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Dig the hippie-chic vibe of these Koh Tao Bungalows

Please only travel when it’s safe to do so.

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.

Koh Tao is a small tropical island (only accessible by boat) that’s a two-hour passenger ferry ride from Koh Samui.

With plenty of coral reefs, Koh Tao is known for its excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s one of the best places to visit in Thailand.

But where to stay in 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

Koh Tao bungalows
A Sensi Paradise Beach Resort bungalow

As professional travel writers who often receive complimentary accommodation, we confess that we’re terribly spoiled and frequently stay at 5-star hotels.

In Bangkok, for example, we’ve bedded down at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Mandarin Oriental and the Shangri-La Bangkok.

But this side-trip to Koh Tao was going to be “private” holiday time. We were paying for our hotel and we weren’t going to write about it.

Famous last words…

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:

Sensi Paradise Beach Resort has some lovely Koh Tao bungalows
Our bungalow in Koh Tao

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).

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.

There were also some pleasant surprises – like new gold silk curtains we tied back with a tassel and a welcome vase of fresh carnations.

Sensi Paradise Beach Resort, Koh Tao
Sensi Paradise Beach Resort has some lovely beach bungalows in Koh Tao

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.

You get lovely sea views from some of the Koh Tao bungalows at Sensi Paradise Beach Resort
View from our bungalow

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.

We even discovered beach mats and a beach bag in our bungalow waiting for our use!

A daily hot buffet breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon and other items (great vanilla yogurt!) was also included in the rates.

Seaview restaurant at Sensi Paradise Beach Resort, Koh Tao
Seaview restaurant at Sensi Paradise Beach Resort

Perhaps some “luxury” hotels could learn a thing or two from Sensi Paradise, Koh Tao?

Other travelers are impressed with Sensi Paradise too. The resort received a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award in 2020. (See reviews.)

Cool factoid

Koh Tao’s plethora of dive shops are said to certify more scuba divers than anywhere else in the world (except for Queensland, Australia).

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 another resort, before the path finally reaches Sai Nuan Beach.

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.

Booking through Agoda or Booking.com

If you book Sensi Paradise through Agoda or Booking.com, your cost is likely to be some 10% to 20% cheaper than if you book directly through the resort. (It was less for us.)

But expect the rooms to be the lower category ones – Superior (without balcony) or Deluxe (balcony with garden, pool or limited sea view).

Somehow we lucked out, however, by getting a sea view with our Deluxe bungalow booked through Booking.com. (Perhaps the advance email request worked its magic!)

If you have your heart set on an ocean-front or full seaview bungalow, you may want to book directly through the resort.

Sensi Paradise, Koh Tao

Check rates and availability here

3 Other top 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 Village, one of the best places to stay on Koh Tao
Charm Churee Village, beside Sensi Paradise Resort, also has cute bungalows in Koh Tao

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 & Spa

Jamahkiri Resort is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao
Jamahkiri Resort has great views of Shark Bay

It’s quite secluded, has long steep stairs and isn’t on a beach.

Still, Jamahkiri Resort & Spa is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao.

Rooms have lovely wood or tile floors, colorful Thai art and balconies with staggering sea views.

Jamahkiri Resort & Spa is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao
Jamahkiri Resort & Spa is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao

There’s a beautiful pool too, and a free shuttle boat takes you to Haad Tien Beach.

It also has a good dive club.

The pool at Jamahkiri Resort
The pool at Jamahkiri Resort

3) The Place Luxury Boutique Villas

The Place Luxury Boutique Villas is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao, Thailand
The Place Luxury Boutique Villas has villas with private pools and stunning views

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.

The Place Luxury Villas is great for having your own self-contained accommodation in Koh Tao
The Place Luxury Villas is great for having your own self-contained accommodation in Koh Tao

Experience more of Thailand!

Read our posts on:

Phang Nga Bay | See stalactites and stalagmites. And squeeze through narrow tunnels to enter wondrous sea caves. Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay is a day trip of a lifetime!

Koh Samui | Private pool villas? A gorgeous private beach? Say hello to the luxurious Tongsai Bay, set on a beautiful bay in Koh Samui.

Chiang Rai | When in Chiang Rai, don’t miss the Hall of Opium. It offers a fascinating look at the power of poppies.


Pin to Pinterest!

Here’s a good pin for your Thailand or Asia board :-)

Best Koh Tao bungalows and Koh Tao hotels

Photo credits: 3, 5 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Other hotel photos courtesy of the respective Koh Tao hotels


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, luxury hotel reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Therese Strand

Wednesday 6th of April 2016

What a lovely blog!! And thank you for very useful tips :) We usually book directly with the hotel. We're heading to Thailand for my 40th later this year and we are currently researching hotels. We, just like you, are used to slightly more "high end" accommodation but as we're staying away for 3 weeks we need to think more about our budget at times. I trust your judgement and will save this as a possible place to stay.

Janice and George

Wednesday 6th of April 2016

What a nice 40th birthday present! Like you say, on a 3-week trip, staying at all "high end" places can put a strain on the wallet, so mixing it up a little might be a good idea :-). Enjoy Thailand when you go! (And thanks for the kind words about our travel blog.)

Irene S. Levine

Tuesday 7th of April 2015

I haven't used those sites because we also do most of our travel on assignment. Great that the place you chose worked out well. It's hard to get "knocked down" in stars:-)

Tracey

Friday 3rd of April 2015

Three star hotel in a five star location - yes, used lots of different hotel booking sites. I've found the best deals are in South East Asia. Your site is looking great by the way.... Have you revamped it?

Janice and George

Friday 3rd of April 2015

Yes, we revamped our site a while ago. Glad you like it :-). Hopefully our next booking will turn out as good as this one did, but we'll bear in mind that Europe may not produce as good deals as Asia.