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koh lipe thailand

For such a tiny, little island, Koh Lipe is unreasonably blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches I’ve visited the world over. The sea surrounding Lipe is so clear and magnificent, it’s justifiably been called the Maldives of Thailand. The beaches themselves are covered in powder fine white sand, it’s possible to see marine life just by taking a few steps into the water, and the island is the perfect size for exploring comfortably.

koh lipe thailand

Koh Lipe’s Sunrise Beach. If this isn’t paradise, I’m not sure what is.

Koh Lipe really is a special place. And it’s something more and more people are discovering each and every year. One of the most crucial decisions you’ll make for your trip, is where to stay in Koh Lipe… and this guide will help.

> Read our thoughts on the best time to visit Koh Lipe.

Beaches in Koh Lipe

There are 3 well-known and popular beaches on Koh Lipe called Sunrise, Sunset and Pattaya, as well as a few smaller, more secluded sandy areas.

Individually, the main Koh Lipe beaches of Sunrise, Sunset and Pattaya would make any number of top 10 lists. Taken as a collection however, they’re even more special because of how unique each of them is. There’s literally a stretch of sand to fit every single one of your moods on an island just 2.5 x 3.5km in size!

koh lipe sunset beach

All the colours of nature on Koh Lipe’s Sunset Beach

I’ll fill you in on what to expect at each beach, and provide suggestions for where to stay in Koh Lipe, and what to eat, wherever possible.

There’s a Koh Lipe map at the bottom of the post, with directions to all the beaches mentioned, but the truth is, you don’t really need it. The island is really the perfect size for getting lost and finding all these incredible seashores yourself.

Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach (Haad Chao Ley)

Sunrise Beach is located on the east coast of the island. It’s undoubtedly the best beach in Koh Lipe to watch the sunrise. No big surprise, given its name, right? However, it also tempts with an incredibly crystal clear turquoise sea, powdery soft white sand, and a laid-back vibe. In low season, the beach is somewhat protected from the monsoon winds, and in high season, it enjoys a cooling breeze.

koh lipe sunrise beach

I’d say this is the best beach in Koh Lipe for families. In fact, Sunrise Beach is where we stayed with our toddler, Naia. As a mom, I especially appreciated the wide, shallow bay full of calm water, and the ease of finding areas shaded by trees.

Where to stay on Sunrise Beach

Koh Lipe’s Sunrise Beach is 800m-long, and you can find a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes. We ended up staying in 2 separate hotels, right next door to each other on the quieter south end of the beach.

If you’re looking for gorgeous bungalows right on Sunrise Beach, I can’t recommend Ten Moons Lipe Resort enough. Bungalows are super comfortable, with fantastic views from the huge terraces, and an amazing breakfast is included. The restaurant serves a wide range of meals, and their Spanish chef makes a mean paella, which you have to request the day before (and should). The hotel is also fully equipped with all the beach toys a toddler could dream of, and the staff goes above and beyond to play with any kids staying at the hotel.

Ten Moons is definitely one of the pricier options on Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach, but it’s so worth it. It gets booked out months and months in advance, even in low season. We found this out the hard way, when we tried to extend our stay and couldn’t. 🙁 If you’d like to stay there, book as soon as possible.

We ended up moving over to Kathalee Beach Resort and Spa, right next door to finish off our trip. This hotel also had great views of the sea and comfortable rooms. If you’re looking for a more affordable place to stay that’s still on the quieter end of Sunrise Beach, this is a good bet. The only issue I had was with their included breakfast, which I frankly couldn’t eat… but maybe it’s because we’d just come from Ten Moons and their fantastic food. Let’s just say it’s hard to go from lattes to instant coffee.

The views from Kathalee Resort are not too bad either

Take a look at Mali Resort, if you’re looking for a hotel with a pool. It’s one of the few places on Sunrise Beach that has one… though to be perfectly honest, I don’t think access to a pool is really necessary on Koh Lipe. You might think differently.

If you’re a solo traveler, I’d check out the super popular Koh Lipe Castaway Resort, which has a younger, hippie sort of vibe. It’s a mid-range option on the island that isn’t super basic. Pre-baby, it’s definitely where I would’ve stayed in Koh Lipe myself.

Where to eat on Sunrise Beach

Most of the hotels along Sunrise Beach have restaurants you can check out. Just take a wander down the beach and walk into any place that captures your fancy.

For a truly incredible view of the Andaman Sea though, have a drink or meal at Serendipity Resort’s On the Rocks restaurant. It’s elevated location right at the very south end of the beach is a great place to relax, enjoy the view and have a delicious meal.

You can also stay at Serendipity Beach Resort. If you’re honeymooners or a couple looking for a romantic spot – this is definitely the place to book. I wouldn’t recommend it for travellers with young children though. There’s a rather steep set of rickety stairs you have to walk up to get to the rooms.

Koh Lipe’s Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach, on the south coast of the island, is the longest beach on Koh Lipe. It stretches a full kilometre long in a classic crescent shape. It could be called the most “touristy” of Koh Lipe’s beaches because of its plethora of bars, restaurants and resort hotels. It’s definitely the place to head to if you want to get your groove on. You’ll find live DJs, parties, fireshows, and nightly events happening at many resorts along the beach.

*Don’t make the mistake of mixing up Pattaya Beach on Koh Lipe with the one near Bangkok. They couldn’t be more different. There’s not a drop of seediness here.

A word of warning though. During high season, from November to May, all boats traveling to Koh Lipe from the mainland will dock at a platform located right in front of Pattaya Beach. Speedboats arrive at various times of the day, and transfer passengers into motorized longtail boats to reach their final destination. It can be noisy and chaotic. Something to consider when choosing where you’ll stay on Koh Lipe.

Where to stay on Pattaya Beach

With its location right at the end of Koh Lipe Walking Street, Pattaya Beach is the where to stay in Koh Lipe, if you’re looking for easy access to restaurants, bars, convenience stores and massages. Pattaya was definitely the most developed beach on Koh Lipe for accommodation. Upscale hotels had pools, beach chairs, umbrellas, kids clubs and every other possible amenity you could think of.

There are not too many true budget accommodation options available on Koh Lipe… and the odds of finding one right on Pattaya Beach is almost impossible, but there are a few. You definitely won’t find any $5 beach bungalows here. Book super early, if you’re on a budget and determined to stay on the beachfront.

Budget Hostel: The Street Hostel has air conditioned dormitory rooms on Walking Street, a minute away from Pattaya Beach.

Mid-range beachfront: Zodiac Beach Resort is located in a quieter area of Pattaya’s beachfront. These bungalows are air-conditioned, have televisions and include breakfast.

Perfect for families: Forra Pattaya Beachfront Bungalow is an excellently reviewed bungalow steps from the seashore, with plenty of room for families.

For affordable luxury: Mali Resort Pattaya Beach is the sister hotel to the one at Sunrise Beach. It doesn’t have a pool but it’s right on the beach and has luxurious Balinese styled villas and bungalows.

All the trimmings: AKIRA Lipe Resort is the place to stay if you want it all. It has a gorgeous pool, library, kids club, restaurants, gym and more on a prime patch of Pattaya beachfront.

Koh Lipe Sunset Beach (Haad Pramong)

Sunset Beach on the West Coast has a rockier beach, rugged feeling, and you guessed it, an ideal spot from which to watch the island’s breathtaking sunsets. The beach is about 200 metres long.

Relative to the other main beaches on the island, it’s definitely less developed, but we absolutely adored the time we spent there. The sunsets really are extraordinary. This is definitely where to stay in Koh Lipe to take advantage of golden hour light for stunning pictures. There’s not much in the way of amenities, so be sure to head there with everything you need for a day at the beach.

Where to stay on Sunset Beach

There’s far fewer options to stay on Koh Lipe’s Sunset Beach, mostly due to the relative difficulty of getting around. I say relative, because it’s not difficult to get ANYWHERE on Koh Lipe due to its size. However, Sunset Beach might be the perfect choice for you if you’re looking for a little more tranquility… except of course, during sunset when crowds descend from all over the island.

Private Budget Rooms: Adang Sea ECO-Village Sunset and Raya Resort might just have the cheapest private rooms on the entire island. For less than $15 a night, you can reserve a fan-cooled room with balcony, free wifi, and access to the best sunsets on the island.

Luxury: Way on the other end of the spectrum is the Asara Private Beach Resort, which has a private beach area, jacuzzis and a swimming pool.

Other Beaches in Koh Lipe

In high season, Koh Lipe’s main beaches can get pretty busy. If you’re looking for a little privacy, check out these lesser known beaches, or have a wander around the edges of the island. You’re sure to find some secluded, unnamed patches of sand to soak up the salty sea air.

Deserted beaches are hard to come by in high season.

Sanom Beach

Tiny Sanom Beach is a short walk and a world away from happening Pattaya Beach. Some travellers even call it the last bit of unspoilt paradise on Koh Lipe, and they just might be right. Head there for solitude, incredibly clear water perfect for snorkeling and diving, and a lost island feeling.

There’s only one place to stay on Sanom Beach, and that’s the lovely Sanom Beach Resort. This is a sustainable resort, operated by one of the original Urak Lawoi inhabitants of Koh Lipe. Cabins range from 3000 baht – 6500 baht per night. Cancellation policies are quite strict and payment can only be made through Paypal, so be sure to read their FAQ before booking.

Bulow Beach

Bulow is a 400 metre stretch of powder fine sand, that continues on from the north end of Sunrise Beach.  It’s unique location straddling the north tip of Lipe Island allows you views of both sunrise AND sunset. It’s also best place to get a view of neighbouring Koh Adang.

I really wonder why this beach isn’t more popular, but I’m guessing it’s because there’s only 1 place to stay on Bulow Beach: Mountain Resort Koh Lipe.

sunrise beach koh lipe

Next time we visit Koh Lipe, I think we’ll stay on Bulow Beach.

Map of Koh Lipe Beaches

Koh Lipe is truly a tiny island, and it’s possible to walk from beach to beach if you fancy a bit of a trek.

It’s not difficult to walk between Sunrise Beach and Pattaya Beach. We did it several times with our daughter, who was 2 at the time, so it’s not that treacherous. Just walk over the hill past the Chao Ley village, and to the very end of Koh Lipe Walking Street to reach Pattaya.

I’d recommend taking a motorcycle taxi to Sunset Beach though. It’s a bit more difficult to get to.

toddler taking a motorcycle taxi to Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach

A motorcycle taxi is a flat 50 baht per person

Motorcycle taxis on Koh Lipe cost 50 baht per person per ride. It doesn’t matter how far you’re going, or what your start and end points are. The rate is set and there’s zero negotiation involved (which I totally appreciated)!

You can flag a motorcycle taxi down when you see one, or have your hotel call one for you. If you happen to be on or near Koh Lipe Walking Street, they’re usually parked around 7-11 waiting for customers.

Would you choose to stay on Sunrise, Sunset, Pattaya or Sanom beach in Koh Lipe? Tell us why in the comments below.

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Koh Lipe, Thailand is a small island with 3 incredible main beach, all completely different in character. Should you stay on Sunrise, Sunset or Pattaya beach? Figure out which one is best for you in this post. #kohlipe #thailandbeaches #kohlipebeaches

Comments:

  • May 24, 2019

    We are planning to go to Ko Lipe later in the year. Thanks for this informative post. I’ll check back before I go.

    reply...
  • May 24, 2019

    Marked and filed for future reference! Hope you guys are doing well!

    reply...
  • June 1, 2019

    That sunset tho! Filing this one away for future reference – thanks for all of the details. Love the idea of a bit more secluded stay, but the description of Sunrise Beach checks all our boxes, for sure!

    reply...
  • June 1, 2019

    ahhhh winter is really kicking in here. Wish I was there!

    reply...

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