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Ko Lipe

Guesthouses, hotels and resorts

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.

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Pattaya Beach

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.

Sunrise Beach

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.

Sunset Beach and the northern coves

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.

Walking Street and inland

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.

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