Ko Lipe “Paper Island” in the local Sea Gypsy (Chao Ley) language, is the most southern island in Thailand, located 60 km from the mainland. It makes a part of Tarutao National Marine Park and on a clear day, you can see Langkawi Island in Malaysia, which is just 30 km away.
Getting there is quite easy. In our case, we went there from Langkawi (100RM, around 20 euros), it took us about two hours including passports control. During the high season (from November until May) you will find transport every hour from Ko Lanta, Ko Phi Phi or Phuket but better book it in advance.
The Walking Street is the main road crossing from the north to the south of the island, packed with restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels.
Our stay was at A PLUS Hostel located in the middle of it. There’s no cars and only a few motorbikes, but don’t worry cause to cross all the island it’s only a 30 minutes walk.
There are 3 main beaches:
Pattaya Beach, a large sheltered bay right off the coast and perfect for snorkeling. During the night, bars and restaurants are crowded.
You also can find there several diving schools with similar prices as in Ko Tao.
Sunset Beach (Hat Pramong), as the name suggests, is a great place to watch the sunset. A small bay facing west to the rest of the island group with almost no hotels and bars.
Sunrise Beach (Hat Chao Ley), stretches out along the entire Eastern side of Ko Lipe. It became our paradise where we spent most our time. Sunbathing, reading and playing with our favorite book “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith (every traveler should have one) and when it got dark, watching shiny plankton meanwhile walking through the seashore.
The island is home to about 500 Chao Ley or Sea Gypsies and they live on the coast of Sunrise Beach. Their sources of income are mainly from tourism, working as taxi boat drivers, vegetable sellers or restaurant suppliers.
On the same coast, there is a school and a small Chao Ley village.
Why not trying a Thai Massage? An ancient healing system combining acupressure and yoga postures. The body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked. The price for 1 hour is 300 bath (7euros).
After tree amazing days in Ko Lipe, it was time to return to Malaysia where we had our next flight to Cambodia.