About Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is a small island in the Southern part of the Andaman sea.

It is located in Satun Province, close to Langkawi island (Malaysia), about 60 Kilometres (38 miles) from the mainland. It is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park, a large group of over 70 islands, and also part of a smaller cluster of islands called the Butang Islands or Adang Archipelago.

Koh Lipe is famous for diving and snorkeling, and for the beautiful beaches and the relaxed atmosphere.

Beaches

There are 3 main beaches on Koh Lipe, all within 15 minutes walking distance.

Koh Lipe’s main beach is a large sheltered bay with soft powdery sand, crystal clear blue water and good snorkeling right from the beach. There is a wide range of accommodation on Pattaya Beach, but over the last few years there has been a trend for larger, more upmarket resorts. There are a dozens of bars and restaurants on the beach or around the corner in Walking Street. In high season it can get quite busy, but the other beaches are only a short 15 minute walk away, so it is still relatively easy to escape the crowds.
Sunrise Beach is a long stretch of white sandy beach and is protected from the monsoon weather in low season, and has a pleasant breeze on most days in high season. The school, hospital and a small Chao Ley village are located here. Accommodation is more spread out than on Pattaya Beach, and there are still a few cheap places around, but several upmarket places have opened over the last few years too. There are a few small restaurants and shops on Sunrise Beach, and it is between 5 and 15 minutes to Walking Street and the other beaches. Sunrise Beach has the best snorkeling right of the beach.
Sunset Beach is a small bay facing West to the Butang Islands and is a great place to watch the sunset. The area around Sunset Beach is the most quiet and laid back on Koh Lipe, with very few places to stay, and all of them have been able to retain the feeling of the ‘Old Lipe’. Accommodation ranges from basic huts on the beach to rustic and private bungalows set in shady jungle. There are no upmarket places to stay in the area. There are a few nice places to eat and drink in the area, and it’s a 10 to 15 minute walk to Walking Street and the other beaches.
There are several uninhabited islands that can easily be reached with a long tail boat, all between 15 minutes and 1 hour away. The 2 large ones, Koh Adang and Koh Rawi have a ranger station where camping is possible. The ranger station on Koh Adang also has bungalows and tents available, and there is a small restaurant (Open from November until May). The islands around Koh Lipe are great for a day trip, and several operators on the island offer snorkel trips that will take you to 4 or 5 islands in 1 day

High and Low Season

Koh Lipe is evolving to an all year destination, with ferries from Pak Bara running all year.

High Season starts early November and lasts until the first half of May. In high season there are daily ferries from several islands and piers on the mainland. If you are arriving during a Thai holiday in high season, it is wise to make a reservation, as the island regularly fills up completely. Koh Lipe is very popular for Thai tourists during long weekends and national holidays, and accommodation is sometimes booked months in advance.
From early December until the end of February is considered peak season on Koh Lipe. All the rooms on the island are full on most of the nights, and if you arrive without a reservation it will be hard to find a room you like.

Popular places are booked months in advance for Christmas and New Year, and during the weeks before and after. This is the same all over Thailand, and Koh Lipe is no exception, so reservations are highly recommended.

Since 2009 daily ferries connect Koh Lipe to Pak Bara on the mainland and it is now possible to visit Koh Lipe all year. Although some places close during low season, quite a few others are now open all year. The island is quite in low season, or as the locals call it ‘green season’, but this means you will get the beach all to yourself and some places offer as much as 50% discount. From May until November Koh Lipe can only be reached from Pak Bara.

Immigration & Visa

From the end of October until early May you can exit and enter Thailand from Koh Lipe to Langkawi, Malaysia.

The immigration office is located at the eastern part of Pattaya Beach, next to Bundhaya Resort, and is open when the ferries to Langkawi are running. Travelers arriving from Langkawi will be guided trough the immigration process by the ferry company. If you are traveling to Langkawi you will have to go trough Immigration 1 hour before taking the boat.
If you have overstay on your visa (if you have stayed longer then your exit stamp on your passport) you can not exit Thailand from Koh Lipe to Langkawi. You will have to the immigration office of Satun, or to a border check point on the mainland.
Visa on arrival over land or sea is only 15 days! In 2008 the law was changed so visitors to Thailand only get a 15 day visum when they enter Thailand over land or sea. When you fly into Thailand you still get 30 days
The easiest way to stay in Thailand longer than 30 days is to get a Tourist Visa (60 days per entry – you can buy multiple entries and extend every entry with 30 days without leaving) from the Thai Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Good To Know

The hospital is located next to the school on Sunrise Beach. There is a doctor that speaks OK english and a nurse. The hospital as a basic stock off medical supplies, but for anything major you will have to go to the mainland.
The Pharmacy is located in the middle of Walking Street, has a good selection, and the owner speaks very good English, this is a good first stop if your problem is not too serious.
There are  ATM”S  on Koh Lipe and a 7-11 outlet 
All internet on Koh Lipe is a bit more expensive and slower than on the mainland. There are many internet shops on the island, and a many places offer  Free WIFI for their customers.
Two operators provide Mobile services (phone and GPRS internet –  3G ):

DTAC, with their prepaid sim card Happy and AIS, with their prepaid sim card 1-2-call

Both offer international roaming and prepaid sim cards that can be easily refilled.

Tarutao National Park

The Tarutao National Marine Park consists of a group of 51 islands in the Southern part of the Andaman Sea, near the Thai – Malay border.

The Tarutao National Marine Park consists of a group of 51 islands in the Southern part of the Andaman Sea, near the Thai – Malay border. 2 clusters of islands lay in between 20 and 70 kilometres from the mainland. The largest island is Koh Tarutao and is over 10 kilometres wide and about 26 long. This mountainous island is covered mainly with rain forest and there are several mangrove swamps. A few long sandy stretches of unspoiled beach and some caves can also be found. The second group of islands that makes up the marine park is the furthest away from the mainland and includes Koh Lipe, Koh Adang, Koh Rawi and Koh Dong. The largest islands Adang and Rawi are almost completely covered with rain forest. During rainy season several waterfalls run of Adang into the sea. The waters around Koh Lipe and it’s neighbouring islands are very clear and house a wide variety of living coral and other marine life.
There are basically 2 seasons that determine the weather in the area: wet and dry. Wet season starts at the end of May when the monsoon brings plenty of rain and rough seas. Dry season starts early November. Temperatures are between 27 and 30 degrees Celsius year around. The start of the dry season (November and December) tends to be the mildest, with coolest temperatures, while the end of the dry season (April and May) tends to be a little bit hotter. Humidity is high year around (80 to 85 percent).
The waters around Koh Lipe, Koh Adang and Koh Rawi house an enormous variety of marine species, including: dolphins, mantas and other rays, sharks, sperm whales, but also plenty of reef fish like clown fish, angelfish, lion fish and all sorts of coral. And although over fishing has taken its toll on the fish population and some of the coral has been damaged there is still an abundance of marine life in this area. Other wildlife that can be spotted mainly on the larger islands (Koh Tarutao – Koh Adang – Koh Rawi): crab eating macaques, wild pigs, monitor lizards, mouse deer, hornbills, sea eagles, snakes, … Most of the park is covered with a mix of rain and monsoon forest.
The History of the Tarutao Marine Park goes back to 1939 when a prison was constructed on Tarutao Island. During the Second World War, due to lack of supplies, both prisoners and guards became a much feared group of pirates. After the war the British Naval Troops restored order and the Corrections Department closed down the prison. Villagers from nearby provinces settled on Tarutao Island to cultivate rice, fruit and rubber. In 1972 the National Park was declared, and most settlers where relocated. Sea gypsies where the original inhabitants of the waters in the Andaman Sea, moving from beach to beach depending on season and the availability of food. Today most Sea Gypsies have permanently settled down, and a small Group lives on Koh Lipe.