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One of the most frequent requests to land in my inbox is for recommendation on where to stay in Koh Tao. (Which, by the way, along with most questions I get asked, is answered on my FAQ page! Did you know I have an FAQ page? If not, check it out!) Unfortunately, until now, I had little advice to offer — I always rent long term accommodation on the island and have little, if any, pulse on the hostel or hotel scene.

Which is why I’ve made it a goal to stay a few nights at a hotel or hostel every time I’m on the island, from here forward — so I can start putting together some recommendations for you guys.

First up? in North Sairee.

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Because Aminjirah is off my usual Koh Tao circuit, I’d actually never even laid eyes on it before staying there. But it seems I was one of the few — my expat friends named it as their new favorite day-off pool to crash and raved about the Mexican food and sunset views. Soon, I’d see why.

Rooms

One thing I liked about Aminjirah right off the bat is that they have rooms at a wide price range. From small, garden facing budget villas to ocean view suites with private plunge pools, they really cater to a wide range of travelers. Rooms start at $45 and go up to around $160, with up to 15% off early bird specials available if you book far enough ahead.

Because it was low season, I was lucky enough to be upgraded to the Moon Ocean Pool Villa. In addition to the usual high end amenities — air conditioning, a fabulous shower, a tv and mini fridge and good free wifi — it had a really luxurious private outdoor space to boot.

I mean, I think we can all agree that any room that involves a private plunge pool with ocean views is a thing of beauty to be celebrated.

Room at Aminjirah Koh Tao

Room at Aminjirah Koh Tao

Bathroom at Aminjirah Koh Tao

Bathroom at Aminjirah Koh TaoLiterally the view out the bathroom window.

Private Pool at Aminjirah Koh Tao

There were even carefully placed bamboo walls around to make sure that the various rooms with balconies and plunge pools had privacy — a very thoughtful touch. Heather stayed in a separate slightly more budget room, and while it lacked a pool it was insanely spacious and decorated with the same attention to detail.

Grounds

Aminjirah is a hillside resort, meaning everything is connected by winding paths of stairs — this is definitely not a place for the mobility impaired. But it means that Instagram-worthy views are literally around every corner, most notably at what I think might by the island’s most enviable infinity pool.

Aminjirah Resort

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Not bad, eh? The onsite restaurant, located right beyond the pool in the above picture, serves up an eclectic mix that includes highly recommend Mexican food and one of my favorite salads on the island. While certainly not the cheapest on the island, the prices aren’t that bad, considering the location — as I said, plenty of expats come here to eat on a regular basis. The one thing I felt was really overpriced were the shakes, but maybe I’m just too used to the cheap roadside version. The were delicious though, when I guiltily ordered one.

The only menu item that we universally concluded needed work? The pizza. Everything else was thumbs up.

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Favorite Features

Clearly, the pools and the views at Aminjirah won me over, as did being able to order a really delicious poolside salad (not true everywhere on the island, in my pool crashing experience.)

Another thing I loved? That Aminjirah offers a Mystery Room option for $65 a night — you might end up in the Garden Bungalow, sure, but you also might end up in a suite for the steal of a lifetime! For those that like to gamble it’s a fun option.

I also really appreciated Aminjirah’s location — it was just a four or five minute drive from downtown Sairee, but with none of the noise pollution you’d deal with if you were staying on the beach. And while the road is clearly uphill and I am a very cautious driver, I felt totally comfortable driving it even at night. For those that don’t want to rent a motorbike, there are shuttles in and out of town — and either way, free pickup and dropoff at the pier is included.

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Room For Improvement

I’d love to see Aminjirah put in an onsite spa someday — I’d love to get a massage with those ocean views! Also, while Heather and I were staying at the resort, breakfast was not included, which I found odd at that price level. However, looking now it appears that breakfast is showing as included with bookings, so I’m glad to see they changed that.

Really, the only person to whom I would not recommend Aminjirah is a person who absolutely does not want to rent a motorbike. In that case you’d be restricted to the daily shuttle in and out of town, very expensive taxis, or long fifteen to twenty minute walks into town.

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Final Word

I give a thumbs up. It hit that perfect note of barefoot luxury — all the comforts of a high end resort (with rooms at budget prices!), but nothing so polished or posh that it felt out of place on laid back Koh Tao. For mid-range to high-end travelers, it hits all the right notes — and for two backpackers looking for a splurge, the budget rooms are a pretty amazing deal too.

Aminjirah Koh Tao

Is there anywhere you’ve stayed on Koh Tao
that I should add to my list of places to check out?

. . . . . . . . . . .

Many thanks to Aminjirah for hosting me so I could write this review (my friend Heather paid for her own room and we paid for all our own food and drinks.) As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.

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53 Comments...
  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    February 17 2015

    I’ve got to get over my fears and ride a scooter. In Goa everyone rides ones with their babies in tow. I have a car here because I thought it was safer…. and it’s fine, but when reading this I realized man, I couldn’t stay there because I can’t ride a scooter!
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      I used to have the fear too girl! But yeah, no cars on Koh Tao — scooters all the way!

  • Leah
    February 17 2015

    I’m pretty positive I’ve seen photos of Addy crashing that pool before. Looks lovely! AND THAT SUNSET THO.
    Leah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      I’m basically going to be a regular there now!

  • Nicole
    February 17 2015

    Looks gorgeous! Definitely making a mental note to have it in mind when booking a hotel for me and my boyfriend’s anniversary when we’re on the island this fall šŸ˜€

    We’ve only stayed at Regal Resort on Koh Tao, but enjoyed that a lot. Very good location (right between Sairee and Mae Haad) and it’s actually ON the beach. It also has three pools, which is pretty nice šŸ™‚ We stayed there for two weeks, and were really happy with our choice of accommodation šŸ™‚
    Nicole recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      Regal is also a pool I’ve crashed on a regular basis šŸ™‚ Another expat fave!

  • Marni
    February 17 2015

    It boggles my mind that you can get all of that for about the same cost as a boring hotel room here in North America with access to a pool overrun by children. The view from the pool is worth the cost alone in my opinion! I actually also love the idea that it’s easiest to get to by scooter – it makes it feel even more removed.

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      I know, right?! Between two people, the $45 room is just a crazy deal.

  • Kyla
    February 17 2015

    I love reading your Koh Tao posts! This brings me back. Used to skype with my parents at this pool.
    Kyla recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      Aw, they bring me back too! Can’t wait for my actual (physical) return…

  • Marie @ Marie Away
    February 17 2015

    This place looks amazing! I never made it to Koh Tao during my time in Thailand, but reading your blogs and seeing the photos makes me drool a bit. This looks like a honeymooners paradise.

    Plus, the food looks pretty good too:)
    Marie @ Marie Away recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      It’s definitely a really romantic spot. And best part? BARELY ANY KIDS!

  • Krystle
    February 17 2015

    We rented the poolside room at the Aminjirah for our anniversary this summer. The reviews on Trip Advisor were pretty stellar, so I figured that we couldn’t really go wrong šŸ™‚ Glad to hear the hill isn’t too bad, I was a little worried about that.
    So happy that you enjoyed your stay.
    Krystle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      Oh amazing! You are going to love it! Happy honeymoon šŸ™‚

  • Anna
    February 17 2015

    Seeing as I just came back from a weekend in Boston, where the snow piles are a couple feet ABOVE my head, I’d give anything to be in that pool right about now!
    Anna recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      God bless ya, Anna — I can’t do winter anymore! Good luck getting through this one!

  • becky hutner
    February 17 2015

    good rec! not sure when life will take me back to thailand but when it does, koh tao is firmly on the list, along with this resort x
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      Looking forward to beefing up this series upon return — there are so many gems on Koh Tao.

  • Liz H
    February 17 2015

    This may be super creepy that I noticed but I’m risking it….the Bearded Bartender has been rubbing off on you – in reading your last 8 posts in quick succession to get caught up, you’ve been using the word “eh” like a true Canadian! Aboot time! ( <– Get it??)

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      GOT IT! Ha…. I did notice the other day I said sorry the very Canadian way (“soh-ree”). So many Canadians in Nicaragua! Who is back watching the country?!

  • Chris
    February 18 2015

    Beautiful looking spot, but $45 is still way over our usual budget!

    Maybe we need a treat every now and then… šŸ™‚
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 24 2015

      I think one is deserved every once in a while for a special treat!

  • Sky
    February 18 2015

    Oh, those views are GORGEOUS. Totally wroth the price, I’m sure!
    Sky recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 24 2015

      For a special splurge, heck yes šŸ™‚

  • Julia Nix
    February 19 2015

    I can imagine how you would have your friends to behave & stand aside before you start taking pictures. Work starts as soon as you check in huh šŸ™‚ Especially no messing or jumping into the bed yet kinda rule. LOL.

    • Meihoukai
      February 24 2015

      Nope! Everyone waits outside until photos are finished šŸ™‚

  • Uma
    February 20 2015

    While the $45 room may not be as baller as the suite you showed off in this post, I can’t believe that price can get you staying on the grounds of a hotel that awesome … great post!
    Uma recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 25 2015

      It was a fun find, indeed. Looking forward to reviewing more Koh Tao hotels!

  • Lindsey
    February 23 2015

    This place looks so incredible. I’m coming to thailand with 2 friends for the first time in May and this place is now at the very top of our list. This page is bookmarked on my phone, iPad and work desktop, so that I can see it whenever I get sad about anything or stressed with work. I found myself looking back at it 5 times today!

    Oh and ive never before commented on a blog before, but ever since booking my trip to thailand I’ve started reading your blog. And I’m absolutely in love with it… I’ve now got my girlfriends that are coming on the trip with me to read it too!

    Thank you so much xx

    • Meihoukai
      February 25 2015

      Aw, you are so welcome Lindsey! So glad to hear this has been a great resource for you. Aminjirah would be the perfect place to get away with some girlfriends! Hope you love it as much as I did… and glad you said hi šŸ™‚

  • Sam
    February 25 2015

    Thank you Meihoukai for recognizing the fact that we have a diverse range of rooms. The resort is centered around what was me and my wife’s private home 14 years ago and has very slowly evolved into what it is now. We don’t want to be run off the mill and just want happy guests. We will work on the pizza and the spa although not some fancy smanzy thing, just gold of fashioned massage with a view. Possibly up in the big tree. That would be something šŸ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      February 25 2015

      It would indeed! I’m all about a massage with a view šŸ™‚

  • Hey Meihoukai!
    Totally loving all your blog! A really big thumbs up I have to give you for your amazing photographs you take! They’re perfect! šŸ™‚
    Uelito @ Flashpacking The World recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 3 2015

      Thank you Uelito! I really appreciate that!

  • Aytim
    May 18 2015

    We are considering getting pedal bikes. how much of a hill is there going to the hotel? How about the main drag from sairee to chalok. are there very many hills on the main road?

    • Meihoukai
      May 19 2015

      I think you might struggle on a pedal bike unless you are VERY fit and an experienced biker. There are several hills and some of them very steep. Sairee to Chalok is a bit flatter. Sorry to deliver bad news!

  • Reading your review and seeing your gorgeous pictures makes me excited as I’m off to Koh Tao in a few weeks and am staying at the Aminjirah for 3 nights! We’ve opted for the ‘mystery room’ so fingers crossed for that suite of a lifetime!!
    x

    • Meihoukai
      July 13 2015

      Awesome! I will keep my fingers crossed for you šŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Tamara
    August 11 2015

    Oh my goodness. How funny to see that you have reviewed Aminjirah! My husband and I stayed there for a few nights as we wrapped up our 5 week Thailand adventure. We loved it so much that we ended up staying an extra night because we just didn’t want to leave. Only complaint was the food– just not great. My husband ordered the Chicken Cordon Blue one night, and it came absolutely RAW in the middle. Like, still-bleeding raw. And we didn’t realize it until he’d eaten 1/4th of the thing!! Ahhh! Fortunately no stomach issues ensued. Anyway, it was a GORGEOUS spot and the staff were so wonderful and friendly. Glad to see you enjoyed it too!

    • Meihoukai
      August 11 2015

      There were definitely some food issues that needed to be cleared up — ugh, I got a little nauseous just reading your story! Glad no illness resulted!

  • Shayan Naveed
    September 8 2015

    I hear and read all these stories about Ko Tao…murders, rape, attacks by hotel managers…can you shed some light on this via an article or emailing me? I’d like to go there but need to know if it is safe.
    Thanks!

    • Meihoukai
      September 10 2015

      Everyone has to make their own decision and set their own comfort levels, but I can tell you that I am returning to Koh Tao again very soon and feel perfectly safe to do so. Murders and rapes sadly happen anywhere in the world and while the investigation of the infamous one you were referring to has been tragically mishandled by police, it was the first recorded murder of foreigners ever on Koh Tao. Considering the number of tourists here each year since the 1980’s those are impressive stats compared to many other popular travel destinations. Best of luck with your decision.

      • Shayan Naveed
        September 10 2015

        Thanks Meihoukai! Yes you’re right. Those are isolated incidents blown out of proportion, like in many cases around the world. My mind was made up ever since I first saw Nang Yuan pictures…the safety thing was to reassure parents and parents in-law + the wife. Again, thanks for the helpful advice. Hope to bump into you in Koh Tao or Bangkok sometime.
        Shayan Naveed recently posted..

        • Meihoukai
          September 10 2015

          Just tell them you know a small blonde girl who travels there all the time all by herself and couldn’t be happier every time she’s back šŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Aminjirah
    September 30 2015

    To the poster above with the Chicken Cordon Bleu: it is not on our menu so how is that possible? Just asking !!

  • Jen
    November 23 2015

    Hi! Nice, comprehensive review of Aminjirah. I am really tempted to book their mystery room for 5 nights, but the facts that it is on a hill 20 mins from Sairee and that we have a 6-month old with us are holding me back. But we are a pretty fit, we-used-to-hike-but-now-we-walk-10,000-steps-with-the-pram kind of couple and I am thinking we can handle it. Given this condition and having tried the hotel yourself, would you still recommend it to us? šŸ™‚
    Looking forward to enjoying Koh Tao in January,
    Jen

    • Meihoukai
      November 25 2015

      Hey Jen! That’s a tough one. Normally I’d say, rent a bike! But I don’t know how comfortable you’d feel driving a scooter with an infant (plenty of locals and expats do it here, but I know some would be horrified at the idea). I do think it is quite a long walk in the heat every time you want to head to the beach or back, especially with a pram and all the stuff babies require šŸ™‚ I think unless you guys would be comfortable driving or forking over cash for taxis, you might be happy somewhere closer. (Thalassa is a great option location and comfort-wise though no pool or view…)

  • clare stammberger
    January 19 2016

    hey Meihoukai please let me know which room to book if I’m average income and alone and what about food?

    • Meihoukai
      January 20 2016

      Hey Clare, I’d check their website for room prices and options. There’s a restaurant on site and the hotel isn’t too far from Sairee!

  • Jamie Springberg
    February 8 2017

    Hi Meihoukai, I am a female solo traveller on my first big backpacking trip and have been following you for over a year. I just got to Koh Tao yesterday and am staying at this resort as a treat. I’ve been going through all your Koh Tao posts and am glad that I was lucky enough to find this place on Trip advisor. I’ve just been sitting by the pool all day and love it though everyone else here is much older than me (I’m 22) and all couples. šŸ˜‰ I want to explore the island but I’m unsure about renting a motorbike as I’ve never ridden one before and I’ve heard it’s hard here. Would you say I should rent one?

    • Meihoukai
      February 8 2017

      Hey Jamie! First of all welcome to Koh Tao and I’m so glad you’re enjoying Aminjirah! Renting a bike, that’s a tough question. I’ve seen so many accidents and motorbike scams here it makes me nervous to recommend it to a new driver — this is really not the best place to learn for so many reasons. Do you enjoy hiking? If so, that’s a great way to see the island! And if you’re here for diving, they’ll often pick you up at your resort. If you do rent a bike, I’d recommend just being super cautious and park at the bottom of any hills and enjoy the hike to get to the top šŸ™‚ It’s a gorgeous island to see on two feet, though I do enjoy driving myself to the base of any trails…

      • Jamie Springberg
        February 9 2017

        Thanks for the advice! I decided not to rent one; I will try renting one in Koh phangan when I get there tomorrow. I would have liked to go hiking but I got a horrible sunburn yesterday so I didn’t go any farther than Sairee beach.

        • Meihoukai
          February 9 2017

          Koh Phangan is definitely a better island to learn on — the roads are generally better maintained and in my opinion there is a little less traffic šŸ™‚ Have a blast and I’m glad you enjoyed our little island!