Southeast AsiaThailand

Where Are the Best Beaches on Koh Lipe, Thailand?

When I heard there was an island dubbed the “Maldives of Thailand” I knew I had to see it for myself. Koh Lipe, a small island in the far south of Thailand, is definitely similar  to the Maldives in some ways — the beaches are stunning and the water has an exotic blue hue, but the vibe is far different. So then, where are the best beaches on Koh Lipe, and which ones should you stay close to? I walked around most of the island in a bid to answer those questions!

Pattaya Beach

The first beach you’ll see on Koh Lipe is Pattaya Beach. It’s the one where the boats arrive at and it’s a nice introduction to the island. It’s a long stretch of sand and is home to heaps of long tail boats (those classic Thai boats you see in so many photos). There are sections without boats though and the water and sand are just what you’d hope for from a paradise Thai beach. It’s definitely one of the best beaches on Koh Lipe and you could do a lot worse than to stay nearby.

It’s very close to Walking Street, where you’ll find countless bars, restaurants and hotels and it’s always a bonus not having to walk far with all your bags when you arrive (although the top end hotels will transport you).

Sanom Beach

A short walk from Pattaya Beach, over a rickety wooden bridge, you’ll find Sanom Beach. This is probably the second best of the beaches on Koh Lipe (in my opinion) and offers up a far different vibe to nearby Pattaya Beach. It’s a very small beach and there’s only one resort there (the awesome looking Sanom Beach Resort).

There were less than 10 people on and around the beach when I was there and the water was incredibly clear. There are rocks at either end of the beach and it’s a great place to swim and relax. If you stay there you’re a 15 minute(ish) stroll from walking street, so it’s probably not the place to stay if you want to be right in the action.

Sunrise Beach

Sunrise Beach is at the opposite end of Walking Street to Pattaya Beach and it’s similar in some ways. There are lots of long tail boats hanging around and it’s fairly developed. It was more exposed to the wind when I was there (late November), so it didn’t seem as good for swimming. Still though, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Lipe, both for the exotic colour of the water and for the views towards Koh Adang.

I struggled to find proper access to Sunrise Beach so I just ended up walking through Varin Village. This place looked great — it has bungalows right on the beach and it’s a short walk from the action in and around Walking Street (although the booking.com reviews are terrible).

Bulow Beach

From Sunrise Beach, keep walking towards Koh Adang (the big island looming in the background) and you’ll come to a series of beaches with confusing names. On Google Maps it’s both Bulow Beach and North Point Beach, and I’ve also seen it called Karma Beach.

This whole stretch, from the end of Sunrise Beach all the way to Mountain Resort, is probably the nicest bit of Beach on Koh Lipe. The water is a beautiful blue colour, the sand is soft and white and the views over to Koh Adang, with photogenic boats coming and going, is special. Towards the end of the beach you’ll see some rocks and another little Bay / sandbar. Such a stunning spot!

For a great view of this beach from above (surely the best view on Koh Lipe) walk up the steps at the end of the beach to the restaurant at Mount Resort. There are no signs, but it’s pretty obvious where to go. You’ll pass a small shop and then at the top of the steps you’ll find the resort and restaurant.

I was the only one at the restaurant and the view couldn’t be better. In fact, it’s the best island viewpoint I’ve seen anywhere in Thailand! I was expecting it to be really expensive, but a delicious fresh coconut shake only cost me 70 baht (and a pad Thai was only 90). This place seems to be a bit of a secret — I highly recommend a visit.

Small Beaches towards Sunset Beach

From the steps below Mountain Resort, keep walking and you’ll find some more little beaches and bays that are likely to be almost deserted. At high tide it’s a bit hard to get around (you won’t be able to get all the way to Sunset Beach this way) but try and go a little way around and you’ll be greeted by some stunning Koh Lipe Beaches (they don’t seem to have names).

There’s one quite big one with a restaurant (Benny’s on the Beach) and a couple of resorts. It’s very secluded and could be a decent place to stay. At low tide you can walk all the way around to Sunset Beach from Bulow Beach, but the flip side of that is that this area doesn’t look as good at low tide.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach, the final spot on my Koh Lipe beaches list, is quite a trek from the main town area. There are plenty of places to stay nearby though and the vibe is much more laid back than the other main beaches. It’s quite a nice walk from town and there is transport if you don’t feel like walking. The beach itself is really nice — such clear water! I visited a couple of times, the last at sunset time, but the weather didn’t play its part.

So, Which are the Best Beaches on Koh Lipe?

If I had to choose two, I’d say the big stretch of beach between the end of Sunrise Beach and Mountain Resort. There are a few resorts along that area and it’s not too far from Walking Street. Plus, you can’t beat that view. The other one is Sanom Beach — it’s so quiet and very picturesque.

Walking Street

This busy street has a slightly misleading name — lots of motorbikes (most with a little sidecar thing) travel up and down it. It’s a nice enough place though and there are dozens of eating and drinking options. I stayed at Serene Resort and found a private room for 500 baht (it has to be one the cheapest private rooms on the island).

Is Koh Lipe Expensive?

Yes! It’s one of the more expensive places I’ve been in Thailand, but it is possible to do it on a budget (sort of). You’ll find plenty of cheap(ish) food, with typical Thai meals going for 70 baht (pad Thai, fried rice etc) at a few places. Check out Madam Yoo Hoo on walking street — they yell out their specials to every passerby, and so do the people at the place across the road. It’s quite a scene.

Accommodation is also expensive compared to other places in Thailand (although similar to places like Railay Beach and Koh Phi Phi). If you want a place for under 500 baht you’ll need to stay in a dorm. I found a 500 baht room at Serene Resort, but that was only because it was right next to a Thai pancake place basically right on walking street. Luckily the noise didn’t bother me too much. The other rooms (fan / cold shower) that weren’t so close to the street were 700 baht. I tried a few other places and most were in the 1000 baht range and above. Of course, if you’re not on a budget you’ll find heaps of cool resorts, and the relatively cheap food means it’s far more affordable than places like the Maldives, Cook Islands etc.

Are you excited to visit these beaches on Koh Lipe? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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2 Comments

  1. Jaydah
    February 22, 2020 at 4:28 pm — Reply

    Hi jon, what a fab and informative blog. I love it!

    I’m planning a surprise holiday for me and my partner. Our first long haul holiday since our 9yo. We have 10-12 days and have to go in August.

    Where would you recommend? I’m 29 love food, touristy stuff, beach walks, night life.

    • February 24, 2020 at 4:03 am — Reply

      Hi Jaydah, In August I reckon one of your best bets is Indonesia. It’s a good time of year to visit and there are heaps of options. Bali is a cool place and you can visit a few other islands nearby too. Good luck!

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