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Koh Lipe Gay Travel

I’ve never seen a more beautiful island in my life. Koh Lipe gay travel is perfect for either solo travelers or a couple’s getaway. Experience some of the clearest, bluest waters on earth.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Koh Lipe, Thailand

I never expected Koh Lipe to be as amazing as it was. The crystal-clear waters blew my mind. It felt like a dream…I could have easily spent weeks there. Gay travel in Koh Lipe is pretty sweet because surprisingly, I found more gay guys in Koh Lipe than many other Thai islands I have been to!

Koh Lipe gay travel
The Thai community here is small but dense, with locals bustling in the main town. The Thai people are friendly, have a great sense of humor and people here are accepting of the gay community.
Koh Lipe gay travel
thai shoreline
thai shoreline

The evening I arrived to Koh Lipe, I met a group of gay European men on the beach, one of which I ended up spending much of my time with during my short stay on the island. We would grab drinks each night and hang out at the amazing bars Koh Lipe has in the town center.

clear blue water
Since it had been a long time since I had interacted with another gay man (I had been in Malaysia for weeks), some typical lewd conversation ensued. When we left each other for the night, I’d give him a friendly peck. During these interactions, no one glanced twice at us. I felt safe to be in such a wonderful paradise where I could express myself openly.
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The Best Thai Island: Don't Miss Koh Lipe

I couldn’t recommend Koh Lipe enough. Many gay travel sites talk about how clear beaches are all around Thailand. While most Thai water is clear, over-tourism and falsely hyped destinations can lead you astray. I have never seen anything better than Koh Lipe. A close second for the clearest blue beach water on earth? Holbox, Mexico.

sunrise beach

Whether you are a gay couple looking for the perfect winter gay travel destination or a budget traveler seeking a slice of paradise, this Thai island will be just right. Inexpensive and beautiful, I will have to make another Koh Lipe gay travel adventure sooner than later!

Gay Koh Lipe: Where to Stay

There is no inferior place to stay on the island of Koh Lipe. Every part of the shore is stunning. The two main areas for accommodations are Sunset Beach and Sunrise Beach. Truthfully anything along the shore in this picturesque destination will more than suffice.

huts on beach Thailand
sunrise beach
huts on beach Thailand

When arriving in Koh Lipe, you’ll dock at Pattaya Beach or Bhundaya Beach. These are both adjacent to one another on the south shore. These beaches and Sunrise Beach are connected by the community’s “walking street.” The total walking time is 10-15 minutes end-to-end. Once you arrive, there will be plenty of shops to grab groceries and food.

Authentic Gay travel winter destinations

Book A Beach Hut

I stayed in a small beach hut on the shore of Sunrise Beach. The accommodation was primitive, and I loved that! There was no Wi-Fi, no hot water, no air conditioning…I just had a bed and the sound of the ocean.

Koh Lipe Walking Street
A cool sea breeze made for comfortable nights. Being so close to the shore was super fun for me, as I could take breaks and sit on my little porch if I got too hot at the shore. I worried it would be too hot, but that was not the case at all.
Authentic Gay travel winter destinations
Koh Lipe gay travel

Koh Lipe Hostels & Hotels

Along sunset beach, accommodations are more private and separated. This area would be best for couples who want some more space. For the solo travelers, hostels along Walking Street start at $10 USD per night and can typically be booked day-of.

Koh Lipe gay travel
There’s no need to book the hostel too far in advance if you don’t want to. Here in Koh Lipe, there are hostels that offer private rooms as well. Koh Lipe does have a low season, so make sure to plan around any hotel closures if you are traveling during the low season time!

Explore gay travel to other Thai islands like Koh PhanganKoh Samui & Koh Phi Phi!

Koh Lipe Experiences for the Gay Traveler

I spent my days soaking in the sun, my evenings having cold drinks on the beach and my nights at the bars along Walking Street. Bars along Pattaya beach have the best drinks with relaxing atmospheres. Go check out the bars with seating on the beach next to the Koh Lipe Pier.
Breakfast Thai food
Koh Lipe gay travel
Breakfast Thai food

You must watch the sunset at Sunset Beach. There is a little bay in this area, perfect to lay down in still water for a romantic moment. Couples lined the shore, sitting in the water as the orange sun went below the horizon. This is the perfect gay couple’e romantic spot!

Koh Lipe gay travel
Snorkeling and other underwater activities are very popular here. You can find these excursions along the main Walking Street. Book in person the day before. You can join a group on a small boat that will take you to nearby uninhabited islands and super clear areas of the ocean. Since Koh Lipe has mind-blowingly clear water, you should definitely check out as much as you can!
Koh Lipe Walking Street
luxury suites
luxury suites
Food is great pretty much everywhere along Walking Street in Koh Lipe. I naturally had some delicious Phat Thai and for breakfast some sweet banana-filled roti with chocolate. Peruse the street for something that suits you.

Koh Lipe Bars & Nightlife

Koh Lipe had more nightlife than I expected! My favorite place was Maya Bar. The design was incredible. Sand floors, dimly lit elevated seating areas, lots of little tables and an amazing DJ makes this my number one recommendation for Koh Lipe.

Dance Club Koh Lipe
I met a Canadian traveler here who befriended some other women during a day trip to nearby islands. I recognized her by her American-English accent!  Some proof that the ambiance here is perfect for meeting people.
Dance Club Koh Lipe
gay Nightlife in Koh Lipe

If you want a chill bar on the beach, head to Charming. They have super fast wi-fi, killer Cuba Libre cocktails and bean bag seating to keep you comfy.

gay Nightlife in Koh Lipe
As you may expect, there are no specifically gay establishments on such a small island. However, there are quite a few gay travelers in Koh Lipe (I saw more gay guys here than Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta combined).
As I said before, don’t miss Maya Bar. Several other bars on Walking Street in the middle of town get quite rowdy so check those out on your other nights. I’ll leave it to you to explore and find your favorite ones!

Koh Lipe Gay Travel Tips

Please, wear sunscreen! I saw so many people with horrible burns. Especially a group of French travelers. The sun is strong, and with the white sand and clear water, the suns reflection can also cause skin damage. Even if you wear SPF 8, at least you are protecting yourself from the most harmful of rays.
Locals in Koh Lipe with gay traveler
Locals in Koh Lipe with gay traveler
getting to Koh Lipe Thailand

When island hopping in Southeast Asia, it’s best to pack light. You will need to carry your bags onto and off of boats, along beaches to get to check-in points and sometimes along local roads to reach resorts where motor bikes are not allowed.

getting to Koh Lipe Thailand

Roller-bag suitcases may seem convenient for the airport, but while traveling the islands, they will become a burden. Get something you can carry on your back.

Many travel websites will tell you to take out cash before arriving to Koh Lipe. This is not necessary! Koh Lipe has plenty of ATM’s!

Best Time of Year to Visit Koh Lipe

Although people visit Koh Lipe year-round, you should know that the island does have a low season. This is when the most rainfall occurs in western Thailand (Note: the rainy seasons are different on opposite Thailand coasts).

Best bars in Koh Lipe
Before discussing in further detail, I raise this point to alert you that some hotels may close down during certain months. Always check ahead of time.
Best bars in Koh Lipe
thailand

When is low season in Thailand? Most websites will tell you from May to October. The truth is, however, that each month is a little different. August, September and October are the rainiest months in Koh Lipe, so avoid traveling during that period

thailand
Whats more, the month of June is technically part of the rainy season, yet average precipitation is quite low. When it comes to the Thai rainy season, always look at specific monthly rainfall totals. It is never a blanket yay or nay.

How To Get to Koh Lipe, Thailand

The only way to reach Koh Lipe is by boat, and so if you are arriving from a flight the same day, make sure to coordinate ferry times. Check the local ferry schedule to see if you can get a boat the same day. Otherwise, it may be best to crash in an airport hotel for the night.

How to Get to Koh Lipe from Langkawi

If you are arriving from Langkawi, Malaysia, there will be a specific protocol for customs. In Malaysia, your passport will be stamped, then taken temporarily. It will be returned to you upon check-in at Koh Lipe. This is to prevent you from running away after departing the ferry. Expect to wait a little bit in a seating area on the beach when you arrive. The process takes around 30 minutes.

LGBT travelers in Thailand
LGBT travelers in Thailand
clear blue water
After you collect your passport, they will insist you buy a National Park Ticket. You should know that this is not mandatory and is only needed if you will be taking excursions to the surrounding small islands.
This money goes toward keeping up the area. I was only in Koh Lipe for a short while and did not intend to leave the shore, so I refused to purchase one. Pro tip: the locals will not tell you why you need one…only that “you have to buy it.” Being quite stubborn, I refused to purchase something that could not be explained to me!

Gay Rights in Thailand

Thailand attracts many LGBT travelers given a reputation as a very tolerant nation. Same-sex relations were legalized back in 1956. In 2015, the Gender Equality Act was passed, banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, a huge leap for Thailand! This was the first law mentioning homosexual persons for the nation.

temple
Marriage of same sex couples is not legal in Thailand; however, the progressive country is making great strides toward legalization of gay marriage. As exemplified in Bangkok, there are vibrant gay communities throughout the country.
temple
Bangkok Thai new year

However even with these granted rights, locals can be subject to victimization. Young LGBT monks-in-training can endure difficult upbringings as their freedom to express who they are is stifled. Thailand is making progress though.

Bangkok Thai new year
It is quite interesting to compare Thailand’s tolerance, a primarily Buddhist country, with that of Muslim majority countries both in the Middle East and SE Asia. The interpretation of Buddhist religious fundamentals has played out in a way that allows for more tolerance of homosexual people, as opposed to that of Islam. I won’t get too detailed here, but if you’re interested, do some Googling.
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Enjoy your travels to one of the most beautiful islands on earth.

If you have enjoyed this Koh Lipe gay travel guide, check out the neighboring Malaysian Island of Langkawi.

Need more ideas for gay vacations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel destinations.

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In 2018, I quit my job to travel the world. My mission is to provide authentic, local gay travel information to gay travelers everywhere.

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