Sunrise Beach, located on the east coast of the island, is the most popular beach on Koh Lipe. The clear turquoise waters are complimented by a backdrops of Koh Adang island, some smaller islands, and picturesque local wooden long tail boats.
Sunrise Beach in Koh Lipe
At times Sunrise Beach can get busy, particularly during high season, which detracts somewhat from its natural beauty, nonetheless, Sunrise Beach never getsas crowded as it does on other very popular beaches in Thailand, such as Loh Dalum Beach in Koh Lipe. The beach also has less popular parts which are just as good as the spots where the majority of people tend to congregate so you can normally find a space by walking a short distance.
About Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach is roughly 1.2 km long running from a small headland on the south east corner of Koh Lipe northwards to an undefined point on the north coast of the island where the name changes to Bulow Beach.
Southern part of Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach is known locally as Chao Ley Beach because of the small Chao Ley Village near the centre of the beach. The Chao Ley are an ethnic group of seafaring people who traditionally live a semi nomadic life setting up villages on beaches and move seasonally. A dwindling number of the Chao Leh people now live this traditional lifestyle and are encouraged by the Thai state to integrate into main stream society and live in permanent settlements. There is one of these permanent settlements on Sunrise Beach and many of the boats moored in the bay belong to Chao Ley people.
Boats moored off Sunrise Beach
One of the criticisms of Sunrise Beach that you hear and read most frequently on review websites is that these boats spoil the atmosphere because they are noisy and polluting. In part this is true, however, we think that it is worth remembering that Koh Lipe was not created for tourists, people live on Koh Lipe and every one who goes there is simply a visitor to their home.
Koh Unsen near Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach is a beach of two halves, each with their own character. Indeed, there have been some attempts to rename the northern section of the beach to ‘Power Beach’ which have not really caught on.
Sea La Vie Bar on Sunrise Beach
The southern section of Sunrise Beach is very narrow. The downside of this is that there isn’t much beach to sit on at the southern end of Sunrise Beach. The upside is that the lack of space means that you can’t build large resorts there and this part of the beach has a more bohemian feel to it with smaller independent businesses operating on the beach front.
Beach bar at Satun Dive Resort
As you go northwards along Sunrise Beach it starts to widen out and the size of the resorts and businesses expands.
Taxi boat on Sunrise Beach
A popular excursion from Koh Lipe is a visit by wooden taxi boat to the nearby uninhabited islands of Koh Adang, Koh Ra Wi and Koh Hin Sorn. Sunrise Beach is the place to come to get one of the taxi boats, particularly at the northern end of Sunrise Beach which is the closest point to Koh Adang.
Northern half of Sunrise Beach
There are some good snorkelling spots on both sections of Sunrise Beach and general abundance of sea life which benefits from the protection afforded by the island’s location near the Tarutao National Marine Park, where fishing is prohibited as well being some distance from the Thai mainland and the pollution caused by large towns and industry. The two small islands off Sunrise Beach, Koh Kra and Koh Unsen, are excellent places to go snorkelling if you are fit enough and the sea is calm enough to allow you to safely swim out from the beach.
Long tail boat in front of Koh Kra
There are places to eat and drink pretty much all the whole length of Sunrise Beach. The northern end of the beach has the largest restaurants which are part of the bigger resorts, the most impressive of which is the beach front restaurant at the Andaman Resort. There are, however, not really any shops on Sunrise Beach so if you want to buy a bottle of water or suntan lotion then you need to make the short walk back toward Walking Street, or alternatively walk to the Chao Ley Village area in the middle of the beach and there are some shops on the roads running behind.
Andaman Resort on Sunrise Beach
Koh Lipe is a very small island and Sunrise Beach is the major tourist area, along with Walking Street and Pattaya Beach, so if Sunrise Beach isn’t really your type of beach then you probably won’t enjoy a trip to Koh Lipe.