Our pick of the bunch
Ko Lipe’s popularity has resulted in well over 100 accommodation options, from massive beach resorts to tiny camping outfits and everything in between. For a while the trend was to build bigger, higher and more expensive, though a select few places have preserved a low-key vibe. Here are our suggestions for the best places to stay on Ko Lipe, across various budgets. Price ranges included here are for high season; expect drastic rate drops in the wetter months.
Unlike on larger islands where long distances might separate one beach from another, location is less of an issue on Lipe. Keep extremes in mind—like eastern Pattaya Beach for nightlife and the western coves for seclusion—while choosing mainly on the merits of accommodation quality rather than location. Also check out Beaches on Ko Lipe for detailed profiles of each of them.
Less than 600 baht
In high season, the cheap-cheap options can be counted on one hand. Just off Pattaya Beach, reggae-style Lipe Camping Zone pulls backpackers into its small tents for 350 baht and rudimentary 600-baht huts with shared bathrooms. Though Lipe still lacks a great hostel at time of writing, Shanti Hostel’s fan and air-con dorms will get the job done off Walking Street for around 500 baht.
600 to 1,000 baht
Our top pick in this range is Cafe Lipe, an irresistible nature-minded bungalow spot on central Pattaya Beach that will remind you of what Lipe was like before mainstream tourism arrived. Cozy Cove also deserves a mention for its basic bamboo bungalows with private bathrooms for 600 to 800 baht near Sunset Beach. Overlooking Pattaya Beach’s quiet western corner, long-running Daya Resort’s candy-coloured bungalows starting at 800 baht are also worth a look.
1,000 to 1,800 baht
A star in the flashpacker bracket is Gipsy Resort, serving up thoughtfully done concrete fan and air-con bungalows for 1,000 to 1,800 baht along with several types of higher-end rooms on central Sunrise Beach. If you’re after low-key vibes on a private beach, check out Bila Beach’s bamboo fan bungalows on a western cove starting at 1,000 baht. Piercing the air-con realm, Koh Lipe Homestay offers charming bungalows across from a yoga studio for around 1,500 baht.
1,800 to 3,000 baht
In this range we’re big fans of Time to Chill House, offering a few gracefully designed fan rooms in a pair of wood-and-bamboo houses with huge private terraces draped in forest behind Sunset Beach. You could also grab an impressive fan bungalow overlooking an extraordinary stretch of northern Sunrise Beach at Lipe Beach Resort. For a funkier look, check out the unusual fin-shaped bungalows with air-con at Phuritra Resort near Sunset Beach.
3,000 to 5,000 baht
The majority of Lipe’s accommodation falls into the midrange bracket, making the island a worthy spot for a splurge. For a sea breeze and ceiling fan rather than air-con, Castaway’s two-floor wooden villas overlooking Sunrise Beach are just marvellous. In the air-con department we suggest Lipe Beach Resort’s higher-end rooms for couples, while families might consider a sizeable loft room with air-con at The Reef, or a slick second-floor fan room with big sea-view balcony at Gipsy.
5,000 baht and up
Lipe offers no shortage of luxury digs, though we’re not too fond of the abundant concrete and generic atmospheres found at many of the upscale spots. On Pattaya Beach we like Mali Resort’s Bali-style villas sporting wall-size glass doors that you can open to the sea breeze. For honeymooners, Serendipity’s sublime private pool villas blend into a hill tumbling down to sand as soft as flour at Sunrise Beach’s secluded southern corner.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Lipe