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Koh Lipe, Thailand

Dec 8, 2018

A tropical island getaway


Duration: 3 days, 4 nights
Destination: Koh Lipe, Thailand
Language: Thai
Currency: Thai Baht

Koh Lipe is small and well suited to serve one very specific type of travel – the tiny island retreat. 

Lipe has everything the tropical island retreater longs for without gouging the wallet – well-stocked all-inclusive beech bungalow resorts, a central walking street with small shops selling trinkets, souvenirs, swimming suits, diving and snorkeling equipment, and plenty of restaurants preparing fresh grilled seafood, dive shops, local tours to nearby islands, and plenty of white sand beaches.

We spent three full days there (plus a half day after arriving and a half day when we departed). 

Getting to the island involved a ferry trip from the mainland, a transfer onto longboats at an anchored jetty off-shore, and docking at a makeshift dock of lashed together plastic barrels on the beech. (Wheeled luggage, high heels, and velvet leisure suits are not a good idea when you’re traveling to the island.)

Diving off Lipe was intense. During the dive a squall passed over, leaving us in this eerie (yet oddly soothing) black darkness for a few minutes. Apart from when the storm was overhead, visibility was about 12 meters and the sea life was amazing!  

On another day we took out sea kayaks and later paddle boards. Both were fun. Paddle boarding was the more entertaining of the two.

Thatched roof bungalows right on the beach were one of the first things that drew me to wanting to stay on the island. Those open wall bungalows with mosquito nets dropped over the the bed are simply appealing. The mosquito net isn’t just for looks either. That might be the appeal for me. It’s functional and if you set it up properly, you’ll be bug free all night. Set it up poorly, and you’ll be swatting at ear buzzers all night. 

  • Sight Seeing 90% 90%
  • Food 95% 95%
  • Transportation 20% 20%
  • Activities 95% 95%

You spend your time on the island diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, sunbathing, and dining on tropical mixed drinks and grilled fresh seafood all while you stay in bamboo thatched bungalows right on the beach. This is #beachlife at it’s finest.

Trip Video[s]


Best Food & Drink

1. Bungalows – Castaway

Castaway resort is all-inclusive without the typical all-inclusive price. They offer everything the traveler needs and wants – from rooms to restaurant to diving and other sea tours. Their bungalows are amazing two-story, thatch roofed independent units that start right on the beach with more units nestled back further into a wooded area of the island – all within a minute’s walk of the surf. Map

2. Dessert – Thai Pancake

Madame Yoohoo’s Thai pancakes are a world famous must-have treat when you visit the island. The small food stand sits at the entrance to the restaurant of the same name. The display performance of preparing the dessert is as much a part of the entertainment as the food itself. Map

3. Grill – Walking Street

Pick almost any restaurant along the walking street to enjoy the day’s catch of local seafood displayed on ice for you to select and watch grill right out front. Map


Castaway divers provides PADI certified guides, courses, two and three dive trips. In the off-season the groups were small, just three person dives with the guide and two divers. We did an open-water dive to 18 meters and saw an incredible variety of sea life.

Paddle boarding

Not as hard as it looks! I avoided paddle boards in the past because I assumed it would be as difficult as surfing. Nope! The board is pretty easy to find balance on and once you’re up, the thrill of paddling over that crystal clear water takes over all of your reservations. No surf and a relatively shallow floor (5 – 8 meters down) with patches of rock having sea life darting around make for an awesome experience. Best to go out for a couple of hours in the late morning or early afternoon. 

Walking Street

The walking street is inland, off the beach and provides dozens of small shops for souvenirs, trinkets, convenience marts, and diving needs, along with many restaurants and some bars for relaxing after the sun goes down. Island life is quieter, more laid back, on Koh Lipe. Great for the chill traveler. Not so great if you’re expecting some endless spring break, binge drinking till dawn, crowd. 

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