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Koh Lipe, The Maldives of Thailand

The beauty of the Maldives, the budget of Thailand, introducing the stunning island of Koh Lipe.

Last month I took some time out of my city London life and spent a month travelling, combining work and play I first spent a week in the Maldives and then continued my travels further east spending three weeks in Thailand.

It wasn’t my first time in either location but it was my first visit to an island in Asia that has long been dubbed as The Maldives of Thailand, the island of Koh Lipe. Traveling directly from the honeymoon islands in the Indian Ocean themselves I was in a rather unique position to compare the two and see if this title was in fact well-earned.

The cast-away style island located in the South of Thailand just North of the neighboring Malaysian island of Langkawi and the destination itself isn’t as easily accessible as some of the more well known paradise locations in Thailand. You either travel internationally by air, land and sea or internally by land and sea* but either way the route isn’t an easy one, that being said the reward for the lengthy travel is oh so worth it when you arrive.

Koh Lipe is located within Tarutao National Park and the entirety of the protected destination is built up of natural white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. The Andaman sea showcases it’s finest blues in this particular area and arriving by boat (the only way onto the island) is the perfect way to show off the show-stopping setting.

Unlike the secluded islands of the Maldives there is far more to do on the island of Koh Lipe. You can take day trips out to the local islands, discovering more of the dreamy location and underwater world as you sail, laze in one of the stunning beach clubs and watch the sun melt into the horizon, enjoy a night out in one of the trendy (yet still budget friendly) bars, indulge in a daily £6 60 minute massage and chose a different restaurant for breakfast lunch and dinner whilst still having options should your stay out-last a month! All the while resting in the heavenly landscape in-between actions 🙂

The main selling point for me for the island of Koh Lipe however is what lies beneath the shimmering surface of the Andaman Sea. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world these last few years and every chance I’ve had to jump into the sea with my snorkel and fins in tow I’ve jumped at. I have every confidence in my own words when I say that snorkeling in Koh Lipe was the best I have ever done. The coral is still so refreshingly alive with colour and it meant that every which way I looked was healthy and vibrant which is just so devastatingly rare for the ocean nowadays. The marine life was a plenty with thousands of fish on every plunge and the additional beauty of enemies, shells and star fish. I saw an underwater palette that I have only ever seen in high resolution images from  years ago and had I not have been on a regulated day trip I could have easily spent all day submerged in the stunning sub-scene. It really was an incredible experience, especially and even more dramatically amazing after diving in the Maldives just weeks before. There was no comparison with regards to the coral’s health and vibrancy.

The atmosphere on Koh Lipe’s coast was exactly what the doctor ordered, there is enough to do should you wish to explore and keep active but it also caters wonderfully for those who simply want that enviable R&R in the heat. There were times of the day and certain locations that were unnervingly busy against the backdrop of such beauty but on a shoestring budget you can’t expect to share paradise alone.

The Maldives is just not possible for everyone’s budget but Koh Lipe is, in my opinion, a perfect paradise alternative if you are willing to share it and a fraction of the price! I’ll be writing a full guide to the island soon but for now I simply wanted to share the daydream.


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