As part of a six-week Asia trip, we were heading to Koh Samui, Thailand. And we wanted to visit Koh Tao too. We love snorkeling and diving. And Koh Tao – a small tropical island only accessible by boat (a two-hour passenger ferry ride from Koh Samui) – is known for its coral reefs and excellent scuba diving and snorkeling.
But where to stay on Koh Tao? After considerable research, we booked one of the delightful Koh Tao bungalows at Sensi Paradise Beach Resort.
Koh Tao Bungalows at Sensi Paradise
We’re normally terribly spoiled and stay at 5 star hotels. But this side-trip to Koh Tao was going to be “private” holiday time; we weren’t going to write about it.
Well, it seems you can’t get rid of the travel writer personas in us, because here we are – writing about our Koh Tao accommodation anyway!
Sensi Paradise, Koh Tao, review:
The 3 star Sensi Paradise offers traditional Thai-style bungalows, houses and villas for families and couples.
Our wooden bungalow on concrete pillars was quite rustic and simple, with white tile floors (higher category bungalows have polished wood floors). And the open shower in the bathroom had a concrete floor with a fairly basic shower head.
But it was spotlessly clean.
And our bungalow had everything we needed for a comfortable stay – good air conditioning, a king-size bed with white duvet, quiet location – plus some pleasant surprises, like new gold silk curtains we tied back with a tassle and a welcome vase of fresh carnations.
We had requested a quiet Deluxe bungalow with a sea view.
So even though we’d booked through Booking.com (and shouldn’t have expected a sea view), it was very nice that Sensi Paradise gave us a bungalow with an almost full-on view of longtail boats plying the bay in front.
There were more things to like too.
Free pick-up from the ferry dock (who knew there’d be a gent with a Sensi signboard waiting for guests!); welcome hibiscus drink; slippers and waffle robes; shampoo, soap and body lotion (no conditioner though); free WiFi (though it only worked properly in public areas); and friendly staff – even beach mats and beach bag waiting in our bungalow for our use!
A daily hot buffet breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon and other items (great vanilla yogurt!) was also included in the rates.
Perhaps some “luxury” hotels could learn a thing or two from Sensi Paradise, Koh Tao?
Walk to Sai Nuan Beach:
One thing you should do if you stay at Sensi Paradise is to walk from the resort south along the coast to Sai Nuan Beach. The paved path with bamboo railings snakes through the trees, hugging the hillside, and runs through the neighboring Koh Tao bungalows of Charm Churee Village, then Bamboo Huts resort, before the path finally reaches Sai Nuan Beach.
It’s a brisk 20-minute walk each way, up and down stairs, with great sea views. A bit of a work-out. But that makes a cooling swim afterward back at Sensi Paradise’s pool all that more delicious. (Did we tell you the resort has two swimming pools that look like they could belong to a Four Seasons?)
And Sai Nuan Beach itself is a pleasant laid-back place to spend a few hours.
If you have your heart set on an ocean-front or full seaview bungalow, you may want to book directly through the resort.
3 Other great Koh Tao Hotels
While on Koh Tao, we checked out some other places to stay – we couldn’t help it!
1) Charm Churee Village:
Charm Churee boasts a gorgeous setting on a virtually private bay, with colorful bungalows resting on stilts at the water’s edge and an on-site PADI shop.
Like Sensi Paradise, it’s also an excellent mid-range option for Koh Tao beachfront bungalows.
2) Jamahkiri Resort:
It’s quite secluded, has long steep stairs and isn’t on a beach. Still, Jamahkiri Resort is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao. Rooms have lovely wood floors, colorful Thai art and balconies with staggering sea views.
There’s a beautiful pool too, and a free shuttle boat takes you to Haad Tien Beach. It also has a good dive club.
3) The Place Luxury Boutique Villas:
Want a private honeymoon-worthy villa?
The Place Luxury Boutique Villas come with kitchenettes (complete with Nespresso coffee machines), private infinity pools and huge sun decks with bean bags to lie on while taking in the ocean views. Set in the jungly hillside, the villas (which get rave reviews) are about a 10-minute walk to Sairee Beach. Mountain bikes are free to use.
Photos 2 and 4 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Other hotel photos courtesy of the respective hotels
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We’re Janice and George Mucalov, professional award-winning travel writers, sharing tales of luxury travel with a twist of adventure.