Longtail boat, Ferryboat, Truck, Bus/Sub, Tuk Tuk, Speedboat, Motorbike, Tractor. The only thing we haven’t traveled in to get to Koh Lipee is plane, helicopter and hovercraft. We left the port of Pakbara in the morning on a big speedboat, with about 40 passengers on board. It started off smoothly enough, beautiful weather, calm sea but that all changed about two thirds of the way in to the voyage. We hit some rough weather and I can tell you when you are in a big speedboat doing about 35 knots and the weather turns you sure as hell know all about it. Myself and Axel were outside in a little seated area in the prow of the boat with a couple of Chinese guys relaxing in the sun. Then as the weather turned and the swell got bigger the boat started to hop all over the place. It would hit a wave, take off and land on another wave with an unmerciful smack and take off again. You could see the guy driving the thing trying to keep it on an even keel, but it was swinging from side to side as it hit the waves and felt like it could roll over at any minute.
The sea was cutting across us and it made the boat much harder to control. He didn’t drop the speed, just kept right on ploughing through the water with only one thing in mind, to get to the island before the weather got any worse. I think it must have been worse inside the cabin as Lisa told me later there were lots of people who had made the journey before making worried comments every so often as the hull would come crashing down on another wave, Lisa ended up airborne and smacked her head at one stage. Meanwhile back outside with the boys it started to rain, and I mean monsoon rain, so we hunkered down and seeing as how the boat was tearing along at such a speed we were able to keep dryer than the people in the cabin as by the time the rain hit the boat it had moved on so far as to make the angle of rainfall so acute it didn’t hit us. We were very glad to see Koh Lipee hove in to view. Lisa and the kids scrambled up to a shed called a beach café whilst donkey boy sorted the luggage out in the rain.
Koh Lipee is very small, it would take about an hour to walk its circumference. As soon as we got on to the island Lisa went off to find accommodation while I stayed with the bags in the café. About thirty minutes later the guy in the café got a phone call and told me Lisa had found a place and the two guys in the corner would take me and our luggage there in their tractor, so off I went on a quick jaunt with the bags to our new home, The Mountain Resort, overlooking Sunrise Beach, it’s nice, real nice but the island would be a hell of a lot nicer if they kept the beaches clean and banned plastic bottles. Rubbish strewn beaches in the low season due to the monsoon washing up everything that has been previously dumped into the sea is a sight that greets you when you get off the speedboat.
Lipee is a young island in terms of tourism, the 5 star hotels have not arrived and if they did it would be too small an island to have more then one or two . There is no doubt about it , the peace and quite here and the stunning scenery are a nice stop over . The town facilities are basic and there are no ATM’s or supermarkets but this island is all about having a Robinson Crusoe moment and a modern attempt at getting away from it all. But if old Crusoe did get washed up here he could have made good his escape from the island on a boat made of plastic bottles.