2 Weeks: Western Islands
Koh Phi Phi & Lipe - Visit Maya beach and go to the most southern island in Thailand in purple coral gardens!
Itinerary 2 weeks: Koh Phi Phi - Lanta - Lipe!
Western Islands quick summary:
(0-1 day) - Click here to book.
- Phi Phi - Maya Beach
(3-4 nights) - Click here to book.
- Lanta - Reefs
(2-3 nights) - Click here to book.
- Lipe - 8 Miles Rock & macro
(3-4 nights) - Click here to book.
"Western Islands" Day-by-Day:
Phuket/ Surathani/ Chumphon:
When traveling to the western islands, you will most likely come from Phuket, Surathani or Chumphon. Let's assume you start with Koh Phi Phi in the north, and make your way down south.
When doing this trip south to north, you can also enter through Langkawi - Malaysia!
Phuket is a busy, touristic town, with an excellent location from where to start your trips to either Koh Phi Phi, or the Similan Islands.
I would, however, not recommend staying in Phuket, especially Patong beach. This is by far the most popular place, because of the massage parlors, and Bangla street. Although it's quite an experience to walk along Bangla street, the sheer number of tourists here, and relatively high prices are not what Thailand, and travel in general are about for me.
When deciding on where to stay near Phuket, I would avoid Patong beach.
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most famous islands in Thailand, mostly because of the movie: The Beach, with Leonardo Dicaprio.
This movie made Maya Beach, the most beautiful beach in the world, and the masses started to move here. Although you can't stay on the actual island, there are day-trips going to Maya beach every day carrying boats full of tourists to this island.
This is where we scuba divers have our advantage! Just book yourself a day or 2 of diving, and you'll be sure to visit Maya beach, or at least look at it from the boat. Perhaps even diving there!
While Phi Phi can be incredibly busy, the diving is excellent and affordable. Expect to pay 2500 baht ($60) for 2 dives with lunch and gear included.
Please be on the lookout for dive sites around Bida Noh because they are gorgeous!
To get away from Koh Phi Phi, just book yourself a boat that will transfer you to your next location, either Phuket or Koh Lanta, Lipe.
Now Koh Lanta is an interesting stop on this trip. Although I would recommend skipping it if you're strapped for time, It has a few excellent dive sites, not easily reached by other dive operators.
For example: Koh Haa is a beautiful collection of 5 islands, 1 hour away. Or visit one of the most famous dive sites of the region: Hin Maeung, or Hin Daeung, about 1.5 hours with speedboat.
Koh Lanta dive operators will also offer day-trips to Koh Phi Phi even, so I would recommend visiting both if you've got time.
If not, there is a choice:
Relax, and party on Phi Phi and stay around that island.
Visit Lanta, and visit multiple further away sites, but expect full day trips and more expensive diving.
Do both but, you will have 1 travel day in between with probably no diving.
Koh Lanta, is an island, connected to the mainland with a bridge and a small car ferry. The dive operators mostly work from the northern part of the island, where the harbor is. So I would recommend staying near the north-western part of the island.
The area is basically 1 main street, with many hotels, bars, and restaurants and a huge, long beach on which to have amazing walks.
This beautiful island is one you shouldn't miss! In my honest opinion, probably the best location for overall good diving in Thailand, and I've been to many good places in Thailand, including the Similan Islands!
Photographers, rejoice! You will have an amazing time with lots of rare macro life, beautiful, stunning even, coral reefs, and to top it all off: 8 miles rock, between Koh Lipe and Malaysia!
Every dive site is within 1.5 hours by boat, and depending on weather, will be changed up so you will always have gentle conditions and good visibility.
To get to Koh Lipe, you can take a 3.5 hours boat from Koh Lanta, or 4 hour boat from Koh Phi Phi.
You could also opt to go to Pakbara with the bus or van, and be on Koh Lipe in 40 minutes by boat.
There are also boats from Koh Lipe to Penang, Langkawi in Malaysia!
From Koh Phi Phi: You can catch a ferry to either Phuket, or Krabi or Koh Lanta and continue your trip.
From Koh Lanta: You can grab a van or bus to Krabi, Surathani and the Gulf of Thailand. Or catch a ferry from the harbor to Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lipe.
From Koh Lipe: Daily boats will leave for Pakbara, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi and even Phuket! Or mix it up and go down to Langkawi in Malaysia!
From Phuket: From Phuket you can catch many national and international flights, as well as busses to almost everywhere.
Power in Numbers