Take the boat from Langkawi to Koh Lipe
Our tour of Thailand and Malaysia continued as we made our way from Langkawi to Koh Lipe by ferry. This is the most direct and in my opinion, the easiest way to get between the two islands. On our trip, we took the fast ferry from Kuah Town terminal in the south-east of the island. If you are booking a ferry in advance then please note that there is another ferry port near the airport which is on the other side of the island. I’m sure both are good places to take a ferry from but don’t book the wrong one.
Kuah Town Ferry Terminal
I deliberately booked to depart from Kuah Town because it’s the same terminal we arrived at from Penang. It makes it easier if you are vaguely familiar with the place. The terminal in Kuah is modern and has good facilities. Our taxi dropped us off right outside the main departure area so it was very convenient.
We booked our tickets in advance and this is advised to guarantee a seat. You can book tickets for the Langkawi to Koh Lipe ferry on their website here. You get an email confirmation straight away with all the details on how to check in for the ferry at the terminal.
Since this is an international ferry you do need to arrive in plenty of time. Just in case we arrived far too early for the 2 pm ferry but that’s ok because it gave us time to look around. At first, we had trouble finding the place to check-in. When you arrive at the terminal there are lots of ticket desks opposite the main entrance. These are for the domestic ferries.
For the international Langkawi to Koh Lipe ferry you need to walk into the main building. Immediately look for some stairs on your left and go up to the international ferry area. Because we arrived really early we couldn’t check-in straight away but there was somebody there to help us. He checked our tickets and told us when to return. Fortunately, he also took our bags for safekeeping so we went off exploring for a bit.
Exploring the Area
The ferry terminal is only a few minutes walk from the famous Langkawi Eagle statue so it’s worth taking the time to stroll across. Unusually for a ferry port, this is quite a nice area and the waterfront is a lovely place to walk. You’ll also find plenty of shopping, both for snacks and drinks and for souvenirs. So we happily spent an hour wandering around.
Check in and Paperwork
Afterwards, we returned to the check-in office upstairs at the ferry terminal. By now, more people had arrived and check-in began. Since this is an international ferry we filled out immigration forms and showed our passports. It was all very nicely done though. We sat at small tables and the officials came to us and checked our documents. Very civilised.
We stayed here until it was time to board the ferry. This bit was a bit complicated as we went downstairs and right across the ferry terminal to the international departues area. The terminal building is huge with lots of shops, cafes etc and also lots of domestic ferry docks. We got a bit lost and so did everyone else on our ferry as we kept seeing each other wandering around.
Mainly I was concerned about missing it but I think they allow plenty of time for travellers to find it. Just keep going all the way to the far right-hand corner of the terminal. Once you get there is it really obvious that you are in the right place as you can see in the photo below.
Just by this entrance are lots of seats. You sit and wait here until you are called through. The process is very organised and we quickly boarded the ferry. The Langkawi to Koh Lipe ferry was smaller than the one from Penang but otherwise a similar setup. You all sit inside and there is no outside access so this means the view is limited but you still get a bit of a view.
Arriving in Koh Lipe
Arriving at Koh Lipe is quite interesting since there is no actual ferry port on the island. You arrive at a pontoon which is offshore. Firstly, you gather your luggage, then you board a small boat to take you to the beach.
The boat drops you on a floating walkway which leads to the beach. Now you are in Thailand so you need to go through immigration. This takes place on the beach in a small area right in from of you as you walk up from the pontoon.
Firstly, we filled in immigration forms then showed them to an official at the first window. Then we had our temperatures taken since we travelled in February/March and they had extra precautions due to covid-19. Afterwards, we went to another window and showed our passports. It sounds a bit long-winded but actually, it’s pretty straightforward and everything runs smoothly and quickly.
Once you exit the immigration area you are free to go wherever you like. We took a motorbike taxi to our hotel on the other side of the island. Although you can walk if you want to because the island is not very big at all. I’ll tell you more about Koh Lipe and our hotel in my next blog post.
The ferry from Langkawi to Koh Lipe takes approximately 90 minutes. We had a smooth crossing so it was very comfortable.
We paid 118 RM (about £22) each. When you arrive at Koh Lipe you must pay 250 Bhat (£5) each as a national park fee. You might also need to pay 50 Bhat (£1.50) per person for the boat transfer to the beach. We didn’t as we just boarded the boats provided and they took us to the beach. However, I’ve read online that some ferries ask for the fee. It’s best to have some Thai Bhat with you on arrival anyway as there are limited ATM facilities on the island and you will need to pay the national park fee.