Welcome to our travel guide on the best things to do in Koh Lipe, Thailand! We are Ju and Ric – a couple of Brazilians from Sao Paulo who work as journalists. We met at work in 2012 and since then we haven’t been apart.
Our passion for travel was always inside of us, so it was an easy decision to dive into new cultures and have exciting new experiences. We did that in 2019 when we started our journey together as digital nomads. Divagando pelo Mundo was born and we started sharing our adventures.
Three Amazing Weeks in Koh Lipe
We were traveling through Thailand when we heard about Koh Lipe. All it took was one picture to convince us to go! Koh Lipe was recommended to us by everyone we met in Thailand and so we simply had to check it out.
At first we planned to stay for seven days. But this turned into 10, 15, 20 and in the end we stayed for three weeks. We only left because our visa was about to expire. It’s amazing how naturally beautiful the whole island is!
Koh Lipe is paradise, there is no other way to describe it. Everything on the island is lovely: the beaches, sunrises and sunsets, the atmosphere, the people and cuisine! Since the island is located a bit further away from other popular Thai islands like Koh Phi Phi, you get to enjoy an intimate vibe.
Whenever we think of a place we would love to go back to, Koh Lipe comes to mind. It’s impossible to leave the island without wanting to stay longer or without planning a future return. We can’t wait to come back!
Favorite Place in Koh Lipe: Sunrise Beach
It’s hard to pick a favorite place in Koh Lipe because the whole island is special. But Sunrise Beach is a spot that enchanted us. In addition to the impressive color of the sea – the bluest water we have ever seen, it was a delight to walk along that long stretch of white sand and admire the view.
Every time we set foot on Sunrise Beach we were impressed in different ways. It’s such a magical destination! Of course as the name suggests, this is the best beach in Koh Lipe to watch the sunrise as the beach faces east and grants spectacular views at sunrise. This is also a great snorkeling spot.
10 Best Things To Do in Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe provides travelers with a semi off-the-map island that is not as popular as islands like Phi Phi but is also not void of amenities. This makes it one of the best islands in Thailand, hands down! Here are our recommendations for the best things to see and do in Koh Lipe:
1. Discover the Three Main Beaches of Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe is divided into three beaches: Pattaya (which is where the boats arrive), Sunset Beach (perfect for watching the sunset) and Sunrise Beach – a long stretch of sandy beach covered by the most impressive blue water we have ever seen. You will have a great time at all three beaches!
2. Head to Walking Street for Everything you Need
The heart of Koh Lipe is Walking Street. This street has everything you need – restaurants with delicious food, bars serving drinks all night, pharmacies for you to pick up supplies, Thai massage parlours, diving centers to book your diving trips, trinket shops, tuk tuks, backpackers and more!
3. Go on a Island Hopping Tour – Itinerary B
If you want to see the surroundings of Lipe, there are four island hopping tours on offer: Itinerary A & B, Sunset Trip and Plankton Trip. A & B are the most popular. We took the latter which goes to more islands and is further away from Lipe. The tour lasts all day and each stop is a spectacle in itself.
4. Visit Serendipity Beach – An Intimate Beach
Serendipity Beach is a small strip of sand on the right side of Sunrise Beach. This place is known for Serendipity Beach Resort – a 3-star resort that gives you access to this secluded beach. You can either stay at the resort or visit while spending time at Sunrise Beach or Pattaya Beach (20 minutes away).
5. See Glowing Plankton at Night on Sunrise Beach
You can join a snorkeling and plankton tour at Sunrise Beach which includes a half-day of snorkeling followed by dinner and then searching for planktons at night. Bioluminescent plankton look like fireflies glowing underwater! This is such a unique experience when visiting Koh Lipe.
6. Hike to Chado Cliff Viewpoint on Koh Adang
The best view of the island is on Koh Adang. You can hike up to the main viewpoint at Chado Cliff that looks over Koh Lipe. The hike takes no more than an hour one way, depending on your fitness. There are three views on offer: Viewpoint 1, 2 & 3. All of them are amazing but Viewpoint 3 is the best.
7. Have Lunch or Dinner at Mountain Resort Koh Lipe
Mountain Resort is a hotel situated on the far left side of Sunrise Beach. The view from above is awesome! You can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner while taking in panoramic sea views. If you are looking for a romantic place to take your better half then Mountain Resort is the place for you.
8. Snorkel with the Marine Life in Koh Lipe
Snorkeling in Koh Lipe is epic with marine life so abundant that even in the shallowest parts of the sea you can see corals and fish. The best snorkeling spot on the island is off Sunrise Beach. You have two small islands – Koh Kra and Koh Usen – where you can snorkel to your heart’s content.
9. Enjoy a Few Drinks on the Island at Happy Hour
Many resorts and bars on the island have happy hours where they entice tourists in with discounted drinks and great finger food. There is nothing better than enjoying a relaxing day at the beach followed by drinks in the late afternoon. So head on down to your local bar or resort for some fun!
10. Volunteer in the Movement – Trash Hero
Trash Hero is an incredible volunteer movement that helps to reduce the garbage spread in places around the world. The group meets up weekly in Koh Lipe at Pattaya Beach to help clean up the beaches of the island. This is a great way to give back and leave the island better than you found it.
People, Culture & Food of Koh Lipe
Thai people are one of the main reasons why we are so passionate about this country. They are very welcoming and we felt right at home in Koh Lipe. Because it’s a small island, the feeling is that everyone knows each other and is willing to help each other, no matter where you come from.
Since we adopted the concept of “slow travel”, it has been nice to have this opportunity to meet many special people and experience the culture on a deeper level. Having three weeks in Koh Lipe was fantastic in this regard.
When it comes to the food of Thailand, the cuisine is absolutely sensational and Koh Lipe is no exception. You can find a little bit of everything on the island – be it local or international food. Most restaurants are located on the bustling Walking Street, usually open from breakfast time until dinner.
One of the best places for food in Koh Lipe is Madame Yoohoo – a local spot with a lot of different options and great prices too. We also enjoyed the burgers at Elephant Cafe & Bar, Paolo for sliced pizza, pad thai at Mountain Resort and Bombay Indian Restaurant for delicious cheese naan breads.
You also can’t miss out on the famous fruit shakes and coconut ice cream served in coconut shells (both super easy to find on the main streets). And if you ever hear a guy singing out loud about his coconut donuts, don’t miss the opportunity to try them. They are cheap and delicious!
Where to Stay in Koh Lipe
Despite being a small island, you can find all types of accommodation in Koh Lipe – from luxury by the sea, to cheap hostels on the main street. We stayed at two very different places and we recommend both of them.
The first was Sunflower Guesthouse, a cozy guesthouse with lovely staff and a welcoming atmosphere. It’s a little further away from the center, but everywhere in Koh Lipe is just a short walk anyway. We also stayed at Castaway Resort, a stunning beachfront property at Sunrise Beach.
Castaway Resort Koh Lipe has a really cool eco-sustainable concept and the food is pretty amazing too! This is a great spot to watch the sunrise just steps from your bungalow and take a yoga class with the resort afterwards.
Volunteering in Koh Lipe with Help 4 Strays
We have many unforgettable memories from our stay in Koh Lipe, but one of the most incredible experiences was seeing the beautiful work of Help 4 Strays – an NGO run by the owner of Sunflower Lipe Guesthouse.
The staff of this team are all dedicated to helping sick or injured dogs and cats. Help 4 Strays provides assistance to ensure these animals stay healthy and prosperous. They usually need some extra help from volunteers, so it’s a rewarding experience you can have on the island if you want to give back.
Need to Know Before you Go
There is a national park conservation fee that you must pay upon your arrival at Koh Lipe. It’s valid for five days. So if you plan to tour the islands, it’s worth doing it before this deadline to avoid paying the same fee again. Here is the main tip: be prepared to fall in love and never want to leave!