Koh Lipe Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Koh Lipe gay guide to hotels, things to do, beaches, and nightlife here on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
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 months there.
The Thai community here is small but dense, with locals bustling in the main town. Locals are friendly, have a great sense of humor, and are accepting of gay travelers.
The evening I arrived in 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.
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.
Koh Lipe is The Best Thai Island, Hands Down!
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.
Want to see for yourself? Check out The Lost Passport’s Koh Lipe video intro and you’ll get a view of that picture-perfect coastline.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect winter gay travel destination with your partner or a budget traveler seeking a slice of paradise, this beautiful Thai island will be just right. Inexpensive and beautiful, I can’t wait to make another trip to Koh Lipe!
Gay Koh Lipe: Hotels & Where to Stay
Along Sunset Beach, accommodations are more private and separated, though there are fewer total accommodations. This area is definitely best for couples or anyone who wants more space.
When arriving in Koh Lipe, you’ll dock either 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.
Hostels in Koh Lipe
There’s no need to book the hostel too far in advance if you typically prefer to leave plans open-ended. As long as there is space available, you can book hostels day-of in person.
Some 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!
Book A Beach Hut
I stayed in Varin Village inside a small, inexpensive beach hut. This accommodation was a chance to really connect with nature and you might even think it’s primitive, but I loved that about it!
There was no wi-fi, no hot water, no air conditioning…I just had a bed and the sound of the ocean. The cool ocean breeze made nighttime temperatures comfortable.
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.
Koh Lipe Gay Travel Experiences
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.
You have to see a 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’s romantic spot!
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. There’s also the option of booking a snorkeling adventure online ahead of time.
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!
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
Head to the bar at Charming Lipe Villa for chill cocktail vibes on the beach. They have super fast wi-fi and cozy bean bag seating facing the water. It’s ideal for watching the sunset with a drink in hand.
Expectedly for a tiny paradise island, there are no specifically gay establishments in Koh Lipe. However, there can be quite a few gay travelers in Koh Lipe (I saw more gay guys here than Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta combined).
My favorite place was Maya Bar, which unfortunately closed in 2019. I hope something fun replaces that venue soon! Several other bars nearby on Koh Lipe’s Walking Street get quite rowdy. I’d check this area out, right in the middle of town.
If you want to experience some of Thailand’s best gay nightlife on your trip, make sure you spend a weekend in Bangkok!
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Koh Lipe Travel Tips
Absolutely wear sunscreen! I saw so many people with horrible burns. The sun is strong, and with the white sand and clear water, you can easily damage your skin.
Even if you wear SPF 8, at least you are protecting yourself from the most harmful of rays.
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 motorbikes are not allowed.
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 like my favorite 70-liter Osprey Backpack, which has a super convenient detachable day backpack.
Many travel websites will tell you to take out cash before arriving in Koh Lipe. This is not necessary! Koh Lipe has plenty of ATMs.
Pack Your Tropical Vacation Essentials
Before you head off to paradise, check wolfyy’s useful list of what to pack for tropical destinations. You’ll find my favorite waterproof gear, lightweight clothing ideas, rain gear, and tons more.
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).
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.
When is the 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
Additionally, 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.
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 people in the nation.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Thailand; however, the progressive country is making great strides toward its legalization. As exemplified in Bangkok, there are vibrant gay communities throughout the country.
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.
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 Southeast 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.