Situated in Tarutao National Park at the southern end of Thailand’s Andaman coast, Koh Lipe is a tiny tropical island close to the Thai-Malaysia border.
Tarutao National Park comprises over 50 islands most of which are uninhabited, so Koh Lipe is a great base for exploring some untouched scenery both above and below the water.
Prior to the advent of tourism the island was settled by nomadic Chao-Ley (sea-gypsy) fisherman who took refuge on Koh Lipe. You can still find a traditional village with school on the island, and local fishermen go about their daily business using large Thai longtail boats.
Koh Lipe has become increasingly popular with visitors over the past few decades, but is still much less developed than other destinations in Thailand. The small size of Koh Lipe and remote location mean the island remains off the mass- tourism map. However there are now a range of places to stay and choice of restaurants on the island, especially along Pattaya Beach which has become the most popular area.
Apart from relaxing on the beaches (which are spectacular), most people visit Koh Lipe to enjoy activities in the water. You can snorkel across coral reefs straight off most of the beaches, or kayak around the bays of the island. The highlight using Koh Lipe as a base for scuba diving throughout Tarutao Marine Park, which offers some cracking dive sites. Countless coral reefs, spectacular marine life, and there is even a decent size ship wreck (the Yong Hua) lying just off Koh Lipe.
Most people travel to Koh Lipe via Hat Yai – the major city in Southern Thailand.
You can fly into Hat Yai Airport from many nearby hubs, or reach Hat Yai by train or bus. There are frequent services between all nearby cities.
From Hat Yai you’ll need to travel overland to Pak Bara – a mainland pier to the West of Hat Yai. Most commonly this journey is made by minibus, taking around 2 hours.
Finally from Pak Bara regular ferries operate the ~65Km crossing to Koh Lipe, often stopping at the large Tarutao island en-route.
The best time to visit Koh Lipe is during the dry season which occurs between December and May. In this period wave heights are generally low (so the ferry crossings to Lipe are comfortable), and maximum temperatures typically stay within the 30C-35C range.
During the summer months Koh Lipe’s rainy season occurs and wind and wave heights can pickup. So Koh Lipe is best avoided between May through October. The heaviest monsoon rainfall usually arrives around October.
Meanwhile Koh Lipe’s peak temperatures are usually reached around April towards the end of the dry season. This coincides with the Thai New Year Songkran celebration which occurs mid April.
An interesting event to consider is a twice annually celebration which occurs around the time of the changing of the seasons (i.e. around May and again around October). The local Chao Ley hold a ritualistic festival called Loy Rua, (which translates as float the boat). An elaborate wooden boat is constructed which is loaded with offerings and set to sea on the third day of the celebration, believed to bring good luck if it is not returned to shore.
Dive 18 of Thailand's best dive sites in an incredible 6 day liveaboard dive tour departing from Koh Lipe
1, 2 & 3 dive trips for certifed divers, visiting all the best dive sites around Koh Lipe and Tarutao Marine Park, Thailand
Try diving with the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. Learn scuba skills & explore coral reefs to a max depth of 12M.
Daily dive trips for certified divers and snorkelers, exploring primo sites around Ko Lipe & Tarutao Marine Park.
Get your PADI certification on Ko Lipe, qualifying you to dive to 18M anywhere worldwide.
Take your diving to the next level with deep diving (30M), underwater navigation, night diving, wreck diving and more...
1 day diving experience run by experienced PADI instructors. Try scuba diving in the tropical waters of Koh Lipe, and see masses of marine life.
Scuba diving experience for children (minimum age 8 years old). Open your child's eyes to the amazing underwater world!
Learn to scuba dive in Koh Lipe, taking the PADI Open Water course with the experienced dive crew @ Ocean Pro Divers
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