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- 10 May 2021, 3 nights
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Koh Lipe is a laid-back island in Southern Thailand known for its seafood and powder-soft beaches. It has a low-key nightlife scene centred on main beach Pattaya, but it's not a party island. Instead, it's a popular destination for relaxing, snorkelling and island-hopping. It's a part of pristine nature reserve Tarutao National Marine Park, and the island is surrounded by colourful coral reefs.
There are a few hostels in Koh Lipe to choose from. You can stay in a chic design hostel near the island's nightlife, cosy dorms set right on the beach or a bamboo bungalow under the stars. Dorms are mostly mixed in a Koh Lipe hostel, but you can also find female-only rooms or choose a private room. You can even stay in a cosy tent! Several hostels have extras to get you out and about, such as snorkelling equipment or kayak rental. Look out for Koh Lipe hostels with eco-friendly features like free drinking water refill stations, so you don't need to purchase plastic water bottles.
The busiest part of the island is its main road, Walking Street. Here you'll find cafés, unique shops, and plenty of restaurants (both Thai and international). Koh Lipe has three main beaches; Pattaya Beach and Sunrise Beach are linked by Walking Street, with Sunset Beach to the west. Pattaya is the largest of the three, and the arrival point for visitors. This is where you'll find the liveliest nightlife and bars. Secluded Sunset Beach is known for its evening views, and laid-back Sunrise Beach for its long sandbar.
Koh Lipe is a small island, and its attractions centre on beach life. You can relax with a massage on Pattaya's powdery white sand, try Thai street food on Walking Street, or take yoga classes on Sunrise Beach. Around the island, you can get active snorkelling over coral reefs or kayaking to tiny islands like Koh Kra. If you'd prefer to take it easy, hop on a boat trip from Pattaya Beach to explore the marine park with a knowledgeable guide.
The closest airport to Koh Lipe is Hat Yai International Airport (1 hour's flight from Bangkok). From here you can take a minibus to Pak Bara pier and catch a ferry to Koh Lipe. Outside monsoon season (usually June-October), ferries also run from Langkawi (1.5 hours), Phuket (8 hours) and Krabi Airport (a shuttle bus and ferry takes 7 hours). Koh Lipe is small and easily walkable, but also has motorcycle taxis and taxi boats.