Koh Lipe Thailand – Koh Lipe is a small elongated island located in an archipelago just north of the Malaysian border. People originally came here because of its remoteness and incredible natural beauty much of which is contained within the blue green waters that surround these islands. The tsunami of 2004 did little damage to this area as the wave was only about 3 meters. As a result, since then development has taken hold and numerous guest houses and other tourist related infrastructure have sprouted up. This has ruined a visit for those who want a totally isolated island experience but has brought more comforts to the island for the general tourist.
The water remains full of incredible marine life – giant clams with blue and green colored “lips” live in the coral, amazing sea urchins with long black spikes and translucent orange eyes are scattered in the shallows, faded green brown polyps that hide the orange and black “Nemo” fish, and a variety of colored fish are found near much of coral. Diving and snorkeling opportunities abound. If low tide prevails, forego an expensive all day snorkeling long tail boat trip – rather swim out to one of the small islands on the west side of the island and you will be treated to as much underwater life as you would see on one of the all day snorkeling trips.
For diving consider the Sabai Dee Dive shop with their two locations on the island. Between mid December and the end of February lodging is at an absolute premium. If you do not have reservations during this time period (especially from mid December through mid January), prepare to use one of the tents the resorts put out, and be surprised if you do score a room. You might be guesthouse hopping nightly.
Koh lipe has changed a lot in the last ten years. I visited for my first time around the date you published this blog and have been back many times since. For me its still one of the nicer Thai islands despite the development.
Thanks Stuart – I almost feel like we have communicated a long time ago. I have been back since that post was written – still trying to figure out which islands we will visit next month. Looking at Koh Mook or Koh Mak possibly.
Both are nice. Also enjoyed Koh wai in the gulf of Thailand and also the Perhentians off Malaysia.
Stuart – thanks for the additional recommendations. I ended up at Koh Mak 2 weeks ago, now back to home base in Thailand. Loved the chill vibe of that place, a very very good balance between tourism, development, agriculture and open space still. I will put Koh wai on my next Thai island to visit.