Starboard SUP’s Inflatable Product Manager, Raúl Delgado, takes a much-needed break with his girlfriend Chandler over the Songkran holidays to explore Koh Lipe, also known as the Maldives of Thailand. Songkran, commonly known as Thai New Year, is a nationwide celebration spanning three days. In 2021, or 2564 in Thai years, these days were Tuesday through Thursday. And when combined with two extra days off, the resulting nine-day period was perfect to venture all the way to the southernmost archipelago in Thailand: Koh Lipe.
After packing their two Starboard inflatable boards with all their respective accessories, including their snorkelling gear and loads of sunscreen they headed off to the BKK airport. Here is Raúl’s recount of the trip;
A two-hour flight to Hat Yai, followed by a two-hour van ride from the airport to the pier and another 90 minutes on a 4-engine speed boat might sound like an arduous trek. But once we arrived on the stunning shore of Pattaya beach, we were certain that the journey was worth it.
White sandy beaches kissed by the clearest ocean water you can find in Thailand result in a paradise that can compete head-to-head with the Maldives. It might even win, considering that the prices are more humane here. Koh Lipe is surrounded by coral reefs full of marine life in every direction and the other 20 islands that constitute this archipelago, can easily be described as heaven on earth.
On our first day on the island we realized that taking our inflatable boards was the best possible decision we could have made. The island’s entire coastline is around 10 km long, so we paddled around the entire island seeing and visiting every single beach there. We even had some of them entirely to ourselves. Looking for more of this beautiful scenery, we ventured paddling to the closeby islands and snorkled in the company of no one else, except for the fishes and other sea creatures around us. And because some of the islands were a little further away, we rented a boat taxi to get there, in order to save our energy for swimming and diving around the coral reefs.
But our trip was not only about paddling and snorkelling, we also spent a great deal of time watching the most vibrant and colourful sunsets & sunrises you can dream of. And to fuel our engines for more adventures, we feasted on fresh seafood and cold beers. It is also important to remark that we tried to paddle to most restaurants since this was easier and more beautiful than walking or taking a “tuk-tuk” (Thai island taxi).
Throughout the entire trip, we were guilty of one “bad” thought: we wanted the government to close the domestic borders between provinces to avoid the spread of the virus because this would also mean that we would be “stuck” in Koh Lipe indefinitely. Luckily (for the greater good) the situation did not escalate in Thailand so we were able to make it back home to Bangkok. But we took with us marvellous pictures, bronzed skin, bright smiles, unforgettable memories and the desire to return as soon as possible.