Sunrise Beach is the most popular beach on the island of Koh Lipe, featuring the famously clear water that has earned Koh Lipe its reputation as being the ‘Maldives of Thailand’.
About Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach is on the East Coast of Koh Lipe, which is the opposite side of the island to Pattaya Beach where speed boat and ferry services dock during the tourist season. Out of season, when the seas get rougher, speed boat operators and ferry services switch to using Sunrise Beach which spoils the tranquillity of Sunrise Beach temporarily, although the island tends to have much fewer visitors at this time so it generally affects very few people’s holidays.
Koh Lipe is a very small island, and its a short walk from the busy Walking Street, where nearly all the island’s bars, shops and restaurants are located, to Sunrise Beach. Basically it doesn’t really matter where in Koh Lipe you stay because it will only ever be a short walk to Sunset Beach.
Sunrise Beach is approximately 1.2 km long, at the top of which the sand continues into Bulow Beach. The bottom end of Sunrise Beach is very narrow and it is at this end you find the smaller, independent bars and restaurants. As you travel further up the beach it widens and the size and luxuriousness of the resorts and restaurant also increases. There no shops on the beach although if you walk about half way up Sunrise Beach there is a small Chao Ley, often referred to as ‘Sea Gypsies’, village which has some shops set back from the beach. Many of the Chao Ley have, in recent times, switched from a nomadic existence around the islands of Western Thailand to a more settled lifestyle. One thing the Chao Ley haven’t lost is their love of the sea and boats. Along most of the length of the beach there are traditional wooden boats, some used for fishing, and other for hire. A popular excursion is travel by boat to the scarcely inhabited nearby island of Koh Adang and the uninhabited islands of Koh Ra Wi and Koh Hin Sorn.
The major attraction of Sunrise Beach is the water quality. It really is noticeably clearer than you find pretty much everywhere else in Thailand. There is also abundant sea life. To appreciate exactly abundant the sea life is you need to swim out to one of the two small islands off Sunrise Beach, Koh Kra and Koh Unsen, and go snorkelling. There are lots of fish to see.
Location of Sunrise Beach
- The boat pier to Koh Lipe, Pak Bara Pier, is located 116 km by road to the east of Hat Yai Airport.