What $19 a night can get you in Koh Lipe

Trip Start Dec 26, 2011
Trip End Feb 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
lipe beach resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, January 27, 2012

As we arrived in Koh Lipe by speedboat, it was clear that we were arriving in a very busy season here on the island. I was here last year a month later, and we noticed right away that we were sharing this popular island with a lot of travelers from different parts of Asia celebrating Chinese New Year. We needed to change our thoughts about hopes for some quiet island time pretty quickly. I had booked a bungalow on Sunrise beach, at least on the other side of the busy arrival beach, but we were arriving a few days earlier than planned and would have to stay in a more expensive bungalow for the first few nights at Lipe Beach resort.

You arrive here by speedboat or ferry, and then are transferred to a loading dock, which is actually a military ship, and then whisked into the awaiting long tail boats to take you to your beach of choice. There are no real roads on this island, only small motorbike paths for the locals, but this island isn't very big, and you can walk anywhere in 30 minutes or less.

We stayed in the 2nd row bungalows, and changed again the following night, finally settling into a bamboo hut in the last row, just a mere one minute walk to the white sand beach out in front. Our bungalow consists of a mattress on the floor, a mosquito net above the bed, windows all around that can be propped open with some provided sticks, and a sunken bathroom (okay, that’s fancying it up a bit) it’s a partial open air bathroom that you step on a built in tree stump to reach the floor and it has a sink, a mirror and a refreshing cold shower. I say this because this island is hot! Lucky we are staying on sunrise beach, a beach known for being more on the breezy side, and it’s much needed here, the days can be warm! A cold shower never felt so good!

So all of this luxury can be yours for the price of $19 a night. This is quite the bargain on this island, where prices have almost doubled since I was here five years ago with my friend Maureen, and so have the boats, the amount of shops and restaurants, and yes, the tourists. So more of a good thing is not always a good thing. But one thing on this island that will never change, is the amazing beaches and the turquoise blue water, it’s absolutely stunning. Thailand has some great islands, all with their own uniqueness and character, but not all of them have this beautiful water, the kind you see in travel advertisements and magazines. People are always amazed when I share my Thailand experiences with them and how cheap I can get accomendations for the night. $19 is a great price,,, but you can get a place much cheaper, in some places as low as $6 a night! For your own room! Im serious, if you go off the beaten path just a little, the bargains are out there.

Michael and I have become the local eatery type of travelers. If you stay away from eating at the beach, in which the prices are always more. Enjoy the beach by day, and eat at the local places a little ways inland, and you can save a lot! And the food is a lot better! Our first day we met a cool couple from England and Seattle and we had the best grilled seafood dinner in town with them. There is so much fresh fish here on this island, no shortage here! We had a hard time finding it up north, "no fish today" we heard many times, or the price they wanted was ridiculous. The fresh fish selection here includes a variety of fresh fish, large tiger prawns, shellfish and calamari. You pick out what you want, and they grill it for you on a charcoal grill set up in front of the restaurant. Its incredible! Im officially spoiled.

So the days are spent with deciding what local place to try to eat at next, relaxing on the beach, and totally forgetting what time it is. Michael had to leave to go to Malaysia to renew his travel visa. In Penang Malaysia, there is an embassy that will renew your visa for 60 days, longer than anywhere else that you can cross over at the border by land, usually only giving you the typical 15 day extension. From Lipe, it was pretty easy for him to take a ferry to Langawai, the closest island in Malaysia, and from there another ferry direct to Penang. It was really great traveling with Michael, and I will miss my travel partner! Experiences are always better shared, and finding someone who you travel well with is hard to find and I only have a few people in my life on this list, and Michael you have made the list, thanks for a great adventure! No one will ever top your barefoot hike into the jungle when it comes to being up for a challenge.

One thing you notice right away is there a lot of really beautiful people here on Koh Lipe, travelers mostly from Europe. Its like all the pretty people decided to all come here on vacation. Not at all what I see when I visit the beaches in Hawaii, and I have to say that not all travelers that put on a bathing suit should be wearing one…. I think most of you know exactly what Im talking about!  And on that note, being the rather traditional girl,  Im just not digging the men in the speedo bathing suit. A couple of guys came up to me today at the beach to say Hi,  Im guessing they were from Italy, and there is just no way to have a serious conversation with a man who is wearing something that resembles underwear, in fact their bathing suit bottoms, look like mine. Men should stick to wearing shorts in my opinion, speedo’s are not very masculine!  They thought they were pretty cool though, and I did not not share my opinion directly with them at the time, lol.  And I think they were baffled why I didn’t seem interested to talk to them for very long!

So, I have a few days left on this island, and things already seem to be quieting down, with the tourists thinning out a bit.  I have been searching for the best price fish bbq (Sara D. I know you will be jealous!) And found a little local place around the corner where I can get a large grilled fish for 150 baht! (About $5) and it’s amazing! How am I ever going to back to reality?

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