When planning a trip Phuket to Koh Lipe, you may find yourself needing a transport option. Book a ferry in order to relax as the blue waters pass by. The ferry is small but airy, and that doesn’t mean it isn’t air conditioned. Keep in mind that you may have to walk from the check in point to the boat some distance, but staff members will carry your stuff.
It's a good distance from Phuket to Koh Lipe, 182 kilometers (113 miles), but no sooner than you've stepped onto the white sand beach of Hat Chao Ley (Sunrise Beach) you'll know you've made the right decision. In terms of time, you'll need to set practically a whole day aside for traveling. High speed ferries take between four and five hours, sometimes even longer, so it's a good idea to prepare for the journey with snacks, water and good reading material. Chatting to fellow passengers also makes a good way to pass your time en route to Koh Lipe from Phuket but don't expect lots of other things to do whilst onboard.
Ferries to Koh Lipe from Phuket are relatively small and will include a bathroom and choice of outdoor or air conditioned seating areas. Due to the size of the vessel, and windy weather conditions, passengers will sometimes experience a bumpy ride – you have been warned. The operators also tend to get booked out quite quickly so booking in advance is very important, especially in the high season which falls between December and March.
Koh Lipe is a lot smaller than Phuket and doesn't have its own airport. The island is a mecca for snorkelers with a largely unspoiled underwater world awaiting beneath the gently lapping Andaman waves. Ferries depart from Rassada Pier in Phuket in the morning and arrive on Koh Lipe's floating pier, usually in the afternoon. It's a good idea to pre-book accommodation and know where you're going to in advance however, there's a good choice of places on Koh Lipe to stay so you won't be left stranded.
Once you arrive on Koh Lipe you'll be met with a choice of beachside bars, snorkel sites and trekking routes, with Koh Adang viewpoint a great place to head to after you've settled in. The island has a more low key vibe in comparison to Phuket and although it has been 'discovered' it still retains an air of exotic escape, so make sure you make the most of it, while you still can.
There are two types of boat leaving Phuket for Koh Lipe: the high speed ferry and the speedboat ferry. The high speed ferry is the fastest way to travel and has an outside seating area on the upper deck and an air conditioned cabin down below. The speedboat ferry, which doesn’t have air conditioning or an outside seating area, is the cheapest option. It does have windows, however, and is open at the back to allow for plenty of sea breeze as your voyage gets underway.
Whichever class of ferry you opt for you'll be onboard for at least four or five hours so it's worth making the most of the journey by chatting to fellow travelers or catching up on some rest along the way. The approach to Koh Lipe is particularly exciting as you'll pass lots of small islands that form part of Tarutao National Marine Park. Little slithers of white sand fringe lush green, uninhabited, island interiors and give you just a taste of what you can expect upon your arrival.
As Koh Lipe is the southernmost island in Thailand - it's only 30km from Langkawi in Malaysia - it's well worth finding out more about the cultural contrasts that you'll discover when you arrive, not least of all the food. There are loads of restaurants and snack bars selling all manner of cuisine to suit all tastes and pockets. Pattaya Beach, especially, has got a great selection of places to eat out. It’s good to know, however, that Pattaya can get very busy and the party scene often lasts until sunrise. On the east of the island, the vibe is a lot more peaceful, so give this some thought if you're more keen on relaxing rather than raving.
It's easy enough to get around Koh Lipe on foot and you'll find paved paths leading between the island's best known beaches: Hat Pramong (Sunset), Hat Chao Ley (Sunrise) and Pattaya. If you haven't booked accommodation for when you arrive on Koh Lipe from Phuket then you should prepare for a few invites as you step onto the island's floating pier. This is all part of the traveling experience and you'll probably already be well accustomed to haggling in a few words of Thai. Some of the island's larger hotels, particularly the high-end ones in Pattaya, will have a representative to meet you at the pier and help you with your bags. After a long and bumpy ferry ride this can be a really welcome sight and helps you settle into island life as quickly as possible.
As with all ferry journeys in Thailand, it's best to get to Rassada Pier in Phuket at least 30 minutes before your due to set sail to Koh Lipe. This gives you enough time to ensure you're in the right place as well as making sure you stand a good chance of bagging an outdoor seat on the sun deck.
Taking a ferry
The ride from Phuket to Koh Lipe is relatively long and you can expect to be enjoying life on the Andaman Sea for at least four to five hours. It's definitely a good idea to bring food and drink as there isn't usually a snack kiosk onboard any of the ferries, especially not on the speedboats!
Arriving early at Rassada Pier in Phuket is also a good idea as it’s quite a lengthy walk from the check-in point to the boat. Don't worry, you will have a hand with your luggage however, give yourself enough time so it's not a mad rush down the walkway. If you're travelling on the high speed ferry you'll also want to arrive early so you can bag the best seating options - if you're planning on sunbathing on the upper deck or cooling off down below in the air conditioned communal cabin. (Make sure you keep sun protection close to hand as well as warm clothing for the air-conditioned seats.) This is not so important on the speedboat as there's only one seating area. Small bathrooms are available on both types of boat.
Koh Lipe is very easy to get around on foot and Pattaya Beach is the most popular, and developed, of the three main beaches areas. It's thought that practically a quarter of the world's tropical species of fish can be found in the warm shallows surrounding the island. This makes it a must for snorkelers, so don't forget your mask, flippers and snorkel, as well as your underwater camera.
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Bookaway's customers prefer Speedboat Ferry by Bundhaya Speedboat
High Speed Ferry by Tigerline which usually takes 4h 30m
182 Km (Air)
Speedboat Ferry by Satun Pakbara Speed Boat starting at US$78
Approximately, there are 4 departures each day.