Heading to beautiful southern Thailand and want to know all the best things to do in Koh Lipe? We have you covered! Below, you will find our full guide to all the best attractions in Koh Lipe to plan your ultimate trip.
Koh Lipe has been called the “Maldives of Thailand” and you’ll see why on your approach to the island. This small speck in the Andaman Sea is crazy beautiful. It’s a gorgeous tropical paradise located in a national park surrounded by coral.
While it may be compact, there are still some awe-inspiring things to do at Koh Lipe that are worth your time. Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is a beach massage or hiking up through jungle to a lookout, we have all the best Koh Lipe activities for you below.
In crafting these recommendations, we’ve spoken with local experts, combed through traveller reviews and experienced Koh Lipe first-hand. We’ve designed this guide for everyone whether you want relaxation, adventure or cultural immersion.
Keep reading for our full guide to Koh Lipe with not just the best things to do, but where to stay, how to get here, when to visit, the entry fees required on arrival and everything else you need to know for your best vacation ever in Koh Lipe.
Travelling to Malaysia? Click here to download your free Malaysia Trip Planning checklist. We’ll help you get ready for your trip!
Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired.
Top 10 Things To Do In Koh Lipe Thailand
Here are the best Koh Lipe attractions. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe. If you taking a day trip to Koh Lipe, find our one day itinerary Koh Lipe below.
Explore The Island
Koh Lipe isn’t just gorgeous, but it’s very easy to explore the island by foot. With no cars, the island is set up for hikers and you can easily walk around different parts of Koh Lipe exploring as you go. Koh Lipe is only about 2 kilometres long by one kilometre wide.
The scenery can change quickly from lush greenery to shops (seemingly stacked on top of one another) to feeling like you are walking through local villages. It’s interesting seeing all the differences, especially how rural you can feel moments from busy Walking Street.
Enjoy The Three Main Beaches
There are three main beach areas on Koh Lipe. Each has their own pros and cons. When you are looking for things to do in Koh Lipe, I recommend you visit each of them and crown your own favourite.
This is where you’ll arrive on Koh Lipe at the southern part of the island. It’s not just a stretch of sand; it’s the vibrant heart of the island with ferries, people, big resorts, bars and restaurants.
You can enjoy the beach or head here at night for some of the best nightlife on the island, including fire shows (coming up).
When we first arrived at Pattaya Beach on our ferry, the tide was out and it didn’t look that inviting for a swim. If you have the same experience, make sure you come back later! Later in the day it was even better looking and very inviting when the tide had come in.
At night, it’s all lit up and beautiful with a great atmosphere. We loved sitting at Monkey Bar and having a drink while watching a fire show.
It’s the liveliest beach with all the good and bad that comes with that.
This is also a popular beach fringing the east coast of the island. It’s the prettiest stretch of sand home to much of the accommodation on the island. It’s a great place to start the day with beautiful sunrises. The water is crystal clear, perfect for snorkelling although you do need to keep away from the boats which, unfortunately, are spread out over most of this beach.
There are stretches of water reserved for swimmers at regular intervals though. I recommend either heading to the southern or northern ends of the beach for the best stretches.
The southern end is meant to be best for snorkelling, and I enjoyed snorkelling here. Much of the coral was dead, but some was alive, and there were plenty of fish.
Unfortunately, there were tons of jellyfish when we visited here. They didn’t seem dangerous and they didn’t sting us, but it was off-putting. At other beaches, we did not see any. I think we were probably unlucky as a friend of mine was there the week before and did not see any.
The northern end is also great for swimming with far less boats, the most picturesque sand and some great bars and resorts.
Make sure you visit both ends!
Sunset Beach, on the northern coast, offers a different vibe. It’s quieter and more secluded. It’s the spot to unwind and watch the sun dip below the horizon. It’s a great beach to visit to feel like you’ve escaped the world.
While I didn’t see any coral when I snorkelled here, there were plenty of fish – more than I saw elsewhere – round the rocky area at the western end.
Sunset Beach is a popular place to go for sunset – more about this below!
In Koh Lipe, these main beaches are great for relaxation, adventure and stunning beauty. So, don’t just stay on one beach; explore them all to capture the full essence of this island paradise.
Walk Walking Street
Walking Street on Koh Lipe is a must-do of the things to do on Koh Lipe for any traveller looking for a lively blend of culture, shopping and cuisine. It’s where you can wander through a twinkling array of stalls and shops, each brimming with local arts, crafts, and clothing — perfect for souvenirs. It’s also a handy place to snack or eat with the aromas of Thai street food filling the strip from spicy noodles to sweet mango sticky rice. All for a great price too.
It’s also the main walkway between Pattaya and Sunrise Beaches so you are likely to come through here at least once.
Come evening, Walking Street transforms. You’ll feel the vibrancy as the buzz of the crowd mixes with the hum of live music and laughter. This street is full of Thai charm with all the energy that comes with that.
Watch The Sunset At Sunset Beach
Looking for the perfect island experience for your things to do Koh Lipe list?
Sunset Beach isn’t just one of the three main beaches you should visit but also the place to be for beautiful sunsets. It definitely lives up to its name!
But don’t make the mistake we did. We sat down at the Mojito Bar at the western end. However, at least in January, you can’t see the sun set from here as it’s behind a hill. Head to the other end of the beach to watch the sunset. The end near the Mojito is better for swimming though.
Sip on a drink or rest on the sand as you watch the colours change in the sky to the gentle lapping of the waves. There is no better way to end the day on Koh Lipe.
Have A Massage On The Beach
When you’re looking for Koh Lipe activities, you won’t want to miss out on treating yourself to a beach massage. There’s nothing better!
Imagine, the gentle lapping of waves as the soundtrack to your relaxation. The kiss of the sea breeze while every muscle in your body sighs with relief as your masseuse works their magic. The gorgeous beach views. As you lie and relax, you’ll feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Massages start at THB350 for an hour long Thai massage.
Go Snorkelling (Or Diving)
Koh Lipe isn’t just beautiful on land, but also under the sea. Try to make some time for some snorkelling or diving. They are two of the top activities in Koh Lipe.
Picture it: swathes of coral, schools of rainbow-hued fish and the calm silence of the ocean – it’s all just a heartbeat away.
You can hire equipment from many places on the island and then simply start snorkelling off the shore. I’ve read that the waters around here feature 25% of the world tropical fish species!
The best place for snorkeling in Koh Lipe is off Sunrise Beach between here and Koh Usen, the tiny island just off the beach. At low tide, it is easy to reach here, although be careful about boats. The southern end of Sunrise Beach in general is a great place to snorkel. I found the rocky area at Sunset Beach good for fish too.
However, unfortunately I found much of the coral close to Koh Lipe to be dead. An island hopping trip (coming up!) further afield will have better snorkelling.
As for diving, there are multiple dive schools on the island that can help you with this whether you’re a beginner or certified.
Get Away From It All On Koh Adang
Koh Adang is a bigger island just a stone’s throw north from Koh Lipe. It’s known for its pristine beauty and tranquil atmosphere. It’s a must-visit for when you’re holidaying in Koh Lipe because it’s the perfect contrast to Lipe’s bustling beach scene. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for day trips from Koh Lipe.
Picture yourself trekking through untouched rainforest trails to a waterfall or snorkelling in crystal-clear waters among vibrant coral reefs. That’s Koh Adang. There’s a small restaurant and resort. Otherwise, the island is uninhabited.
At the southern end, you can hike up a hill to a lookout with great views or walk to a waterfall. There’s some great snorkelling too.
On the west coast, there are more beautiful beaches and snorkelling opportunities as well as freshwater lagoons. It’s a special spot.
Island hopping around Koh Lipe definitely deserves to be on your Koh Lipe things to do list! This area is so stunningly beautiful and it’s a great way to see even more.
Picture yourself hopping from one idyllic island to another, and you’ll realise you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
There are quite a few islands nearby that are worth visiting.
I recommend you consider this discount tour on Klook where you can island hop for 4.5 hours round some of the best nearby spots, stopping to snorkel and explore. Stops include Koh Hin Ngam, Koh Rawi. Koh Kra, Koh Yang and Koh Adang.
Kayak To A Deserted Island
There’s some pretty little islands around Koh Lipe which are perfect to reach by kayak.
Imagine this: you’re gently slicing through the crystalline Andaman waters, your paddle stirring ripples across the sea’s calm face. You arrive on a secluded island, a sanctuary where the white sands beckon and the water is whispering to you to start snorkelling.
You have several choices. Koh Usen at the southern end of Sunrise Beach is close by and a great choice even if you don’t have much experience with kayaking. You can park your kayak on the east side of the island and enjoy.
Koh Kra is also just off the coast of Sunrise Beach and another solid choice.
There are plenty of places to hire kayaks and you shouldn’t have any problems setting off on your journey. Take your snorkelling gear with you too and explore under the water when you get to an island.
Watch A Fire Show
After you watch your sunset at Sunset Beach, I have one more answer to what to do in Koh Lipe – watch a fire show.
Head to Pattaya Beach for this must-see spectacle. Sit on the soft sand or in a local bar or restaurant and get ready for the show. You’ll feel the warmth of the fire as performers juggle flames with breathtaking skill.
The photo above was taken at Monkey Bar. We had a great drink here while watching the show. It was family friendly and lots of fun.
It’s the perfect way to end a day in Koh Lipe.
What To Do In Koh Lipe In One Day
Just visiting Koh Lipe for a day? That’s a shame, but it’s also great that you are getting to visit here. A day trip from Langkawi to Koh Lipe is very possible and quite a popular activity.
The good news is that Koh Lipe is very small, so you can easily explore the island in a day. I recommend you do most things above apart from island hopping and Koh Adang. You also won’t be able to watch the sunset or go to the fire show. Boats off the island leave before dark.
With one day, I recommend you:
- Start by exploring the island by foot before it gets even hotter. Walk along Walking Street, try to get lost on the surrounding paths
- Make your way to Sunset Beach for your first swim of the day. Jump in and enjoy!
- Walk over to Sunrise Beach and hire a kayak and/or snorkelling gear and consider visiting Koh Usen. Enjoy everything Sunrise Beach including some lunch by the water
- Take some time out for a beach massage
- Head back to Pattaya Beach for a beach cocktail before your ferry ride back
Koh Lipe Activities Map
Best Places To Stay In Koh Lipe
When it comes to the best resorts in Koh Lipe, there are many great options. There are also budget hotels and hostels and everything in between.
Below, I’ve listed a few different places to consider depending on what type of accommodation you are looking for and your budget.
Note that Koh Lipe is a more expensive destination and I was surprised by the accommodation costs compared to Malaysia the first time I went. Expect to pay more here than you might expect outside of the monsoon season.
Situated right on the tip of the island, the allure of Bulow Casa Grand View Resort & Spa’s setting is unrivalled. It feels like you are surrounded by gorgeous beach here, and it’s the best beach on the island. It’s a little further from Walking Street and Pattaya Beach because of this, but the exchange is worthwhile!
The accommodation on offer is an exclusive villa style, ideal for couples in pursuit of a romantic retreat. Each villa exudes elegance and comes fully-fitted with all the modern conveniences you could wish for, promising both space and a touch of opulence. Guests are faced with the delightful dilemma of choosing between a villa that sits directly on the shore, complete with its own secluded pool, or opting for one nestled in the garden.
Bulow Casa Grand View Resort & Spa has an on-site restaurant, although not many other facilities. You won’t need anything else though when you’re surrounded by beach this good.
BUDGET – Lipe Garden Beach Resort Review
Located right by Pattaya Beach, close to the excitement of Walking Street and the convenience of ferry terminals, lies the Lipe Garden Beach Resort – your cost-effective launchpad for adventures across Koh Lipe.
You will find tidy, spacious rooms here to suit all types of travellers including families. Each room boasts comfy beds, flatscreen TV, kettle and private bathroom. You can pay more for a room with air-conditioning (versus fan) or for beachfront with a sea view. The rooms are on the basic side, but great for the price you pay.
The resort doesn’t boast many amenities and services, but you can indulge in a bit of pampering with a massage at their in-house Massage Shop, and there’s a restaurant on-site.
For those looking for a budget choice right on the beach in Koh Lipe, this retreat comes highly recommended, as echoed by the many great reviews of previous guests.
Located in the heart of Koh Lipe very close to where you arrive, Ananya Lipe Resort (SHA Extra Plus) is right on Pattaya Beach and close to the start of Walking Street. It’s the highest reviewed option on the island.
It’s a big, fun resort with facilities and services to make life easy. There’s a great pool by the beach, a gym and they can help you snorkel, dive and enjoy various non-motorised water sports. There are multiple on-site dining options, breakfast is usually included and you can grab a coffee at the on-site coffee shop.
There’s a huge variety of room types to suit everyone. All rooms have air-conditioning, television and a mini-bar as well as daily housekeeping, toiletries and comfy bathrobes. Families are catered for with rooms for up to four with separate living areas.
Ananya Lipe Resort is a fantastic choice for your Koh Lipe accommodation.
How To Get To Koh Lipe
How do you get to Koh Lipe? By boat!
Travelling to Koh Lipe is part of the fun. The island is blissfully disconnected from the usual bustle of airports and noisy highways. It’s a little adventure just to get there.
Your adventure begins with a boat ride because Koh Lipe doesn’t have airports or roads. The ride here can be quite scenic and you can take a quick ferry from Langkawi, Malaysia, or other nearby places in Thailand.
If you are coming from Langkawi, a quick trip to the jetty and you’ll be all set for the final leg to Koh Lipe. The journey by ferry takes about 90 minutes. Remember to check the schedules and book in advance during peak season to avoid any last-minute hassles.
The process of this ferry trip is a little complicated and time consuming. Make sure you read my guide for some hot tips to save you some time!
Also note that these direct ferries don’t run during the monsoon, low season. Generally, they run from mid-October to mid-June. This link will let you know if the ferry runs for your dates and exact costs.
If you’re already holidaying in Thailand, you can catch a ferry from places like Phuket, Koh Lanta or Pak Bara Pier in Satun on the coast. The voyages vary in length but are straightforward.
Here’s a pro tip for you: pack light. You’ll be thankful as there is no car transport on the island. You can either take a motorbike taxi along the sandy paths on the island to your hotel, walk or take a local taxi boat (longtail).
Arriving On Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe is located in Tarutao National Park. As part of this, there is a THB200 entry fee charged for entry to this national park when you arrive in Koh Lipe.
I also read that there is a second THB20 entry charge to the island. I did not find this to be true.
Koh Lipe With Kids
Koh Lipe is a brilliant place to visit with kids. I know as I explored this island and all the top things to do in Koh Lipe with my 7 and 13 year olds. I feel this island is great for everyone and families are definitely no exception.
My kids loved snorkelling off the coast and kayaking. They enjoyed exploring the shops on Walking Street. My 7 year old, in particular, loved the beach massage. They also loved sitting on the beach with a drink and watching the fire show in the evening.
They were less enthused about great sunsets and hiking to waterfalls, but these are still very family friendly activities.
My only complaint is that a visit here does add up financially for a family. The ferry tickets from Langkawi are far from cheap then add in the entry charges and the accommodation and it was by far the most expensive part of our trip to Malaysia.
However, it is worth it. Definitely don’t hesitate to visit Koh Lipe with kids!
When To Visit Koh Lipe
Last, but not least, it’s important to consider when to visit Koh Lipe. This is because Koh Lipe has two distinct seasons. Both have their pros and cons.
High Season (November to April)
Picture this – you’re soaking up the sun on pristine beaches with the clearest water you’ve seen. That’s high season for you.
It’s when Koh Lipe is at its best, weather-wise. The skies are clear, the sea is calm, and it’s perfect for snorkelling and diving. Just remember, “peak season” means more people, and prices can be higher. So if you fancy a buzzing atmosphere and don’t mind the crowd, this is your window!
It’s also when you’ll find the most (and safest) transport options to the island.
Low Season (May to October)
Now, if you’re after a bargain and some solitude, the low season’s your friend. You’ll find Koh Lipe less crowded, and your wallet will thank you as the prices drop. Accommodation can be as much as half the price as high season.
But here’s the catch – the monsoon comes to visit. Expect rain and choppy seas, which might affect your plans, especially if you’re dreaming of underwater adventures. But hey, it’s all part of the experience, and you’ll see a more laid-back side of island life.
There is less transport here at this time of year and the ferries from Langkawi stop all together. It can feel unsafe on the boat transportation as well.
Koh Lipe is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I hope you love your adventure here. Between this guide and a boat ride, you can soon be enjoying the best of Koh Lipe. We absolutely loved visiting here and can’t wait to go back with all the family!
Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!