Doing nothing is not as easy as you might think. It actually takes some practise. Luckily for us, we had two weeks on Koh Lipe to hone our skills, an island so small you can walk from one side to the other in around 20 minutes. The waters are as clear as anything you have seen on any postcard and the sand powder white. It’s an idyllic location that’s definitely already been ‘discovered’, but worth the time to get there.
We decided to take the speed boat down from Phi Phi to avoid spending nearly an entire day on the ferry. It’s still a good four hours and it’s a bit of a bumpy ride but definitely preferable to the stomach churning motion of the ferry on a windy day. Unfortunately it’s also not cheap so we agreed we’d find a more economical route for our trip back up to Koh Lanta.
We opted to stay near Sunset Beach, the quieter side of the island, at a cute little bungalow outfit called Jack’s Jungle. It’s small and laid back so if you’re looking for somewhere lively you’ll be better off elsewhere but it was perfect for us. The huts are in the jungle so they’re well shaded and stay fairly cool but are also prone to mosquitos as Richard unfortunately discovered. The only downside was the bed, which we were sure was actually polished marble with a sheet on top – after two weeks we were both longing for something softer.
Like I said, Koh Lipe is small – there’s not much of a ‘town’ to speak of, just a single street lined with the usual array of restaurants, internet cafes and tattoo parlours. Romsai seafoods was a particular favourite of ours – it’s not only one of the cheapest restaurants on the island but also makes the best curries and pad Thai we’ve tasted so far. If you’ve had enough of Thai food and fancy something Western then Spider Monkey is a good bet, but do be warned that Western food is expensive on Lipe and a pizza will set you back at least 200 baht. There’s also a great bakery which does the best doughnuts ever – the apple or custard ones are highly recommended!
Beachwise, Pattaya is the best for swimming, Sunrise the best for snorkelling and Sunset the best for, well, sunsets. We rented snorkels and saw some great sights mere metres from the beach including angel fish, black spined urchins and even a few clown fish (Nemo to those not briefed up on tropical fish). If you want to go further afield there are plenty of organised trips available but we decided to hold off until we hit Koh Lanta as the weather was a bit unpredictable. One day during a torrential storm we donned our macs and had an fantastic walk around the quieter beaches on the island enjoying the place completely to ourselves, awesome. You can see some pics of that day in the Thailand gallery ( viewpoint beach).
Our daily activities were steered by the weather – when it was fine there was swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing, when it was wet there were books, cards and films. We spent most of our afternoons at the Blue Tribes bar on Pattaya beach – the poor little puppy who couldn’t walk because he had been bitten by a snake was definitely a reason to keep returning. Luckily he had nearly fully recovered by the time we left and had three new four day old puppies for company as well.
Nightlife on Lipe is chilled – the usual beach bars playing a mix of Chilli Peppers and Bob Marley. Unfortunately James Blunt also seems to be a favourite but the less said about that the better. We did stumble across one hidden beach bar which looked like it might kick off a bit of a rave but sadly the complete lack of any customers put a bit of a dampener on that one. People just don’t go to Lipe to party – why would they when there’s Phi Phi and Koh Phangan a short hop away?
So, overall, a fairly uneventful but blissfully relaxing and chilled two weeks, which was just what we had planned and exactly what we needed to get out of ‘work mode’. Next stop, Koh Lanta, for Xmas by the beach with half of Sweden.