Lipe Island: Tropical Paradise, over any expectation…
Koh Lipe is a small and amazing tropical island in the middle of the Andaman Sea, surrounded by a huge reef, famous for its clear waters and its white sand. For these characteristics it is considered one of the best destinations for snorkeling and fishing such as a good spot then for diving. Koh Lipe is part of the archipelago of Butang (20 islands in all), which also includes the islands of Koh Raw, Koh Adang, and many other smaller islands as Jabang, Hin Ngam, Dong Yang, Laja, Klang and Bit Si . Koh Lipe is not part of the marine park of Koh Tarutao, the oldest marine park in Thailand. The birth of Tarutao Marine National Park, and its recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1973, has caused the end of the nomadic lifestyle of the Chao Leh area. Fortunately for the local culture and historical beauty, there are still Chao Leh villages at Koh Adang and Koh Lipe.
The islands around Lipe, are inhabited by Chao Leh (sea gypsies) since 1910 and they were recognized as Thai citizens in 1960. They were given a last name and were called Hantalee meaning “Brave that came from the sea”. The tribes that lived between Adang, Koh Lipe, Bulon and Koh Lanta, were recognized by the name of Urak Lavoy. This tribes still exist and in the origin they came from Indonesia and Malaysia. Their tongue can be called a Malay dialect: it is not written but is only spoken. Twice a year, during the full moon in late May or early June, and to the end of October or beginning of November, the Chao Leh organize a religious festival (Chao Leh party), during which they honor the memory of their ancestors, and in particular one of To Kiri, the first Chao Leh to arrive in ‘archipelago. Currently living in Koh Lipe 1,300 Chao Leh, great connoisseurs of the sea, the winds and big fishermen. We call them EXPERTS MARINERS unmatched in Thailand.
The main beaches are 3: Pattaya, Sunrise and Sunset beach. The nightlife is concentrated almost entirely in Pattaya beach and walking street. During high season Pattaya is the beach where you can eat fresh fish caught by Chao Leh 2 steps from the sea. Excellent location for romantic dinners by candlelight while listening to music offered by the waves. In these small beaches first tourists arrived in the 80s, they immediately loved the place so quaint and beautiful to see. Towards the end of the 90 bungalows they were built first, and the boom of tourists it has had in the mid-2000s.
The climate is divided into two seasons, the dry season that begins in November \ December and ends in May. The months from March to May are the hottest of the year and coincide with the Thai New Year (Songkran) in April. The rainy season begins in July and ends around the end of October. The monsoon coming from the Indian Ocean brings heavy rains, but for some years even in the off season, are guaranteed connections with the mainland every day.