If you want to explore one of the smaller islands in Thailand, and one that has a sleepier feel, then Koh Lipe can be a good choice. You need to understand however that this is not the paradise island that it obviously would have been back in the day so you need to be prepared for the fact that it has been commercialized and is more polluted than you may be ready for. It’s also good to bear in mind that if you are travelling on a budget this isn’t the place for you, and available budget accommodation can be much harder to come by than on other islands. Still, despite the prices and the rubbish, Koh Lipe remains stunning in places with its azure waters and white sand.
One of the main reasons people come to Koh Lipe is for the diving and there are now more than ten different dive shops that have a full range of services from short dive trips to PADI certification so whatever proficiency level you are, you will find something that is right for you. Added to that, the dive sites around Koh Lipe are stunning and have names such as Stonehenge and Eight Mile Rock. Visibility is usually good around Koh Lipe and aquatic life further out is plentiful, although nearer to the shore much of it has been scared off by boats and loud tourists. When choosing who to dive with make sure you check out the operation and equipment first and ask questions about safety. If they are a good diving operation they won’t mind spending time putting you at ease.
If you don’t dive or just don’t fancy it on Koh Lipe then boat trips are one of the other great draws of the island. Boats are usually long tail in style and are meant for groups so expect to be with other people unless you want to rent one just for yourself. Boat tours will usually take you out for a full or half day and will drive around the smaller islands off Koh Lipe where the main activity is snorkeling. Unfortunately the coral here is not particularly impressive but you will have a good chance of seeing a wide variety of tropical fish.
Koh Lipe, though not as stunning as it used to be, is still a good choice if you want a lazy beach vibe with some decent diving or snorkeling thrown in, and the waters around the island are warm and clear. The development and pollution here is a worrying sign of things to come in the future but you can also do your part by staying at one of the eco resorts on the island.