Resort for around 150 bahts per hour, or 400 baht for the day.
Koh Usen doesn’t have secret beaches, but you can also kayak to it and park it in between the rocks on the east side. To reach Koh Usen, it’s easier to rent a kayak from the Castaway Resort or Ten Moons Lipe Resort.
4. Do a Boat Tour of the Archipelago
Koh Lipe is just one of the islands in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago, and the easiest way to visit all of the other islands is by doing an Island hopping tour. These typically include visits to several islands, lunch, and snorkeling gear.
Prices vary depending on the program, but it should cost around 600-800 baht per person for the morning trips and between 800-1000 baht per person for special sunset trips. Private boat trips can cost anywhere between 1,800-2,400 baht, depending on the itinerary.
Pro Tip: We did Program A with Star Travel (WA: +66 82 645 9568), and highly recommend it!
5. Spend a Day (or the night!) at Koh Adang
Located just about 2 kilometers away from North Point Beach, Koh Adang is one of Koh Lipe‘s bigger sisters! Mostly unspoiled and undeveloped, this island is covered in forest and filled with thrilling hiking trails and empty beaches.
You can reach Koh Adang by longtail boat or by kayak. The longtail journey takes about 10 minutes only and costs 100 baht one way from North Point Beach, while kayaking can take up to one hour or more and cost 400 baht for the day.
If you want to spend the night here, you can choose between three types of accommodation: camping (you can rent a tent and sleeping mat for around 340-400 baht per night on the island), the National Park bungalows (no air conditioner and limited electricity, and cost around 600-800 baht per night), or the Adang Island Resort.
Note: Tents and bungalows are only available from Nov 1st to April 30th. You can book the National Park bungalows directly at the Tarutao National Parks Office in Pak Bara Pier or have a Thai speaker call at +66 074 783 597 for you.
Some of the best things to do at Koh Adang include the Pirate Waterfall, hiking to the island viewpoints, snorkeling, and spending the day on empty beaches!
6. Blue Walking Street
The Walking Street is the heart of Koh Lipe! This vibrant and lively street is lined with lovely shops, bars, and restaurants, and connects two of the three popular beaches in Koh Lipe: Pattaya Beach to Sunrise Beach. After sunset, the blue road becomes pedestrian-only and comes to life, with the shop’s colorful lights and the music from the bars creating a festive atmosphere.
Pro tip: don’t forget to try the Coconut Pancakes from the old man right in front of this 7-Eleven!
7. Visit Thailand’s Wildest Island – Koh Tarutao
Located near the Malaysian border and known as Thailand’s Wildest Island, Koh Tarutao is covered with lush tropical vegetation, secluded beaches, and a Heritage Park that showcases the area‘s history and preserves old settlements for visitation. The island is the largest within the Tarutao National Marine Park, of which Koh Lipe is a part.
Fun fact: Tarutao Island is home to several rare and endangered species and used to be a popular base for pirates and smugglers! In the 1940s, it was used as a prison for political prisoners.
Some of the best things to do on the island include jungle hiking, Lu Du and Lo Po Waterfalls, kayaking through the mangrove, and mountain biking!
From Koh Lipe, the only way to reach the island is by getting on a speedboat back to Pak Bara (500 baht per person), and asking for it to stop at Koh Tarutao. Not every company stops there, so we recommend booking directly with Bhundaya Speedboat and taking their 9:30 am boat. To go back, ask the local ranger at the island to arrange a spot for you on one of the boats – be aware that the last boat to Koh Lipe runs at 3 pm.
If you prefer to spend the night here, you can opt between camping or basic National Park bungalows, for similar prices to Koh Adang, although some of the bungalows here have A/C.
Note: Koh Tarutao is closed from mid-May until October.
8. Dive with Dolphins and Whales
It’s clear by now that marine life around Koh Lipe is surreal, but if you want to take a step further into this underwater world, go diving! The dive sites around Koh Lipe include underwater caves, shipwrecks, and deep reefs, along with around 25% of the world’s tropical fish species. Dolphins, whale sharks, sperm whales, eagle rays, and mantas are also part of the show here!
Pro Tip: We highly recommend Forra Diving. One fun dive with them cost around 1,500 baht (~40 euros) and the Open Water course goes for 14,500 baht (~390 euros).
9. Enjoy the Beach Bars
Unlike Phuket, Phi Phi, or Koh Samui, Koh Lipe is definitely not a party island. That’s not to say you can’t have a fun time out here! You can choose from one of the many bars on Walking Street or the hipster beach bars on Pattaya and Sunrise Beach. Sea La Vie Bar is our favorite!
10. Explore More of the Andaman Sea Islands
The Andaman Sea coast of Thailand is filled with islands, and a great way to explore it is by planning an island-hopping itinerary where you spend a few days on each. Some of the nicest islands are Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai, and Ko Racha Yai.