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Gay Koh Lipe: the ultimate travel guide for the LGBTQ traveler

Stefan Arestis
Gay Koh Lipe: the ultimate travel guide for the LGBTQ traveler

This is our gay guide to Koh Lipe – our favorite Thai island – with all the best gay friendly places to sleep, eat, drink, and more.

Koh Lipe is by far the best island in Thailand!

There, we officially declared it. The secret's out…

We've been visiting Thailand for over a decade, trying out many islands along the way, but each time we keep circling back to Koh Lipe.


Koh Lipe still has those crystal clear tropical waters you associate with Thailand – surrounded by healthy coral. So you can literally wake up, go to the beach, put your head in the water and see Nemo swimming about around you! It was like this when we first visited many years ago and has remained this way on our recent visit.

We used to think the same about Phuket, Koh Tao, and Koh Phi Phi, but over time they quickly became built up, super touristy, and overcrowded. Not Koh Lipe! We put this down to the fact that it's quite remote and rather complicated to reach: first, you need to fly to Hat Yai airport in South Thailand, then drive over to Pak Bara port (around 2 hours) to then take a 2-hour speedboat to Koh Lipe...Let's just say this is enough to put off the large crowds of packaged tourists.

Don't get us wrong. Koh Lipe is developed enough to have plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars, and shops, but it's a controlled growth, helped by the fact that it is part of the group of Tarutao National Marine Park islands. We've put together our love for Lipe in this detailed gay guide to include the best gay friendly resorts, bars, practical tips, and more.

Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

How gay friendly is Koh Lipe?

Koh Lipe is very gay friendly! We met many more other gay travelers here than we did on most of the other Thai islands, plus the Thai locals are super friendly and accepting. Even if they don't approve, unlike other places in the world, they would never outwardly express this in front of you.

In terms of a gay scene, remember that Lipe is teeny tiny compared to Phuket or Bangkok, so don't come here expecting wild drag bars and GoGo dancer shows! Despite this, there are a handful of gay friendly bars, gay-owned hotels, and resorts that welcome us with open arms, which we've set out below.

Let's also be clear: this isn't the place to come for partying. Get that out of your system in good ‘ole gay Silom in Bangkok! Whilst Koh Lipe does have a more subtle (albeit buzzy) nightlife, this is more the place to come for that idyllic (and super romantic!) beach getaway.

Out adventure gay toru of Thailand

Gay tour of Thailand

Discover how Thailand earned its moniker ‘The Land of Smiles' on this awesome gay tour with Out Adventures. The boys over at OA run four annual departures through the country with stops in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, and Phuket. It's a fantastic way for first-timers to Thailand to get a thorough flavor of this incredible country with a fabulous bunch of squirrel friends to hand.

Find out more

A gay couple standing in azure waters with rocks in the foreground and not another soul in sight.
Koh Lipe is very gay friendly – and romantic!

How to get to Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is a small island (just 2 by 2.5km – 1.3 by 1.5 miles!) located in Southwest Thailand in the Andaman Sea, close to the Malaysian border. As Thailand's most southerly island, you can reach it from both Thailand as well as Malaysia. While it may seem daunting to visit Koh Lipe since it's more remote than other popular parts of the country, we promise it's totally worth it! Remember, the harder it is to reach, the less touristy and crowded it will be!

This is a practical summary of how to reach Koh Lipe:

Powered by 12Go Asia system
  • Fly to Hat Yai: you can fly to Hat Yai from Bangkok (as well as from Phuket, Chiang Mai, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur) with an inexpensive budget airline like Air Asia. If you're on a really tight budget you can also take the bus/train from Bangkok to Hat Yai, although this takes around 12-17 hours.
  • Hat Yai to Pak Bara: from Hat Yai, you need to get a minibus transfer (around 2 hours) to Pak Bara, where speedboats depart for Koh Lipe. We usually stay overnight in Pak Bara and get our hotel to arrange our transfer to Koh Lipe, but you can also do this online and book your transfer to Koh Lipe via Pak Bara online.
  • Krabi Airport to Koh Lipe: it's also possible to get to Koh Lipe from Krabi Airport via minibus to Pak Bara and then a speedboat to Lipe. However, we do not recommend this as Krabi is further away than Hat Yai, so the minibus journey takes around 4.5 hours.
  • Langkawi to Koh Lipe: Malaysia's popular island of Langkawi is also very close to Koh Lipe, so you can actually catch a ferry directly from one island to the other. It only takes an hour and a half on the high-speed ferry and will cost you around $35 USD.
Koh Lipe is a wonderful spot for snorkelling, with so many pretty fish and coral to see

Must do in Koh Lipe: find Nemo!

With its sheltered beaches and crystal-clear waters, Koh Lipe and the surrounding islands are ideal for snorkeling. We recommend joining this snorkeling trip which will take you to the best coral reefs around and the most beautiful deserted island around Koh Lipe

Find out more

A gay couple in shorts standing in shallow waters with a boat behind them.
How to reach Koh Lipe? By the sea, of course!

Gay hotels on Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is home to lots of stunning beachside resorts for all budgets. Whilst there are no outright gay hotels here, we found a handful of gay owned and gay friendly hotels which we tried and loved. We list these here, along with others recommend to us by fellow LGBTQ travelers we met when holidaying in Koh Lipe:


Ten Moons Lipe Resort

Sunrise Beach

A gay couple enjoying breakfast on the deck at Ten Moons Resort with beach and palm tree views.

Why we love it

  • Beautiful and very gay friendly resort
  • Choice of beachfront, or garden sea-view bungalows
  • Right on stunning Sunrise Beach
  • Lovely restaurant and cocktail bar

Our hidden gem in Koh Lipe!

Ten Moons Lipe Resort is a stunning resort located right on Sunrise Beach (our favorite of all of Koh Lipe's beaches). They have a mix of luxurious bungalows (with air-con) just spitting distance from the beach, some with incredible ocean and garden views!

Ten Moons Lipe Resort also receives its fair share of gay and lesbian couples: each time we've stayed here we've always made a whole new bunch of travel buddies!

Ten Moons Lipe Resort's location is fantastic. Not only is it directly on (our favorite!) beach, but you're also close to the bustling “Walking Street” where the majority of the island's bars, shops, and restaurants are located. For us, a typical Koh Lipe day at Ten Moons Lipe Resort involved lounging and chilling on Sunrise Beach during the day, then heading to Walking Street in the evening to find a restaurant for fresh fish. Near Ten Moons Lipe Resort, there are places where you can rent snorkeling gear and kayaks. Also note, that the tail boat taxi “station” for drivers to take you over to Koh Adang is located a few minutes walking distance from Ten Moons Lipe Resort along Sunrise Beach.

Ten Moons Lipe Resort offers an excellent variety of luxury bungalows, either right on the beachfront or a few meters back and surrounded by stunning tropical gardens. There's an outdoor restaurant by the beach serving yummy Thai or western style dishes and drinks. The bonus is that all their staff are super gay friendly, smiley, and just really delightful to be around!


Serendipity Beach Resort Koh Lipe

Sunrise Beach

The Serendipity Resort on Thailand's Koh Lipe is super romantic with some villas having private infinite pools on the balcony

Why we love it

  • Very romantic with stunning private villas
  • Some villas with private infinity pools
  • Delicious restaurant and bar
  • In-room breakfast and wellness services

Serendipity Beach Resort is an upscale gay friendly place to base yourself in Koh Lipe. It's simply gorgeous and super romantic! It's one of our favorite spots to come for a romantic evening cocktail even if not staying here.

Serendipity is located on Sunrise Beach. All the villas are perched among the jungle looking out over the ocean, with private balconies to enjoy the views. Given the name of the beach, you want to be waking up early to catch the sunrise view from your balcony which is nothing more than spectacular! We recommend splurging out for the more expensive villas that have their own private infinity pool.

Serendipity Beach Resort is located at the end of Sunrise Beach so it feels more remote than other resorts further down. This is what we like about it. It also has its own small private beach area just for guests just in front of the property. With breakfast served each morning in your room, this is the perfect spot for an anniversary or even honeymoon getaway. We love the little details as well, like towels made of swans and rose petals strewn on the bed when you arrive.

The On the Rocks restaurant and bar is perched on the rocks, six meters above the waves, making it quite a unique setting for drinks and dinner. Given that you're only around 10-15 minutes walk away from Walking Street, staying here feels like you're in your own private paradise.


The Cliff Lipe Resort

Cliff Beach

The Cliff Lipe resort on Koh Lipe is more secluded than other resorts and super romantic

Why we love it

  • Secluded and romantic cliff-top resort
  • Some villas with pools or jacuzzis on the deck
  • Beautiful restaurant and bar
  • Free to use snorkeling and kayaking gear

If you really want to get away from everything and have an entire chunk of beach section all to yourself come here! The Cliff Lipe Resort is located on the northwest side of Koh Lipe, around 15 minutes tuk-tuk taxi drive from Walking Street.

The beach is officially a public beach, but because it's quite far out, hardly anyone comes here except hotel guests, so it feels like your own private slice of paradise. For us, this is the big highlight of the Cliff Lipe Resort – as well as the dramatic location: perched on a clifftop overlooking the sea!

In terms of rooms, you can choose from a mix of bungalows with garden views or cliff-side villas with spectacular views of the ocean. While there are family villas available, this isn't a spot that gets too many families with young children. If you're looking to spend time snorkeling or kayaking off the beach, the resort provides gear free of charge. Whilst it may feel quite cut off from the rest of the island, they can easily arrange tuk-tuk taxis to take you into Walking Street and elsewhere in Koh Lipe.

The Cliff Lipe's restaurant, Season Bistro, is an incredible spot for a meal or sunset cocktail with views over the open-air terrace. They serve a mouth-watering mix of local Thai and western-style dishes, plus you can enjoy your complimentary breakfast on the restaurant deck or in your room each morning. The staff is amazing and friendly, especially the owner Charlie who really goes out of his way to ensure all guests have a wonderful time.


Idyllic Concept Resort

Sunrise Beach

The Idyllic Concept Resort on Koh Lipe is so modern, romantic and luxurious

Why we love it

  • Stunning beach-front resort
  • Two swimming pools, one with a swim-up bar!
  • Very romantic restaurant
  • Gorgeous modern rooms and bungalows

Another fabulous gay friendly spot on the pretty Sunrise Beach is the Idyllic Concept Resort. As well as being minutes from Sunrise Beach, they have two swimming pools with a swim-up bar and lush tropical gardens.

This is the most modern-looking of the resorts we've mentioned, with very chic rooms, suites, and cabanas to choose from. They provide all the amenities you might need, from air-conditioning to big bathtubs, mini-fridge, and super-comfy beds.

Whilst we love Sunrise Beach a lot, if you want a break from the saltwater and something more private, we recommend hanging out at their pool with a swim-up bar! The second pool is more of a swimming pool to get your laps in, which has a built-in Jacuzzi.

Romance is elevated to another level at the Idyllic Concept Resort! It's a famous venue on Koh Lipe for weddings and honeymoons. For example, they organize special candlelit romantic dining on the beach – you can't beat that if you're trying to impress your other half! In terms of food, they have delicious fresh fish, seafood, and local Thai dishes. They also provide equipment for kayaking and snorkeling which is super handy.

Gay friendly bars on Koh Lipe

Walking Street on Koh Lipe is the beating heart of the island with many restaurants and bars. These are our other favorite gay friendly bars on the island:

Monkey Bar

Monkey Bar is a chilled-out bar on Pattaya Beach that's nevertheless always full of life and even has fire dancers in the evening! During the day you can rent a sunbed on the sand and eat tasty treats while at night the party starts with lots of yummy cocktails. This isn't to say you can't have a cocktail during the day, you're on holiday after all!

Monkey Bar is located on Pattaya Beach and is open daily from midday until around 2am.

Zodiac See Sun Beach Bar

On Sunrise Beach is another lovely beach bar, called Zodiac See Sun Beach Bar (or just Zodiac). There are lots of different places to sit, including comfy beanbags and cushions on the sand, chairs made from wood and cute dreamcatchers decorating the place. Food is served from the restaurant next door, the drinks are delish and there's lively entertainment every night!

Zodiac Bar is located at the northern end of Sunrise Beach and open daily from 11am until 1am.

Corner Bar

The Corner Bar is another very popular spot with a cool vibe, with a mix of dark wood, leafy green plants and neon lights. We loved the cocktails here, especially the Long Island Ts and their Coconut Mojitos. In terms of snacks, we recommend their hamburgers washed down with tasty smoothies. This is a lovely place to chill out, perhaps over a game of Jenga while making new friends.

Located on Walking Street, the Corner Bar is open from 5pm until 1am Sunday-Thursday and from 3pm to 2am on Friday and Saturday.

Koh Lipe has some fantastic gay friendly bars for drinks and meeting new people
Cheers everyone!

Best beaches for gay travelers

There are three main beaches on this tiny island: Pattaya Beach in the south where the majority of the long tail boats are based, Sunset Beach in the west and the beautiful paradise-like Sunrise Beach on the east side (our favorite). There are also some smaller, less-busy beaches worth visiting.

Sunrise Beach

Sunrise Beach is where most of the island's best resorts are located. It is also popular for snorkeling, swimming and general Vitamin Sea beach-time relaxation! As the longest beach on the island, it stretches all the way to the northern tip. It's also the gayest part – ie we noticed a large number of gay couples or groups of friends hanging out along here, usually around Gipsy Resort. Another cool place to hang out on Sunrise Beach is at the chill-out lounge at the Salisa Resort.

Sunset Beach

While Sunset Beach is a lot smaller than Sunrise Beach, it's just as stunning especially if you head there in the afternoon/evening to watch the sunset. As the sun sinks below the horizon it paints the waves red and orange in quite a spectacular fashion! It's much quieter here than on Sunrise or Pattaya beach, so you may only be sharing the views with a few other couples also having a romantic sunset moment here. The only downside is it's quite dirty, at least it was when we went, and the sea isn't as nice here compared to Sunrise Beach.

Cliff Beach

Cliff Beach is officially a public beach, but the Cliff Lipe Resort has pretty much made it its own private beach. And why not? It's quite far out, requiring a 15 minutes tuk-tuk taxi ride that very few come here. This is what makes it so special. It's secluded, private, and perfect for snorkeling or just relaxing without lots of other people. The Cliff Resort lets you use their toilet and shower facilities which is handy, and they also have a beach bar if you want to order any drinks or food. If you're really lucky you may even spot some bioluminescent plankton here at night (more on that later)!

Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach is a cool place to hang out during the day. While the snorkeling is not quite as good as on Sunrise Beach there's still a nice vibe here, especially in the area in front of Mali Resort. This is the busiest beach on Koh Lipe as it's where all the boats arrive and leave from. The beachfront is lined with hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops including, of course, the Monkey Bar!

A man in tiny shorts smiling and swinging on a simple beach swing.
You'll have a swinging good time on Koh Lipe's beaches!

Gay friendly restaurants we loved

There are lots of excellent options for food on Koh Lipe, whether you want something fancy, Indian, Thai, pizza, Mexican, or super fresh fish cooked right in front of you. Walking Street is where most of the best restaurants are, along with small street food stands that sell Seby's favorite – mango sticky rice! We've set out some of our favorite restaurants in Koh Lipe from our first-hand experience:

Nee Papaya Thai Food & BBQ

Nee Papaya was one of our favourite restaurants on Koh Lipe for seafood and traditional Thai cuisine

One of our favorite spots for a feast of grilled fresh fish was the unassuming but delicious Nee Papaya Thai food and BBQ. It is located just off Walking Street. Warning – it gets super busy here so at peak times you may have to wait for a table. Like most restaurants serving fresh fish, you can pick your fish from the selection on display. However, what we love about Nee Papaya is that they seemed to have the freshest fish (look at the eyes of the fish to check they are shiny and clear not cloudy). Whether you order a fresh fish or seafood (try their barbecued squid!), we guarantee it's cooked to perfection here. We love their sides – we always ordered local dishes like spicy mango and papaya salads. We ate here a few different nights so we could sample everything and never had a bad meal! The staff is also super friendly despite being so busy all the time.

Ranee Seafood Restaurant

At Ranee Seafood Restaurant you can choose from the freshest fish that's been caught that day and watch it cooked right in front of you!

Another place that's great for fresh fish is Ranee Seafood Restaurant. It has a very simple layout of wooden tables, a fresh fish display, and a grill directly next to it. You may be tempted to walk on by but don't! The staff are really friendly (especially Ranee herself) and we loved that you could see the fresh catch laid out before you and they would grill it up right then in front of you. As well to the yummy fresh seafood they serve very inexpensive Thai dishes that are bursting with flavor. If you really want to experience a Thai family restaurant, you need to come here!

La Luna Italian Restaurant

If you're craving some good Italian food on Koh Lipe then you can't go past the amazing La Luna restaurant - their pizzas and homemade pasta are delicious!

Our overall favorite non-Thai restaurant on Koh Lipe is the Italian La Luna, located just off Walking Street. They do the best pizzas on the island from just 300 bahts (£6/$9). We know what you're thinking, Italian food in Thailand? This is the ideal place when you want a break from Thai food – and everything here is absolutely scrumptious and homemade. It would be pretty hard to pick a favorite dish but if we were forced then we'd say either the prosciutto pizza, Ravioli a formaggi or the pasta with salmon and asparagus.

Bombay Restaurant

For the best Indian food on Koh Lipe (and possibly the whole of Thailand) you can't miss Bombay Restaurant!

Like Nee Papaya and Ranee Seafood, Bombay Restaurant doesn't look all that flashy but they serve the absolute best Indian food on Koh Lipe (in our humble opinion)! The naan bread is cooked right out the front of the restaurant and they're gooooood! As are the lassis. They also serve all the delicious curries you can imagine. The restaurant is very popular so expect to queue for a table but we promise it's worth the wait. We loved their onion bhajis, samosas, chicken tikka masala, and, of course, the naan bread. The staff was always ready with a smile, no matter how busy.

On the Rocks Restaurant

A deck with tables directly next to the water on a sunny day.

On the Rocks is the restaurant of Serendipity Resort which is located right at the end of Sunrise Beach. The location is so quiet and peaceful, set on a small cliff that overlooks the sea. At night it’s really romantic and beautiful but any time of day it's a delight to eat here! The food is also terrific, with a mix of traditional Thai dishes, international fare and lots of fresh, delicious seafood. The staff speak excellent English and are very knowledgeable. It also doesn't hurt that the bartenders are very handsome!

The Box

The Box is a really cool resort with a restaurant serving yummy Spanish and Mediterranean dishes like Paella, tapas, burgers, steak or pasta.

The Box is a really cool resort made from old shipping containers, with a fabulous restaurant to boot. This is the place to come if you're craving some Spanish and Mediterranean dishes like Paella, tapas, burgers, steak, or pasta. The Box is also very stylish to look at, with lots of wood paneling and even a tree growing right up through the middle of the restaurant floor out the front! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a variety of beers, champagne, and cocktails, so you can pop in at any time of day for something tasty. Also note: if you're craving a Full English breakfast, this is the place to come.

Best things to do

For such a tiny island Koh Lipe sure packs in a lot of things to do for gay travellers! There are plenty of water-based activities to enjoy, of course, but that's not everything on offer. Here are our top picks for the best things to do on and around Koh Lipe:

Visit nearby Koh Adang

For the best views of Koh Lipe you must head to nearby Koh Adang and hike up to the viewpoint

Koh Adang is a large uninhabited island right opposite teeny Koh Lipe famous for being an adventure paradise! Part of the Tarutao National Park, it’s completely reserved, with no development, other than a government ranger station, a camping area and a few bungalows you can rent to stay overnight. We love coming to Koh Adang by longtail boat from Koh Lipe – it’s only around 10 minutes and cost 100 Bahts. Koh Adang is less busy than Lipe, offering almost naked beaches, awesome snorkelling (tides permitting of course) and a trek up to Chado Cliff to get the best views of Koh Lipe and the surrounding area.

Snorkel with the fishies

Koh Lipe is a wonderful spot for snorkelling, with so many pretty fish and coral to see

Koh Lipe is surrounded by crystal clear, calm turquoise waters that are perfect for snorkelling to marvel at the coral and sea life. Sunrise Beach was our favourite place to snorkel as it's so sheltered, plus there are two tiny islands just offshore teeming with clownfish (hello Nemo!), colourful parrotfish and pufferfish. There are shops all along the beach where you can rent snorkelling equipment while some of the beachside resorts offer it to guests for free. One of the best things to do is to join a snorkelling day trip to explore some of the nearby islands as well, perfect for living out those deserted island fantasies.

Sail in the Longtail Boats

The Thai Longtail Boats are synonymous with the country, and an excellent way to get around when exploring the islands such as Koh Lipe

The longtail boat for us is synonymous with Thailand. These cute boats are the main way of getting around the waters of Koh Lipe to nearby islands and to the main diving sites. No trip to the Thai islands is complete without a ride in a longtail boat! While the boats may vary a bit in design the one common aspect is a secondhand car or truck engine to power them. With logging of natural forests in Thailand being banned, it's getting harder and harder for local Thais to be able to afford longtail boats. Paying to ride on one (rather than say, a speedboat), is a great way to support this traditional craft and local residents.

Go SCUBA Diving

Koh Lipe is a wonderful spot for scuba diving, with lots of coral, beautiful fish and other sights to enjoy

Scuba diving around Koh Lipe island is a massive highlight. The area is surrounded by super healthy coral in the 30 degrees water of the Andaman Sea. We went diving around the famous “Stonehenge” site, so called because the rock formations here resemble the Stonehenge site in the UK. As well as the huge variety of sea life, this site has really pretty unique soft coral which looks like one massive underwater garden. We recommend using a highly rated scuba diving school like Pura Vida Diving – the same diving school who we got our Open Water and Advanced qualifications with many many years ago in Koh Tao.

Do a sunrise beach yoga class

If you feel like getting centred while on Koh Lipe you can join one of a few different yoga classes, including sunrise sessions on the beach!

To make your island getaway even more relaxing, you could join a beach sunrise yoga class. Is there any better way to start your day than warrior pose while standing in the sand watching the rising sun paint the waves orange? There are three different places where you can just drop in on a yoga class: Keirita's Yoga & Diving, Castaway Resort and at the Idyllic Concept Resort. These classes are suitable for both beginners and those with yoga experience, plus you can choose between just a one-off class or a package of classes if you're staying on the island for a while.

Help keep the islands beautiful

If you want to make a difference while visiting Koh Lipe you can join one of the weekly beach and island cleanups organised by Trash Hero

Plastic and other rubbish getting into the ocean is a huge problem so we were delighted to find a group on Koh Lipe which is dedicated to clearing up this waste. Trash Hero is a worldwide organisation, and the Koh Lipe chapter meets every Monday at 10am to clean up one of the nearby islands. If you want to be involved you can just head down to Pattaya Beach before 10am and look for the people in the yellow Trash Hero shirts. You'll sail by longtail boat to a nearby island and spend an hour or two clearing up rubbish, with some time left over for swimming and snorkelling. As a bonus, all volunteers are treated to lunch on return.

Kayak to a deserted island

Renting a kayak is a lovely way to explore the waters and small islands surround Koh Lipe

Along with snorkelling gear you can also rent kayaks on Sunrise Beach, or use them for free if you're staying at a resort that provides them. You can then paddle out to one of the two tiny islands just off the beach, or perhaps further to other small and uninhabited islands around Koh Lipe. Paddling across the turquoise waters and then finding a secluded beach to sunbathe and swim made us feel like the last two men left on earth! It's a lovely way to get away from other tourists, relax, do some snorkelling, maybe read and reconnect with your partner, or just with nature.

Make a wish on Koh Hin-Ngam

The tiny island of Ko Hin-Ngam is very close to Koh Lipe and covered in stunning black rocks

One of the islands near Koh Lipe that's definitely worth visiting is the magical Koh Hin-Ngam. This tiny island sits north-west of Koh Lipe, right next to Koh Adang. You can hire a longtail boat to take you there or join a local tour. What makes it so special are the black shiny rocks stretching out endlessly along the shoreline. However, don't be tempted to take a rock home with you as a souvenir as legend says the island is guarded by a spirit named Chao Pho Tarutao who will curse anyone who takes a rock from the island. But if you are able to make a tower out of 12 rocks, then all your wishes will come true!

See bioluminescent plankton at night

If you are really really lucky, then you might spot some luminous blue lights in the waters surrounding Koh Lipe at night. This phenomenon is caused by bioluminescent plankton floating in the ocean, and it can make the sea look like it's filled with tiny glittering stars. You can book night-time snorkelling tours on the island to experience swimming in the bioluminescent plankton, which is a truly surreal and incredible experience! Alternatively, the Cliff Beach (which we mentioned earlier) sometimes gets the plankton washing up on shore so you can see it without having to swim in pitch-black waters.

Create some art at the Lipe Art Garden

For something a bit different, you can join art workshops at the Lipe Art Garden on Koh Lipe

We stumbled across the Lipe Art Garden and found a wonderful little place that's totally different from the rest of the island. It's located up in the jungle-y part of the island so there's a completely different vibe. The Lipe Art Garden is part accommodation and part art workshop, as you can come along to learn how to do Batik painting under the supervision of a Thai artist. They have regular workshops for Batik painting or painting on t-shirts which is a fun way to get your creative juices flowing! On the way, you can also pop into the next-door Buddhist Temple for some quiet reflection.

Plan your trip

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Koh Lipe. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

Travel insurance: We definitely recommend you organise travel insurance before your trip to Koh Lipe, as you just never know when something could go wrong and leave you stranded or out of pocket. We love Heymondo travel insurance and have been using them for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user-friendly.

How to get there: See our how to get there section above for more details, but the easiest way to visit Koh Lipe is by flying to Hat Yai from within Thailand, getting a bus from Hat Yai to Pak Bara and from there a speedboat to the island. You can also book the entire journey directly through 12Go Asia.

Visa requirements: Residents of quite a few countries can visit Thailand for periods of 90, 30 or 14 days without needing a visa, although there are caveats to go with this. Some nationalities will need to apply for a visa so we definitely recommend checking your personal visa requirements well before booking your travel to Koh Lipe.

Getting around: It's very easy to get around Koh Lipe since it's such a small island! You can easily explore the entirety on foot, or hail a tuk-tuk if you don't feel like walking or have luggage to haul along. You can also head down to Pattaya Beach to hire longtail boats to help you explore the islands nearby.

Vaccinations: Before travelling to Koh Lipe you should make sure you're up to date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps and chickenpox. Most travellers should also be vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid. Some travellers may also need vaccinations for hepatitis B, cholera, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever and rabies, depending on what you'll be doing. Check the CDC website for the most up to date info before you head to Thailand and talk to your doctor.

Currency: The currency used in Koh Lipe (and the rest of Thailand, of course) is called the Thai Baht. The currency code is THB and the symbol is written as ฿. Currently, $1 USD is worth about ฿31.87, €1 converts to around ฿34.66 and £1 is worth about ฿41.18.

Tipping culture: Thailand is not a country with a strong tipping culture so you won't ever be expected to tip on Koh Lipe or other places. If you feel like you received really good service you can always round up to the nearest note as a tip. Check out this guide for more detailed information on when you should or shouldn't tip in Thailand.

Internet access: You can access free WiFi at some of the resorts, cafes and restaurants on Koh Lipe. If you want to make sure you have reliable internet access then you can also purchase a local SIM card from the 7-11 on the island, or by renting a portable WiFi device while you're in the country.

Online privacy: While you won't have any problems accessing gay dating apps like Grindr or Scruff on Koh Lipe, you may just prefer to keep your internet activities private and secure. We like to use Express VPN when we're travelling as their service is an affordable and reliable way to browse the internet with complete privacy.

Accommodation: For more accommodation options on Koh Lipe we love to use as they offer the best prices. Their online booking system is very easy to use, plus they have excellent customer support available 24/7.

Sightseeing and adventure: We also like to use GetYourGuide when searching for fun things to see and do on Koh Lipe. They also have an easy to use online booking system and customer support available to help you 24/7.

When to visit: Depending on what you want from your holiday, you can time your visit to Koh Lipe for the hot and sunny high season or the cooler, but cheaper, low season. Between January and early May, the weather is lovely and hot which means the island is also much busier. From June – September there is more rainfall (but not constantly) so you can take advantage of fewer people and lower prices. October – November is probably the only time to really avoid travelling to Koh Lipe as it rains a lot!

Gay map of Koh Lipe

Here is our gay map of Koh Lipe to show you where all the places we've mentioned in this article are located. Use it to find out where all the best gay friendly accommodation, bars and activities are for your next vacation to Koh Lipe!

This is our gay map of Thailand's Koh Lipe showing all the best gay friendly accommodation, bars, restaurants and things to do

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This is our complete gay guide to the gay friendly island of Koh Lipe in Thailand
Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.

H Fulton

Saturday 17th of February 2024

Loved your review. Thanks so much Are there gay friendly massage places on Koh Lipe. Male massage, naked, that sort of thing? Thanks.

Stefan Arestis

Saturday 17th of February 2024

None that we could find. Certainly gay friendly but not all male massage like the sort you're thinking of :)

Paul Woodhead

Wednesday 18th of September 2019

That all sounds wonderful!! Lot's a love xxx

Stefan Arestis

Wednesday 18th of September 2019

Thanks Paul :)

RoberT kajdAn

Wednesday 6th of December 2017

Thanks for your fantastic review. I stayed at the Pattaya Beach Hotel in 2016. Accommodations were good I have more ideas about another trip to Thailand. Have a nice time in France 🇫🇷 Bob Kajdan

Nomadic boys

Wednesday 6th of December 2017

Thanks Bob!


Sunday 27th of March 2016

Good work lads, very helpful post, we'll be there in a few days so will definitely be checking out your recommendations! Dom

Nomadic boys

Sunday 27th of March 2016

Thanks Dom :)


Tuesday 21st of April 2015

It might be a little bit inconvenient to visit from China, since there are no direct flights to there. But I'm interested in details to run a gay resort by a beach.

Nomadic boys

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015

Sounds awesome Dachy! Let us know how you get on :)