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Koh Lipe Accommodation

Planning a Thailand holiday and wondering where to stay on Koh Lipe?

I have visited this island on various occasions and have tried out different Koh Lipe hotels to help you decide where to stay on Koh Lipe island.

If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Koh Lipe that is affordable then I definitely recommend Idyllic Concept where I stayed in August 2022.

showing you the prettiness of Koh Lipe beaches
White sand and clear water on Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe Accommodation: Idyllic Concept Review

Idyllic Concept is ideally located on Sunrise beach, right at the end of the beach by Koh Usan which has lovely snorkelling spots. This Koh Lipe hotel offers two swimming pools, a delicious breakfast and spacious rooms.

Quick room tour of Idyllic Resort – one of the best places to stay on Koh Lipe

Idyllic Concept Review – Rooms

All rooms offer complimentary water and tea and coffee along with a kettle and minibar.

The rooms are lovely with various unusual features as part of their interior design and have great hanging ‘nest’ chairs on the balconies. I stayed in a pool view deluxe double room and really enjoyed it.

The bathrooms are spacious, with a great waterfall shower and even a bathtub. They were cleaned every day and we were provided with shampoo, conditioner and shower gel along with other amenities.

My only feedback for the hotel would be to provide water refills rather than plastic bottles in the room to be a more eco-friendly resort. I also noticed the plugs were in strange places so there wasn’t a plug on the sideboard for the kettle so I had to plug it in near the bed or in the bathroom. These were two small comments and I would definitely stay here again in the future and recommend Idyllic Concept to friends who are looking for Koh Lipe accommodation.

Instagrammable areas of Idyllic resort Koh Lipe

Idyllic Concept Review – restaurant

I absolutely loved the breakfasts that were included during our stay at Idyllic Concept. As a vegetarian, I always love when restaurants provide loads of fresh fruit. As well as this, you could have any type of bread, pancakes, cookies, cereal, Asian cuisine or freshly made eggs of your choosing. They also provide tea and a coffee machine, freshly squeezed fruit juice and will make Thai tea or iced coffee for you.

One of the other things about breakfast at this top Koh Lipe hotel was that it started early so if you are scuba diving in Koh Lipe then you are able to eat before going diving. Breakfast started from 6.30am when I was visiting in 2022.

Koh Lipe Hotel – Staff

The staff were fantastic at the resort. Really friendly and helpful and I felt like they could be themselves. We were met at the pier and taken to the resort and given a welcome drink while we checked in.

Activities to do on Koh Lipe from Idyllic Resort

From Idyllic Concept resort you can rent snorkelling gear, kayaks and stand up paddleboards at a very cheap price. Koh Lipe is a fantastic place to view healthy coral and, in my opinion, it is the best snorkelling in Thailand. There is a wide range of marine life here that you can view snorkelling, diving or from a paddleboard or kayak – they even have clear perspex ones so you can see what is underneath!

How to book Koh Lipe Hotels?

The best way to book hotels in Thailand is to use Agoda. You can compare and book Idyllic Resort here. I use this to book all my Thailand hotels. I usually compare with booking Idyllic Resort on Booking.com to see which website is cheaper.

In summary, Idyllic Concept is one of the best places to stay on Koh Lipe and you won’t forget a trip to my favourite island in Thailand.

If you’re interested in what to do in Koh Lipe and where to eat then read this article on my Thailand travel blog for more fun Koh Lipe activities.

Looking at visiting other islands in Thailand? I have a Thailand island guide for them all.

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Koh Mak Island Thailand

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a booking I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

I loved visiting the Thai island of Koh Mak. My friends and I couldn’t decide between Ko Mak or Koh Kood so we did both! We spent 4 nights on each during a week’s holiday from working in Bangkok in February 2022 so Thailand during covid times.

Is Koh Mak worth visiting?

Absolutely yes. I loved this tiny island full of beaches and chill island vibes. It has a long pier with a bar at the end, perfect for sunset and photos. Everyone was extremely friendly and it’s small enough to walk or cycle to most places, if you don’t mind a couple of hills! The only issue was the sandflies so I recommend not lying on the beach too much as they can be vicious and very itchy.

Where is Koh Mak?

Koh Mak is a tiny island near Koh Chang and Koh Kood and not far from the Cambodian border.

How to get to Koh Mak from Bangkok?

Boonsiri sell package tickets from Bangkok to Koh Mak from Khao San or Latkrabang (near Suvarnabhumi airport) which include a bus ticket to the pier Laem Ngop, ferry ticket from the pier to Koh Mak and it also includes the transfer to your hotel. The cost of getting to Koh Mak from Bangkok was 1000 baht per person. To find a cheaper ticket you can book a government bus, then pay transfer to the pier and then approx. 400-600 baht for the ferry or speedboat. From Koh Mak back to Bangkok you can also do the same deal with Boonsiri. The bus journey from Bangkok is approximately 5 hours. Buses do a stop in the middle and have a toilet onboard. They also provide food/snacks and water.

How to travel from Koh Mak to Koh Kood?

At the time of writing (February 2022) there is a daily ferry between these two islands which takes approximately 45 minutes. You can book tickets easily through your accommodation and no need to book much in advance.

Where to stay on Koh Mak?

As a tiny island, doesn’t have loads of accommodation options but I would 100% recommend where I stayed which was By the Sea Koh Maal (Agoda link) or By the Sea Koh Mak Booking.com link. Run by the friendly Silke, this Koh Mak hotel has a beautiful pool and a beach, and it was an absolute delight. I’m very obsessed with the interior design and it has a café with delicious food for breakfast, brunch or lunch. I have been recommending this place to all my friends and would definitely stay there again. In February 2022 the cost of a three person room was approximately 1500 per night making this perfect midrange accommodation. The staff were really friendly and helpful too.

The beautiful pool at By The Sea Koh Mak
The beautiful pool at By The Sea

What to do on Koh Mak?

Spend time at the beach, go snorkelling, rent bicycles or motorbikes and explore the island, go scuba diving, eat delicious food! There are plenty of things to do on Koh Mak for a small island.

Where to eat on Koh Mak?

Koh Mak restaurants that I love:

By the Sea Koh Mak: We loved the food at By the Sea as previously mentioned with smoothie bowls, granola and sandwiches.

Head in the Clouds: We enjoyed lunch here one day with ocean views

Thai Sabai – great Thai food on the beach

Riverside: Not actually next to a river but more of a big pond. Really delicious Thai food and also Italian food with an Italian chef!

Little Red Oven – a chain of pizzerias that are now all over Thailand, really great pizza, can get it delivered too

Food Art Hut – I had a great breakfast here with avocado and bread

 

Koh Mak bars: where to drink in Koh Mak

My absolute favourite place was Blue Pearl Bar at Cococape Resort. It’s a long pier so you basically are drinking in the middle of the ocean with amazing views and great Koh Mak sunsets.

Photo of the best bar in koh mak
Sunsets from Blue Pearl Bar Koh Mak

Best Beaches Koh Mak

One warning about the beaches on Koh Mak – the presence of sand flies. In February when I visited they were abundant and we all got bitten. Don’t lie on the beach for too long or consider a sunbed or water leggings.

Ao Soun Yai Beach – is one of the biggest stretches of beach and has Thai Sabai restaurant on it. I found this to be the best snorkelling with a reef just in front of Thai Sabai where I saw a lot of tropical fish, some healthy coral and a few string rays!

Koh Kham Beach – This is an island you can see from Ao Soun Yai beach. You can take a little boat to it and it has gorgeous white sand.

Ao Kao Beach Koh Kood – this is the beach in front of By the Sea and Head in the Clouds. It’s decent but I didn’t find any good snorkelling there.

Scuba Diving Koh Mak Island

I did two dives while I stayed there and both dives were in the marine national park nearby. The coral reef was healthy looking and I really enjoyed my dives even though the visibility was not great. I dived with Koh Mak divers who were great at communicating and I ended up with a private divemaster as the boat wasn’t busy. If you aren’t already a scuba diver then consider learning to scuba dive in Thailand. You can learn with PADI or SSI through various dive centres on the island.

Thinking about nearby islands? Also check out my post on visiting the nearby island of Koh Kood Thailand

Looking for more scuba diving in Thailand – read this post here about the best diving in Thailand.

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Best cheap diving in the Maldives

Best Cheap Diving in the Maldives

The Maldives is known for luxury resorts and five star hotels. It is also home to amazing marine life and is heaven for those that love scuba diving. There are many incredible dive sites to visit in the Maldives but liveaboards are not budget friendly.

If you are a beginner scuba diver then why not get scuba qualified in the Maldives? There are many accessible dive sites for beginners although to join deeper dives then consider doing your Advanced Open Water to be able to reach a depth of 30m. Local dive shops are accredited by PADI or SSI and you can even do some online learning before your Maldives diving trip to save time. 

Cheap Diving Maldives : Local Islands

One of the top ways to go cheap diving in the Maldives is by staying on local islands and diving with a local dive shop. While it is not as cheap as, scuba diving in Thailand for example, it is much more affordable and diving packages are available. The more dives you plan to do the cheaper it can be.

Scuba diving local islands in the Maldives

Scuba Diving Maldives Cost

Scuba diving Maldives prices depend on if you are staying at a resort or a local island. Resort islands are clearly more expensive than diving local islands in Maldives. On Maldives local islands scuba dives range from $40-60 US dollars a dive including equipment. 

Cheap Diving Maldives – Local Islands Maldives

These are the following local islands which have great scuba diving. These are the islands that I have personally visited and scuba dived from.

Cheap Diving Maldives – Fuvahmulah

Arguably the best scuba diving in Maldives, Fuvahmulah should absolutely be on your scuba diving Maldives bucketlist. In Fuvahmulah you can see tiger sharks, manta rays (oceanics and reef manta rays), whale sharks, thresher sharks and hammerhead sharks. Read my full Fuvahmulah Island Guide here. 

Cheap Diving Maldives – Rasdhoo

A great island to stay on and dive from every day. Rasdhoo has healthy, colourful coral, lots of reef sharks and turtles and a small chance of hammerhead sharks. Read my full Rasdhoo Guide here if you are thinking of visiting this awesome island.

Beautiful beaches and scuba diving in Rasdhoo

Budget Diving Maldives – Gulhi

From Gulhi you can access many of Kaafu atoll’s great dive sites including an impressive wreck dive. Read my full Gulhi guide here.

Best cheap diving Maldives – Guraidhoo

Guraidhoo is close to the famous Maldives dive site Kandooma Thila which does not disappoint. With strong currents you can see numerous reef sharks and eagle rays swimming in the currents as you drift by. 

Budget Diving Maldives – Hulhumale

Hulhumale is often not considered a great local island to stay on as it doesn’t have a bikini beach and is often seen as an extension of Male and so visitors often overlook it. If you are a diver I strongly recommend spending a couple of nights in Hulhumale to dive the nearby dive sites. The dive sites near Male have incredible marine life such as bull sharks, huge sting rays, spinner sharks and a good chance of hammerheads. 

Budget Diving Maldives – Marine Life

With over 200 islands that you can stay on, there are certain islands that are better for marine life than others. 

Manta Ray Diving Maldives

You can see manta rays at various locations in the Maldives. For more information about diving with manta rays in the Maldives, then read my manta ray Maldives article here

cheap diving Maldives - photo of oceanic manta photobombing me and friends while scuba diving
Photobombed by an oceanic manta on local island Fuvahmulah- dive goals

Best Cheap Diving: Shark Diving Maldives

For sharks, I definitely recommend diving Hulhumale, diving Kandooma Thila near Guraidhoo and Fuvahmulah. 

Tiger Shark Diving Maldives

The best place to go tiger shark diving in Maldives is Fuvahmulah island. Please note they do feed the tiger sharks here so it depends how ethical you feel this is if you want to do it. There are many dive sites around Fuvahmulah island with the best diving in Maldives that do not involve feeding marine life. 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah

Have you dived in the Maldives? Do you have a recommendation for the best island diving Maldives? I’ll be heading back for more scuba diving local islands soon!

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Activities To Avoid in Thailand

Read on to find out what activities to avoid in Thailand and what ethical experiences you should do instead. Having lived in Thailand for 5 years and travelled here extensively, this Thailand travel blog is to help you find out the dos and donts in Thailand and a better way to travel without harming wildlife, the environment and to be careful where you spend your money so it doesn’t harm local people too.

Is it possible to have ethical animal experiences in Thailand?

Thailand is a place of beauty, adventure and there are so many amazing activities to try here, that after three years of living here, I am still finding new activities and places to visit. Unfortunately there are also a number of activities that have given rise to exploitation, both in regard to wildlife and people. Tourists do have the power to bring about positive change and, particularly in a country like Thailand, where many locals are keen to reap the benefits of tourism, it is important for tourists to do their research into putting their money into ethical activities involving both people and wildlife.

The truth about elephant riding in Thailand

Many tourists want to ride elephants when visiting Thailand but first hopefully they can ask the following questions and do some research into elephant abuse in Chiang Mai and Phuket. Is it ethical to ride an elephant in Thailand? Where can we ride rescue elephants in Thailand? Is riding an elephant bad for its back?

Riding an elephant is animal abuse. Tourists ask me where to ride an elephant in Thailand, where is the best place for elephant riding and about elephant riding costs and please just stop there. The truth about elephant riding is that it is animal abuse. All elephant riding with seats is a widespread form of animal abuse in Thailand, it deforms the back of the elephant and elephant riding is cruel.  Alternatives to elephant riding include visiting an ethical elephant sanctuary or seeing wild elephants in Thailand.

Ethical elephant sanctuaries in Thailand

When I first visited Thailand in 2013 I could only find 2 elephant sanctuaries that refused to offer elephant riding. Nowadays many sanctuaries are refusing to offer elephant riding and it is the tourist demand that has made this change. Your actions can make a difference so let’s make decisions that will help protect elephants rather than harm them. My favourite alternative to elephant riding, and I recommend as even better than a sanctuary is to see wild elephants in Thailand which is, after all, where they belong. Seeing wild elephants in the jungle is one of my bucket list experiences and you can see them in a national park just a few hours from Bangkok – Khao Yai National Park.  Read here for more details  about how to visit Khao Yai National park – one of my favourite national parks in Thailand that has a good chance of seeing wild elephants in the jungle.

If you want a more luxury experience to see rescue elephants near Bangkok then my favourite is the I Love Phants Lodge, a rescue centre not only for elephants but many other Thailand animals who were taken from the entertainment industry or the pet trade. Read my I Love Phants Review here and find out why I always recommend this ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok which helps elephants in Thailand.

elephants Thailand
Feeding the elephants some sugarcane at Hug Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand   

The truth about tigers in Thailand: Ethical Tigers Thailand?

Is it ethical to visit Tiger Kingdom in Thailand?  Where can I take photos with tigers in Phuket or Chiang Mai? Are tigers drugged in Tiger Kingdom?

Probably one of the top experiences of what NO to do in Thailand. The cruel truth is that there is no such thing as an ethical tiger experience. Tigers are wild, dangerous animals and belong in the jungles of Thailand, not in some sort of petting zoo, in a concrete enclosure for selfies with humans. To visit a tiger temple in Thailand or take pictures with tigers means you are participating in animal abuse.  The infamous tourist temple “Tiger Temple” fortunately has now been closed down but there are many other “sanctuaries” appearing. When Tiger Temple was investigated, they found dead tiger cubs in a freezer and allegations of missing adult tigers thought to have been sold on the black market to China for tiger bones. This scandal is on top of the commonly held assumption that these tigers are drugged in order for tourists to take photos with them. I personally feel that the claim that people can get close to them because they are domesticated tigers brought up around people does not have any ground.  Getting into a cage with a grown adult tiger is dangerous, no matter how the animal was raised and therefore the drugging theory is highly likely. Read more about the truth about Thailand’s tiger temple on the BBC website.

Dos and Donts in Thailand : Do visit a tiger rescue centre

If you want an ethical tiger Thailand experience then head to Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) a rescue organisation and the best rescue animal sanctuary in Thailand. For how to see rescue tigers and elephants near Bangkok then read this article. 

Dos Donts Thailand : Don’t support sex tourism

The dark side of Thailand’s sex tourism industry

I strongly recommend avoiding going to a pingpong show, sex show or participate in any activities relating to the sex industry. Thailand is a hub for human trafficking and there is no knowing how the women, men and even children in these industries are treated. 610,000 people are thought to be enslaved in modern day slavery in Thailand. (Source Maps | Global Slavery Index) and some of these unpoliced, illegal industries have been found to ‘employ’ underage prostitutes, indicating child abuse and exploitation. Is this really where you want your money going?

Dos and Donts in Thailand: Culture

Respecting Thai culture should be an important consideration when visiting on vacation or backpacking. Sunbathing in the nude, women going topless on a beach and males riding around on scooters without shirts is not considered appropriate or respectful behaviour by the majority of Thai people. Spain this is not. Most of Thailand is fairly conservative, whether the locals are Buddhist or Muslim and getting your baps out on the beach is not acceptable here. It is important to be respectful when visiting other countries where the culture is very different to our own.

activities to avoid Thailand

Enjoy beautiful beaches in Koh Lipe

Dos and Donts in Thailand – The Ocean

Another important rule in Thailand is about being respectful to the ocean. Standing on coral reefs damages them and coral reefs are already under severe pressure from climate change and rising ocean temperatures. Coral is extremely fragile and if you touch it, not only could you end up injured, but you are killing this vital eco-system that the ocean relies upon. Please be extremely careful of where you are stepping in the sea and inform any other visitors of the same. Many tourists stand on coral because they are ignorant of the fact they are damaging it. Please spread the word and don’t be shy about letting other tourists know not to stand on coral. Tour operators should be informing tourists so make sure to include them if their boat of tourists are not behaving respectfully towards the ocean.

activities to avoid Thailand

Dos and Donts in Thailand: Touching wild animals

There are regular news stories in local papers here in Thailand about people touching turtles or Instagram photos of people holding up a starfish. That is a wild animal and you are disturbing it. Remember to always be respectful of wildlife.

activities to avoid Thailand

Whale Watching in Thailand from a respectful distance – an amazing and ethical experience to have, just an hour from Bangkok! Read my article here about how to see whales in Thailand.

Dos and Donts Thailand – Photo Opportunities with wild animals

Do not take photos in the markets or streets with ‘pet’ monkeys or gibbons. These are animals that belong in the wild and should not be used in the tourist industry in this way. Often teeth are painfully removed to ensure the animal does not bite people and they are often wearing nappies and chained up.

activities to avoid in Thailand

Dos and Donts Thailand – Fishing

Overfishing is one of the biggest threats to our ocean globally and in particular in Thailand where Marine National Parks are not even fully protected with no take zones. Be a part of the solution, protect fish, only fish sustainably and if you cannot be sure it is sustainable (which we rarely can) then don’t add to this problem. See the recent Bangkok Post article about a Dutch tourist arrested for fishing parrotfish.

activities to avoid in Thailand
Every time I go snorkelling or diving I usually find Nemo, help protect him and his habitat

And for things NOT to miss in Thailand check out this Thailand blog post

For more information regarding Thai culture and how to be respectful read this article

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Thailand: Top 10 Adventures and Activities!

Visiting Thailand? Here are the top 10 adventures and activities that you can do here, written by someone who lives here! Thailand has so much to offer, especially when you dig a little deeper than just the beach parties and Khao San Road in Bangkok!

1. Visit an Elephant Sanctuary. One that rescues elephants and offers no riding! (Hug Elephant Sanctuary I strongly recommend!) Read more here about why you shouldn’t ride elephants and how you can support ethical animal placesReasons to visit Thailand

2. Go to the jungle – Khao Yao National Park is one of my favourite places to visit for activities and adventures like hiking, jungle treks, camping and wildlife spotting. Read more here about Khao Yai and other places near to Bangkok to visit

activities and adventures Thailand
I was lucky enough to spot three wild elephants in Khao Yai National Park. This was an alone adult male.

Or if you want to venture slightly off the beaten track then read my post here about the activities you can do in Thailand’s amazing National Parks

3. Party on a paradise island like Koh Phi Phi or if timings work out head to Koh Phangan for the world famous Full Moon Party…read here for advice for the Full Moon… I should know I’ve been to 5!

adventures activities Thailand
Enjoy beautiful beaches in Koh Lipe

4. Visit a Bangkok skybar, avoid the incredibly expensive Lebua Sirocco Tower and head to Vertigo or Octave instead. Just as impressive a view and (slightly) more purse friendly.

activities and adventures Thailand

 

5. Go market shopping at Chatachak Weekend market. It’s open Saturday and Sunday and has probably everything you will ever need to buy in your life. Haggle with a smile and be open to getting lost in the middle (items tend to be cheaper there than around the road on the outside).

6. Activities to have to include visiting at least one Buddhist temple. In Bangkok, I love Wat Pho with it’s huge golden reclining Buddha and colourful stupas. Read here for more Bangkok adventures and activities (I live here!) or if you are heading to Northern Thailand like Chiang Mai then do not miss the White Temple in Chiang Rai, it’s a stunning sight to see.

adventures activities Thailand
White Temple in Chiang Rai

7. Eat Thai food. Street food, mango smoothies, desserts, the list goes on. Be adventurous and try some new dishes, sometimes in pays off

adventures activities Thailand
Just not when you’re drunkenly trying scorpions on Khao San Road in Bangkok…

8. Snorkelling Trips are an absolute must do activity. The coral and the fish are worth seeing in all their colours and they trips are great value for money, often full days including a pretty island spot for lunch too. Beware that national park fees will be added in some places so check when you book the tour.

adventures activities Thailand
Snorkelling in Koh Chang

9. Try scuba diving for the first time. Koh Tao, while not the beauty that it once was for diving, is still one of the cheapest places in the world to get qualified as an Open Water diver with PADI or SSI. Be warned, once you start you will be spending all your money on diving around the world in the future. If you’re already qualified or keen to do more then read about the best dive spots in Thailand here

adventures activities Thailand
Dive around tropical coral reefs

10. Get exploring Thailand by island hopping around 100s of islands. Take ferries or kayaks and enjoy anything from party islands to tranquil and deserted spots all around Thailand’s coastline. For (almost) all island summaries check out my blog post on Thailand’s Best Islands here. 

adventures activities Thailand
Beaches on Koh Phangan

Top 3 Things to Enjoy your Adventures and Activities in Thailand
      1. GoPro HERO4 BLACK Never miss a moment above or under the water with a Gopro. I’m obsessed with mine and love the results it produces, particularly diving and snorkelling shots
      2. A bag like this Dry Bag (Green, 5L) to keep all your valuables dry on boats and in monsoon season. Also it generally keeps things sand free too!
      3.  Don’t forget your mosquito spray. I’ve yet to find strong repellent in Thailand so recommend buying in advanvce from somewhere like Amazon Repel 40-Percent DEET

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