Thailand ... Koh Lipe
Nov 18, 2016
|After a few weeks on Langkawi Island, we made the decision to head north along the west coast into Thailand. Lucky for us, the Thai customs and travel visas for Canadians recently changed, which means we can travel via ferry and still get the 30 day visitor stamp without going thru the full visa application process .... whooohoo!
We took the ferry from Langkawi, Malaysia ... to Koh Lipe, Thailand ... we heard really great things about this island so wanted to check it out.
What a great experience! First time we've gone thru customs on a nice white sand beach with a reggae bar selling cold beer! You hand in your passport and papers before you get on the ferry ... ferry arrives in Thailand (but no dock and the boat is too big to go to shore ... so you have to get on a small boat for 30 meters ... then jump off in the water to get to shore) ... once on shore ... you wait for the customs guy to call your name and collect your passport back ... get in line for your passport stamp, then go find your luggage in the pile on the beach.
Best border crossing EVER!!
Ko Lipe is a small island in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago of the Strait of Malacca and was originally settled by a group of sea gypsies from Malaysia. They say these sea gypsies would live on floating barges and move from island to island. Well ... no gypsies here, but lots of people of all types. Hippies, old farts like us, back packers, asian tour bus groups ... rich and poor ... active and lazy.
A few things we noticed: the water is absolutely stunning ... nice white sand beaches, great food choices and over the moon friendly and polite people. We also noticed the garbage ... everywhere you look you see garbage ... streets, beaches, outside homes, behind restaurants and sadly even while snorkelling. Its a real problem here given habits of locals and tourists as well as the tides bringing garbage to its shores. Efforts are being made to clean things up thru education and local organizations, but they still have a lot of work to do.
Getting around the island is easy ... we pretty much walked the whole thing in a day ... and there are hundreds of motorbike taxis that will take you the few blocks you need to go.
We stayed at Sunset beach at "The Hut", which is the quieter smaller beach ... the other two called Sunrise and Pattaya beaches are much longer and where most of the accommodation and restaurants are. Prices here are expensive and over priced for what you get ... but having said that, you can still get a cold beer for $2.50. Average meal per person is $10-15 and accommodation $90 a night for a pretty simple bungalow.
We stayed here for 3 nights and did a lot of walking, snorkelling, kayaking and plain old chillin.
Nov 21 ... hit the high seas for some island hopping and ferry ride to Koh Lanta island. More pics and updates to come.
Babs n Bones