If you're travelling around that part of Malaysia, and fancy a quick and easy trip to an amazing island, then Koh Lipe is definitely for you.
I flew in to Langkawi from Singapore using SilkAir - they had a promotional fare of SGD300. (yes I know, I could've gone way cheaper by taking a coach to KL and then a budget airline to langkawi, or bus, but hey, I was strapped for time - could only take 6 days off from work!)
Langkawi - no great shakes. The main beaches which are connected, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cenang, are still pretty okay, and so is the water, but I daresay Langkawi is well and truly for the tourist masses now. Lots of development, hotels, fancy restaurants, etc. But it's still possible to find budget accommodation: I stayed at Zackry Guest House (firstname.lastname@example.org), they offer dorm beds for 20 RM, private rooms too. I stayed in a double, cost me 35RM a night. Clean, functional, toilets were so-so but I didn't care. They have a minimum 2 nite policy. Great place to meet people though - they have couches, DVD corner, internet, lots of cheap beer (Langkawi is a dutyfree zone). Typical of the friendly and laidback atmosphere, everything except room payment is by honour system e.g. for the drinks, you just keep note of what you drank and at the end you pay Zack, the owner. Who, incidentally, is friendly, hilarious, has lots of travel info and who managed to give some wise advice for my journey to Koh Lipe.
Going to Koh Lipe: I would advise you not to take the ferries from Kuah Jetty, which cost 98RM one way and promise to get u there by one hour, but in reality will take 3 hours. Instead, take the speedboat from Telaga Harbour - at 118RM (228RM two-way) , it's only a little bit more money but gets u there in 1 hour, as promised. There's one trip to Koh Lipe a day, and one trip back on the same day - boat leaves Langkawi at 9.30am M'sia time, boat leaves Lipe at 3.30pm - you'll need to be at immigration 1 hour beforehand. You clear M'sian immigration at Telaga, and when you reach Koh Lipe, the Chao Ley will pick you up in their longtail, get u to the beach, and to the immigration shack on Pattaya Beach.
At Koh Lipe: I stayed at Forra Bamboo resort, on recommendation from a friend. It's pricier than a backpacker's place - about 1,500B for a seafront bungalow and 1,000B for a garden one - but well worth it if you want to treat yourself. Beautiful bamboo bungalows, clean double beds, open-air enclosed showers. You get a standing fan, but electricity runs from 5pm to 1 am - you don't really need a fan after that cos it's pretty cool with the seabreeze. But be warned: the breeze dies down after dawn and if you're in the garden bungalow, it can get sticky if you want a morning lie-in.
Forra also has a great chilled out beach bar, with lots of friendly Europeans. There's also the main drag in the middle of the island offering lots of small snack stalls, and Pattaya Beach has more restaurants - you can prob read more in the travelfish guide. I also checked out Pooh's - it's got more backpacker friendly lodging at 600B a night - live music and bars clustered around there.
Koh Lipe has amazing waters and beaches, still relatively unspoilt. Coral is literally a 1 minute swim from the beach. Diving and snorkeling are pretty good - lots of different dive shops offering different tours around the area, usually they're about 7 hours, from early morning to late afternoon, covering at least 3 dive spots, and they provide lunch as well. Really depends on what you want to do. Snorkeling usually costs about 500 - 600B, diving usually costs twice as much.
Going back to Langkawi, and then to Singapore was easy enough. If you can't get a taxi from Telaga to the Langkawi airport, the staff at the marina can help call for one for you.
There are ways of going on to other parts of Thailand from Lipe - there are several ferries from Lipe to Had Yai, Pakbara pier - not sure on those but you can google and find out.
Hope that helps!
#1 wessatong has been a member since 4/3/2008. Posts: 14
The trouble with reports like this is I wanna get back there - NOW!!
But yeah, thanks. I particularly got value out of your Langkawi-Lipe transport info - that is the first detailed report I have read from an actual user.
I also enjoyed your stuff on Zackry's. He gives good advice on another forum and I always have intended to stay at his place next Langkawi visit. Sounds like the place won't disappoint me.
For other readers wanting to move on from Lipe, there is a speedboat service and a new Tigerline ferry service - both run thru to Lanta in high season and drop off at a lot of the islands along the way. Saves a lot of time and is not too much more expensive than having to go back to Pak Bara, catch a bus up the coast and go back out to another island.
I don't think these services run low season, and last year the Pak Bara service was down to one per week in low season.
Someone told me the Lankawi-Lipe speedboat kept running. Anyone know for sure?
I'd like to know this too. Is Lipe reachable by boat from Langkawi during low season? (July)
#4 hardgraf28 has been a member since 20/4/2010. Posts: 4
I saw a post on another forum very recently which said this low season there will be direct boats between Langkawi and Lipe.
It's always been possible indirectly - normal fast ferry Langkawi to Thammalang pier near Satun, songthaew into Satun, sonthaew/taxi/bus to Pak Bara (will have to change to a songthaew, motorcycle taxi or normal taxi at La Ngu if using the sonthaew or bus) and then speedboat/ferry to Lipe. But this will burn a good part of a day.
Note that there was a daily boat low seaon between Pak Bara and Lipe for the first time last year, and that post I mentioned above said it will run again this low season.