Catching the boat from Malaysia into Thailand can be a convenient option for travellers with the Malaysian island of Langkawi only an hour’s speedboat trip away from the charming little Thai island of Ko Lipe. I did this trip last month (January 2012) and it certainly was a quick and easy way to arrive on Ko Lipe which makes for a good base to explore the surrounding islands in the Tarutao National Marine Park. There are a couple of options for travel by boat from Langkawi to Ko Lipe. I used the speedboat service from Telaga Harbour on Langkawi. Please note this is not the same service as operated by Tigerline (see Tigerline website for more details of their service). The following details refer to the trip operated by Telaga Harbour.
Telaga Harbour Langkawi
The walk-in price was 128RM (approximately 1,300 Baht) for a one-way journey to Ko Lipe. I booked my ticket in person at the Telaga Harbour office the day before I travelled. There is also an online booking option. The speedboat is quite small and only seats approximately 40 passengers so if you have a definite schedule to keep to, booking in advance is advisable during peak season. The usual travel season for the speedboat is from mid-October until the end of May. For much of the season, two boats per day make the one hour trip from Langkawi to Ko Lipe. They depart Langakwi at 09.30 and 14.30. The ticket office at Telaga Harbour is open daily from 09.00 â€“ 18.00. Payment can be made by cash, visa or credit-card and check-in for the boat is 90 minutes before departure. Full details in the link below.
Telaga Harbour on Langkawi »
Speedboats can be quite bumpy at the best of times and there was at least one person on my boat feeling the effects of the journey despite the relatively calm sea. It makes sense to wear a hat, use sunscreen and bring a bottle of water. Although there is a roof canopy on the boat, not all seats are totally protected from the sun. Life jackets are provided and the boat was modern and in good shape.
Passport and Immigration Procedures
Because you are travelling between two countries (Malaysia and Thailand) you will still need a valid passport (which isn’t due to expire within 6 months from your date of arrival). The Telaga Harbour office handles exit formalities from Malaysia and also works in conjunction with Thai immigration. You will be provided with a Thai immigration card to complete which needs to be filled out and then handed over with your passport to the office at Telaga Harbour in Langkawi before you board the speedboat. On arrival in Ko Lipe, boat passengers are taken to the Thai immigration office (located directly on Pattaya Beach) to collect their passports.
If you don’t have a visa for Thailand, but are from a country that is eligible for the visa exemption scheme (e.g. UK, Australia, USA . . . ) then on arrival in Ko Lipe you will be given a permission to stay stamp which will allow you to stay in Thailand for 15 days. If you need a longer stay you should make arrangements in advance for the appropriate visa. If you already have a valid Thailand visa you should have no problems at immigration. However, please note that the immigration office on Ko Lipe does not currently have facilities for visas on arrival. This may affect you depending on your nationality (e.g. China, India . . .) and you may need to ensure you are in possession of a valid visa if you use Ko Lipe as your port of entry to Thailand.
Arrival on Ko Lipe
The journey time between Langkawi and Ko Lipe is one hour (depending on weather conditions). Although there is a pier at Telaga Harbour on Langkawi there is no pier on arrival at Ko Lipe. Instead, the speedboat will anchor off-shore and passengers are then transferred to longtail boats which take you to the beach.
Transferring from speedboat to longtail boat on arrival at Ko Lipe
If you are elderly or not very agile, this can present some difficulties as you move from one boat to another although staff are on hand to help you. Similarly, when the longtail pulls up on the beach at Ko Lipe it means clambering down some small steps from the longtail boat to the beach and you will almost certainly be getting your feet wet so be prepared!
The longtail boats pull up on Pattaya Beach in front of the Bundhaya Resort which is adjacent to the Thai immigration office. Before you can collect your bags, you need to clear immigration.
Thai immigration office on Pattaya Beach, Ko Lipe
Getting to Your Hotel or Guest House
Some hotels (usually the higher-end ones) will make arrangements to collect you on arrival at Ko Lipe. If not you can either walk or arrange your own transport. Please note there are no cars allowed on the island so this means catching one of the taxis which are basically just a motorbike and side-car. Alternatively, longtail boats can also be used to take you to some hotels and guest houses on the island.
Read my review of Harmony Bed & Bakery, Ko Lipe »