Dive in Heaven, Dive in Koh Lipe !
Located in the South Andaman sea and part of the Tarutao National Marine park, Koh Lipe is the only inhabited island of the Butang Archipelago, composed of 51 islands. Called the Maldives of Thailand because of its pristine beaches and dramatic rocks formations, Koh Lipe is a perfect paradise getaway.
But it is underwater that the true beauty of Koh Lipe will reveal itself. Off the beaten track, its marine life is exceptionally preserved and thriving. With 25% of the world's tropical fish species found in the area, flourishing soft and hard corals are home to a vast array of macro species and pelagic like Mantas, Leopard sharks, Devil Rays and Eagle rays. It is not unusual to spot Whale sharks or Mink whales in its crystal-clear waters. Koh Lipe is a not-to-be missed destination for marine life lovers, underwater adventurers, snorkelers, free divers and scuba-divers.
Koh Lipe with Forra Dive
Our partner, Forra Dive center, is the oldest dive school on Koh Lipe and has operated since 1997. Under the lead of French PADI, CMAS and SDI Instructor Antoine Pantelic and its outstanding team of well-trained staff, come for fun diving during day tours or liveaboard cruises and explore the breathtaking underwater sceneries of the Butang Archipelago.
Best diving sites in Koh Lipe
Here's a hand-picked selection of Koh Lipe's best diving spots:
The Yong Hua Shipwreck: This shipwreck is one of the most famous dive sites on Koh Lipe, located on the west side of the island. The Yong Hua is a 48-meter-long cargo ship that sunk in 1996 and has since become a popular spot for divers.
8 Mile Rock: Located about 8 miles west of Koh Lipe, this dive site is known for its giant granite boulders and diverse marine life, including schools of barracudas, trevallies, and snappers.
Stonehenge: This dive site is located on the southeast side of Koh Lipe and is known for its unique rock formations that resemble the ancient ruins of Stonehenge. Divers can explore the crevices and tunnels created by the rocks and spot various marine life, including moray eels and lionfish.
Hin Ngam: This site is located on the south side of Koh Lipe and is known for its colorful soft corals and impressive swim-throughs. Divers can spot various marine life, including nudibranchs, shrimp, and crabs.
Koh Talang: This dive site is located on the northeast side of Koh Lipe and is known for its large schools of fish, including snappers, fusiliers, and batfish. Divers can also spot reef sharks and sea turtles.
These are just a few of the most famous dive sites on Koh Lipe, and there are many more to explore in the area.
Dives accessible to certified Open Water Divers
Starting from Koh Lipe coastline, with a 5 min boat trip, Pattaya Corner will satisfy beginners and advanced divers with its shallow bay becoming a deep drift dive around dramatic granite boulders. Just a bit further, 10-15 min away, Koh Talang is also suitable for all levels, with its rocky sheltered bay and walls allowing for deep drift.
Stonehenge, one of Thailand's best diving spots, is just around the corner and can be explored from 5 to 27 meters maximum depth. Its name comes from the impressive boulders at the top of the reef. Keep in mind when planning your trip that the site is exposed to strong currents. If it can be fun to fast drift among the Gorgonians while enjoying the colorful scenery, diving there is usually not possible around Black and Full moon..
That will be the perfect time to dive at Koh Adang, the largest island next to Koh Lipe. It offers various diving sites, consisting mainly of shallow reefs, all beaming with diverse marine life and sheltered from strong currents.
Koh Yang will provide the same relaxing and enjoyable conditions, letting you drift gently in various underwater landscapes from 5 meters to 30 meters maximum depth. Keep an eye out for the Peacock Mantis Shrimp and the odd Hawksbill Turtle.
Koh Pung usually offers a great drift dive above the granite boulders covered by colorful soft corals among big schools of fish swirling around.
Dives accessible to certified Advanced Open Water Divers or certified specialty divers
Now, we're going to speak about exceptional dive sites, accessible only for advanced/ technical divers because of their depths or currents.
It's the moment to pass your Advanced Open Water or specialize in wreck diving, deep diving, Side Mount, Nitrox if you want to explore and enjoy to the fullest what Koh Lipe has to offer.
Yong Hua Ship Wreck (28m – 42m depth) features a 75 meters long fishing boat that sunk 12 years ago. Schools of Barracudas, Fusiliers and Snappers circle the divers during descent and ascent, Scorpion Fishes and Lion Fishes hide in the soft corals growing on the wreck and a Giant Grouper inhabit the wreck. Unforgettable memories guaranteed during this impressive dive.
8 miles Rock is one of the most famous and beloved diving sites in the area for its sightings of Whale sharks, Mantas and Devil Rays along with Leopard sharks, Giant Grouper, or schools of Barracudas and Trevallies. Several pinnacles ranging from 16 to 45 meters deep are home to an impressive variety of marine life. Because of its strong currents and possible choppy waters, this site is reserved for advanced divers and confident swimmers.
Adang Express way is beautiful drift dive starting from 10 meters to 42 meters deep. You’ll see Groupers, Angelfish and Trigger Fish. Schools of Eagle Rays and Devil Rays are often spotted in the area.
When to dive in Koh Lipe
The heaviest rainfalls are from September to November, and peak season is from December to February, being also the driest months of the year. Water temperature varies between 26 °C and 29 °C and visibility range from 10 to 30 meters.
The currents in the area depend mainly on the tides. Koh Lipe has numerous sheltered dive sites accessible all-year long, but some of the best spots are too exposed to be visited during Full and Black moons. The best diving conditions around Koh Lipe are found around the half moons, twice a month. Trust your diving center to plan your diving trips accordingly.
The highest concentration in plankton occurs between May and September, making it the best period to spot whale sharks coming to these feeding grounds. Bioluminescent plankton will enchant and amaze you along the shores or while night diving, the dark waters glowing with magical sparkling blue dots.
How to go to Koh Lipe
From Bangkok to Koh Lipe, the fastest and easiest way will be to fly to Trang or Hat Yai. From there, you can travel by bus, minivan or taxi to Pakbara.
From Pak Bara to Koh Lipe, boats depart daily at 11.30 am and 1.30 pm.
From Koh Lipe to Pak Bara, departures are at 9.30 am and 11.30 am.
The boat trip costs between 600 and 800 baths one way and lasts between 1.30 and 2h.
From Koh Lipe, you can also travel to the beautiful Island of Langkawi in Malaysia, with the company Bundhaya Speed Boat. The island is well known for its beautiful dive sites and exceptional wildlife. The trip takes 1.30 hour and run once daily.
For more information: How to go to Koh Lipe
Accommodations and facilities in Koh Lipe
There are many places to stay in Koh Lipe, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts, to suit all budgets and preferences.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, you can stay at a guesthouse or a hostel, which typically offers simple rooms with shared bathrooms at affordable prices. If you're looking for something more comfortable and upscale, you can stay at a resort or a boutique hotel, which offers a range of amenities and services, such as swimming pools, restaurants, and massage services.
You can also choose to stay at a beachfront villa or a private bungalow, which offers a more secluded and peaceful experience.
Even though Koh Lipe is a small island easily explored by foot, it has all the facilities you'll need : Atm's, groceries, bars and restaurants. Wi-fi is free and available in most of restaurants and accommodations.
For more information: Facilities in Koh Lipe