It had been all of 2 months since my last snorkelling trip so it was time to head off to my favourite Thai island, Ko Lipe, way down south in Satun province and almost in Malaysia.
We flew down with Nok Air who have combo fly-shuttle-ferry tickets which are convenient and actually cheaper than booking each transport leg yourself.
Once again I stayed at the Green View Resort, right on the beach. This place is certainly not fancy, but the bamboo bungalows are great value on what is probably Thailand’s most expensive island. Peak season had finished so it was not too crowded, even on the weekend when the Malay tourists flock over by speedboat from Langkawi.
I think that I mentioned after our last visit that a new concrete resort had replaced my favourite beach/reggae bar, I was happy to find a replacement a bit further along the beach, and also happy to see that the new ‘Art Club” resort never had more than 8 or 9 customers whenever we walked by. Stretching around 80m along the beachfront and onto Walking Street, and looking more like something from Ibiza (I imagine) it has several bars occupying prime real estate, and at least 10 more staff than customers at any one time. I really think the owners did not do any market research, as probably half the visitors to Ko Lipe are Malay, mostly non drinking, non partying Muslims, most backpackers cannot afford their prices, and many of the remaining tourists are too old for an Ibiza style foam/pool party (yes, my hand is up 🙂 )….which does not leave many customers even now, let alone in the low season. It seems to be only partly completed, perhaps the owners have had second thoughts ? And perhaps others will have second thoughts about building yet another resort and turning the island into another Samui ?
Anyway, it was still just as beautiful underwater 🙂
There is a coral reef literally just off the beach, although you would be wise to stick to the roped off swimming zones to avoid the longtail boats ! In the swimming zone in front of the “Z touch Resort” I found this lobster, safely surrounded by sea urchins :
And this Moray Eel :
I think this is a Trumpetfish, although they are usually yellow or a light grey. And just after I took that photo I saw a Giant Grouper, swimming right underneath me. Not a big one, but unusual to see in that area.
There are several daily snorkelling trips by longtail boat, nearly all go to an underwater rock called Jabang, which rises from about 16m deep to about 4m below the surface. Every other time that I have been there was a strong current, last time you had to swim upstream about 10m, dive down and get carried along like an express train with time for just one quick photo before surfacing on the other side. On this visit there was no current, and the visibility was nearly perfect…the first pic is near the bottom, about 12m straight down !
And elsewhere on that trip :
But all good things must end, and while I was snorkelling every day for hours, my GF was sitting back at the resort twiddling her thumbs for a week…like many Thai women she does n’t like the sun or the water, so after that week the next few days were for her, and she wanted to go to Langkawi, just an hour and a bit away. And then the easiest way back to Bangkok was via Penang, so we had a few days there too. All that to come…….soon.