Langkawi may be home to some pretty spectacular tropical beaches and lush jungle, but it is very much on the beaten tourist track. For real seclusion, it’s an easy hop to Koh Lipe, a tiny castaway island in the Andaman Sea, just over the Thai border, 30 km from Langkawi coast to coast.
1. Direct Ferry
It’s a 90-minute trip by fast ferry from Langkawi to Koh Lipe. There are two sailings a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon during high season, with tickets costing around Baht 1000. Ferries leaves from Kuah Jetty in Langkawi, arriving into Koh Lipe’s Pattaya Beach. This option only runs between November and May. Though one company has extended its schedule to run to June 30th. After this the tropical monsoon means the direct route from Langkawi to Koh Lipe is closed.
2. Connecting Ferry
During low season, from June to November, there is no direct ferry between Langkawi and Koh Lipe. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get between the two. Take the twice-daily ferry from Langkawi’s Kuah Jetty to Pakbara Pier in Satun on the Thai mainland for Baht 350. Sailing time is around an hour and boats leave in the morning and evening. Then take the 90 minute ferry from Pakbara Pier to Pattaya Beach on Koh Lipe for Baht 600. This route runs all year and has the added bonus of stopping at some of the other islands of the Andaman Sea before reaching Koh Lipe. If you wanted to do some island hopping and discover hidden spots like Koh Khai on the way, this is the best option.
3. Take A Day Tour
If you want to leave the hassle of organizing transport and things to do to someone else, then perhaps an organised day trip to Koh Lipe is the choice for you. Day tours start from Baht 6500, making this the most expensive option by far, but includes extras like hotel pick-up and drop-off, activities on Koh Lipe and lunch. Various tour operators run themed tours, like snorkeling, diving and relaxing beach day to Koh Lipe from Langkawi, but most only run from November to early May.
Attractions on Koh Lipe
However you make it to the pristine shores of Koh Lipe, there’s plenty to keep you occupied while you’re there. Unlike Koh Samui, Phuket and Koh Phangan, Koh Lipe is not a party island. It’s a small and fairly untouched island so the focus is on sun, sand and sea.
1. Snorkeling and Diving
Right on the border of the Tarutao Marine Park, the waters around Koh Lipe are filled with marine life. Coral alive with tropical fish can be found just meters from the main beaches, shallow enough to be the perfect snorkeling spot. Just hire some flippers, mask and snorkel and swim out to the reef.
There are also loads of professional dive shops around Pattaya Beach where you can sign up for a day of diving in the nearby marine park, where the sea life and reefs are protected.
2. Sea Kayaking
The sea surrounding Koh Lipe is waveless and placid most of the year, making this the perfect spot to hire a kayak and paddle through the turquoise tranquility. For Baht 200 an hour, you can steer yourself to the tiny uninhabited islands off Koh Lipe’s coast for a spot of snorkeling or just chilling out on a deserted beach.
3. Yoga Class
Koh Lipe is all about stripping back and slowing the pace, so what better place to get in touch with inner peace. Castaway Yoga offer sunrise classes on the sand, so you can listen to the naturally calming sound of waves as you move into downward dog, and admire the pinks and golds of the sunrise in tree position.
4. Beach Clean-up
Give something back to the community by taking part in the regular beach clean-ups. This is the perfect way to experience the idyllic tropical shores that Koh Lipe is famous for, while also reducing the impact of tourism on the island.
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