Bangkok was bangin' and I really enjoyed my intro to Thailand and after a week in Bangkok, it was time to go island hopping. First stop was Koh Lipe. We flew down to Hat Yai and spent a night there before catching the ferry the next day to Koh Lipe. Koh Lipe is, or should I say was one of Thailand's best kept secrets. Apparently the secret is out. For most of this trip we have booked accommodations ahead of time and we decided for the islands to just wing it. Rick was here 3 years ago and didn't have any problems with just showing up and finding accommodations so we decided to throw caution to the wind.
Oops. Caution slapped us in the face. We arrived to find most places booked solid. We did end up getting lucky and found a room at Koh Lipe Backpackers Hostel, but we were back to no A/C and no hot water. Koh Lipe is quickly being developed into a luxury resort island so accommodations for a backpacker budget are slim.
The island was originally inhabited by sea gypsies (Chao Ley) and their small village is now encircled by resorts. By the looks of the village, it does not appear that the locals are gaining from the increased tourism.
The juxtaposition between the village and what is just steps away is incredible. I wouldn't blame them if they wished tourists never set foot on their island as their beaches and view are breathtaking.