Maldives in Thailand @ Koh Lipe (Day 1)
I love beach especially in Thailand. The imagination went wild with turquoise ocean, blue sky & tropical weather attracted many beach goers & holiday maker to choose Thailand. Koh Lipe is a small island in the south Andaman Sea, famous as ‘Maldives’ of Thailand.
14-18 March 2013 | Koh Lipe @ Thailand
Koh Lipe is accessible via flight in Hat Yai International Airport or cheaper alternative such as train to Hat Yai from KL.
I see Koh Lipe as one of the many island destination in Thailand, place no expectation from it, but speechless when I witnessed with my own eyes. That’s the paradise I ever been before.
The whole budget of this trip was set at max RM1k, but actual spending was actually RM 600 – RM 700 per person. Due to higher exchange rate, this cost was actually higher.
Holiday-maker should have a look at this island because it’s too beautiful to describe, let pictures alone to proof it. Overall, a perfect destination that I never dream able to see in Thailand.
A trip into paradise begins here …
Our trip was overlapped the weekend, means we travelled on weekday, ended on weekday.
We travelled on weekday (Thurs) and cross over the weekend before we ended our trip on weekday as well (Tues).
Overall, it was like 6D5N which 2 nights was spent on the train which travelled overnight.
Late boarding (9pm) … @ KL Sentral
Day 1 … 9.30pm – Train boarding from KL Sentral
Boarding via train is cheap but requires more time. We bought an e-ticket from KTMB website for bed coach cost us RM54 (upper berth) & RM60 (lower berth). Half an hour earlier required for this boarding (same as flight), as it wait no one.
Bed coach normally limited and easily full-booked. We booked once it’s available.
It was my FIRST ride on KTMB train with bed coach. It was my dream to take long haul train while sleeping. My dream has materialized now.
Now my holiday has begun …
Bed coach train (lower/upper) … good ventilation & comfort
My bed (No.22) … quite small for me but comfortably fit
Bed numbering … refer to your ticket booking
Shortly after the train moved, train officer came to check our ticket. We were been told that we could get some food from canteen coach. We regretted for not packing some food from McD or KFC. Our neighbor was seen munching snack and having aromatic dinner in train.
We checked it out as been told. Canteen food supply is limited, and much costlier by 50%. We forget our wish and decided to chit-chat in train to forgo our hungriness for food.
Canteen coach … no outside food allowed
Day 2 … 7.00am – Good morning Alor Setar
When we woke up, we checked our phone. Still have signal means, still in Malaysia. A quick check via Google Map, our location was at Alor Setar.
After 10 hours journey, no sign of leaving Malaysia and entering Thailand border. Still have another hour to go before we reach Padang Besar for custom & passport check-in.
Train moving crossing villages … just woke up & check-out where we are
9.15am – Padang Besar
Finally, an hour passed and we were at the border. Officer told us to bring only important things such as passport & not required to lift our bag unless we wanted to have custom clearance.
Custom Clearance & Immigration Check-In
Food stalls … for our quick breakfast
Journey continues until reach Hat Yai station …
11.00am – Hat Yai station
Time zone (GMT) different by 1 hour. We unloaded from the train, move under the hot sun until we saw where people were calling us to take their ride.
Walk towards the exit of train station … land of Thailand
The Haadyai Station … landmark of Hat Yai city
Engaged local tour at town … recommended by our friend who has used them before
We’d chosen Cathay Tour Hatyai because their service was good and price is reasonable. Paid 1100
550 baht per person for return transfer from Hat Yai to Koh Lipe Island (inclusive of van & boat transfer fees, but excluded those conservation fees & management fees). These fees are hidden and unknown to us until we reached the place. What a rip off …
After 2 hours of van transfer, we reached the jetty.
Reached jetty … drop-off here
Called Tarutao National Park HQ … thought of some jungle reserve but it’s not true
Fees charged … entrance fees to Pier of 20 baht
Weather turns otherwise … jetty where our boat sailed
Getting down the speed boat at last … last call at 4.30pm with delay
Rain heavily during the journey … no one escape from getting wet
Another fees charged … maintenance fees of Koh Lipe (kind of conservation fees)
Collected fees used to conserve Koh Lipe … pollution from oil leaking can be seen here
6.00pm … Sunset is coming
Delay was unexpected at jetty due to bad weather. An hour has passed causing our arrival at the island late. The late level can be measure by our ability to witness the sunset from our boat (long tail). We hopped on another boat due to water shallow. We paid 30 baht per person as conservation fees plus another 50 baht for this long tail boat service.
A big rip off right?
Riding slow on long tail boat … sunset is going OFF soon
Still slow … the night is going to fall
Finally, the boat reached the shore … all drop-off happily
Late check-in @ 7pm … paid our room fees in full upon reached
Our accommodation … bamboo type (800 baht per night)
Bamboo Chalet … our 3 nights stay in this unit
Bam boo 12 … my unique room number
Inside the room … a simple bed with mosquito net
No air-con … only fan, force you rather stay outside during the day
Concrete toilet & bathroom … clean and overall good
8.00pm – Dinner time
It was a tired night due to long hour traveling. I’m not hesitate to say that from 9.00pm departure until 7.00pm next day arrival has been ridiculous to acknowledge, 22 hours from point A to point B which merely neighbor country, not over to London or US.
Our dinner started immediately after our quick wash & check-in. Without any map or guidance on us, we tried walking to this famous Walking Street in the dark.
Walking Street … happening area in Koh Lipe
All massage center practice open area service … I took foot massage (300 baht per hour)
Our group divided into 2, one was gone for a seafood dinner while another went for simple Thai dinner. Overall, we took our sweet time after check-in, to explore our own in Walking Street. It’s happening area where all tourists flock this place with entertainment, food & relaxing.
Tour agent can be obtained here for snorkeling package. We decided go for island tour on next day. Snorkeling & island hopping was our main activity where we shall get lots of fun with water tomorrow.
Last activity I did on first night was foot massage. After massage, we walked back to our resort in dark again, crossing the villages but safety is assured. Bring torchlight if you fear dark or can’t see properly at night. Night beach walk is quite romantic in this island.
Good night Koh Lipe.
To be continue … Maldives in Thailand @ Koh Lipe (Day 2)