Share on:

Are There Too Many Dogs on Koh Lipe Island?

In Thailand, stray dogs – commonly called “soi dogs” – are seen throughout the country. These dogs often rest in the shade of local shops or inside the cool doorways of 7/11 stores enjoying some free air con. On the island of Koh Lipe, known for its beautiful beaches, soi dogs have also made themselves at home. But are there too many dogs on this small island? And could that pose any problems for visitors?

The soi dogs of Koh Lipe have made themselves right at home on the island’s picturesque shores. More often than not, they can be found happily snoozing under the palm trees, sand sticking to their fur as sun-kissed tourists snap photos with their new furry friends.

The dogs tend to mind their own business, sporadically opening an eye to gaze at passers by but preferring to conserve their energy as they lounge in shady spots and try to beat the tropical heat.

They seem rather harmless to visitors, more interested in securing a comfortable napping location than causing any actual disruption.

Many tourists don’t seem to mind the island’s resident pack of pooches, viewing them as part of the quaint, rustic charm of Koh Lipe life.

Two dogs lying in the sand on Pattaya beach Koh Lipe.

However, I was surprised to read one recent TripAdvisor review that tells a different story. The traveler describes

This is quite a contrast to the lazy, docile dogs sunbathing under palm trees that most visitors across Koh Lipe report encountering.

Was this restless, noisy pack of strays on Sunset Beach an anomaly or indicative of a larger issue on Koh Lipe?

A dog sleeping under a tree in the shade on Koh lipe island

An Informal Census

On a recent visit to Koh Lipe, I counted the stray dogs on different beaches. A VERY informal census. Pattaya Beach had about four dogs – most were just relaxing or sleeping in the sun. Sunrise Beach had around eight dogs.

Again Sleeping under a longer or a tree in the shade. Sunset Beach had the least amount of dogs – I only spotted a couple. None of the dogs appeared thin, most looked in good health. What was pleasing to see was the lack of puppies anywhere! I wonder if this means the island now has neutering controls in place.

Potential Issues

While Koh Lipe’s resident dogs are typically docile sunbathers, territorial disputes do occasionally break out when dogs wander into other dogs territory . I witnessed a few heated dog fights erupt on the beaches before being broken up by nearby tourists.

Additionally, weary travelers who are skittish around canines may want to give the dogs extra breathing room when walking home at night. The cover of darkness seems to embolden the stray dogs’ curiosity – though they usually keep a respectful distance from tourists.

Soi Dog on Koh Lipe Pattaya Beach

I did not observe any aggressive incidents between visitors and strays, but the increased night-time activity and energy is worth noting for those who prefer to steer clear of the island’s four-legged locals.

Maintaining light, Unthreatening energy if approached and having secondary walking routes to avoid high dog traffic areas can help guarantee a smooth, stress-free trip.

Tips for Tourists

  • Be aware that dogs may be sleeping in shady spots or blended into the surroundings. Keep an eye out under trees, loungers.
  • Supervise young children around the dogs. While the dogs are typically harmless, accidentally provoking or startling them could lead to nips or scratches.
  • Do not attempt to pet, feed, or play with the dogs unless they clearly initiate and consent to interaction. This encourages invasive behavior toward other tourists.
  • If a dog fight occurs, do not attempt to physically intervene. Making loud noises or spraying water can effectively break up disputes. Alert a local business owner if a prolonged fight needs assistance.
  • When walking at night, give dogs extra space and move slowly/calmly if approached. Avoid direct eye contact and screaming or sudden movements.
  • Keep unattended food properly stored and discarded trash contained, as the smell can draw curiosity and rummaging from dogs.

Comparisons to Other Islands

I have been to Koh Lipe many times! More than I can remember. Personally I think the island has fewer issues with aggressive stray dogs compared to many other destinations in Thailand.

The types of problematic packs that dominate some of the beaches in places like Phuket and Koh Samui are in my opinion refreshingly absent on Koh Lipe.

It should be noted that not all the dogs are stray, many belong to guest houses and restaurants. There are some issues but the truth is, encountering street dogs comes with the territory when visiting almost any area of Thailand and Koh Lipe has less of a problem than other islands.

Leave a comment I’d love to hear what you think of the dog situation on Koh Lipe.

Leave a Comment