Nestled in the far south of Thailand, Koh Lipe is a small island in the Tarutao Marine National Park, not far from the Thai-Malay border. Due to the conservation of the island, the reefs remain in beautiful condition, making Koh Lipe a popular spot for snorkelling and diving. It has, however, seen a lot of rapid development on the land. The centre of the island, once shrouded in jungle, is now covered in hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. Nonetheless, the white sand beaches, clear waters, and friendly locals make it an attractive option for an island holiday.
You can get around Koh Lipe by walking as it takes just 45 minutes to get from one end of the island to the other. Its three main beaches are Sunrise, Sunset and Pattaya Beach, which are contenders for some of the best in Thailand. The aptly named sunrise beach is, naturally, the prime spot to watch the sun peek up in the morning. Pattaya Beach is nothing like the one south of Bangkok and is where you will find seafood restaurants, bars, bungalows and resorts. Sunset beach is perhaps the most beautiful, with fewer boats and colourful reefs. You can also seek out smaller, quieter beaches in the north and out west.
Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities on Koh Lipe as there are many great spots to swim just off the island. Around the uninhabited Koh Adang, the snorkelling gets even better, and inland, the island has lovely views out to the Andaman Sea from a lookout point, as well as a hidden waterfall. If you wish to seek out other islands, rent a kayak and paddle out to the nearby Koh Usen and Koh Kra. Here you’ll be treated to quieter beaches to relax on and swim.