Koh Lipe 4D4N

HonNee went to Koh Lipe on 1st - 5th November.

Everyone has been predicting we gonna be so darn bored for 4 days 4 nights there as it is a very small island with nothing much to do, we beg to differ.

Hon in-charged of accommodation booking and his flight to Alor Setar, while I in-charged the speedboat tickets(*1) and Thailand car insurance(*2).

On the day, Hon catch the 7am flight to Alor Setar, I fetched him at 8am, had our breakfast at Kaki Bukit at 10am, crossed the Wang Kelian border(*3), missed the junction to turn in and bumped into Tesco Lotus, shopping in Tesco Lotus, arrived Pak Barra jetty at 1.30pm, checked in at the counter/shop, had lunch, went to jetty at 3.30pm, boat arrived at 4pm, boat was ready to depart only at 5pm after they done moving in luggage and passengers, arrived the island at 6pm+, checked in hotel cleaned up and rest, then out for dinner.

The first day wasn't counted into the trip as we spent most of the day light in transportation, car + boat, and Hon woke up at 3am to catch the 4am bus to airport, so he was tired even more. There's no way he wants a 3D2N trip on this.

We stayed in Gecko Lipe Resort, THB 600 per lodge (The price increases threefold entering high and peak season). It is a chalet style and in the middle of Walking Street. It is on a small hill and in the woods, so there is a LOT of mosquitoes.
Our little hut
Every chalet has mosquito net and they provide coil incense, but if you are a mosquito magnet like Hon, you better prepare more of those mosquito repellent, or book another hotel with aircond. Oh yes, this chalet has fan only, no air cond, no water heater (who needs one? It's damn hot!), and no fridge. We bought ice, put it in the vase-like pail used to fill water in the toilet and cool the drinks in it.

First day - We spent our first day exploring the island. After breakfast, we walked to Sunset beach which is secluded and furthest from Walking Street. On our way, a motorbike taxi with two girls on it stopped to ask if we want to take ride, although we expect him to charge us with not sure what rate, but unsure with the distance and big sun on top of our head, we agreed. He let us off at a narrow entrance and bid farewell with no charge! Hehe...

Sunset beach has a short beach and deep water. There was no tourist around except for us, and a few local children playing by the sea. We rented a kayak for leisure, lack of experience made our kayak go round and round and it was exhausting LOL. I floated at the deep water, being pushed by the gentle waves. There's tourists come and go but never a big group.

Went to Sunrise Beach at the evening via Varin Resort entrance.
The beach is broader with shallow water, but there is a lot of dead corals and unknown objects on the beach that we constantly stepped on and it's awfully painful. There is a lot of boats parked around the beach.

After dinner, we walked around Walking Street in search of snorkeling package for the next day. The prices are more or less the same, THB 550 and THB 650, some may even quietly gives you a THB 50 discount. We booked ours at a shop at the corner, where it is besides the THB 100 cocktail shop and near the '0 km' milestone. The owner is a sweet friendly lady from Chiangmai who can speak Hokkien.

Second day - Snorkeling. We got bored (with the scenery) after the three island as the sea views are the same - same corals, same fishes, even the clarity of water is the same, but we still had fun swimming around the sea hand in hand. When we were at Koh Hin Ngam, an uncle came to us to tell us that we need to pay a THB 200 as the National Park fee (and to inform the others in our boat (??) ) which we ignored. From the way we see how the islands are 'preserved', we do not want to pay any cents to the authority who does not do their job.

In the evening, we went to a massage parlor, Hon asked for Thai massage while I wanted a foot massage for my sore legs. The massaging price range is the same, standard massage THB 300 per hour.
The lady who massaged me is very good in her skill, she made my leg very happy :) Too bad her English is very limited, we had hard time communicating. After the massage, I got to know, through a translator, that the lady wanted to offer me a 2 hour massage, 30 minutes for foot and 1 1/2 hour for whole body Thai massage, as she knows my body *shy* and assumed I'm gonna like it. Anyway, I didn't do it.

Third day was the laid-back day. We slept until 10, had instant noodles, spent our good time around the chalet.
In the evening, we went to Pattaya beach to play. There is even more boats parked here, even few huge construction boats with constructions machinery and items parked by the beach, indicating more constructions undergoing.
There is a lot of dead corals and sharp objects, we had to take our step cautiously. The water is shallow and clear, we saw corals with little Nemos in it, big starfishes, crabs and damn lot of sea urchins. I even played with a group of dogs too haha (*4)! A couple of them went to 'harass' Hon who was at the other end, and I went to rescue him muahaha! As night fell in, the seawater ebb and revealing the coral stones.

Fourth Day was the return day. The return ticket that we got from counter on the first day was not a guarantee, we had to check in again, get a number, then boarded the boat. If we were later to queue up, we would get a latter number and end up sitting at the front with no shade!
Advisable for those who will want to stay at the island for more days than 3D2N, you might as well get your return ticket on the island, as if anything goes wrong or you are confused about anything, you can just go to the shop/counter to get assistance.
On our way back, we stopped by Tesco Lotus for more shopping, nearer missed the time to cross border as it closes at 7pm. (6.30pm at the gate!!)

*1. I initially wanted to buy the speedboat ticket at Pak Barra jetty when we get there on the day, but everyone was concern that it's gonna be a long holiday (Deepavali + Awal Muharram) and ferry tickets might be limited, so I bought the ticket early via Angelyn, who used to join Theresa's class. The price is THB1200/MYR120 return trip per person and it's under Bundhaya Speedboat company where the shop is right opposite the jetty.

*2. Thailand car insurance, MYR22 for 9 days. It is advisable to buy car insurance if you plan to drive to Pak Barra jetty, just in case. The aunty, who I bought the insurance from, counted the date with her fingers for 2-3 days, then used the calendar to count the date for another 2-3 times again, then only she confidently wrote down the dates on the insurance. She said I quote:"I don't want you to have any trouble there, if anything happen and I write this wrong..."

*3. The unwritten law does not work here. The immigration staff fills in the arrival/departure card for you and he will ask for RM2 per card there and then.

*4. There are a LOT of dogs on the island. I was warned not to greet/touch/caress the dogs or I'm not allowed to be in the room with Hon :( (Hon has a sensitive skin) The thing that make me curious is, not only the dogs play in the sea, they also drink sea water -_-

5. Lesson learned, we do not have to buy the return ticket beforehand, as we travel quite a number of days. We can get the return ticket on the island with preferable time and easier to access assistance.

6. The drive from Wang Kelian border to Pak Barra jetty is about 100km, the road is wide with 2 lanes and very little cars, directions all along, would be better if you have a map/navigation.

7. FOOD - the seafood here (for dinner) is cheap, fishes at THB 380 - 500, big prawns at THB 1000, squid at THB 400 etc. The prices from every restaurants are more or less the same, it's the freshness of the seafood that you need to beware of. Thanks to Hon who knows how to 'read' fishes, all I have to do is eat. My personal favor is this restaurant called Jayao, a lady in very thick makeup with long dress would stand at the front to attract customers. The price is reasonable, the seafood is fresh, and the seafood preparation is very clean and thorough, and the cooking is yummy and delicious! The restaurant was empty or with only 2-3 tables occupied most of the time we went in, so our food came pretty quick.
Lemon-chilli steamed fish! So delicious it made Hon very happy

As for drinks, I think it is comparatively expensive. The cheapest soft drink you can get is THB 20 coke at the mini mart, most drinks charged at THB 30 for hot beverage, and THB 60 onwards for cold.

8. There are plenty of mini markets and small scale convenience stores to get your stuff like drinks, suncare products etc. The price is rather high compared to mainland. The first 7-11 was under construction when we arrived, and all the stocks were on shelves when we left. One reminder though, you can't get ice at this shops as they don't have it! The place you can get ices is:
It is called the 'water factory' and they sell big bottles of water and packets of ice. One packet of 1 kg ice is selling a THB 20.

9. High and Low season - High season starts from November til May, everything is expensive especially accommodation (the one I stayed for THB 60, it increases until THB 200/night during high season). Ferry tickets must be bought in advance. While, during low season (May - November), although there's less people and everything is cheaper this time, some shops do not open (because for the business person, it's their holiday).

10. Clothes - you can wear whichever beachwear that you prefer, but on the day you hop on the boat to the island, make sure you wear clothes that you don't mind getting it wet. This is because the island doesn't have a jetty or pier or anything for the boats to stop and unload you and your stuff, everything is done on the sea! The shallow side of the sea of course, about calf deep. You would have to walk in the water after getting out of the boat to the beach. On the day we went, there was this couple from China who the guy wore jeans and sneakers! They awed in surprise when they saw the boat stopped in the middle of the sea, the guy immediately took off his sneakers and rolled up his jeans.


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