After a big reopening early in 2022, Krabi’s Maya Bay, at Phi Phi, is to temporarily close again on the 1st August for 2 months to allow time for the Thailand authorities to check the impact of the last few months of the bay being open, after allowing tourists back on to the beach, and also giving the bay time again to let the wildlife and environment breath.
Owner of 5 Star Marine Shaun Stenning and host of the 5 Star Marine YouTube Channel host Jay Leshark from Shark 13 Productions discuss the closure of Maya Bay as well as talk about other Phuket News stories and also talk about the Phuket Weather during the Low season, or Rainy season, or Green season. It has many names.
Maya Bay is the most notable “Beach” in the Phi Phi Island group, made famous by the 2000 film “The Beach’. The Beach is an adventure drama film directed by Danny Boyle, from a screenplay by John Hodge, based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Alex Garland. In the movie, Richard, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of an odd map that is rumored to lead to an island paradise. Accompanied by a few friends, he sets out to find it.
Since the reopening, almost 100,000 people have visited Maya Bay, bringing in over 20 million baht of income, according to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.
Maya Bay’s 3-year closure was very successful at bringing back plant and animal species that had disappeared due to tourist overrun. The most notable animal to return to breed in the bay is the blacktip reef shark. In March, a park ranger told NPR that before the park closed, when there could be over 6,000 tourists a day, no one would ever think of seeing the local sharks. He said now, on a good day, 160 sharks can be seen.
Enjoy 5 Star Marine’s Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour, where you and your select group of friends can experience the ultimate and iconic scenery on your very own luxury day trip. Discover this world-famous location in style, onboard a 5 Star Marine VIP and upgraded speedboat.
The renowned Bay reopened to day trippers earlier this year, on 1st Jan, after being completely closed to tourists for almost 3 ½ years (by order of The Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation).
However, for purposes of natural rehabilitation, Maya Bay will once again close for 2 months from August this year. However, fear not – this does not mean you cannot enjoy Maya Bay on your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour. As per the original closure period, you can still take in the beauty of the Bay from our private speedboats, yet you simply cannot walk on the actual beach during this short rehabilitation time.
Maya Bay still remains one of the most iconic areas you should visit on your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour; whether the beach is open to walk on or not.
5 Star Marine will ensure that you enjoy the beauty of Maya Bay, whilst practicing responsible tourism to help keep the area protected and allow it to continue regenerating; all this can be part of your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour.
The Marine Park have worked tirelessly to get Maya Bay back to its previous paradise condition; so, we ensure that our tours adhere to the new rules and help demonstrate respectful tourism.
Phi Phi Islands Private Tour Highlights
- Start your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour by heading to Maya Bay at Phi Phi Ley, where you can (August / September 2022) experience this beautiful and famous cove from the comfort of your 5 Star Marine speedboat.
- Cruise around to Loh Samah Bay; a small bay on the other side of Maya Bay which offers some beautiful marine life and makes for a good snorkelling stop.
- Enter into Pileh Lagoon to swim in the clear turquoise waters. Another famous stop on your Phi Phi Private Tour as this lagoon also featured in “The Beach” when Leonardo DiCaprio dived off into the stunning aquamarine waters.
- Explore Small Monkey Beach, where you can see these cheeky little creatures sitting on the karst rocks and relaxing on the beach.
- Your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour could take you to Wong Long Bay, which we can still access despite the narrow entrance.
- Enjoy a picnic lunch, including Thai sharing dishes that we can arrange for you (at an additional charge), on a sandy cove with shallow bay at Big Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don.
- Experience snorkelling at Ao Nuoi and discover rich corals and marine life together with a picturesque beach setting.
- Complete your Phi Phi Islands Private Tour by taking in the beauty of Bamboo Island – a stunning setting, with shallow clear blue waters and a picturesque beach. Enjoy some snorkelling in this area and you might even spot a black tip reef shark.
Phi Phi Islands Private Tour Inclusions:
Our experienced captains and crew know just how to miss the crowds on your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour, so you can sit back and relax knowing you are in safe and capable hands.
During your tour you will get the chance to enjoy the stunning coral reefs around Phi Phi which are bursting with colourful marine life, as well as experiencing the natural beauty of the area. Take your time swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear tropical lagoons as our captains guide you around the area.
To book your Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour:
+66 (0) 93720 6221
Rustic and Blue by the Sea is one of Phuket’s top restaurants and Jay Leshark heads down to Rawai to check out the food and chat with the awesome owner K.Meen and gets to try the Pumpkin gnocchi.
Rustic and Blue by the Sea is set on a hillside in Rawai Phuket, and has stunning sea views overlooking the very South of Phuket. Rawai Beach can be seen from the restaurant as can all the Long Tail Fishing boats that come in daily with their fresh catch.
Rawai and in fact the whole of the South of Phuket is quickly becoming the food capital of Phuket, with a host of new and exciting artisan restaurants opening up. It started a few years ago when RAW and Vegan food started to gain popularity and since then vegan cafes and restaurants have popped up all over Phuket, but the South is where the main focus is.
But it’s not just vegan food that is a big hit in Rawai, artisan coffee shops and cafes are everywhere, and with the easing of the laws on cannabis products, this is now becoming the next growing food and drink trend in Phuket.
Rustic and Blue by the Sea
Opened in 2014 Rustic and Blue by the Sea works closely with local Phuket farmers and producers and brings nourishment to the body and soul, and brings friends, family, and people together.
Whether it’s a brunch or dinner party, or casual catch-up with mates, the Rustic and Blue by the Sea menu has food for everyone and every occasion.
Reservations are encouraged but are not required.
Phone number 0612108548
Line ID: 0612108548
Website – www.rusticandblue.com/by-the-sea
There are many other interesting things to do in Rawai, besides relaxing at Rustic and Blue by the Sea.
- Phromthep Cape offers excellent views of Phuket and the Andaman Sea
- Rawai Park offers a small waterpark, a semi-indoor playground, and an air-conditioned kids’ club. A great place for young families.
- The Phuket Orchid Farm is one of the largest nurseries on the island and has over 15,000 different species of flowers
With a Krabi Private Tour onboard one of 5 Star Marine’s luxury private speedboats, you will get to experience the stunning beauty of Ko Hong Krabi and the smaller Krabi province archipelagos. Plus, you get to enjoy all of this at your own pace when you book a Krabi Private Tour.
The sheer natural beauty you encounter on a Krabi Private Tour is breathtaking. This area provides you with everything you could want from a day out. Indulge in a swim to cool off in an emerald green lagoon, try a spot of snorkeling, discover the white sandy, private beaches, take a hike or enjoy a 360o viewpoint and sightseeing – there is something to keep everyone happy.
Visit Ko Hong on your Krabi Private Tour; it sits in-between the Koh Yao Islands and Krabi mainland and boasts a remarkable lagoon which you enter through a narrow passageway after which 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.
If you wish to pick up the pace a little, why not make your way around to a more recent addition to the island whilst on your own Krabi Private Tour. The breathtaking 360o Viewpoint has an impressive metal staircase structure that was just built-in in 2020. It gives panoramic 360o views of Krabi and the surrounding islands 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.
After enjoying these stunning panoramic seascapes, make your way to Railay Beach for a walk around, discover some caves or stop for a spot of lunch. Alternatively, we can arrange a private western or Thai menu lunch on the beach during your Krabi Private Tour; simply let us know and we can organize this. In the afternoon, you might want to enjoy some snorkeling at Chicken Island or explore the nearby Ko Poda beach.
The choice really is yours, because when you book a Krabi Private Tour with us you get to carve out your bespoke and unique itinerary with the help of our professional and knowledgeable guides. Enjoy your collaborated itinerary planning on the day, for a perfectly balanced experience.
Why Pick Our Krabi Private Tour?
With so much to see and do, the Krabi Private Tour is a perfect mix of sightseeing, adventure, snorkeling, and some of the best beaches in the area. 5 Star Marine are experts when it comes to the wide selection of islands and sightseeing spots around Krabi, and can sometimes get you to stunning locations with nobody else around.
Krabi Private Tour Inclusions
We like to look after all our guests, so you can sit back and relax knowing that your Krabi Private Tour will include the following:
Explore the best destinations around Krabi in ultimate luxury, with your very own, bespoke Krabi Private Tour.
Contact us to book your Krabi Private Tour:
Host of 5 Star Marine YouTube channel Jay Leshark joins a family-friendly trip to Coral Island. 2 boats and 15 kids, how will Jay cope? The only way to find out is to watch the video below.
If you are looking for a perfect family boat tour then this trip is a must. Coral Island, also known locally as Koh He, is an easy and family-friendly day-trip destination from Phuket.
It is one of the most popular tours taken by the Phuket locals and expats families as it’s a short boat trip, so not too long for small children to be on the boat, and it can be part of a dolphin-spotting trip. We might not be able to guarantee dolphins, however, the team are are experienced in knowing the best times and locations to maximize your chances of seeing these playful animals.
BUT we can promise that this trip to Coral Island is awesome.
Coral Island, known locally as Koh Hae or Ko He, is a beautiful destination only a few km southeasts of Phuket. The island has 2 main beaches: Long Beach and Banana Beach. Snorkeling off Banana Beach is really good, especially for young children as you can snorkel right off the beach and children are able to stand up as it’s not too deep.
On Coral Island, you can find a handful of restaurants, enjoy a few different snorkeling spots or just relax on its sandy beaches. There are also an array of activates to do such as Banana boating, parasailing and they even rent out see-through canoes, which are perfect for those who are not too keen on snorkeling but still want to see the amazing Phuket marine sea life.
And for those influencers out there are some awesome Instagram-worthy setups ready for you and your thousands of followers.
This tour, as in all our Phuket boat tours at 5 Star Marine includes soft drinks, water, fresh fruit, life jackets, snorkeling equipment, and of course the excellent team that will guide you on this awesome tour.
Experience stunning seascapes, tropical islands, and limestone karsts around Phuket and the surrounding islands in absolute comfort onboard one of 5 Star Marine’s Phuket Private Tours.
On your Phuket Private Tour, we will send a proposal with a suggested itinerary. Why do we say “suggested”? Well, when you arrive at the pier for your Phuket Private Tour, our experienced crew will talk through the plan for the day. They can make suggestions based on variables outside of our control such as the sea, wind condition, tide, etc.
The choice really is yours because when you book a Phuket Private Tour with us, you get to carve out your bespoke and unique itinerary with the help of our professional and knowledgeable guides. Enjoy your collaborated itinerary planning on the day, for a perfectly balanced experience.
On your Phuket Private Tour, you might select to explore hidden bays, canoe through caves, relax on deserted white beaches, experience exotic marine life in crystal clear waters or even adventure up to breathtakingly high viewpoints. When you book a Phuket Private Tour with 5 Star Marine, we are able to tailor a bespoke itinerary just for you on your day trip / multi-night tour.
You can pick from a range of exotic and stunning island locations on offer, or why not try our “Phuket By The Sea Tour” which is our unique Phuket Private Tour program that leaves from the 5 Star Marine pier in Boat Lagoon and travels under the Sarasin bridge before you could make your way down to Banana Beach past Surin, Kamala and Patong for example, stopping off at a few of Phuket’s top-class beach clubs.
Phuket Private Tour Destination Inspiration:
A few examples of exotic journeys you can make with 5 Star Marine on your own bespoke Phuket Private Tour:
- Phang Nga Bay to visit the infamous James Bond Island
- Phi Phi, including Maya Bay (which opened again to guests in January 2022) – the location of The Beach film
- Racha Islands soft white sandy beaches and abundant marine life
- Dolphin spotting at Koh Mai Ton
- Coral Island with full beach club, massage, and restaurant amenities at Banana Beach Club
- Krabi, Hong Krabi lagoon, and the 360-degree viewpoint
- Koh Ha and Ko Rok for something a little more exotic and lesser-known
- Easy to access and shallow snorkeling at the Khai Islands
- Tropical paradise in Koh Lipe
Your Very Own Phuket Private Tour
- Our crew will be dedicated entirely to you, your family, or friends on board; attending to your requirements for the ultimate Phuket Private Tour
- We can tailor a unique and customized program, to ensure the day exceeds your desires
- We are flexible on pick-up and drop-off locations to suit you (hotel, pier, beach, etc.)
- You can choose to remain at a lagoon or private beach for longer if you would like; you won’t have to fit in with a tour group timetable
- With a small and intimate group of people, you get the flexibility to make the day what you want
- You will get to discover hidden coves and caves that you will not experience on group tours
- We can organize a private beach picnic for your Phuket Private Tour
Phuket Private Tour Inclusions
We like to look after all our guests, so you can sit back and relax knowing that your Phuket Private Tour will include the following:
Explore the best destinations around Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay, and beyond in ultimate luxury, with your very own, bespoke Phuket Private Tour.
Contact us to book your Phuket Private Tour:
When you book our Khai Islands Private Tour, you get to experience not just one, but a group of three famous, small islands.
Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai and Koh Khai Nui; each offer something slightly different, and The Khai Islands Private Tour is a mere 15 – 20 minute speedboat ride from our centrally located pier in Phuket, Boat Lagoon.
These three popular and family-friendly islands are situated close together and are especially appealing for beginner snorkellers because you can go straight off the beach on some of the islands to enjoy the underwater vibrant coral and marine life on offer.
With our Khai Islands Private Tour, your day trip is customisable; there is no need to rush to get to the next island, or restrictive time slots for lunch. If you are enjoying your picnic lunch on the beach (which we can arrange for you, including Thai sharing dishes and western favourites) then just let us know and take your time to relax for longer.
With our Khai Islands Private Tour, there is no set schedule; the day is bespoke for you, so it will be very different to the more rigid timings you might find with the group tours.
Therefore, if you are looking for an easy, close by island day trip that is good for families, snorkelling and relaxing on the beach you can’t beat 5 Star Marine’s Khai Islands Private Tour.
Let’s take a look at what the three Khai Islands have to offer:
- Koh Khai Nok
The distinctive egg-shaped island of Koh Khai Nok helps to explain its other known name “Egg Island”. It is blessed with soft, sandy beaches, and the water is crystal clear with a pale blue tinge. Simply standing in the water just off this island you will get to see plenty of colourful fish, so it is a perfect spot for swimming and snorkelling. On your Khai Island Private Tour, you can take your time to enjoy this islands’ sandy beach, relax and take in the sights and experience some off-the-beach snorkelling here.
- Koh Khai Nui Island
Khai Nui is another wonderful spot for snorkelling, this time right off the boat. It is another picturesque and small island you can visit on your Khai Islands Private Tour. It boasts pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters abundant with a great variety of coral and marine life making this a great spot for swimming, diving and snorkelling off the boat.
- Koh Khai Nai
This is the largest of the three islands and Koh Khai Nai offers clear, shallow waters which makes it popular and a safe choice. This area offers some perfect snorkelling opportunities for families with young children due to the shallow, clear waters. There is also a postcard on a white sandy beach to enjoy a spot of lunch on.
5 Star Marine’s Khai Island Private Tour
Our Khai Island Private Tour is personal and customisable, so your day trip itinerary will take into account what you want to get out of your day, be fully flexible so you can spend more time doing what you enjoy, and be a combined itinerary with our experienced guides. Our guides and captains will ensure that you discover the three islands in the best possible conditions, and understand that timing at Khai Islands can be important to give you the best experience on the day.
Contact us to book your Khai Island Private Tour:
Jump back on board with Jay, Alex, and the crew of Lucus 1 as they continue their 3 days 2 night exploration of Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai, Phi Phi, Railay and beyond.
These overnight tours are a special addition that we set up here at 5 Star Marine when the pandemic started. If you are looking for something different, unique, and adventurous then this is the tour for you.
Watch along below:
So, as we start to see trickles of tourism return to the island, we have been answering lots of questions from many of our 1st time bookers as well as our return guests. Let’s explore some of the most common questions we’ve been asked:
Q: What is the tour itinerary?
When you hire a private boat with 5 Star Marine, you get sent a proposal with a suggested itinerary. Now, we stress the ‘suggested’ part, and this is why; when you arrive at the pier for your private luxury tour, we will talk through the plan for the day. We make suggestions because there are variables outside of our control such as the sea, wind condition, tide, etc. Our concept is a joint idea between you and your guide on the day, for the best experience.
We take into account your requirements for your day out, and we apply the variables to come up with the best tour itinerary for the day. For example, if the tide is high on your Phi Phi private luxury tour date, we suggest you go to Phi Phi Ley first (explore Maya Bay, Pi Ley Lagoon, go snorkeling near the Viking cave), and then in the afternoon head over to Phi Phi Don.
However, on another day there will be low tide in the morning and high tide in the afternoon; therefore, the itinerary would need to change in order to see Maya Bay at its most beautiful, for example.
This is why the itinerary is suggested, not set in stone. We allow for you to add in more snorkeling stops if you please, and take your time; there are no set schedules of rushing for the next stop like you might experience on group tours.
Q: How long do we get for lunch?
The answer is simple, it is however long you want it to be. As it is a private boat, essentially the boat is yours and your captain and crew on the day are there to give you the ultimate day out so they will take into account your requirements and help guide you.
Q: Should we leave super early to avoid the crowds?
We are starting to see a slight uplift in tourism, and hope that towards December we will see further recovery.
We get asked a lot; how do we avoid the crowds? As a private boat hire you do have the option to go out early, however, this isn’t the only way to avoid the crowds. What we suggest is that we help you retime your tour.
Our experienced guides know that Maya Bay, for example, will be busy between 10 am -11 am but afterward, when the group tour boats leave to go for lunch you can take the opportunity to miss the crowds then. We might suggest you leave the pier at 10 am and get to Maya Bay at 11 am, as other group tours will go to lunch between 12:30-2:30 at Phi Phi Don, so you can find quieter spots by retiming – not necessarily by leaving super early or later.
Out teams know how to create better timings for the destinations, which we refer to as “reverse timing” so we are not following the group tour timings/program. With our private boats, you get the ultimate flexibility and privacy to allow for this.
Although there are now more crowds than during the peak of international shutdowns with Covid-19, there are still plenty of stunning and beautiful places to explore, so now is a great time to get out and see for yourself whilst tourism isn’t back at the same level as before.
Contact us to book your private tour:
One of our most popular day trip destinations is the world-renowned James Bond Island Private Tour, which takes you to Phang Nga Bay. This luxury VIP speedboat Private Tour allows you to enjoy famous sights, along with more active pursuits such as exploring caves in the area and taking a canoe out around the formations.
Whilst on our James Bond Island Private Tour, you will get to discover the stunning and vast karst limestone seascapes which jut out of the emerald-green water, giving the Phang Nga Bay area a truly unique and visually stunning location to explore.
Of course, our experienced teams will get you to the famous Koh Tapu (James Bond Island) to enjoy the scenery of probably the most notorious spot in Phang Nga Bay. Boats are not allowed too close, as this is a protected marine area, but you can get snap happy at the famous sight from Koh Ping Ghan; an island with an immensely tall leaning rock and some small caves to explore.
Since the mid-1970s, James Bond Island has been popular with tourists as it became a major attraction following its appearance in the Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun; where it provided the hideout for Bond’s antagonist – Scaramanga.
In fact, this destination has continued to prove so popular that in the pre-pandemic days there were near on 1 million people per year coming to the area. Of course, this helped support the locals, shops, restaurants, and the floating Muslim community of Koh Panyee; where huts, restaurants, and even a floating football pitch are built over the water.
However, Covid-19 brought with it a harsh blow to the community with barely any visitors; on the other hand, it provided the peace and quiet that this area needed so very much. In turn, with more or less no tourists and far fewer boats venturing out to the area, this famous landmark and surrounding areas got their first chance in over 40 years to recover and recuperate.
The James Bond Island Private Tour is certainly something that should be on your bucket list, especially now that it is quieter than ever before. This Private Tour has something for everyone; whether you want to experience stunning seascapes, partake in canoeing, caving or explore famous locations; in more peace and quiet than in the last 40 years.
James Bond Islands Private Tour Highlights
Your James Bond Island Private Tour will accommodate your desires for the day. Our experienced captains and crew will help you beat the crowds and give you a day to remember. Some of the stops you might want to make on your day trip include:
- Stop by Panak Island to float along gently inside one of the hidden caves surrounded by mangroves, before enjoying a peaceful golden bay all to yourselves.
- Move onto Ko Kudu Yai to take in the exquisite beauty of the clear turquoise water in this stunning lagoon.
- At lunchtime why not make your way to the small island community of Koh Panyee; where huts, houses, and restaurants are built on stilts over the water.
- Then get your Bond Instagram to pose ready as you make your way to James Bond Island, which can be viewed from Koh Ping Ghan.
- Continue on your James Bond Island Private Tour with some sea canoeing or cave exploring before making your way back to base.
- Perhaps you might make a final sunset stop at Koh Pear, a small strip of an island that looks and feels like you are walking on water – a perfect end to the day.