Koh Lipe (also called Ko Lipe, Koh Lipeh, Ko Lipey, Ko Lipe or เกาะหลีเป๊ะ in Thai) is a beautiful island located south of Thailand. It is near the border of neighboring Malaysia. Originally called Pulau Nipis in Malay, Koh Lipe is a short boat-ride away from Tarutao National Marine Park and other islands like Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, Koh Tarutao and Langkawi (Malaysia). It’s one of our favorite island vacation ideas!
This island is truly a hidden gem because when you hear about best Thai islands in Thailand, people usually talk about Phuket, Krabi or Koh Samui. The fact that not many people know about this island is dee mak (means “very good” in Thai). Why? LESS tourists to deal with of course! Oh yeah you don’t want boat loads of tourists ruining your precious Instagram Koh Lipe Thailand photos! If you’ve been to Phuket especially that James Bond Island, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Erasing them out in Photoshop is suchhhhh a hassle! ?
Sweet, so tell me how to get to Koh Lipe?
Depending on the season you are going, there are several ways. If you’re going between October and June (High Season), then you can take a speedboat (“ferry”) from Langkawi, Koh Lanta, Pak Bara, Koh Phi Phi or Trang. Otherwise in the Low Season, you can only get to Koh Lipe via Pak Bara. Why would you go during low season though? I went in February 2020 (pre-Covid madness, thank the LORD!!!) for my birthday celebration with my bestie Chris. The weather was FANTASTIC! I even posted a video of me snorkeling on YouTube! You can see how gorgeous the weather and the island itself on that video.
Easiest way to get to Koh Lipe
For this article, I’m going to focus on the easiest way to get to Koh Lipe. That is via Langkawi in Malaysia. Why? Langkawi is actually also an island located nearby that has an International Airport. Once you get to Langkawi, the speedboat journey from Kuah Jetty to Koh Lipe only takes 90 minutes or shorter depending how fast your boat driver conns his/her boat.
Step 1: Get to Langkawi International Airport
Take a short flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), or even Phuket International Airport (HKT) to Langkawi International Airport(LGK). If you are coming from KLIA, the journey takes about an hour, non-stop on board Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines. Air Asia is pretty cheap if you are not carrying luggages. A quick Google Flights search would reveal how cheap it is :
ProTip: If you are visiting Kuala Lumpur and thinking of taking quick few days trip to Koh Lipe and then returning back to Kuala Lumpur, then just leave your big luggages with your hotel bell desk. Just take a few light clothing like shorts, tank tops and your swimsuit – you are good to go! Remember you will be needing to board the speedboat from Langkawi to Koh Lipe too so less luggage to haul, the better! ?? If you are planning to tack Langkawi as part of this trip (like stay overnight in Langkawi) then you can leave your bags at your Langkawi hotel. You are coming back there anyway! That’s what Chris and I did.
Step 2: Get Speedboat Transfer
You’ll want to book this in advance. You can buy your tickets at the ticket counter when you arrive in Langkawi but why take the risk? Just buy your roundtrips tickets online in advance with Tropical Charters/Bundhaya Speed boat (they are essentially the same thing). Roundtrip fare for Adult is MYR 220 (approx. USD 55). Children 1 yo and above is MYR 200 (approx. USD 50) but infants are free.
This is very important: they advise you to get to the ticket counter at Kuah Jetty 90 mins prior to departure. So when you book your airline, make sure you give ample time from the plane landing to your speedboat departure. Also it takes about 30 minutes from the airport to Kuah Jetty…more on that below.
Step 3: Get to Kuah Jetty
Once you have arrived in Langkawi International Airport, you can hail either a GrabCar (it’s like Uber/Lyft…just download the app) or a taxi to Kuah Jetty. At the airport though, there will be a whole bunch of people at the car rental counters SCREAMING for your attention. That was so weird; I’ve been to many airports in the world that never had anyone sitting in rental counters screaming for customers ??. Just ignore them. The ride from LGK to Kuah Jetty is about 30 minutes or more with traffic. Yes, there’s plenty of traffic as Langkawi is one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist locations. So make sure to take that 30+ minutes into account.
Step 4: Find the hidden ticket counter
If you ever watched that show the Amazing Race and you haven’t felt like you’re literally in the show yet, this will! When we were there, we went everywhere looking for the goddamn ticket counter as there were no clear signs anywhere LOL. It’s actually tucked away in the 2nd floor. The entrance to the steps that takes you to the 2nd floor is also inconspicuously located near Watsons. That is, if they haven’t relocated it, else good luck! ?
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Once you find the elusive ticket counter, they will take your passport for recording customer info in exchange for a ticket number. You will collect your passport once you arrive in Koh Lipe.
Once the boat is ready for departure, they will announce and guide you to the International Departures hall. Get ready for Malaysian immigration and security scanning there.
Step 5: Board the Ferry
Once you’re on board, the journey itself takes like 90 minutes. In February when we went, the ride was smooth. I don’t remember it being shaky much. If you are prone to sea-sick, then make sure you buy some anti-motion-sickness drugs at the pharmacy before boarding. The speedboat we were on was air-conditioned.
Arrival in Koh Lipe
Once your speedboat arrives in Koh Lipe, you will be deposited onto a floating platform in the middle of the ocean, nearby Pattaya Beach.
Then you’ll wait to be transported to the actual beach via a small jet-powered sampan boat. It’s not too far from the platform. You’ll arrive on the beach in about 7 minutes or so.
Next you shall haul your bags up the beach to Immigration. You will get in line with all the sweaty tourists. Because you know it’s south-east Asia. 100% probability that it’s gonna be hot and humid.?? Haha! But hey you are in paradise!
At the counter you will give your ticket number to the Immigration officer. You will also need to pay entrance/marine park fee for the island. Please ensure you have Thai baht available for this as I don’t think they take credit cards. At the time we went in 2020, it was 200 baht (about $7) per person and 100 baht (about $3) per child.
The immigration officer will stamp your passport and give it back to you. Yay! I don’t know about you but having to give my passport to the ticket counter crew at Kuah Jetty was a bit unnerving! I always have my passport attached to my hip! Yes I have control issues. Don’t judge me! ?
Lastly you will take a “taxi” to your motel/hotel/chalet/resort. And by taxi, I meant a reconfigured motorbike attached with a carrier for you and your bags. Hopefully you have arranged with your hotel to have one of their taxis waiting there for you. We stayed at Asara Private Resort which is on the other side of the island. I DO NOT recommend walking there lol since even with the taxi, it took us like 15 minutes to get there. Hold your husbands and clutch your pearls ladies! The path is brazen with potholes …and dragons ???
That’s how you get to Koh Lipe, Thailand
Yep, so that’s how you get to Koh Lipe, Thailand. Like I said there are other ways and we chose this way because it looked like the easiest and the simplest way to get to paradise – FAST! I’m not spending hours on train or buses with the other routes. If you follow our way, do let us know on Twitter! We hope you’ll enjoy every minute in Koh Lipe. Time will fly quick when you’re having fun in the sun! We were so sad mak mak leey (very, very sad) to leave at the end ???
Koh Lipe Snorkeling Video Now Available!
Bonus!!! Check out my Koh Lipe snorkeling video that I posted recently for a preview of all the glorious island vacation that is waiting for you there!
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