Out of that hammock!
Published/Last edited or updated: 11th April, 2017
Development has barely touched Ko Lipe’s rugged western peninsula revealing little-known viewpoints and beaches. Nature lovers and seclusion seekers should hop out of that hammock, grab a map and get hiking.
Leaving the busy part of the island on the way towards Sunset Beach, your first stop could be Wat Hang Lay, a forest temple where monks chant in the late afternoons. While you won’t find impressive Buddha images or architecture, the wat is notable for preserving a sizeable block of jungle rimmed by Thai spirit houses and quirky statuary. You might also pop into neighbouring Lipe Art Garden to watch the resident artists busy with batik work.
After passing behind Sunset Beach, make a detour down to Bila Beach‘s laid-back bar and cafe, or the excellent Forever Restaurant along the main road. If time is on your side, rent a snorkel at Bila to peep some of the best-preserved reefs found off Lipe’s shores. If you’re here at low tide, wander north along the shore to find secluded patches of sand backed by boulders draped in palms.
Not far past the turn for Pitusas Resort, look to your right for one of several unmarked paths -- more like sections of partially cleared terrain than actual trails -- as the road ascends up a hill. Be careful to avoid rusty barbed wire at ankle level around here. All of these “trails” lead haphazardly north to more boulders where you can soak in views of Ko Adang, Ko Rawi and the azure stretch of sea that separates Lipe from these two larger neighbours.
Continuing west, the concrete road turns to dirt before reaching a more proper trail leading south. Clamour downhill along this unmarked trail and you’ll arrive at Haad Kra, a pretty undeveloped beach facing south towards Langkawi. If you’re tired of hiking, this is a great spot to relax for the rest of the day.
If however your exploratory nature isn’t quite satisfied, get back on the main dirt lane and keep wandering beneath old-growth trees towering amid undisturbed forest. Keep your eyes peeled for snakes, lizards and the colourful birds that snack on them.
Sensing the sea and seeking a nonexistent “viewpoint” marked on our map, we continued past where the road ends into a tangle of prickly vines and branches. To reach the coast from here you’d need a machete, so how about heading back to Haad Kra for another swim?
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.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.