Lipe's three main beaches all have a different vibe. Pattaya Beach is the busiest and has the most raucous nightlife; Sunset Beach offers the most remote feel; and Sunrise Beach, which is our favourite, falls in between. There are exceptions to these rules and it would be a mistake to write off any of the beaches off the bat. Those who don't mind an easy walk to anywhere on the island might opt for an inland option.
Ko Lipe‘s ever-increasing popularity was evidenced by roughly 100 places to stay in 2015 — up from under 50 just five years earlier and a mere five back in the 1990s. The general trend is to build bigger, higher, more expensive, though a select few have preserved the low-key vibe. Not a budget-friendly destination by Southeast Asian standards, Lipe is worth the splurge. In high season,... Read our full review of Where to stay on Ko Lipe?.
Back in 2013, Pattaya Beach was down and out thanks to a trash barge and loads of other boat traffic docking here. By late 2014, the barge had moved to northern Sunrise Beach, and Pattaya Beach was looking better than it has for years. Throw in Lipe's only hostel to go with a decent selection of bungalows for below 1,000 baht in high season, and it looks even better for budget travellers. If the cheap places listed here are full when you arrive, you could try your luck with the beach bars on the eastern side of the beach, some of which offer a room or two out the back for between 500 and 1,000 baht. Just keep in mind that this side of the beach turns into a live music venue on most nights until 01:00.
Best known for its fantastic restaurant perched over a central slice of Pattaya Beach, Cafe Lipe rents out a handful of bamboo bungalows with thatch roofs in a cool, shaded area behind the cafe. The bungalows are simple but more spacious than most, with bamboo floors, foam beds on chunky bamboo platforms, mosquito nets, soft lanterns and attached porches with Thai axe pillows and grass mats.... Read our full review of Cafe Lipe and Resort.
Our favourite of the higher-end resorts that keep things quiet and clean towards the west end of Pattaya Beach, Mali features a handful of gorgeous dark-wood Balinese-style villas set around a lawn filled with palms and orchids. The cheapest rooms are actually concrete bungalows that (we think) were once part of the now-defunct Leapae Beach Resort. While lacking the elegance of the larger and... Read our full review of Mali Resort.
Blue Tribes has gradually watched the eastern side of Pattaya Beach fill in on either side, but things haven't changed much at the small resort itself. A giant buffalo skull is still hung over the dark-wood reception and restaurant that fronts the beach. Behind that are the large wood bungalows, each a bit different from the next. Those closest to the beach stand two storeys tall and afford sea... Read our full review of Blue Tribes Garden Beach Resort.
Just beyond a string of luxury resorts at Pattaya Beach's far western end, Daya Resort's ageing concrete and wood bungalows are some of the cheapest on Lipe. Painted in an array of bright colours like bubble gum pink, sky blue and lime green, the rooms have mosquito nets draped over worn beds on floors with visible strips of duct tape apparently holding together some of the tiles. This is no... Read our full review of Daya Resort.
We didn't have high hopes for Green View's future a couple of years ago, but we're happy to say that it survived two nightmarish seasons of dealing with a big, smelly trash barge parked right in front of its bungalows. The scenery here was notably beautiful and well kept at time of writing. The small resort's name is fitting for two reasons. First, the large bamboo and thatch roof bungalows are... Read our full review of Greenview Resort.
An offshoot of the Davy Jones Locker dive operation on the quiet western end of Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe Backpackers is the first of what we suspect will be more hostels in Lipe's future. Two eight-bed mixed dorms are located on the ground floor of a newish concrete building. They're simple but cool and comfy, with polished concrete floors, plain white walls, a couple of windows and thick... Read our full review of Koh Lipe Backpackers Hostel.
A stone's throw west of the Walking Street entrance, Moonlight has a string of simple bamboo bungalows stretching back behind a snorkel shop (the owners also lead daily snorkelling tours by longtail). We received a very friendly greeting before being shown a few bungalows clustered in a line stretching back from the beach, with no sea views. Walls are made of woven bamboo and the wood floors show... Read our full review of Moonlight Bungalow.
Like many formerly cheap bungalow joints on Lipe, the secluded Sanom Beach has taken things up a notch by installing modern flush toilets, high-quality queen beds with mosquito nets and pricier toiletries in its otherwise simple rooms. Given the enviable location on a small, secluded beach with good snorkelling just offshore and sweeping views back to Pattaya Beach from many of the hillside... Read our full review of Sanom Beach Resort.
While Z-Touch won't knock your socks off, it's worth keeping in mind as a comfortable option at the centre of Pattaya Beach. The standalone white concrete villas with wood and thatch trim stretch back behind a small swimming pool that was being enjoyed by a group of 20 Thais when we passed through. The room we checked out was spacious and simply decorated with a huge fake orchid to contrast the... Read our full review of Z-Touch Lipe Island Resort.
East-facing Sunrise Beach has filled in over recent years and now hosts a number of mostly flashpacker to upscale resorts. You won't find a bungalow below 800 baht a night in high season, with some basic bamboo huts now fetching 1,200 or more. Mountain Resort is a massive place at the far northern end that we'd avoid due to unwelcoming staff and the owner's desire to slap as much concrete as possible on the property. Neighbouring Andaman Resort is even more dismal, which is a shame as it sits on a particularly beautiful spot. At the opposite end of the beach, two yet-to-open upmarket resorts were replacing the old budget-friendly Viewpoint Resort at time of writing. It can get windy on Sunrise Beach during high season.
Castaway delivers some of the most stylish, comfy and eco-friendly accommodation on Lipe. Most rooms are in two-storey wooden bungalows with large decks and hammocks to go with bathrooms down below, and a wooden staircase connecting floors. At the back of the property, a handful of two-bedroom houses are great for groups and families with grown children, though the open-sided staircases could be... Read our full review of Castaway Beach Resort .
Slap bang in the middle of Sunrise Beach, Gipsy Resort’s comfy rooms at reasonable rates have drawn us back time and again. The Spanish and Urak Lawoi (sea gypsy) managers do an excellent job of making guests feel at home while retaining the laidback atmosphere Lipe is known for. They also make a mean espresso and banana shake. Our go-to spot on Lipe. The majority of accommodation comes in... Read our full review of Gipsy Bungalows.
Serendipity's motto, To find something beautiful by chance, doesn't exactly make sense since this eco-friendly upscale resort's 12 wooden bungalows must be booked in advance. The reception area, restaurant and breezy detached wooden villas are all built over rocks on the hillside at Sunrise Beach's far southern end, lending the place a tree-house feel. Amid the stairways and walkways that connect... Read our full review of Serendipity Beach Resort.
One of the better of Lipe's many newish midrange resorts, Wapi occupies a sizeable chunk of what was once Tarutao Cabana Resort. In addition to building smart new concrete villas with wide glass windows overlooking the beachfront, the new owners completely gutted some of the old cabanas to create modern midrange accommodation for those who like their creature comforts. Outfitted with tile floors,... Read our full review of Wapi Resort.
A new addition as of 2014, Kaixo occupies a sliver of land that, like nearby Wapi Resort's space, used to be part of Tarutao Cabana. The Spanish and Thai owners have made the most of it by erecting a handful of two-floor wooden bungalows just behind the on-site Mediterranean Restaurant and beachfront deck. Large, partially open-air bathrooms on the ground floors allow you to clean your sandy feet... Read our full review of Kaixo Lipe Resort.
Situated on a slice of northern Sunrise Beach that's grown increasingly crowded of late, Lipe Beach Resort went sharply upmarket since our last visit. Along with many others on Lipe, the resort now charges flashpacker or even midrange rates for the same basic bamboo bungalows that went for under 1,000 baht just a couple of years ago. The old beachfront bamboo bungalows have been replaced by smart... Read our full review of Lipe Beach Resort.
With upmarket resorts engulfing much of Lipe, it's refreshing to see Varin Village's old but sturdy bamboo bungalows still spread over a prime piece of grassy real estate that opens straight onto a terrific patch of beach. The thatch-roof huts are spaced fairly far apart; most in the third and even fourth rows have partial sea views from a couple of plastic chairs on the porches. Inside you'll... Read our full review of Varin Village.
Run by a youthful team of Thais known for their attentive service, Zanom Sunrise hadn't changed much since our last visit, at least on the surface. The relaxing beachfront restaurant still has floor cushions and lofts spread amid wooden platforms with high ceilings, and the wooden rooms still stretch behind reception in a mix of attached single-floor buildings and standalone bungalows. All of... Read our full review of Zanom Sunrise Beach Resort.
Northwest-facing Sunset Beach has sadly moved past its days of being an affordable Eden for free-spirited backpackers. The old Porn Resort and its bungalows, which used to cover almost the entire hillside stretching behind the beach, was being torn down when we last visited in late 2014. An upscale resort will replace it, and midrange to luxury resorts now cover Sunset's southwestern corner. It's not all bad news though. The Fisheries Dept still rents out cheap accommodation on a hill between Sunset and an eastern cove, which has some interesting resorts of its own. Further west, a couple of tiny bungalow joints on private beaches are good options if you're looking to leave the world behind. If you don't stay here, be sure to swing by to catch the sunset.
If only more of Lipe's upmarket resorts would be more like Sawan. Perched over a quiet corner of Sunset Beach, Sawan's five luxury villas are constructed of smooth wood with thatch and bamboo accents. Along with day beds adorned with silk pillows, all rooms come with luxury beds placed on platforms with huge windows opening to views over Sunset Beach and Ko Adang's green mountains. Large private... Read our full review of Sawan Resort.
Another newish small resort run by younger Thais who have rebelled against the bland concrete architecture often favoured by older generations, Phuritra runs down a quiet hillside to the often overlooked small beach just beyond some rocks to the east of Sunset Beach. The wood bungalows immediately catch your eye thanks to their unusual shapes. The Capsule has rounded corners on all sides; the UFO... Read our full review of Phuritra Resort.
Bila Beach is about a five-minute stroll to the west past Sunset beach, and a good 20-minute walk from Walking Street. It's no longer the most most far-flung of Lipe's resorts, but the small private beach is as quiet and laid back as ever. Placed over a steep hillside leading down to the beach, the rustic bamboo-and-thatch bungalows are tangled into the forest like bird's nests. Inside they're... Read our full review of Bila Beach Bungalows.
Many travellers are unaware that the local Thai Fisheries Department offers simple concrete rooms in attached buildings along with concrete bungalows perched directly over the sand. The accommodation is very similar to what you'll find at the national park headquarters on Ko Adang and Ko Tarutao: plenty of room, two firm single beds, standard-issue blankets and towels, simple cold-water bathrooms... Read our full review of Fisheries Department.
Not to be confused with Lipe Beach Resort on Sunrise Beach, Lipe Sunset is a straightforward option with sturdy bungalows strung over a forested hillside near Sunset Beach. Set on solid concrete frames, the wooden cabin-esque bungalows with tin roofs are spacious and equipped with comfortable beds raised off the floor, mosquito nets, wall-mounted fans, small safes (a surprising touch), large... Read our full review of Lipe Sunset Beach Resort.
While you'd expect to score deals when heading inland, we were surprised to find that many of the hotels and resorts on and around Walking Street and further inland charge similar rates as some beach resorts, without offering a whole lot more for your baht. A handful of small options are worth considering, however, including a pair of bungalow/camping spots located just past the island's forest temple. If you're on a shoestring budget, these are probably your best bets on the island.
One of our favourite budget spots on Lipe, the Art Garden is an example of what much of the island used to look and feel like. Imaginative portraits adorn large slabs of wood at the entrance, and Tibetan prayer flags are strung from tree to tree amid a small collection of bungalows. The cheapest options are tents with sleeping mats and pillows pitched on raised platforms, followed closely by... Read our full review of Lipe Art Garden Guesthouse.
Located a quick hop up a quiet lane from Sunset Beach, Time to Chill is an intimate and artistic establishment that blends into the existing nature. Each of the five rooms are unique, but they're all fan-cooled, made almost entirely of wood with thoughtful decorative elements, and perched around a patch of greenery with a small restaurant at the centre. Set towards the back, the cheapest log... Read our full review of Time to Chill House.
If you want to have an easy walk to any of the three main beaches, the Gecko is a fine choice. The small assortment of bamboo-and-wood bungalows is set amid a cluster of trees in a quiet spot just off Walking Street. With white paint over bamboo walls and double beds with mosquito nets placed over bamboo frames, the small standard bungalows come with cold-water bathrooms and mini-porches with... Read our full review of Gecko Lipe Island Resort.
Sitting just off the eastern end of Walking Street and a stone's throw from Sunrise Beach, Harmony isn't a bad option if you're after an inexpensive air-con room (at least by Lipe standards). The standard cappuchino rooms are not huge, but they are spotless and stylish with bright green, orange or yellow themes and glossy white tile floors. Beds are soft and all rooms come with air-con, modern... Read our full review of Harmony Bed and Bakery.
One of the first resorts to appear amid Lipe's inland terrain, Jack's Jungle has been around since the days when most of the island was actually still covered in jungle. The fact that it's preserved a sizable patch of said jungle is remarkable. The place's vibe seemed to have lost some of its magic on our most recent visit; the fact that the young woman who showed us around looked baffled when we... Read our full review of Jack's Jungle.
New as of 2014, this rag-tag reggae-inspired joint will appear like a desert oasis to backpackers on tight budgets. Spread over a gradual hill with no shade, a handful of very basic bamboo huts have no fans and room only for firm cotton mats on the floor that can sleep two. The chilled-out owner also offers tents that can be pitched anywhere on the grounds, including the upper floor of an... Read our full review of Koh Lipe Camping.
Slap bang in the middle of Walking Street, The Box is best known for its terrific Spanish tapas and stylish bar, but it also has a small collection of well-equipped rooms in a garden area out the back. Set in recycled shipping containers that have been adapted into cube-like cabins, the tile and polished concrete rooms are outfitted with comfortable queen-size beds on bamboo frames, fan or... Read our full review of The Box Lipe Resort.