We know that uncertainty remains at unprecedented levels globally, but we wanted to take a moment to look back on all the positive experiences from the last year, to realize how far we have come – and wow what a year it has been for us.
We took time to regroup and focus on reprioritizing our efforts in the last 12 months, and this meant rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. We re-evaluated in order to understand where new opportunities could open up for us and where they made sense. We continued supporting the vulnerable communities and the people around us via our charity efforts. We focused on the upside wherever we could see or create one. We wanted to look at where we could add value to our community and what we should be doing during this time.
All in all, we are feeling positive about the future and wanted to share our top positive moments from the last year with you:
1. Adding To Our Fleet
Let’s start with our speedboat fleet, which has doubled in size; we now have a total of 12 Private VIP Speedboats which offer day and multi-night tours out of Phuket and Krabi. We introduced our first VIP Luxury Cruiser, which is a proud extension to our current speedboat fleet and offers a truly unique experience on the water.
2. New Premises
To accommodate our growing fleet size, the domestic market support, and prepare for the return of international tourists, we moved piers and into a new office at Boat Lagoon, Phuket. Our new glass-fronted office is a more welcoming environment for all our loyal VIP customers and future private tours.
3. Once In A Lifetime Experiences
We are humbled and know how lucky our crew, staff, and guests have been in the last year. We had the opportunity to experience Phuket and the Islands like NEVER before. Deserted beaches, empty turquoise lagoons and even being some of the first people to climb the new 3600 Krabi Viewpoint. We made unforgettable memories and feel blessed to have these with us forever.
4. New Tour Options
We introduced overnight and multi-day tours to our Phuket and Krabi markets. This included supplying private guests with island hotel return transfers, and adding new day trip locations such as Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, and Koh Kradan. We also had some exciting and memorable multi-night tours to paradise locations such as Koh Lipe, where our guests experienced manta rays and turtles amongst other stunning marine life.
5. Our Charity Efforts Kept Going
We financed, packed, and delivered over 190,000 Life Bags to support the local, vulnerable communities; not only in Phuket but in the hard-to-reach surrounding islands where help was so greatly needed. Our teams of staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly ordering, packing, managing logistics, and delivering these food-based Life Bags for over 15 months now. Often exhausted from the sheer scale of efforts, our teams have stood strong and kept these efforts going each and every week – We want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved in this critical effort.
Here’s to more positive times ahead in 2021 and beyond.
As Covid continues to restrict the local Phuket economy our team here at 5 Star Marine, lead by Shaun Stenning continues to dig deep and help the community. The third wave of Covid created more devastation than any other wave has.
This means that our team has had to step up and deliver more life bags and meals than ever before. Take a quick look at the last 14 days in review:
Phi Phi is infamous in the Phuket region, with one of its iconic islands featuring in the 2000 movie, “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
A Phi Phi private tour with 5 Star Marine offers crystal clear tropical waters with stunning coral reefs to produce fantastic snorkeling, abound with marine life. Plus, the spectacular and well-known Maya Bay is a must-stop spot for some snaps. Move onto a quiet picnic spot on the white sand of Monkey Beach, and experience the stunning Pileh Lagoon for a truly memorable day out. Pileh Lagoon is the perfect spot to cool down and take a dip in the turquoise waters whilst admiring the cove-like canyon which literally cuts into Phi Phi Leh.
Star Marine ensures that you discover the area in the best possible conditions, with the least number of tourists, and also get to discover hidden coves and caves that you will not experience on group tours.
Your day in the paradise that we refer to as Phi Phi could look something like this:
- Photos at Maya Bay
- Swimming at Pileh Lagoon
- Stopping at Monkey Beach
- Picnic lunch at Loh Lana Bay Beach
- Snorkelling at Nui Beach
We are excited to announce that we have been keeping ourselves busy in the last few days by taking a giant (out of water) leap and moving into our brand-new office space. This has been a natural progression for us, as we continue to expand our business to meet new domestic and international market demands.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 situation, we are not able to do our grand opening just yet and invite you all to see our new space; however, with our tours now resuming, and international bookings coming in, plus our valued customers coming into our offices it is important you all know where we are now located.
Don’t worry, we are still based in Boat Lagoon, Phuket; and to make things easy we have remained on the same side of the pier, just a little further down (about 150 meters) in our new two-story glass office.
We are just settling into our new space, and as we all know things take a little time to get just right, but we hope to welcome you for the grand opening as soon as we are able to.
Please follow the Google Maps link below to meet us for your tour, or feel free to drop by if you fancy saying hello and seeing the team!
If you didn’t know, for the last 14 months our business has been helping our local community survive through one of the most economically trying times ever seen.
As a tourist island, Phuket was devastated by Covid leaving so many without work, businesses closed and the local community needed help.
Seeing this need we stepped up and financed the purchasing, packing, and delivery of life bags all over Phuket.
Here’s a quick look at what we did in May:
International Travellers – What You Need to Know
Phuket will be the first destination in Thailand to reopen to overseas tourists, from July 2021. This comes after over 15 months of the island being closed off to tourists; and now the local businesses, restaurants, hotels, and shops are looking forward to welcoming travelers back. Thailand has a full Covid-19 plan to reopen the whole country, and this starts in July where fully vaccinated tourists can fly to Phuket without the requirement to quarantine.
Under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ program, Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists, starting from 1 July 2021. Tourists will be required to spend the first seven days on the island, before being allowed to travel to other Thai destinations. (source TATNEWS.org)
Phase 1: Phuket
From the 1st July 2021, fully vaccinated travelers can visit Phuket without the need to quarantine on arrival.
The main requirements for overseas tourists are set out below*
- Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required (full vaccination)
- Obtain a Certificate of Entry (CoE) before departure
- Travel insurance with Covid-19 cover
- Download the Thailand Plus tracking application before departure and upload the required information
- Must fly directly to Phuket International Airport*
- Present a negative PCR test result (issued a maximum of 72 hours before departure)
- Covid-19 test on arrival
- Stay in Phuket for a minimum of 7 days
*Please enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in your own country for up-to-date travel requirements and to ensure you are eligible for quarantine-free arrival into Phuket.
5 Star Marine Private Boat Tours
From July 1st, we are looking forward to welcoming back our international market VIP guests with a range of private boat trips. We are excited to give our staff the opportunity to work with international guests again and we also want to give you the chance to explore some exciting destinations whilst the islands are still blissfully quiet and beautiful.
From 1st July 2021 we are able to offer private tours to the following destinations:
Please contact us to book your bespoke VIP boat tour experience.
We are often asked if we are continuing with our donation work during 2021.
The answer is YES. Not only are we continuing with our donation work we have increased the amount we are donating and the frequency of our donations.
During April Phuket saw a resurgence of Covid with daily case numbers creating concern with our Provincial Government.
To curb case numbers the Government introduced restrictions that severely limited the already limited amount of business that we could conduct.
This created an increase in demand for life bags as people who were “surviving” left with no road to income.
In response to this, we increased the number of life bags we were packing and delivering.
You can see a short summary of the last 2 weeks of packing and delivery below:
During the last few weeks, our private boat tours have been put on hold to help keep Phuket safe. During this time, we have been able to concentrate on our charity efforts as well as finding safe and responsible ways to get our VIP guests back out on the water. Our piers, boats, and office have all been thoroughly cleaned by Government provincial teams, plus staff members have been PCR Covid-19 tested – and we are happy to report that all of our fantastic team are officially Covid-19 free.
Therefore, from 1st June 2021, we are looking forward to welcoming back our existing VIP guests as we will be re-opening with a range of limited private trips. Please note that all guests will be required to complete a short Declaration Form prior to being accepted on board, and also must comply with all Provincial announcements. These precautions and regulations will enable us to re-open our operations on a smaller scale to keep staff and guests safe.
Re-opening at this point is important to give our staff the opportunity to work again and keep motivated during these difficult times. We also want to give you the chance to explore some exciting destinations whilst the seas are still calm, and the islands are blissfully quiet and beautiful.
From 1st June 2021 we are able to offer private small group tours to the following destinations:
If you would like to book a trip to the aforementioned areas, please get in contact to book and fill in our Declaration Form.
Here at 5 Star Marine, we passed a huge milestone this April (2021) – of over 14 months of continuous efforts supporting vulnerable communities in need situated in and around the Phuket and Phang Nga areas.
Over 60-weeks of donations have produced an incredible amount of these Life Bags; more than 160,000 have been paid for, packed, and delivered to date. Each one containing staple items such as eggs, oil, noodles, sauces, and rice, among other essentials.
So, what do these numbers actually mean? Well, each Life Bag can feed a family of 4 for 5 days, which means that over the last 14 months we have already helped over 640,000 people, (and counting), get access to basic food supplies. Our teams put themselves out there in the local communities, going out at least twice per week to make these deliveries, so this number is rising every day.
Through this initiative, we are happy to report that we have already made a huge difference and been able to target some of the remote, hardest to reach, and most at-risk areas and islands utilizing our fleet of 5 Star Marine speedboats.
Even the current and previous waves of Covid-19 here did not halt our charity drives. After seeing first-hand how much devastation was caused to the local economy, our 5 Star Marine team now continues to work even harder to find solutions to continue these indispensable efforts.
We have worked long and hard to build trusted relationships with a network of local OrBorTors, and these connections have enabled us to get insights into the real needs of these communities. So, we are able to identify the highest priority villagers, and where to focus efforts several times a week. The necessity for these Life Bags is now, sadly, greater than ever.
Packing had previously been at Sutai Muay Thai on Saturday mornings by teams of volunteers and schools; in a Covid-19 safe and TAT SHA compliant way. However, as the number of active cases in Phuket has increased, the decision was made to keep everyone safe by reducing the number of packers and revert back to the original core group of 5 Star Marine and Sutai Muay staff (April 2021). With an ever-increasing need for Life Bags as the months go on, it means that our small-scale team will work around the clock to ensure no one is left out.
Our scaled-back team recently managed to finish 1,000 Life Bags in a long 6-hour packing window. To put this into perspective, this would normally have taken just 1 hour with the usual volunteer numbers. However, our team didn’t stop there and after finishing the mammoth packing task, they then went on delivering them without a break.
During the past few months, we have received increasingly frequent and anguished requests for help. Community visits have clearly highlighted that some villagers are desperate, they simply don’t know where to turn, and they are truly struggling.
However, in order to prepare for the road ahead, we at 5 Star Marine have increased our own funds available for donation; meaning we can help more people in need. We will continue to help the communities during this pandemic, and beyond too.
With an understanding that plastic usage during food donations is not ideal, we have teamed up with UWC Thailand to come up with solutions and ways to reduce this.
So, please rest assured that throughout this pandemic, we have and will continue with the buying, packing, and distribution of Life Bags to the communities who rely on us, and often have no other means of getting food.
Please follow @5StarMarinePhuket on FB to see our donation activities. Also, when packing efforts resume, (please note these are currently paused for the safety of volunteers and staff), then why not volunteer some of your time to help out – this really will make a difference.
Stay safe and be kind.
From the 5 Star Marine team.
Ko Hong Krabi and the smaller Krabi province archipelagos are typically quieter than the more popular Phi Phi or Phang Nga Bay areas. However, the area provides you with everything you could want from a day out with your friends or family – snorkeling, discovering white sandy private beaches, hiking, or sightseeing – there is something to keep everyone happy.
Ko Hong Krabi sits in-between the Koh Yao Islands and Krabi mainland and already had a great name for itself with its stunning lagoon. Entering through a narrow passageway you are greeted by the scenic and mesmerizing Ko Hong Lagoon. This striking turquoise body of shallow water is surrounded by high rock walls lined with lush mangroves giving a forgotten world feeling to it. Only accessible by small boat or longtail, some areas are so clear and shallow you can easily see your feet on the underwater sand.
You could even get to enjoy the mystical sense of being in this bright turquoise lagoon all to yourselves as 5 Star Marine have the knowledge and expertise to miss the rush and give you the most private and memorable time here.
After taking in the vibrant colors of Ko Hong Lagoon, let your adventurous side loose and make your way around to the most recent addition to the island; the breathtaking 360o Viewpoint. This impressive metal staircase structure was built in 2020, during Covid, and was designed to give panoramic 360o views of Krabi and the surrounding islands. It certainly delivers and is arguably one of the best seascape views of the Krabi island sets, Phang Nga Bay, and surrounding islands in the national park that you can get from anywhere.
The climb is not for the fainthearted as you need to ascend the metal stairs (all 419 of them) and progress along wooden walkways for around 10 – 15 minutes in the heat before reaching the top viewing platform. Here, your efforts will be greatly rewarded with the most spectacular view. At around 109 meters above sea level, it is definitely a steep climb, but totally doable and worth the exertion to get to the top to see views of tropical islands and karst limestone mountains jutting out of the emerald waters. This experience is perfect for a group of friends or families with children; just remember to take shoes with you.
Once you have had your fill of these stunning panoramic seascapes, make your way back down to the shore and catch your breath before heading out to your pick of fantastic snorkeling and island locations nearby. With clear waters, secluded lagoons, and abundant marine life in the shallow and deep-water coral reefs; you could even get lucky enough to spot a reef shark on your adventure.
With so much to see and do, the Krabi Islands are a perfect mix for sightseeing, adventure, snorkeling, and private white sandy beaches.