MALDIVES OF THAILAND
Thailand is probably one of the most popular tourist destination. There is hardly a person in the world who has never heard about the beautiful nature of Thailand and its stunning beaches. Phuket, Pattaya, Samui, Phi Phi island, Semilan islands are so overcrowded with tourists that it becomes more and more difficult to find any space on a beach.
Koh Lipe is an island in the Andaman Sea near Malaysia. This Thai island is famous for its corals-rich water, the abundance of under-water species and diving spots.
Koh Lipe is often called "Maldives of Thailand" for its incredible crystal-clear turquoise water and white-sand beaches. Nowadays it becomes more and more popular among tourists but it is still possible to find a peace of paradise where you have a feeling of being the only person in the island.
For those who want to find peace and tranquillity I suggest my three days itinerary "The way to paradise".
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two main ways to go there:
- from Bangkok
- from Langkawi, Malaysia.
Koh Lipe features two main seasons - high and low. High season is from November till April. Low season is from May till October. The only way to go to the island is by a speed boat.
If you choose going to Koh Lipe from Langkawi, keep in mind that the boats operate only in a high season that is from November till April.
The easiest way to go to Koh Lipe (high season)
1. Go to Langkawi.
Langkawi is an island in Malaysia and it is only one hour fight from Kuala Lumpur.
2. Book a speed boat from Langkawi to Koh Lipe.
Highly recommended to book a boat in advance, especially in high season. There are several speed boat companies, we booked via Bundhaya Speed Boat.
The price is 220 MR for a return ticket. It is about 60 USD.
The boats go only two times daily at 9:30 and 14:30, the journey lasts one hour and a half.
The time difference between Langkawi and Koh Lipe is one hour back.
Tip! You have to check in at least one hour before the departure.
So plan your trip properly.
The distance between Langkawi International Airport and check in point at Kuah Jetty is about 40 minutes by taxi. So if you arrive in Langkawi early in the morning, the nearest boat is 14:30 p.m. The immigration point in Koh Lipe is on the beach, so it is a unique case when the international border crossing is just on the beach.
Tip! You have to pay an entrance fee for visiting the National Park:
- 200 Baht for an adult;
- 100 Baht for a child.
When reaching Koh Lipe, there is a strong feeling that you are somewhere in paradise. For us it was like we were in Maldives. The crystal clear water of all shades of blue is difficult to describe.
Hat Yai to Kho Lipe via Pak Bara (low season)
The route from Hat Yai is open all year round, and this is the only route during low season:
First, fly to Bangkok.
From Bangkok you have to get to Hat Yai. You can go there by train, by bus or by plane. If you have plenty of time and you want to save money, first two options are just for you, going to Hat Yai by train or by bus is cheaper but longer.
The quickest way is to go there by air. The flight from Bangkok to Hat Yai is only one hour and a half.
When in Hat Yai, take a taxi or minibus to Pak Bara. from where you take a speed boat to Koh Lipe.
Pattaya beach is the largest and most visited beach in Koh Lipe with a wide range of restaurants and bars. During high season all speed boats arrive here, so it can be overcrowded as all people go through the immigration point located just on the beach.
Sunset beach as its name says is a perfect place to watch sunsets. This secluded beach is a good place to chill out, relax and enjoy the peaceful and laid-back atmosphere of the island.
The beach is perfect for watching sunrise, and this is also a popular place for snorkelling. You can snorkel right off the shore to see the rich marine life.
One of the most popular activities on Koh Lipe is to explore its National park with beautiful pristine islands. Two large islands, Koh Adang and Koh Rawi can be easily reached by long-tail boats. Further islands are possible to explore if you book a boat trip for the whole day. Usually such boat trips include free snorkelling equipment.
Okay, to start with, hotels in Koh Lipe are not so cheap as you expect. Better to say the price is too high for the quality it suggests.The average price for a 3-star hotel 70-120 USD. Most of the hotels are very simple, like bungalows with a fan and cold water in a shower. After a long search of a good hotel with an adequate price, we came across the Adang resort, a secluded place on a nearby island, Koh Adang.
This beautiful piece of paradise is just 10 minutes by a long-tail boat. Koh Adang is 6 km long and 5 km wide, it is a part of Tarutao National Marine Park and it is popular for its epic view point to Koh Lipe. There is hiking trails there, to Chaddo Cliff and to waterfalls.
The Adang Resort is the only hotel on this pristine island. It was a kind of a good luck for us to stay at this secluded getaway and to have such a unique opportunity to enjoy peace and tranquillity in paradise. The price per night is around 80 USD. For this price you get a nice air-conditioned bungalow surrounded by jungle, a private beach, a beachfront pool and the peace and tranquillity. No rush, no hurry, no crowds of tourists. That was awesome, a real secluded getaway.
Tip! This resort is available only in high season.
The hotel provides a free shuttle to Koh Lipe by a long-tail boat. But there is a fixed schedule of departure and arrival, anyway if you are out of schedule you can take any boat in Koh Lipe just for 100 Baht.
The Adang Resort provides the guests with free snorkelling equipment and kayaking.
As I mentioned before there are several hiking trails in Koh Adang. Chaddo Cliff is a hidden gem of the island. It is a view point overlooking Koh Lipe. That's an incredible experience.
After this hike you will definitely realise why Koh Lipe is called by many people as "Maldives of Thailand.
Hiking to Chaddo Cliff
Chaddo Cliff has dramatic views to Koh Lipe. The infinite views are really breathtaking. The colour of the water is all hues of blue and the lush surroundings made this hike one of the best in my life.
How to get to Chaddo Cliff
Chaddo CLiff is located in Koh Adang.
1. Go from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang by a long-tail boat.
The boat will get you to Ranger Station. It is the National Park. From this point follow the sign "Chaddo Cliff." It is about 5 minutes from the Ranger station to the starting point. The hike to the peak is from 40 to 60 minutes depending on your speed and stops you make to take photos and admire the picturesque scenery. The trail is not too difficult, but it is always in ascent and the weather is very hot, better to go hiking early in the morning.
The highest point is 265 m, and there are three view points on the way to the peak. All of them are awesome! The path is quite rocky and sometimes you have to climb up with your hands.
Tip! Wear sport shoes, take enough water, a hat and a sunscreen lotion.
Koh Adang is a secluded undeveloped island, and it was such a pleasure to walk around the island and discover unspoiled beaches with snow-white beaches and crystal clear-blue water. There are tours to Koh Adang as there are a lot of snorkelling spots. The abundance of marine life is impressive.
Koh Lipe has a wide range of restaurants offering Thai and International cuisines.
We live in Koh Adang but went to Koh Lipe for dinner. Our favourite place was Nee Papaya restaurant. The place is very local but very popular among tourists as well. The food is really Authentic. The quality and the price are a value for money. Almost all dishes cost 150 Baht. Except grilled seafood. Tom Yam Soup, Pad Thai, Seafood rice in a pine-apple, papaya salad. For dinner they have a grilled section where you can order any seafood you want - king prawns, squid, fish, crabs. The main street in Koh Lipe is called The Walking Street. All restaurants and shops are there.
Another very popular dishes in Koh Lipe and in Thailand:
- Banana pan-cakes
- Coconut ice-cream
- Fries ice-cream
- Fresh shakes
The beaches in Koh Adang are absolutely awesome.
Our last day the weather totally changed, but even in a rainy day this place remains a piece of paradise.