The journey between the two islands (and two countries, stepping from Malaysia to Thailand) takes 90minutes. From the Malaysian side it costs about 110rm, a bit less from the Thai. We booked with an agent in Pantai Cenang for 115rm, which included a transfer to Kuah, and the jetty. It’s all pretty simple, though less agile people might struggle a bit with hopping out of the ferry onto a water taxi on the Koh Lipe side. It’s a pretty cool way to arrive, though, going from ferry to taxi, then clambering over the side into the water, and walking up the beach to immigration. The Island Drum website has more about the process, though it suggests you pay for the water taxi, and they didn’t charge anyone on the way in or out for me. We were there in low season – as an idea of how low, one bar had a notice that they would reopen again in October (this in June).
They take your passport from you for the ferry ride, so you reclaim that from the ferry office, then head to immigration. From there, much accommodation is a walk away, but there are taxis to take you to the further flung places.
It’s a beautiful island, but small. It really suffers, of course, from plastic and other detritus being washed onto the shore. Sunrise beach, on the East coast, is probably the highlight – it is long and large, where other beaches are more littered, and have little space before the water.
I travelled with a few people from my hostel in Langkawi, which meant that we had a social time of eating, walking, swimming and drinking at the Akira resort when happy hour kicked in (4-7, cocktail fans). It also meant I turned round and followed them back to Langkawi for more of the same, rather than travelling on into Thailand. Otherwise, Koh Lipe is a good place to charter a boat and island hop, or go snorkelling and diving.