How To Get to Koh Lipe

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.

Tourists arriving at Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, Thailand

Tourists arriving at Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, Thailand

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.

Pak Bara to Koh Lipe
Multiple companies run multiple speed boats on this service, particularly in high season (November to mid-May). There is one company that runs a single daily boat all year around. This is the ONLY connection to the island in the low season (late-May-September).The journey takes around 2 hours and may drop off/pick up from Koh Tarutao (high season only).There is no need to book, just turn up at the wharf in Pak Bara, they will find you!
Koh Lanta to Ko Lipe
High season only there is a direct speed boat to Koh Lanta, this takes about 4 hours and will cost more than connecting with a bus at Pak Bara. More scenic though!
Langkawi to Koh Lipe
There is a high season (October-April) boats from both Telega Harbour and Kuah Jetty. Make sure you know which one you are departing from. The trip takes about one hour. You can book at any agent on Langkawi. Remember there is a one hour time difference between Malaysia and Thailand.
Phuket to Ko Lipe
Coming from Phuket, you can either take the bus ride to Pak Bara (cheaper), or connect via Koh Phi Phi. High season there is a single boat a day which stops only at Koh Phi Phi and makes the trip to Koh Lipe in two hours (November-April).
Trang to Koh Lipe
There is a high season service to Koh Lipe (about 3 hours). The boat originates/terminates in Koh Phi Phi.
Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lipe
High season there is a connection between Koh Phi Phi-Koh Lanta-Koh Ngai-Koh Muk-Trang-Koh Laoliang to Koh Lipe. The entire trip is scheduled for to take 7 hours. The single daily (high season only) direct boat which originates in Phuket. Booking would be advisable!
Hat Yai to Koh Lipe
Hat Yai is about 2 hours by mini-van from Pak Bara pier. Mini vans are readily available in the centre of town and the train station. You could also hire a taxi direct from the airport.
Bangkok to Koh Lipe
Fly or train to Hat Yai. Or bus to Krabi. Of fly or bus to Phuket; connect with the above ferries
Krabi to Koh Lipe
Mini-bus connection to Pak Bara. Alternatively mini-bus or speed boat to Koh Lanta.
Penang to Koh Lipe
Fly to Hat Yai or Krabi. Or bus/ferry to Langkawi.

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.

Satun Pak Bara Speed Boat Club

Adang Sea Tour

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.

Note: There are NO ATM’s on Koh Lipe. 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.


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