“What are you going to do for Christmas?” my friend asked me. “It will be lying by the sea in Thailand for 10 days” was my answer. “And what on earth are you going to do there? Oh my God! 10 days! I mean, specifically the one that doesn’t last 5 minutes in one place?” she added with a laugh. Well, she was honestly right. I’m not cut out for lying on the beach. I’m just not the wallowing type. 🙂 I’m quite active on holidays, and when I come back from a holiday, I need another one to relax at least for a while. Is that how you feel? 🙂
But I always thought I would like to find some lost paradise on earth. And you may not believe me, but I found it on this vacation of mine. Well, it’s not that lost. On the contrary! It’s available to everyone. Although, due to its location, it’s a little harder to reach. It’s a small tropical island located in the south of Thailand, not far from the other much larger Malaysian island of Langkawi. It’s called the “Thai Maldives“. ♥
And since I’ve been to the Maldives before, I think it’s true. You will find beautiful white beaches, crystal clear water and of course green palm trees. Because on Koh Lipe, the dream of paradise becomes a reality. A true utopia! And what can you look forward to here? Get ready for days spent on the beach with a coconut in hand, because Koh Lipe is the place to enjoy a relaxing holiday.
Koh Lipe is much less crowded than other places like Krabi, Phuket or Bangkok. It’s not a party island, it’s all about the beaches and therefore attracts a different kind of tourist. And I have to admit, I didn’t mind that at all. Rather, prepare yourself for a small tropical island that you can easily walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes and it will take you half a day to get around the whole thing.
AND WHAT CAN YOU DO ON A COHORT?
1. RELAX ON THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE BEACHES
Koh Lipe has some really beautiful beaches where you can relax. There are three main beaches and several smaller, less visited ones. The beaches are wide, so you don’t have to worry about lack of space.
Sunrise (west) beach is, of course, the best for sunrises and you’ll find the best beach bars. Sunset Beach (east) is the best place to watch the sun set into the ocean. It’s a little less attractive because it’s not as clean and white as the others.
Pattaya Beach (southern part), where the harbour is located, is a long stretch of white sand that transitions into the lesser-known Sanom Beach.
I didn’t stay at either of the beaches mentioned, but at North Point Beach at the Mountain Resort. At first I thought to myself that I hadn’t thought at all when I booked this resort. The name alone could have warned me that the hotel would not be on flat land, but pretty much on a hill. :-)))) So every day I had to walk down the hill to get breakfast or to the beach, and also when I went for a walk around the island, I was faced with a steep hill. But I can tell you that I couldn’t find a nicer beach that was on our side. There weren’t so many boats docked there, minimal people, so in the end this choice was pretty much perfect.
2. GO FOR A TRADITIONAL THAI MASSAGE
When you’re tired of the sun, go for one of the local massages, there are centres on every corner. Thai women are said to be sweet and submissive. Bullshit! Only someone who’s never had a traditional Thai massage could have started that rumour. :-))) On the contrary, I am convinced that Thai massage is a combat sport. I’ve always naively thought I was good at physical pain. The Thai women managed to disabuse me of this misconception. This massage is related to acupressure, the stimulation of sensitive points on the body. That sounds pretty good, but that description should warn you. Since I have experience with Thai massage, I decide not to beat myself up and only book an oil massage for my back and neck. But even with this massage, I found that at the very end my spanked Thai woman tried to break my neck several times as she tossed my head from side to side. 🙂 I leave the massage again beaten, but also a little bit floating. And so lightly, that I have a heretical thought if the Thai woman really broke my neck and I am not my own soul. Nevertheless, this experience also belongs to Thailand and you should try it at least once.:-)
3. GO SNORKELLING OR KAYAKING
Snorkelling, diving and kayaking can be enjoyed on Koh Lipe. The clear water creates ideal conditions for snorkelling or diving. There are colourful fish and corals around the island, but due to global warming and our standard (toxic) sunscreens, the corals are slowly disappearing.
4. GO TO THE BAR
Although this is definitely not a party island, you will find a large selection of bars. Compared to other popular spots in Thailand, I found the drinks here are a bit more expensive, but if you spend your time at a beach bar, the gorgeous sunsets will easily make up for it.
I searched in vain for the Sea la Vie beach bar. I’ve seen it in a lot of photos on Instagram and I was completely charmed by it. Unfortunately, it was temporarily closed. So I had to find a replacement. 🙂
5. TAKE A WALK ALONG THE WALKING STREET
Walking street runs from Pattaya beach all the way down to Sunrise Beach. This street (road) used to turn into a pedestrian-only street immediately after sunset every day. But that is no longer true. Motorbikes and tuk-tuks drive down the street. There are countless great restaurants, souvenir shops and dive centres on this 600 metre long street.
6. TRANSPORT AROUND THE ISLAND
There are many motorbikes or tuk-tuks around the island. I don’t envy the local bikers much. You need to avoid people, pets, but most of all other mopeds that zigzag through the streets without any regulations. You can meet some absolutely unique people. There are no technical regulations here and practically everything with wheels is on the road.
I’ve always been fascinated by gasoline sales in Thailand. On every corner there is a petrol can or you can simply buy it in a convenience store.
7. TASTE LOCAL THAI SPECIALTIES
What you must try, however, is the local Thai cuisine, such as freshly caught fish, shrimp of various shapes – from small to tiger or satay (grilled meat). Thai cuisine is distinctly spicy, coconutty and peanut-crunchy. There are combinations of different flavours that work together in perfect harmony, whether it’s challenging complicated dishes or the famous Thai street food. Typically Thai ingredients include coconut milk, ginger, galangal, among the spices chillies, limes, lemon grass, Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves also lend flavour to the dish. Yes, you will be in a culinary paradise here.
What you must not miss is the banana pancake, called Roti. It’s simply unbeatable. Of course, you can eat it everywhere in Thailand. This sweet treat is prepared right in front of you. The crispy batter is spread on the grill to an almost translucent thickness, filled with sliced bananas, folded into a square and then fried until it has a crispy golden colour on the outside and a soft and sweet centre. The pancake is served with honey, sweet condensed milk, sugar, Nutella or chocolate topping of your choice. This snack is usually sold on the street, often in a small stall or mobile cart. It is not only a treat for the palate, but also a joy to watch it being made. The skill and speed with which street vendors produce roti is an attraction in itself.
AND HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND?
Since Koh Lipe is the southernmost island of Thailand, it is a little more difficult to get to it. There is no airport on the island because it is too small. Still, you can get to it by several different ferry lines. I just want to let you know that Koh Lipe is part of the Tarutao National Park. There is a 200 baht entrance fee and you must carry this ticket with you at all times.
I traveled to the island from the Malaysian island of Langkawi, from which it is possible to go to Koh Lipe from two ports – Kuah and Telaga Harbour Marina. Departure and arrival times may vary depending on the weather. You should probably know that this ferry only runs in high season from mid-October to June.
AND HOW DOES SUCH A JOURNEY WORK?
THE JOURNEY TO KOH LIPE ISLAND
Upon arrival at the port, you will check in at the check-in/reservation control desk with your passport and printed reservation. At the same time, you will be given a Thai Immigration Arrival Card to fill out and keep tucked into your passport. With your printed reservation, you will proceed to the next window for your boarding pass. Then you just wait for departure. Before boarding the ship, you will go through immigration where you will be given an exit stamp from Malaysia. Once you pass through immigration, your passport will be taken away. No need to worry, this is a standard security measure.
The big boat can’t dock at the shore, so it stops at sea, where a wooden long tail boat, already included in the price, will take you to the port. Your bags will be taken care of by the crew, and you can pick them up once you have gone through all the entry procedures. There is a seating area at the port where you can sit and wait for your passport to be returned. The passport return process is that they call out by name and you have to go through immigration with your passport, where you will get your passport stamped to authorize you to stay in Thailand. No payment is required at the immigration office except for the national park fee, which is 200 baht per adult. Don’t throw away the certificate, it also applies to the surrounding islands where you can go on a trip.
THE JOURNEY FROM THE ISLAND BACK TO LANGKAWI
Please arrive at the port at least 1.5 hours before departure and check-in. Once immigration opens (they tell you), you will go to get your exit stamp from Thailand. The immigration officer will keep your passport. You will also be given a number by which you will be called out so that the wooden “long tail” boat will take you to the big boat again. Don’t be surprised if they return your passport by calling out your country. It looked to me like the invocation of this year’s Miss: “Thailand, China, Poland, Hungary and Czech republic“. :-))) After you get off the boat, you go through immigration again, where you get a stamp in your passport that entitles you to stay in Malaysia.
The boat trip takes 1 – 1.5 hours, the complete trip including the transfer from the hotel to Telaga Harbour and all the treatments on the Malaysian and Thai side will take about 4 hours net time.
Koh Lipe is an island that will fulfill Robinson’s idea of the perfect island and its beauty is one of the top 10 most beautiful islands in the world. I can see why they call it the Thai Maldives. The turquoise is really beautiful turquoise! I’ve never been to a prettier place. And I was not bored at all! ♥