From Hat Yai
There is now a new central minibus station to all destinations, located about 2 kilometres outside Hat Yai city center. Minibuses to Pak Barra leave every hour and take around 2 hours (price: around 150 BHT). The best way to get to the minibus station is by Tuk Tuk - expect to pay around 40 - 50 BHT for this service. If you have a lot of stuff or you're in a hurry you can take a private taxi to Pak Barra for anything between 1000 and 2000 BHT, prices at the airport tend to be even higher, so if you have the time, take a minibus.
From Southern Thailand
In high season there are daily ferry connections from Koh Lanta (2 ferries) and Trang (1 ferry). These pass by Koh Ngai, Koh Muk and Koh Bulon along the way, so daily travel between these locations and Koh Lipe is also possible.
From Bangkok & the North
Depending on your time, budget and ecological considerations the best way from Bangkok is to take a train or plane to Hat Yai. Overnight sleeper trains leave Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Train Station between 17.00h and 20.00h, arriving in Hat Yai in the morning, in time to make it to Koh Lipe on the same day. A few cheap airlines fly from Bangkok to Hat Yai these days, Air Asia alone has 5 flights a day, if you take the earliest one you can also make it to Koh Lipe on the same day.
The best way to get to Koh Lipe from Malaysia is to make it to Langkawi island. Daily ferries connect Telaga Harbor with Koh Lipe. Alternatively you can travel from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai by bus, train or plane.
Attention: Hay Yai Airport Minibus Scam
We have received a lot of complaints about the Official Airport Minibus service to the Hat Yai Minibus station. If passengers ask to be taken to the minibus station for 'Pak Barra' they are often taken to a travel shop near the train station, where passengers are forced to buy an overpriced combined bus + boat ticket. The real minibus station has over a 100 white vans departing in various directions, it is located outside the city center. If you are not taken to the real minibus station we recommend you refuse to exit the minibus and demand to be taken to the real minibus station. We kindly ask Thai nationals to file a complaint as previous complaints from foreigners have resulted in nothing.
To Lipe From Northen Thailand
Bangkok might seem like a world away from the isle of Koh Lipe, but don't be fooled, the journey southwards is a breeze.
The best option to get to Koh Lipe from northern Thailand is to take the train to Hat Yai. The journey takes around 15 hours, and there are five trains daily from Bangkok's Hualamphong station: 13:00, 14:45, 15:10, 15:35 and 22:50. Most people enjoy the convenience of the night train. Drifting to sleep aboard a gently rolling train carriage is one of travel's most alluring images, and there's nothing quite like waking up in a different place to where you fell asleep. Nevertheless, this is Thailand; one of the tropic's most beautiful countries, and ripe with jungle covered culture. Travelling by day is a readymade adventure, and one of the region's great railway journeys. Here's a tip, book early to secure one of the wider lower berths - or if you're on a budget, save around 100 baht by sticking to the slightly narrower upper berths.
It's also possible to take the bus from Bangkok, but at the time of writing the price was similar, so we'd always recommend the comfort of the Thai railways over the national bus routes.
Another popular option to consider is a direct flight from Bangkok to Hat Yai. There are several airlines (including Thai Airways and Air Asia) operating this route, and the flight takes just one hour. Depending on what time you arrive in Hat Yai, you have the option to stay the night (or even a couple of days to explore), or continue your journey onto Koh Lipe via a minibus or taxi before taking the fast ferry service to Koh Lipe from Pak Bara.
We won't lie, while some travellers find the crossing to Koh Lipe an exhilarating experience, the speedboats do live up to their name. Whether you take to the speedboat or ferry option, if you get queazy on the high seas, it's worth coming prepared with your preferred remedy. That's not to say they should be avoided, the ferries and speedboats along the Adang Archipelago are regarded as being some of the safest forms of transport in Asia.
To Lipe From Southern Thailand
You can easily reach the island of Koh Lipe from several places in Southern Thailand, all throughout the year.
From Pak Bara to Koh Lipe
Pak Bara is the main departure point for speedboats and ferries from mainland Thailand to the dreamy isles of the south Andaman Sea. This small and sleepy town is growing in popularity (thanks in part to Koh Lipe and its neighbours in the Tarutao Marine National Park). You'll find everything you need in town; from the ferry tickets themselves, to a good selection of eateries and accommodation. We recommend you buy your tickets from the pier, and not from the roadside touts. It's also worth considering in advance, whether you need a return ticket. Return tickets to Koh Lipe will take you back to Pak Bara, with the same ferry company. Once you're on Koh Lipe it's easy to buy tickets to various destinations, so consider erring on the side of flexibility. Also be aware of an intermittent 'Park Fee' (usually around 10 baht) and chargeable at Pak Bara pier.
There is no pier on Koh Lipe, but the locals have compensated by providing a unique service; expect an armada of traditional longtail boats to greet you, which will drop you off anywhere on the island for just 50 baht.
During the low season a ferry from Pak Bara to Koh Lipe is your only option, and we feel it's only fair to warn you that the seas can be more choppy at this time of year.
From Hat Yai to Pak Bara
The lively town of Hat Yai has become a popular stepping stone en route to Koh Lipe, with many local travel operators offering a shuttle service, including the 2 hour minibus service, and some will add in the subsequent ferry ticket. Another option is to take a private taxi, which can offer surprisingly good value for a small group. Prices vary, but expect to pay around 1200 baht for this.
From Phuket, Kao Lak, Krabi, Trang and Koh Samui
The beauty about travel in Thailand, is that it's an endless series of stepping stones. Reaching Koh Lipe from Phuket, Kao Lak, Krabi, Koh Samui or anywhere in the Gulf of Thailand is a breeze. Most travellers opt to stay the night on Koh Lanta, as it provides some of the most regular ferry services to Koh Lipe throughout the high season. From Trang you have the option to take a shuttle through to Pak Bara to connect with the regular service, or straight to the pier in Hat Yao where a ferry connects to Koh Lipe via Koh Laoliang.
The Island's of the Andaman Sea
Throughout the high season, there are regular ferries from several islands in the Andaman Sea to Koh Lipe. Popular ports include Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tarutao and Koh Lanta. Check with local operators for seasonal schedules.
Traveling Around The Islands
Many people dream of island hopping through Southeast Asia, and Koh Lipe's reputation among some of the world's best islands can see that dream come true in style.
Throughout the high season (November through until May) there are numerous ferry operators along the Andaman coast, and throughout the islands of the archipelago. Regular ferries and speedboats operate between Koh Lipe, Koh Bulon, Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, Koh Lanta, as well as the Phi Phi Islands and Phuket. You'll find numerous operators touting for business at any of the islands within the Andaman Sea, allowing for an easy and flexible schedule. There are no inter-island services in the low season, and the only way to reach Koh Lipe during this time of year is via the mainland port of Pak Bara. For a good exit route to the mainland you'll be looking towards to Krabi or Pak Bara, or consider travelling south to the Malaysian island of Langkawi. We recommend keeping your options open when travelling throughout the Adang Archipelago. No day is ever the same, so while it's advisable to have an exit route in mind, be open to it changing. One night, you might sit down and share a beer with a traveller, the next you could be feeling the warm tropical breeze in your face as you chase their secrets across the Andaman Sea. The beauty of travelling between the islands, is that life is so transient. People are always coming and going, and the local networks of ferries, speedboats and longtail boats are well-prepared to accommodate even the most adventurous route through the archipelago.
To Lipe From Malaysia and Langkawi
Langkawi island in Malaysia is just a stones throw from Koh Lipe, and within easy reaching distance in the high season.
There are several ways to reach Koh Lipe from Malaysia, and it's worth knowing that you'll need to clear immigration for all of them.
If you're arriving from Langkawi, you'll be guided towards the Thai Immigration Counter at Bundhaya Resort on Koh Lipe's Pattaya Beach. Meanwhile, if you're travelling via Pak Bara you'll usually clear immigration at Satun on the Thailand/Malaysia border.
From Langkawi to Koh Lipe
The journey from Langkawi to Koh Lipe takes one hour, and there are several services throughout the day during high season. Be aware that different ferry operators on Langkawi often use different ports, so it's worth asking the question when you're on the island. The main ports on Langkawi are based at Kuah Pier and Telaga Harbour, and timetables are subject to change so check with local operators closer to the time.
From Peninsula Malaysia to Koh Lipe
If you're travelling from Kuala Lumpur (or anywhere on peninsula Malaysia) to Koh Lipe, you have two main options. You can take a bus to Hat Yai before taking an onward journey to Pak Bara to catch the ferry. Alternatively you can fly to Langkawi, and take one of their ferries for the short journey across the Andaman Sea.
The main thing to remember about travelling anywhere in Thailand, is that if it's possible to reach, the Thai's will do everything the can to get you there. They're experts in transporting people, and with over 14 millions visitors coming to Thailand every year, they've learned to develop some of the world's most efficient transport networks. Just mention the island of Koh Lipe at your hotel desk, and you'll be presented with a selection of easy travel options, to suit every budget.