Friday, 23 March 2012

Journey to Koh Lipe Thailand

Koh Lipe, also known as the "Maldives of Thailand" was the destination of our next Visa Run. A beautiful Island about 1hr 20min ferry ride Northwest of Langkawi. The boat leaves Kuah port at 9:30 a.m. daily from October until April. The cost is 118 RM p.P. one way, the return ticket 100RM. We  packed two small rucksacks intending to go there for 3 to 4 nights and thought we would soon be there, not realising we were to encounter some minor problems on the way.



1st part: The Immigration
We have to leave Malaysia every three months (we thought) for at least 72 hours, before we can re-enter Malaysia to qualify for another 3 month visa, so after a walk to the Jetty we went to pass through Immigration, to catch our boat. I showed my passport, the girl looked at me, then at the passport and started talking to a colleague in Malay. Next came a big, not very friendly looking officer and just said: "Follow me! Come, come along!" I just managed to say to Fiona to come as well and we ended up in an office, feeling rather uncomfortable, not knowing what the problem was. The Ferry was leaving in 20 minutes and we were stuck here....
The Officer explained we had overstayed our Visa by one day and as it worked out he was right. We thought the Visa is for 3 months, i.e. date to date, but this is not the case. It is valid for 90 days, so entry and leaving date is not the same. In Thailand if you over stay it costs 500Baht per day, but luckily in Malaysia we only had a warning given.


2nd part: The Ferry



Finally, we made it to the boat and now it was only 1hour and 20 minutes away before we could cast our eyes on an Island with white beaches and clear turquoise water. The ferry was late leaving, but that`s nothing unusual, and when we set off it was great. Beautiful sunshine and we were able to go to the top deck to enjoy the breeze. We had to keep changing from a freezing cold air-con inside, to boiling hot temperatures outside. when about an hour later (so nearly in Koh Lipe) the boat slowed down. We thought it might have to do with going past a National Park (Koh Tarutao) or perhaps a whale close by? It was really strange though when we turned around 180° heading back towards Langkawi. We were then told, one of the engines had decided to go on strike and we had to meet a replacement Ferry and change somewhere in open water. To cut a long story short, we met the replacement boat nearly back in Langkawi and had a good 2.5hr trip. We definitely got our monies worth of boat ride ;) and a suntan!
The arrival of our replacement Ferry, followed by changing boats 

3rd part: Koh Lipe
We made it!

When you arrive in Koh Lipe there is no Jetty at the beach, so you change on to Longtail Boats in order to get there. Make sure you do not arrive in something which should not get wet as we met someone who fell right into the water on arrival. What a way to get greeted by such a fantastic place. You will see all about Koh Lipe in my next post, including some nice under water shots and info about the Island.