Koh Lipe: a little paradise between Malaysia and Thailand
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We continue our Southeast Asia tour crossing the sea border from Malaysia to reach Thailand.
We take a ferry from Langkawi to the more popular island of Koh Lipe.
Koh Lipe is located in the Adang Rawi archipelago and is part of the Andaman Islands. It is located in the Tarutao National Park and is covered by tropical forests and coconut plantations. On this island, there is a community of sea nomads called Chao Ley. They have their own independent language and they are fishermen by tradition even though nowadays they are also really good guides for snorkelling and diving.
We take the ferry at 9.30 am (booked directly at our hostel in Langkawi for about 23 euros or 110 RM, including the pick up from the hostel).
Once passed the passport controls, we embark and after 1 hour and a half, we arrive at Koh Lipe.
We arrive by ferry on a platform in the middle of the sea, not far from Pattaya beach. From here we reach the shore with a small boat (typical Thai taxi boats).
It is the first time we cross the border by sea, so we are very curious to see how it all happens.
Our passports were detained by the ferry guys who handed it over to those responsible for it on the island of Koh Lipe. We wait about an hour before proceeding with the withdrawal of the passport and the stamp that allows you to have a 30-day permit in Thailand (a sort of "visa on arrival").
We also pay 30 RM (about 6 euros) as a fee for access this the national park.
As soon as we get a map, we cross the "Walking Street" that is the narrow street where most of the locals, restaurants, bars, etc. are concentrated.
We immediately notice that there are no cars on the island, but only scooters and moto-taxi.
We reach our hostel Shanti Backpackers after about 10-15 minutes of walking. We booked it in advance on Booking for one night, at a cost of about 38 Baht per night in a dorm. In Thailand, in fact, there is the Thai Baht: 1 € is equivalent to about 38 Baht.
This island seems to be quite expensive considering our budget. The hostel is not the best. There is just one room with 16 beds and few fans with only 2 bathrooms. There is not much air in here since there is not even a window. Fortunately, it is only one night.
In the meantime, it's time for lunch so we look for a place where to eat. It is not easy to find something gluten-free for Marica because many locals do not speak English. But after several attempts we make it: we have a delicious Pad Thai or rice noodles with vegetables, eggs and soy sauce (for Sonia), at the cost of 70 THB (just under 2 €).
Now we can start exploring the island on foot as it is quite small. Let's start with the Sunrise Beach. It is a very long beach with an enchanting watercolour. We notice a celestial colour that mixes with a dark blue and in the middle a thousand shades. There is a real white sand that is an excellent contrast to the colour of the sea.
On this beach, we also find many restaurants, bars and even primary school full of adorable and cute children.
We arrive until the end of the walkable path (continuing there are rocks overlooking the sea) where there are a resort and a small natural pool of sea water. We stop here to take a bath and relax a bit.
After a few hours, we decide to go to the Sunset Beach. It takes us twenty minutes from our hostel, we cross a thick and green vegetation and we arrive when the sun is almost gone. However, we manage to take some very beautiful photos with fantastic red nuances of the sky.
In the evening we eat street food: again rice noodles that we greatly appreciate as an alternative to the usual rice eaten so far.
After dinner, we take a walk around the Walking Street that offers various clubs with live music. There's even a kind of disco on Pattaya beach with children doing fire shows. All nice but very touristy.
The next morning we wake up at 7 am for a walk along the Sunrise Beach. The tide is low at this time and there are very few people around the streets and at the beach. It is still not very hot and is perfect for getting lost in the amazing colours of the island.
At 9 am we return to the hostel to take the backpacks and walk towards the beach where we take the boat to the next destination: the island of Koh Mook 3 hours away by boat.
In conclusion, the island has fascinated us for the beauty of its beaches which seem to come out from a movie. However, we have been a bit disappointed by the fact that it has become an island so popular among tourists. That's why we've decided to leave after only one day. Probably this is also due to the fact that we are in the Chinese New Year, so there are hundreds of Malaysian Chinese who travel to the neighbouring islands for tourism.
Nevertheless, walking through some less touristy streets, you can see the real life of the local people of the island. In fact, they live in zinc shacks, with only one room where they eat and sleep; the children have fun playing with animals and apparently they seem happy, or at least they are always ready to give us a smile that we jealously preserve.