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Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Guide to Koh Lipe for only RM500



KOH LIPE a.k.a the Maldives of Thailand, might sound like Kuala Lipis and when you tell your friends you are planning to go to Koh Lipe, they'll be like "What's there in Kuala Lipis?"

For those who didn't know, Koh Lipe is a small island in Thailand, the last island of southern Andaman Sea. It is very near to Pulau Langkawi, Kedah compared to its Thai mainland. The island is so small that you don't usually find them on most maps. All locations are reachable by foot and within walking distance.

It is a chill and relax island with no hustle and bustle, suitable for those looking for a weekend getaway with either yourself or with some friends. There are also other activities and islands aside from Lipe itself. Lipe is recently known as a favorite place for backpackers after Krabi. However, avoid going during public holidays and peak season. You wouldn't enjoy the island like how you would love to.

When to visit

Season starts from end of October to April every year. Peak seasons during Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year Holidays.

How to get there

Langkawi - Koh Lipe
  • 90 minutes ferry ride from Kuah Jetty, Langkawi - Koh Lipe Pattaya Beach. 
  • Langkawi - Koh Lipe route is only available for 6 months every year, due to Government limitations. The season usually starts from October - April.
  • For 2015, the ferry service is operated by Tropical Charters with return fare of RM240 per pax (inclusive of transfer from airport/hotel). You can book online from www.langkawilipe.com
  • If you're heading straight from the jetty, call +60124636899 (Adam) for return fare of RM200 per pax for travels until 31 May 2015.
  • To Koh Lipe
    • Take the first ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi.
    • You can catch the afternoon ferry if you can't make it on the morning ferry  from Langkawi to Koh Lipe.
    • If you are planning to stay longer, you may cover few other snorkeling areas.
    • You may hop on to the next Andaman Islands e.g. Koh Tarutao, Pak Bara, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Phi Phi.
  • From Koh Lipe
    • Make sure you check-in at Bundhaya's counter by 9.30 am and stamp your passport. You will have to return the passport to the staff and they will return them when you are in the ferry.
    • Downside - you might have to wait for at least 2 hours from the time you check-in until the time your ferry arrives. Just chill around the area but be alert of incoming ferry with Malaysian flag. 
Hat Yai - Pak Bara - Koh Lipe
  • Alternatively, travelers may choose to go via mainlaind (car or minibus) from Hat Yai to Pak Bara (approx 2 hours) and via ferry/ speedboard from Pak Bara to Koh Lipe (approx 2 hours). The published fare is THB1200/pax for return ferry ticket but we were told you can bargain the price for as low as THB900. Agents and carparks are easily available by the pier. There are 2 daily trips, morning and afternoon.
#Updated on 28 April 2015

Kuala Perlis - Pak Bara - Koh Lipe
  • For travels within the off-season (June - September), you can travel up to Kuala Perlis via bus/ car and arrange for a pick up from the bus station to Pak Barra and then transfer ke Koh Lipe.
  • Kuala Perlis - Pak Barra - Koh Lipe = RM120
  • Kuala Perlis - Pak Barra - Koh Lipe - Pak Barra - Kuala Perlis = RM240.
  • Contact : Adam (012 463 6899)


* Border - Wang Kelian
** Total time - K. Perlis - Pak Barra - 2h30m
*** Total time - Pak Barra - Koh Lipe - 2h30m
**** Advisable to take bus to Kuala Perlis, arrive in the morning to make it in time for the ferry/ speedboat to Koh Lipe.
***** Ferry times - 0930, 1230, 1430, 1530.

Arrived in Lipe. 2015 ferry are like those from Kuala Kedah to Langkawi.

Jumping into the longtail boat from the floating platform

3 minutes long tail boat ride to the beach

Look at that emerald water!

Immigration
  • Check in for departure in Kuah Jetty near the cafeteria.
  • You may fill up the immigration card in the ferry.
  • The ferry crew will collect your passport midway and will pass it to the ticket counter for verification. They will call your name, you collect your passport and head to the Immigration Counter, next door.
  • There is a designated Immigration Counter by Bundhaya Beach Resort. The Immigration Officer might ask you where are you staying and for how many days. If you have yet to book a room, just be honest and say you are planning to stay at Pattaya Beach or Sunrise Beach.
Satun Immigration Check Point. Make sure you stamp your passport here.

Things to bring
  • Water-resistant sandals/ slippers.
  • Sunblocks, sunscreens, aloe vera.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Pario/ kain batik.
  • Food, chips, water, tuna, chewing gum.
  • Minyak gamat/ antiseptic cream in case of injury while snorkeling.
  • Drypack – THB400 for 5litres.
  • If you wanna buy sundry items and on a budget, head to the local grocery shop beside Thai Thai – local price. If not, by all means, 7-eleven is on the Walking Street.
Getting around
  • Wear sandals and light pants. Ferry will stop few hundred meters from the beach and longtail boats will transfer you to the beach. Once you arrive at the beach, you might get a little wet up to the ankle / knee.
  • No cars on the land. All areas are within walking distance. You can take the motorcycle taxi for THB60/ride/pax. No motorbike rental available.
  • From Pattaya Beach - Walking Street - Sunrise Beach = 10 minutes walk.
  • From Pattaya beach - Walking Street - Sunset Beach = 15 minutes walk.
  • There are 3 ATMs (7-Eleven - Walking Street, Pooh's Restaurant - end of Walking Street & Harmony Bed & Breakfast), money changers and 7-eleven (read: THE MALL)
  • Most of the locals are able to speak Malay & English.
You can see the ferry at the back by the floating platform and friends getting off the long tail boat.

Pattaya Beach

Walking Street.

Sunrise Beach

Closer..

Sunrise Beach during the day with 1/3 of t3o
Accommodation

Pattaya Beach is where the night life is with calmer water, the Walking Street is where the food is, the Sunrise Beach is where the local is. Book online or walk-in (risky if peak season December-January). Avoid at all costs going there during Christmas/ NYE/ CNY because it gets really packed and all prices doubled!

Pattaya Beach
Walking Street 
  • Gecko (THB500) Baan Kasirin 2 (Opposite Pooh Bar, standard room with aircond & shower but no wifi.) THB1300 per room
Sunrise Beach
  • Varin Village  (Bamboo, seaview, basic without aircond and wifi) THB600 per room (limited to 2 pax/ room, extra THB300 for +1 pax). Reception cannot speak English nor Malay. The old man is a bit unhelpful. *remember this old man for another story below 
Our humble abode at Varin Village

Front view of Sunrise Beach from our room at Varin Village
* prices may subject to seasons 

Camping 

THB500/tent at the junction before Sunset Beach

Activities 

Snorkeling, Kayaking & Island Tour
  • There are few snorkeling packages depending on the area covered. Price ranges from THB550-700/ pax including snorkeling gear & food.
  • Program 1 THB550 covers Koh Jabang, Koh Hin Ngam, Koh Rawi, Koh Adang & Koh Yang.
  • Program 2 THB650 covers Koh Hin Sorn, Koh Lugai, Koh Dong, Koh Pung, Koh Bulu.
  • Alternatively, charter a longtail boat for THB1500 not including snorkeling gear & food.
  • You might want to check the price as soon as you are at the Walking Street and make prior booking a day before going for the snorkeling trip.
  • Do arrange for your transport during the day so that the operators can check with the service providers on the availability.
  • You may request for a Malay speaking boatman. Don’t expect much but they are nice.
  • 1 package is for 1 whole day trip.
  • Put aside THB200/pax for National Park fee *subject to whether the officer collects the money.
Waiting for long tail boat pick up for snorkeling and island hoping

Here we go!



2's a party! @_blckbrdx

Koh Hin Ngam - the island with black stones. Locals believe that if you stack certain number of stones, your wish will come true. However, on our recent trip, we were told not to stack the stones to avoid worshiping the cursed stones.

One of the islands

Ready for kayaking! But first let us take a photo!
Diving
  • Discovery Scuba Diving & free diving.
  • Diving License for ~THB16000
Imran Adam & Locky during their dive in Lipe

Hiking, Camping & Waterfall
  • You can hire a boat with a guide to take Pirate Falls and Chado Cliff on Koh Adang. You will get an aerial view of Koh Lipe, opposite Koh Adang.
  • @_blckbrdx and her friends spent a day at Koh Adang climbing up the waterfall and hiking up Chado Cliff. Here are some of her words:
  • Hiking up the waterfall
    • Level of difficulty - medium
    • 500m climb and steep
    • Doable for beginners
    • Awesome view from top
  • Hiking up Cliff Chado
    • 3 view points
    • Base to 1st view point: 20 mins (fast pace)
    • 1st view point to 2nd view point: 15 mins
    • 2nd view point to 3rd view point: 15 mins
    • Be careful of the dried bamboo leaves which makes the track very slippery.
    • Wear proper shoes for better grip.
Panoramic view of Koh Lipe from Chado Cliff, Koh Adang

#beautifulpeoplehike by @_blckbrdx

Sunrise, sunset and the night scene

The sunrise at Sunrise Beach

Ending the day at Sunset Beach

The night scene at Pattaya Beach

Blend with the local
  • If you want to play football with the locals, head to the Sunrise Beach, in front of the school, there is an open paved area where the guys play football.
  • At the end of the Walking Street, walk to the left to get to the sea-gypsy's village, to the right is where the locals get their supply and the food there are good too.
Massages
  • Massages, manicure, pedicure are CHEAPO. You can have a 1 hour whole body massage for THB300, with a seaview. Personal favorite: foot scrub because I’m a buruh binaan (construction worker) (THB250).
Take memorable picture with Aiwa, the sexy lady of Lipe

Love your curves and all your edges 

Halal Food
  • 7-eleven offers quite a number of Halal option. You can get a chicken burger (combination of McDonald's prosperity burger & GCB) for ~THB50. 7E can reheat the burger for you.
Can't explain how awesome this burger is!
  • Pattaya Beach
    • Bung Roon Halal Restaurant
  • Sunrise Beach
    • Thai Thai - recommended
  • Walking Street
    • Roti Mina Restaurant
Fried Chicken with Sticky Rice at Roti Mina Restaurant

Roti with Banana and the crazily unhealthy yet addictive snack, deep fried chicken skin at Mina Restaurant.

    • Nee Papaya (turn right at the end of walking street from Pattaya)
    • Indian & Thai Food (beside Nee Papaya)
    • Konlay
    • Sara Sea - recommended
    • Sip Pee Nong (Grilled chicken (ayam percik) & fried noodle)
  • Street food
Just close your eyes and point to a flavour. 

Cautions
  • LOTS OF DOGS, but most of the time, they are harmless. 
  • BUT! Our friend Siti was attacked by a dog within the compound of Varin Village. It caused her a deep wound . Siti's friends made a complaint to the old man at Varin Village but he didn't entertain them. Instead he increased the radio volume and said "No dog". They sought medical treatment at Siam International Clinic which at first was only THB190 but later increased to ~THB20,000. 
  • There's a local hospital located next to the school on Sunrise Beach, with basic medical supply. 
  • DEBRIS AND GLASSES – Pattaya Beach is generally cleaner than Sunrise as Pattaya is the main beach. Sunrise is where the local park their boat and you can find bits of broken glasses in the sand.
Prayer times
  • ~ approximately as of February 2015:
For updated times, visit this link
  • Kiblat - advisable to use mobile apps or Qiblat pointer for accuracy or you can visit the Mosque near Sunrise Beach.
Suggested 3D2N Itinerary 

Day 1: ARRIVAL, PATTAYA BEACH
Malaysia Time
0930 am – Departure from Kuah Jetty, Langkawi
Thai Time
1000 am – Arrival at Koh Lipe Pattaya Beach
1030 am – Immigration clearance
1200 pm – Lunch, Free & easy, snorkel around Sunrise & Pattaya Beach
1830 pm – Sunset at Sunset Beach
1900 pm – Dinner
2100 pm – Pattaya Beach night scene

Day 2: ISLAND HOPPING
0900 am – Longtail boat pick up for snorkeling and island hopping
1700 pm – End of snorkeling trip
1830 pm – Sunset near Mountain Resort (end of Sunrise Beach) *ask boatmen to drop you there.
1930 pm – Dinner

Day 3: DEPARTURE
0900 am – Check out room
0930 am – Check in return to Kuah Jetty, Langkawi
1030 am – Ferry departs from Koh Lipe Pattaya Beach
Malaysia Time
1300 pm – Arrival at Kuah Jetty, Langkawi

Cost breakdown (per person)

Day 1

Ferry ride Langkawi - Lipe RM200 return
Varin Village for 2 person TBH 600 (TBH 300 per person)
Lunch ~TBH 150 per meal
Dinner ~TBH 150 (THB50 for Thai pancakes, THB70 for coconut ice-cream) 

Day 2

Island hopping ~THB650/550 per person (including lunch & snorkeling gears)
Varin Village for 2 person TBH 600  (TBH 300 per person)
Dinner ~THB100 per meal 
Souvenirs hunting ~THB300

Day 3

Breakfast ~ TBH 100 per meal

Total: < RM 500

Disclaimer: This is mainly for reference purposes and to the best of our knowledge. We do not take any liability for any inaccurate information.

Written by Lisa
Photographed by:  

24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Supermeng! Good day! Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. wow, very comprehensive report :) I was in Koh LIpe circa 2013 but didn't so much effort in blogging about it like yours here, nice.

    Btw I've been to Maldives too and I guess It's not really apple to apple if you compare Koh Lipe with Maldives :) . Koh Lipe and surrounding islands are very small, I might prefer to compare them with Gili Trawangan-Meno and Air in Lombok to Koh Lipe...also in terms of the ambience (food stalls, local markets etc)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vari! Thanks for dropping by. Yeap, we kinda agree now that you mentioned Gili. We've been to Gili Trawangan and Lipe does reminds us of Gili too.

      That's what the island had been promoted as - Maldives of Thailand.

      Btw, thanks for dropping by our humble blog. We love yours! Send our regards to Rangga!

      Delete
  3. Dude, I love reading your experience. You must have really great time there! :) Also excellent photo shoots !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lily! Dude, we love that you dropped by and commenting! We had a great weekend escapade! You should go too.

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  4. wow...Assalamualaikum (first of all). Thank you so much for this info. I think I would visit this place this Nov since I have just bought my ticket to Penang, i didnt know about this island anywhere before. Thank you so much :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salam By Juhainie, waalaikumussalam. If you are going from Penang, you can access via Langkawi or by land via Wang Kelian/ Padang Besar - Pak Barra - Koh Lipe.

      From Penang, take the morning ferry in the morning from Georgetown to Langkawi, then take the afternoon ferry to Koh Lipe.

      If you need any help with that, do let us know. Enjoy your stay there!

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  5. Replies
    1. Hi Miss Yana, thanks! Hope you enjoyed reading.

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  6. Koh lipe awesome....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everything is awesome
      Everything is cool when you're part of a team
      Everything is awesome when we're living our dream

      Lalalalala. Hehe

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  7. Indeed, great sharing... Hope to be there this coming mei

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. whoa! have a wonderful experience there Muhammad! Terima kasih for dropping by

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  8. Menarik.. sunrise boleh buat sebak punya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Budak Kampung,

      Sunrise dia bole buat muhasabah diri jugak. Hehehe

      Regards,
      Budak kampung jugak.

      Delete
  9. This is soo details and this might helps us out in our future trip. Can't wait to be in Kuala Lipis, opsss Koh Lipe. Hehehe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a heap Zara AB! Start planning now.

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  10. Hiking tu mcm menarik. Do u hire any guide ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kong. Yes ada hired guide. Org yang sama bawak boat

      Delete
  11. Nice Entry... Complete Info!! and Nice Picture... Harap2 leh sampai soon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hopefully kami membantu PaE nanti nk p Koh Lipe. Selamat mengembara!

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Thanks Cawan. Selamat membaca our future post ;)

      Delete

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