Koh Lipe or Langkawi

Koh Lipe, Langkawi

Are you looking to decide between Koh lipe or Langkawi?

White sandy beach at Pantai Cenang Langkawi

I have often been asked to choose between Koh Lipe island or Langkawi as a preferred destination, however, it isn’t a straight forward choice, both islands are well worth a visit.

I have visited both places on numerous occasions and if you have enough time I would include both on your itinerary as both islands have their charm and also offer something different.

It’s pretty easy getting to Koh Lipe or if you decide to do both islands then travelling from Langkawi to Koh Lipe by ferry is also straight forward as long as you are travelling in the high season.

let’s take a look at the differences between the islands…

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Langkawi Overview

Langkawi is part of a 99 archipelago, it is a lot bigger than Koh Lipe, the infrastructure is far more developed and It has its own international airport. Langkawi was visited by an estimated 3.7 million visitors in 2017 with a similar amount visiting in 2018 and the same is expected for 2019. On June the 1st 2007, Langkawi was awarded world Geopark status by UNESCO. It enhanced Langkawi’s global reputation and standing as a world travel hot spot.

You can visit Langkawi any time of the year, the weather due to it’s proximity to Koh Lipe is pretty much the same and like Lipe, there’s a low and a high season. Driest months will be between November and April. Weather is hot all year round and good weather can be expected most of the year with intermittent rain in the low season.

Accessibility

Getting to Langkawi is straight forward. It is served by an international airport and as expected there are regular incoming and departure flights to and from other Malaysian cities, there are also flights direct flights from other Asian countries. You also can’t drive there but there are regular ferries from the mainland. Simply put, if your a family with small children you will find Langkawi an easier place to visit than Koh Lipe.

Hotels

Due to the large number of visitors to Langkawi, I found that there was a better selection of hotels, particularly in the higher end section. Prices for these types of hotels, in my opinion, seem cheaper than ones of a similar standard on Koh Lipe. Click on the images below or Check out hotel prices here…

Shopping

Langkawi is a duty-free island. Alcohol prices in most of Malaysia are very expensive in particular at hotel bars but because it’s duty-free, prices in Langkawi are pretty reasonable, comparable with Lipe and even cheaper if you buy from one of the duty-free outlets. These outlets are similar to what you find at most airports and they are dotted around the island. There are also a few shopping malls on Langkawi, so once again if you like to break up beach time shopping, Langkawi would perhaps be a better destination for you.

Sunset at Pantai Cenang Langkawi

Beaches

The main beach Pantai Cenang is beautiful. A long, wide, white sandy beach. Most of the resorts are situated here along with restaurants, cafe bars, and shops. However, despite the beach being beautiful, it may not be for everyone. There are many jet ski/parasailing operators situated here. If that’s your thing, great! If not you may want to avoid.

I have previously visited Pantai Cenang at different times of the year and each time the sea has not been clear, not dirty but not clear. I have also visited some of the other beaches (not all) and the sea wasn’t clear either. So if you are looking for crystal clear seas I would not recommend Langkawi. However, It’s worth bearing in mind that snorkelling and diving trips are easily booked.

Things to do

There are also plenty of things to do in Langkawi, notably the Langkawi Sky Bridge, Langkawi Cable Cars, Langkawi Wildlife Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, and Underwater World if you are looking for some options away from the beach.

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Nightlife

Surprisingly very little. It definitely doesn’t feel like a party island, most of the bars on the beach seemed to be closed by 12 o clock. There are a few exceptions however I personally found Lipe a better option for nightlife and I wouldn’t describe Lipe as a party island either.

Koh Lipe Overview

Pattaya Beach at Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe feels different to Langkawi in every way. It is also different to it’s other Thai neighbouring islands like Koh Lanta and Phi Phi. It’s often described as the Maldives of Thailand with good reason. It feels more like a tropical island than Langkawi, you can navigate the island on foot, it’s easy to get around or if your feeling lazy on a motorcycle taxi. There are no real roads only different size paths. The vibe is laid back and relaxed If you’re looking for a pure beach holiday Lipe is a great option for any type of traveller any time of the year. It caters for high-end tourists all the way down to backpackers on a tight budget.

Accessibility

No airport only ferries from Pak bara all year round or ferries from other Thai islands and Langkawi in the high season.
I previously mentioned that Langkawi is easier to visit if you have small children that’s not to say Koh Lipe isn’t accessible for travellers with small children as plenty do come but because of the extra steps it may not be for everyone. There’s an extra leg as opposed to just flying into Langkawi airport. Getting on and off the taxi boat at Lipe can be a little tricky, however, the staff should be there to lend a hand.

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Hotels

There’s a wide selection of hotels on the island to suit most budgets. You can stay from as little as a few dollars per night. Accommodation is everywhere.

All the beaches have options as well as Walking Street. It can get busy in the high season so you may like to book in advance.

Shopping

Very little. There are no malls, there wasn’t that many ATM’s until fairly recently. There are a few shops on walking street where you purchase gifts or some beach clothes. There’s a handful of chemists and a clinic and your usual convenience stores to purchase snacks and drinks.

Beach at Koh Lipe Island Thailand

Beaches

The sea surrounding Lipe is crystal clear. Pattaya, Sunset and Sunrise beaches are all worth a visit. The sand is a white powder and the sunsets are stunning. People flock to Sunset beach or Pattaya beach to watch the sun go down with a cold beer.

Things to do

Pretty much everything is centred around the beaches. It’s a great place to just unwind and read a book. You can also book snorkelling and diving trips or perhaps take a walk up to the viewpoint.

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Nightlife

Again like Langkawi Lipe isn’t a party island. However, there are still good some options after dark. Walking street is where most of the action is.

Conclusion

One is not better than the other. It is down to personal preferences. If you have enough time try to fit both into your itinerary. If you don’t, and you simply love the sea and the beach chose Lipe if you like the beach, shopping and want a very straightforward holiday chose Langkawi.