Traveling with conditions like hEDS, PoTS, and MCAS can be challenging, but with the right preparation, research and planning that I share on this platform, I hope it can be possible for you. I've found that choosing one exceptionally beautiful destination and staying for an extended period is better for my health and comfort, giving adequate time for rest days/weeks and with simple activities like swimming and hydrotherapy that I find amazing for managing my conditions
Travelling across Southeast Asia islands in December 2019-March 2020, my partner and I fell in love with this paradise so much that we stayed for 6 weeks, and then returned in the summer of 2023 for another 6 weeks three years later!
Why Koh Lipe?
After exploring various Thai islands, my journey led me to the conclusion that Koh Lipe is a true gem. It excels in terms of convenience, size, natural beauty, and development. This tiny island, shaped like a lady's shoe, is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park and measures just around 3.5km in length and 2.5km in width.
Central 'Walking Street'
Koh Lipe boasts one main 'walking street' where you'll find shops, boutiques, pharmacies, restaurants, cafes, and most bars all conveniently located. This compact layout ensures that everything you need is within easy reach, even on days when mobility is a challenge.
The Maldives of Thailand
Often referred to as the "Maldives of Thailand," Koh Lipe has incredibly beautiful beaches with coral reefs and lagoons. Whether you choose Sunrise Beach, Pattaya Beach, Serendipity Beach, or Sunset Beach, you're in for an unforgettable experience.
All of Koh Lipe's mesmerising beaches are within walking distance. For those who may struggle with long walks, tuktuks are available to transport you comfortably. It's a fantastic alternative, especially if you have mobility issues and prefer not to risk riding on a motorbike. However if you use a wheelchair full-time I'd recommend bringing a rough terrain and sand suitable wheelchair. I'd say that this island is most suitable for variable mobility and dynamic disability and similar conditions that I expereince.
While Koh Lipe has beach and reggae bars that offer a relaxed atmosphere during the day and evening, it's not an overly "party" destination. This makes it ideal for travelers like me who can't handle intense party scenes due to health symptoms. Plus, if you ever use weed for pain relief (though it's technically illegal), you'll find it available in these bars.
Koh Lipe's unique charm includes daily opportunities for snorkeling. The coral reefs are less than 50 meters from each beach, making it easy for you to explore marine life and vibrant coral formations with minimal effort.
Exciting Boat Trips
If you're up for adventure, Koh Lipe offers an array of boat trips that take you to specific snorkeling spots with brilliant and colorful corals. It's a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts.
Catering to Allergies
For those with allergies or a desire to eat healthily, Koh Lipe has a café that serves vegan and vegetarian options. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they accommodated my allergies, ensuring I could enjoy delicious and safe meals throughout my stay.
The only negative is that the journey from Hat Yai is a bumpy speedboat in the low/rainy season.
So, if you ever need to get a bumpy speedboat here's what I recommend:
- Ask to be booked onto a bigger boat with more engines
- Give yourself contingency for travel days to go when the ocean is flatter and with the wind and check the wind speed and direction, above 20/30 knots is BAD
- Did you know that it's less bumpy at the very back (you can ask them to board first if you have any spinal issues etc)
- Especially for spinal issues bring every cushion you can (coccyx x2, blow up cushions)
- Take travel sickness pills in advance
Aim to travel there from Langkawi, Malaysia on a ferry (not-bumpy) but they only run in the high season - which is what we've discovered from our various trips to the island. My cervical instability does not do well with bumpy speedboat journeys!
In summary, if you're searching for a serene island paradise in Thailand that's easy to navigate, breathtakingly beautiful, and offers a relaxed vibe, Koh Lipe is your answer. Be cautious of the journey there and ensure you go the best route without a bumpy speedboat if possible. It's a destination that caters to both your dynamic disability type health needs and your desire for a truly memorable travel experience.