SCUBA DIVING KOH LIPE
Koh Lipe is an island that is part of Thailand’s Tarutao National Marine Park. This is the second largest national park in the country. Koh Lipe also earns the distinction as the only island that is part of the national park that is inhabited. But the island is most known for its diving opportunities, which is also part of the reason why tourists flock to this island.
KOH LIPE DIVING
Koh Lipe is one of many islands that make up the Adang Archipelago (which is also part of the Tarutao National Marine Park). In total, there are 50 islands in the archipelago but Koh Lipe is the one most frequented by tourists. Diving is part of the draw among tourists here. There are several great diving sites (around 20) that are explored by diving enthusiasts seeking the thrill of an underwater excursion.
Diving in Koh Lipe is mainly by boat. However, there are also a few diving options by the shore. The reefs, soft corals, and underwater marine life are not just the main attractions for every diving trip. There are also pinnacles, rocky formations, and boulders that offer dramatic backdrop to your diving experience.
Koh Lipe is a great alternative to more popular diving destinations like Koh Phi Phi or Koh Samui. It is not as crowded and is therefore a great option for those who want to avoid the crowd.
A word of caution for those who are interested in diving here: currents in Koh Lipe are predominantly tidal. You need to plan your diving trip ahead as there are certain times of the year when currents are very strong. On the flip side, the strong tidal currents have made it possible for the soft corals to grow and thrive.
BEST DIVE SITES
One of the most popular dive sites in Koh Lipe is 8 Mile Rock. You can reach this deep sea pinnacle within 75 minutes by boat. The only downside is that this is located in the open sea so you can expect strong currents. The strong current is also part of the reason why this dive site is so special – it has created the perfect environment for corals and reefs. You can reach the deepest level of the pinnacle by diving 14 meters below the surface.
During your dive, you can find a wide range of marine species like goliath groupers, manta rays, devil rays, leopard sharks, and whale sharks. The deepest portion of this dive site is around 50 meters.
At Stonehenge dive site, you can find various types of reef. But the highlight of this dive would be the collection of granite pinnacles that are named after the mythical Stonehenge of England because of the similarity in appearance. There are also numerous species that can be found here such as different sponges, giant groupers, moray eels, eagle rays, and leopard sharks.
Koh Bu Tang
This is another popular dive site in Koh Lipe to add to your diving itinerary. It is abundant in beautiful coral reefs, along with fish species such as razor fish, trumpet fish, and ghost pipe fish. But one of the highlights to this dive site is the ‘Giants Staircase’. These are huge natural stone steps that go down 50 meters below the water surface.
MV Yong Hua Shipwreck
If you are into shipwreck diving, this dive site is the perfect spot for underwater exploration. This shipwreck dive site is located on the western portion of Koh Lipe. This ship sank in 1996 after it caught fire. The ship is now resting at 40 meters deep. For over two decades underwater, it has become a home for marine growth and various fish species.
This particular dive site is only for advanced or professional divers. The depth and size of some areas at the dive site make it fit for the technically trained divers only. This area also experiences strong currents.
This is a superb diving site that is around 15 minutes from Koh Lipe. It is a rocky island that is filled with superbly beautiful hard coral reef. You will also be greeted by an abundance of marine life that includes stone fish, marbled rays, seahorses, snappers, and more. Beginning divers can explore the shallow reefs at this dive site.
This is one of the newly discovered dive sites in Koh Lipe and is already generating quite a buzz. The highlight of this dive trip would be the beautiful and colorful soft corals. There are also several shallow dives available, which makes it an ideal destination for beginners. Meanwhile, experienced divers can go down for as deep as 30 meters.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
As with any other tropical destination, Koh Lipe is warm and humid all year round. You must plan your trip according to the season to maximize your diving experience.
Expert divers recommend diving during peak conditions, which is around December to early March. The monsoon season starts around May and ends in November. You should avoid diving during the monsoon season as diving conditions are not ideal.
HOW TO GET TO KOH LIPE
To get to Koh Lipe, you must fly via the closest airport in Hat Yai. There are daily flights that can connect you from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. You can also book flights via Don Muang Airport. Once you are in Hat Yai Airport, you can take the taxi to the pier in Pak Bara way. Make sure you get there before 11.30 am to catch the ferry. Otherwise, you must wait until the next ferry trip becomes available the following day.
If you are traveling from Bangkok, you can travel to Koh Lipe via bus or train. Traveling via bus or train is considerably cheaper than flying. However, the travel time can be anywhere from 12 to 15 hours.
HIGHLIGHTS OF KOH LIPE
Koh Lipe has earned the recognition as the Maldives of Thailand. Based on that distinction, you have a picture of what Koh Lipe is like. It is a tropical paradise that is home to many pristine beaches, coves, and resorts.
Enjoy the perfect tropical holiday as Koh Lipe offers various opportunities to relax and unwind. Kayaking is one of the most popular water activities on the island, aside from diving. You can find many kayak rental shops that enable you to rent their gear on an hourly basis. Ko Adang, a neighboring island to Koh Lipe, is one of the favorite destinations for avid kayakers.
If you seek a more relaxing holiday, you can head to one of many beaches on Koh Lipe. Sunrise Beach is located on the eastern side of the island. This is one of the best spots to watch the sunrise on the island – thus the name. On the other hand, there is also the Sunset Beach. It is relatively smaller beach compared to other beaches in Koh Lipe. You can find bars, restaurants, and accommodation near the beach that will allow you to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
Koh Lipe is an island located roughly 60 km from mainland Thailand. It is also located at the southernmost portion of the country. Koh Lipe attracts millions of visitors per year because of its gorgeous beaches, aquamarine waters, natural beauty, and an overall laidback lifestyle.
The island was once inhabited by around 500 Chao Ley (who are originally from Malaysia). In fact, the name Koh Lipe originates from the Chao Ley language that means ‘paper island’. The reason behind the name is due to the topographical feature of the island, which is generally flat.
Koh Lipe exemplifies the picture postcard white sand beaches that you envision Thailand has to offer. Aside from the warm and clear waters (that make it suitable for diving), it is home to about 25% of the tropical fish species in the world. You can also find a wide range of aquatic species such as turtles, dolphins, dugongs, sperm whales, and minke whales. Koh Lipe is an island that is mesmerizing on land and underwater.
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