Daytrip from Ko Lipe to Ko Adang

Head for the mountains!

What we say: 3.5 stars

The foreboding mountains of Ko Adang rise from the Andaman Sea in dramatic fashion, looming over the Adang archipelago’s many islands. While neighbouring Ko Lipe has become highly developed, Adang remains a natural haven. The national park does offer basic accommodation and camping in high season, but if you can’t bear to leave Lipe’s creature comforts behind for long, Adang makes a great day trip.

Look! No concrete!

Look! No concrete!

The only way to reach Adang from Lipe is to hire a longtail boat, easily arranged on any of Lipe’s beaches. The going rate is a definitive 200 baht round trip unless a tour of Adang’s coast is included. Once you’ve been dropped on Adang’s beach you might stop by the national park visitor centre to collect some info — depending on the mood of the staff when you happen to arrive.

The rule is: No swimming until the cliff is climbed.

The rule is: No swimming until the cliff is climbed.

After a few minutes of relaxing on the beach — or a meal at the national park’s simple but tasty Thai restaurant — follow signs to the trail for Chadoe Cliff, which begins just beyond the national park office. The trail leads to a series of three rocky viewpoints, the highest of which reaches 150 metres — high enough for tremendous views of Ko Lipe, Ko Rawi, and even Ko Tarutao. The trail is a bit steep in places so wearing shoes is a good idea.

Lookin' over to Lipe ...

Lookin’ over to Lipe …

Take your time at the top viewpoint; there are a few hidden lookouts nearby with views of Adang’s mountainous interior. When you’re sufficiently captivated, hike back down to the park station, but this time head the other way towards the west side of the beach. There you’ll find the nondescript trail head for Pirate’s Falls. The sign was broken when we last visited; the trail head is at a rocky section of beach and almost looks like a drainage channel at first.

... And back at you, Tarutao.

… And back at you, Tarutao.

Through thick jungle the trail runs up and down gradual hills with old growth canopies stretching above. Keep quiet and you’ll spot see a macaque, hornbill or even a vine snake. About half way to Pirate’s Falls the trail runs close to the sea; bushwhack through a bit of forest and you’re rewarded with what’s usually a secluded beach. A little further down the path and the sound of rushing water begins.

First one to the top wins!

First one to the top wins!

Though the waterfall itself is more of a bubbling brook with a few short drops, the area is filled with huge mossy boulders concealing small caves and crevices — the perfect place for a pirate to stash his loot. Supposedly the Tarutao pirates used to hang around here both for the seclusion and fresh water supply in the 1940s. Today the falls are a serene place to soak up the jungle. Of course, you could always poke around for lost treasure.

Grab a mossy seat on a boulder and soak up the jungle.

Grab a mossy seat on a boulder and soak up the jungle.

By the time you return from Pirate’s Falls chances are the sun will be hanging low in the sky. If you made an especially early start — or just speed hiked both trails — you might ask a longtail driver to take you on a cruise around Adang’s coast; we hear there’s an interesting black sand beach to the northwest. This might also be a good time to rent a snorkel from the visitor centre and check out the extensive coral reefs near the beach, or just sit back and soak up the rays.

Last updated: 22nd January, 2015

About the author:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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