Koh Lipe, until a few years ago southern Thailand’s most idyllic island, is now a thoroughly spoiled destination and is not recommended for travellers who can afford better. The island is part of the Tarutao group, but was unfortunately exempted from the Koh Tarutao National Park’s conservation laws, with predictable effects.
It is now, along with Railay’s Tonsai bay and Koh Phi Phi’s central isthmus, one of the worst three environmental disasters in Thailand, mainly due to the presence of large numbers of budget hotels, whose occupants are willing to put up with uncollected rubbish, burning trash-dumps and inadequate sewerage disposal. Jack-hammers and angle-grinders thud and whine, the soundtrack to the ongoing hotel construction boom. No top quality resorts are under construction, however, as their patrons would not tolerate the environment.
Many visitors are these days disappointed by Lipe. They come expecting a peaceful destination and are surprised by the loud music blaring out from the party bars during the evenings and early hours. The next morning they hit the beach and are dismayed to be further deafened by the longtail boats constantly roaring around. To Lipe’s boatmen it appears to represent an inch on the manhood to remove an engine’s muffler, so most do so, to cacophonous effect. How anybody can relax on Lipe’s main Pattaya beach is a mystery. www.trangonline.com, www.trangsea.com, www.tigerlinetravel.com
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