The Island Life in Koh Lipe

By Anjelica Jardiel

Koh Lipe is a small island in the south of Thailand. I ventured here on a whim, because an Uber driver in Bangkok told me it was his favorite island in the whole country. I spent my New Year’s Eve on Koh Phi Phi, then took a 5-hour “high-speed” ferry to Koh Lipe on New Year’s Day. It ended up being my favorite, too.

This island has no pier, so local fishermen on long boats shuttle travelers to the beach. As it’s a national park, there is 200 baht tax charged upon entry.

In the high season, the island is active, but still on the quiet side, relative to islands like Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi. The vibes are chill and inspire laziness, but the good kind--naps on naps in hammocks, hours lying on the beach, and swimming in the Andaman Sea as it rains.

As far as bars go, my top recommendations are the Reggae Bar and Good Mood Bar, both on the Pattaya/Bundhaya side. Reggae Bar has special treats for sale if you ask nicely and the people are patient, the music is good, and fire performances happen. Good Mood Bar has live music by locals, and cool blue lights that look like jellyfish. You can smoke anywhere, and there’s outdoor seating on the beach on mats with cushions.

About the beaches: Pattaya is the the most active, and accessible to Koh Lipe Walking Street. Bundhaya is on the same seas side as Pattaya, on the other side of the walking street. When you arrive by long boat, you are situated between Pattaya and Bundhaya. Sunrise beach is gorgeous, and you can stay in bamboo bungalows. It’s a bit more quiet, and the wind hits this side. Try a place called Brother’s Resort. Sunset beach is a series of small, private beaches. Perfect for romance. Try Pitiusas Beach Resort to stay or just enjoy dinner watching the sun set.

Tripper Tips:
Pack light
Don’t drag your feet- you will stub your toe on a piece of coral (I did)
Snorkel and/or scuba dive, even if the weather isn’t ideal
The dogs are super friendly
You can walk the whole island easily (but wear shoes)
Lodging options: resorts or hostels