Content last updated - November 2016 - please contact me if you have an update!
I first saw Koh Lipe from the window of the ferry from Langkawi, Malaysia. I haven't often entered a country by sea. In fact when I thought about the last time was when I got on the wrong boat out of Sumatra, and it took nearly 24 hours, including some fairly terrifying middnight hours in the middle of the Straits of Malacca before I got on the ferry from Bintan to sail into Singapore.
Arriving in Koh Lipe wasn't anything like that at all. To start off with - there wasn't actually a wharf or jetty. There was a floating platform, which the boat pulled into, and where we could transfer to smaller long-tails to get to the beach. Check if you ferry ticket actually includes this beach transfer - sometimes it doesn't.
You might as well take you shoes off about now, and put them back on when you leave the island.
If your first thought when seeing that picture is will my luggage get wet, or what about my trousers getting damp - I suggest that you may be better looking at Phuket or Koh Samui for your Thailand trip. If on the other hand you are wondering how warm the water is (very) and whether the snorkelling and diving are good (excellent) - then read on.
Travelling to Koh Lipe in the Low Season
As you may notice from the ferry details below - there are few options to get to and from Ko Lipe between May and October. The only option is in fact a daily boat from Pak Bara. And if the weather is bad that won't come either. So if you are visiting low season I'd suggest you plan your exit carefully, if you are connecting to international flights.
Ferry to Ko Lipe.
Contact the following for current speedboat and ferry times and prices.
Tigerline Ferries - largest and most reliable boat company in southern Thailand
Bundhaya Resort - most expensive resort on Koh Lipe runs reliable boats to Langkawi and Pak Bara.
Koh Lipe's Nearest Airport
There is no airport on Koh Lipe - never will be, there's not enough flat land! The nearest airports include: Langkawi (Malaysia), Hat Yai, Krabi and Phuket. For onward connections see the ferry table above. And don't cut it too fine. Transport is never entirely
Arriving in Koh Lipe - Thai Visa
If you catch the boat from Langkawi then you are entering Thailand entirely legally. Your passport will be collected on the boat and you will directed to the reception area of the Bundhaya Resort on the main beach, kind of unusual entering a country in a hotel's reception area, but entirely legit in this case!
For most western nationalities you will get the standard 15 days visa waiver entry. If you want longer then you will need to apply in advance for a Thai visa at an overseas embassy.
: There are NO ATM's on Koh Lipe. Three ATMs now reported on the main walking street. Your best bet is to bring cash (any well-known currency will do - they have rates for Australian, New Zealand and Singapore dollars, Malaysian Ringitt, as well as the standard US, Canadian, Stirling and Euro currencies). Cash advances on your credit card are possible but expensive. Few if any businesses accept credit cards on Koh Lipe.