Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach is the second most popular beach on the island. It’s on the eastern side of the island, so as the name suggests, it receives the bright, early morning sun. The waters are clean and clear, and the sand is soft and white.
The best things about Sunrise beach are the views of the small islands, Koh Uhsen, Koh Kra, Koh Talak and Koh Adang, all of which are reachable by kayak (though Koh Talak may be a little too far for leisure kayakers in hot weather). They’re perfect for DIY snorkeling – just take a snorkel and flippers in the kayak and paddle out to them. No need to pay for day trips or tours on motor boats.
Sunrise beach is also home to the postcard-perfect strip of sand at the very top of the beach. This is one of the idyllic shots that helped Koh Lipe to get the name ‘The Maldives of Thailand’. Choose a sunny, calm day when the sea is flat and the tide is out and the scene is sublime.
Hotels and bars on Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach
There are several resorts on Sunrise beach, the best known of which is Castaway Resort – an affordable collection of large wooden bungalows ideal for travelers, backpackers, divers, snorkelers and general activity lovers. Read our review of Castaway Resort.
There are several premium places for accommodation at the very southern tip of Sunrise beach including Ten Moons Resort, Idyllic Concept Resort and Serendipity Resort. They say that they have their own private sections of the beach, but in reality anybody can walk along them, as most people do to take pictures.
At certain times of the day or night, the tide will come in and the sea covers parts of the beach, making it hard to walk along. But choose the time right, and everything is fine.
There are a small numbers of bars on Sunrise beach, including Sea La Vie (pictured below) but most of the restaurants are part of the hotel resorts. For bars and a bigger selection of restaurants, it’s a short 10 – 20 minute walk to walking street. At night time this involves some pretty dark paths, or walking through jungle, which isn’t ideal after a big meal and a few beers.
Some small problems with Sunrise Beach
One downside to Sunrise beach is that the trash barge, which collects rubbish from the island, comes about once a week to gather the garbage and recycle it back on the Thai mainland. It stays for two or three hours, making a pretty bad smell.
Another issue is the distance to walking street. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the main area for nightlife.
Some hotels like Idyllic Concept Resort and Ten Moons also lack any path. Guests have to walk through wasteland and jungle to reach Walking Street.
One interesting wooden hut on Sunrise beach is the Hope of Lipe church, but this looked deserted and in need of repair. Fascinating to find a church on such a small island in the middle of the Andaman sea.
Sunrise beach is fairly quiet overall after. There is a small section in the middle which has a collection of small homes belonging to locals, many of whom own the longtail boats used for tours. It’s interesting to walk through this towards walking street, and see their homes.