Traveling from Koh Lipe, Thailand to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia is very easy and straightforward. Since the islands are so close, a quick ferry ride is all that’s required. If you travel by speedboat, it’ll take about 1 hour to 1-½ hours, and if you travel by ferry it’ll take about 1-½ hours to 2 hrs, depending on the water conditions. The only downside of the journey though, is the sky-high price they charge for the convenience. For transportation by speedboat, you’re looking at 1,200 baht ($40 USD) a person, or if you choose the ferry instead, you’ll be paying 1,000 baht ($33 USD). When you compare the cost of traveling from Koh Lipe to Langkawi versus Krabi to Langkawi (850 baht), you’d be forgiven if your eyes almost bulge out of your skull when told how much a 2hr boat ride would set you back. We’re still picking our jaws up off the floor.
Since the time difference wasn’t that substantial, and we wanted to save any money we could, we opted for the ferry to get us to Langkawi. Our boat was scheduled to leave at 10:30am, but we were asked to get down to the immigration office (located on the far east side of Pattaya beach) for 9:00am to hand in our passports to be stamped by the Thai immigration officers.
We presented our boat tickets, our passports, and our departure cards to one of the attendants. He checked over our tickets, handed them back and passed on our passports and departure cards to one of the immigration officers. We were given small stickers with “ferry” written on them and told to place them on our bags and leave them just in front of the office, on the beach.
The process didn’t take long at all and realizing we’d have about an hour or so to kill before the boat would depart, we found a comfortable shady spot on the beach.
At around 10:30am, a number of longtail boats pulled up on shore and we hopped in. The attendants working at the immigration office loaded our bags on separately. We made sure to keep an eye on our bags so that they’d end up on the boat with us and not on the speedboat, which was departing at the same time.
The longtail boats shuttled us out to our ferry, which was waiting further out in the bay. We didn’t have to pay extra for the longtail service like we had when we first arrived on Koh Lipe.
Once on board, and after we had pulled away, another attendant started to hand back all the passports. This caused quite a bit of mumbled discontent as the attendant was either calling out names or showing the passport photo page to people in order to hand them back. There wasn’t much in the way of double-checking that people were taking the correct passports. Between dropping off our passports at the immigration office, the number of people boarding either the ferry or the speedboat, and waiting until the boat was moving on the water, left a lot of room for the possibility of passports going missing. Luckily it seemed everyone got theirs back on board.
The initial part of our trip was fairly rough and we didn’t want to take any chances of our breakfast coming up, so we decided to take a seasickness tablet each. Tristan passed out within 10 minutes, but I managed to stay awake chatting with my neighbour and listening to music.
As we neared Langkawi, the water was noticeably calmer. I popped out to the rear of the boat and enjoyed the beautiful scenery around us.
By the time we docked, it had been about 2hrs since we had left Koh Lipe. We grabbed our bags and made our way to immigration. There was no line, no stamping fees and we were given a free 90-day visa on arrival. I even got a nice smile and welcome from the immigration officer. What a breeze!
As we exited immigration, our bags were scanned through security and we walked out into the main ferry terminal. The amazing thing about Langkawi is that the whole island is duty free! So we took full advantage before we hopped in a taxi to get to our guesthouse. (Note: There are better prices on duty free items at other shops around town, so don’t feel like you’re limited to purchasing only at the port.)
Traveling from Koh Lipe to Langkawi was one of the easiest border crossings we had done and it was such a nice change. Although our wallets were considerably lighter, we weren’t worn down by the experience or frustrated with extra “costs”.