What to See on Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe. Jan Willem Plug. The Instatripper

Koh Lipe is exactly how you picture a typical paradise island. Beautiful green trees and vegetation, perfect sandy beaches, crystal clear, calm water and sunny every day. What should you go see on Koh Lipe?

Koh Lipe has been part of a national park since 1974. But it is still a relatively undiscovered island. It’s southernmost of the Thai islands, closer to Malaysia than to the mainland of Thailand itself and is harder to reach that most other islands. The good thing is that this makes it less crowded than Phuket or Phi Phi. I travelled to Koh Lipe after my trip through Malaysia, using the ferry from Langkawi. After going through migration, which takes quite a while, I immediately started discovering the island.

How to Explore the Island

Koh Kipe is only 2 km long and 1 km wide so it is easy to walk from any beach to another in about 30 minutes. So walking is definitely the easiest way to explore the island. However, it can be quite hot during the day and maybe you don’t want to walk in the heat. In that case, you can use any of the taxi motor bikes that drive around everywhere. A single ride costs 50 Baht. Make sure to set the price before you step in and don’t let the driver charge you extra for luggage. They might take advantage of your inexperience. What to go see though?

The Wonderful Beaches

Koh Lipe has several fantastic beaches to go see. Almost all of them are connected, meaning you could almost literally walk around the entire island from beach to beach if it weren’t for some rock formations dividing one beach from another.

Pattaya Beach

This is one of the more busy beaches, situated at a large sheltered bay with white sand and good natural pools to swim in. And when I say busy, I don’t mean busy like in Phuket or other famous places. It’s just busy compared to other beaches on Koh Lipe. The water is crystal clear and warm. Along the beach are several restaurants and cafes. Most of the ferry services arrive here too, and it provides easy access to the bars and restaurants on the main Walking Street.

Pattaya Beach is a must see when visiting Koh Lipe
Pattaya Beach as seen from the walkway
Beautiful cabins between Pattaya and Sanom Beach on Koh Lipe
Beautiful cabins between Pattaya and Sanom Beach

Sanom Beach

At the bottom of Pattaya Beach, at the big rocks, you’ll find a wooden walkway. It looks as if it is part of the resort right above it. But it is not. Instead, it is a really nice walkway that leads to the small and beautiful Sanom Beach. This is one of my favourites, because it is much less busy and secluded from the rest of the island. There are vacation bungalows on the hill along Sanom Beach and the guests staying there are usually the only people at the beach. But it is open to everyone. Be sure to spend some time here and enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of the place.

Walkway from Pattaya to Sanom Beach will get you to some beautiful places on Koh Lipe
Walkway from Pattaya to Sanom Beach

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a small bay on the west side of the island, with some rocks, tranquil water, and a few low-key bars and restaurants. There is also a camping area, which gives it a slightly hippy atmosphere and, as the name suggests, it’s the perfect spot from which to watch the sunset. Sunset in Thailand are usually beautiful. I recommend you to go there at least once during your stay. Sunset is at the same time almost every day all year-round: 6:35pm, give or take a few minutes.

The Cliff Sunset Beach Resort. Jan Willem Plug
The Cliff Sunset Beach Resort

Sunrise Beach

Sunrise Beach is quite a long stretch of land along the eastern side of the island. It is a great spot to watch the sunrise, around 6:35am,  if you get up early enough. And it is a popular thing to do. I went here every morning, since my cabin was literally at this beach. And I was surprised to see the number of people sitting on the beach around this time. There is a pleasant breeze during the whole day at this beach and it’s a great spot for snorkeling and water sports.

Sunrise at Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach. Jan Willem Plug. The Instatripper
Sunrise Beach, 6:37am

Karma Beach

For many visitors Karma Beach is the most beautiful beach to go see on Koh Lipe. It is called Bulow Beach on some maps. It’s beautiful white sands all over here. And it has one of the best viewpoints on the island. You can see the neighbouring islands such as Koh Adang and a nice sand bank. The water is beautiful and warm and good for snorkelling . To get the best few of this beach you can go up to the Mountain Resort and enjoy a cool fruit shake or something to eat at the resort’s terrace while you look at the beautiful view.

Karma Beach with Koh Adang in the distance
Karma Beach with Koh Adang in the distance
Karma Beach is great for swimming. Jan Willem Plug
Karma Beach is great for swimming
Jan Willem Plug at Karma Beach
At Karma Beach

What to Do on Koh Lipe

While in Koh Lipe, you should not miss the opportunity to go island-hopping by boat. There are some stunning islands around Koh Lipe. You’ll get to see interesting rock formations, wildlife and extraordinary bioluminescent planktons and incredible spots for snorkeling and swimming. If you’re lucky enough, you can even stumble upon your own private beach with no-one around.

There are four island hopping itineraries from Koh Lipe (Program A, B, Sunset Trip and Plankton Trip) and programs A and B are by far the most popular ones. All of them are great. The islands, beaches, and sea life are all spectacular and will make you want to stay longer.

The Viewpoint on Koh Adang

If you like spectacular vistas and want to get some exercise, you can climb the mountain on Koh Adang, the island right in front of Koh Lipe, to get an amazing view of the entire island. The boat ride to Koh Adang takes about 20 mins. From the arrival point, you can easily find the trail that leads up to three viewpoints. Hiking Koh Adang takes between 30 and 40 mins each way, is suitable for everyone, and for the most part, the trail is in the shade.

The vistas from the viewpoints are all spectacular. But it can get really hot during the day. So bring plenty of water, sunglasses, a hat and remember to apply sunscreen regularly. Also, don’t forget suitable shoes in addition to your flipflops.

Where to Eat and Drink on Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe has one main Walking Street full of restaurants and cafes and bars and places for a relaxing Thai massage. Maya Bar, in the middle of the street is popular for drinks and dancing and meeting people.

There are some really nice beach bars and restaurants outside the Walking Street too. I recommend Sea la Vie on Sunrise Beach. It’s a great place with chairs on the sand, and even a swing that looks out over the ocean. The music is good, the crowd friendly, the food and drink reasonably priced and the view amazing. After spending your day swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing this is a wonderful place to relax.

A great place for lunch is the restaurant and bar at Seredipity Resort. The view is amazing and the small beach at the bottom of the Resort is very beautiful too. Of all the restaurants on Koh Lipe this may be the most expensive one. But then, that’s only relative compared to prices in western countries. And the view is definitely worth a stay.

So even though Koh Lipe is very small, there really is a lot to see. If you want to see all the beaches, walk around and relax you should at least stay two nights here. If you also want to do a boat tour, than I recommend three nights. Of course, any longer stay will mean more relaxing, taking in more of the views and more delicious food. And who could have anything against that?

While it is great to see Koh Lipe, the other islands in Thailand are amazing too. One of those is Koh Phi Phi. Click here to read about this second island destination.