When you arrive on the island, the first impression you have is “Am I dead or alive?” You see a row of small boats in the water that has an intensive blue color compared to the white of the sand, a long beach tongue in front of you . The effect is a sharp light that come to your eyes, and you say “Wow!!” If the paradise really exist, hoping it will be similar to this.
If you arrive from Langkawi, in Malaysia (as I did), you need to clear immigration first. The staff on the speedboat or ferry will guide you through the immigration process. After the registration at the immigration office on the Southern end of Pattaya Beach, next to Bundhaya Resort, you are free to go.
The island is very small, so you can go by foot everywhere, but if you are too lazy, Motorbike taxi drivers are around to take you where you need to go.
The first community to settle in Koh Lipe were a group of nomads of the sea called Urak Lawoy belonging to Chao Ley Group. They travelled from one island to another in search of areas rich of fish. Still today, many Urak Lawoy earn to live from fishing. The advent of tourism brought changes, still things are changing, and some have opened their restaurant where they cook fresh fish, while others have become taxisti or organize excursions on the islands.
The Chao Ley Koh Lipe are Animists, with a strong bond with the spirits of the sea and their ancestral spirits. Sometimes positioning of the totem on beaches as a point of contact between the spirits and the shaman. The Chao Ley also boast a rich musical heritage and the Urak Lawoy in particular are very good at playing the violin and percussion.
During cultural events as the Full Moon of Koh Lanta, the Urak Lawoy celebrate traditional dance and music with the hope of achieving economic prosperity and happiness in the family.
The three main beaches in Koh Lipe are: The Sunset Beach (Hat Pramong), the Pattaya Beach and the Sunrise Beach (Hat Chao Ley) and a handful of small beaches for the most private and islets to explore.
Pattaya Beach: it is the most popular beach and the most beautiful of Koh Lipe with soft white sand and crystal blue sea. Here in addition to the hotels, you will also find dozens of bars and restaurants located directly on the beach or around the corner of the Walking Street.
Sunrise Beach (Hat Chao Ley): this beach extends along the entire eastern section of Koh Lipe. On clear days you can see in the distance the island of Koh Taruta and Langkawi Island in Malaysia. On the northern tip of the Sunrise Beach, in front of Koh Adang, there is a beautiful portion of white sand that change the shape according to the season and to the winds.
Sunset Beach (Hat Pramong): it is a small bay overlooking the west Coast, and as its name suggests is the best spot to watch the sunsets. It is a beach with the atmosphere very calm and relaxed where you can still find the characteristic bars and restaurants built with pieces of wood carried by sea.
If your skin is burn, this beach is also good in the morning because the sun will arrive in the afternoon, so you can enjoy the sea without pain!
However, you need to do a boat tour to enjoy at all the beauty of the island: the tour of the islands by boat also will give you the possibility of snorkeling in the most beautiful spots of the marine park. Koh Lipe is probably one of the last Thailand pieces remained uncontaminated. With 30 islets nearby and a hundred reef well preserved and easily accessible, is an ideal destination for diving lovers.
The strong points of the dives are the soft corals and the macro; there are several pinnacles of granite covered with coral frequented by neutral colorful tropical fish. The best sites for coral are Stonehenge and Koh Taru where you will be amazed to see the expanses of soft corals purple and white and the variety of marine species.