Lisa 2 – Last Boat Back After Refit

Phuket Private Boats Tours, Keeping the Boats like New

We here at 5 Star Marine Phuket, take huge pride in our boats. They are only second to our amazing staff in making sure you have an amazing Phuket tour, weather you are going to see the limestone karsts in Phang Nga Bay, or heading to the stunning tropical waters of Phi Phi.

All our boats have been designed and built here in Phuket to our very specific specifications. Each and every year many of our guests comment on our boats and ask how comes they all look brand. Well one thing that we do here at 5 Star Marine Phuket is every year we take each and every boat out of the water for a minimum of 20 days to have a full refit.

Private Phuket Boats – Lisa 2

Lisa 2 is our VIP 39ft Sports Cruiser. She was built in Phuket at we had her out on tour when we first brought her in early 2023. So yes, she is brand new.

However, we felt that she needed some changes after she had been on some Phuket private tours and we had some feedback from the crew and the guests, so in July she came out of the water and headed to the factory.

We spend a minimum of 20 days on all of our Private Phuket speed boats during the Phuket low season to do a full refit. This includes striping off all the paint from the hull and repairing any damage then repainting and brand new antifoul. We take out all the seat cushions and these get sent off to a different factory to be cleaned and new foam added. The wooden deck is removed and gets repainted and sealed. We take off the engines and these go away for a full service and refit. The canape is taken off and replaced if needed and all the chrome on the whole boat is cleaned and maintained and the sound system, yes even the sound system gets a refit.

Lisa 2 our Phuket VIP sports Cruiser was no exception to our annual maintenance for the boats; however, we did a little more on her.

Not only did she have all the standard refit like all our fleet of Phuket Private Speed Boats, BUT we also added thinker foam to all the cushions, a brand-new wooden deck and the biggest change was a hand-built fiberglass full roof cover. It did take more than 20 days to do this, and she was out of the water for almost 2 and a half months, but it was worth it. The new seats are soft and comfortable and the brand-new roof offers far better protection from the sun and if we do happen to get little drops of sunshine falling from the sky.

Lisa 2 is a stunning boat and the VIP lady to our fleet of private Phuket Speedboats, and a perfect boat for Island Hopping around Phuket, Phang Nga and Phi Phi.

Whats Islands Are Open In Phuket In December?

It’s the start of the holiday season here in Phuket and as December starts many tourists book their vacations to Phuket around this time.  Phuket enjoys its ideal weather and calmest waters during the Dry Season. Now is the ideal time to visit different islands!

Many of the islands surrounding Phuket close for a number of reasons from May to October during low season; however, as high season approaches, many islands reopen, and we’ve compiled a list of which ones are open during December in Phuket below.

This beautiful archipelago consists of six small islands off Thailand’s coast, with Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh serving as the main attractions.

Renowned for their awe-inspiring landscapes, turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, the Phi Phi Islands have much to offer. With a Phi Phi Day trip, you will get the freedom to explore these islands at your leisure, tailoring your itinerary to match your interests and desires. Whether you seek snorkeling adventures, refreshing swims or beach time relaxation, our experienced team can assist in crafting the perfect day.

Phi Phi Vs James Bond Which one is BetterVenture into the captivating realm of James Bond Island, nestled within Phang Nga Bay, and discover why it holds an esteemed place among the most iconic destinations. Made famous by the 1974 film “The Man with the Golden Gun,” this limestone paradise continues to mesmerize visitors. Experience the renowned Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island private day trip with 5 Star Marine for a memorable adventure.

Raya Islands Private Boat TourIf you want to escape to paradise, we recommend a private speedboat day tour to Raya or Racha Islands, providing you with a personalized experience tailored to your desires. These islands provide a stunning day trip location to relax and truly step back and appreciate nature. It offers a harmonious blend of peaceful, serene settings together with incredible marine life and some of Thailand’s finest snorkeling areas. Discover secluded tropical white powdery beaches and crystal-clear blue seas, unveiling the natural beauty of this area.

Khai Islands Are Perfect for FamiliesFor the ultimate in easy, or a family-friendly day trip from Phuket, one of the top locations includes the Khai Islands, which are a trio of small islands (Khai Nai, Khai Nau and Khai Nok). They are super convenient to get to, taking merely 20 minutes by private speedboat before arriving at your destination.

Enjoy your time shallow snorkelling right from the beach at the Khai Islands, and luxuriate in seeing fish swim right up close to you and being able to relish the experience based on your own timings.

what_islands_are_open_in_rainy_season_2023_coralCoral Island offers a plethora of exciting activities for both children and adults alike. It is a mesmerizing paradise celebrated for its crystal-blue waters and diverse marine life—a must-visit destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. Situated south of Phuket, Coral Island captivates with its vibrant coral reefs and thriving underwater ecosystems

Similan Islands Private Boat TourSimilan Islands is one of the most interesting snorkeling areas in the world, with stunning crystal-clear waters and an array of marine life. It’s home to turtles and whale sharks (depending on the time of year).

The conditions for coral growth are ideal, with a minimum prevailing sea temperature of about 28°C and exceptionally clear waters. More than 200 species of hard coral alone have so far been identified in this area, while these islands have the greatest profusion of reef fish in Thai waters.

Koh Rok and Koh Ha are two hidden paradises in Thailand that offer unforgettable experiences for divers, snorkelers, and nature enthusiasts. Their stunning underwater worlds, serene beaches, and lush landscapes make them must-visit destinations for anyone seeking a slice of tropical heaven in the Andaman Sea. Just remember to treat these natural wonders with care and respect to ensure they remain pristine for years to come.



Exploring the Tropical Paradise: A Phuket Travel Adventure by Shaun Stenning

According to Shaun Stenning, Phuket, the largest island in Thailand, is a traveler’s dream come true. With its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and exciting activities, it’s no wonder why this island is a top destination for tourists from all over the world.

In this travel blog, we’ll take you on a virtual journey through Phuket, highlighting its must-visit spots and unique experiences.

Patong Beach

shaun-stenning-patong-beachOur adventure begins at the famous Patong Beach. Known for its vibrant nightlife, Patong Beach is also a great place to relax during the day. Sink your toes into the soft, golden sands, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, and savor delicious seafood at the beachfront restaurants. Don’t forget to explore Bangla Road for a taste of Phuket’s bustling nightlife.

Old Phuket Town

Old Phuket TownStepping into Old Phuket Town feels like traveling back in time. The colorful, well-preserved Sino-Portuguese architecture will captivate your senses. Stroll along the charming streets, visit art galleries, and sample local street food. Don’t miss the weekend Night Market for unique souvenirs.

Phi Phi Islands

Shaun Stenning said, A short boat ride from Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands are an absolute paradise. With crystal-clear waters, towering limestone cliffs, and vibrant marine life, it’s a snorkeler’s and diver’s dream. Maya Bay, made famous by the movie “The Beach,” is a must-see spot.


Watch the full video here:

Big Buddha

Big Buddha PhuketStanding at 45 meters tall, the Big Buddha is an iconic landmark in Phuket. The panoramic views from the hilltop are breathtaking, especially during sunset. You can also learn about Buddhism and make a merit by donating to the temple.



Watch full video here:

James Bond Island

According to Shaun Stenning, Made famous by the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun,” James Bond Island is a natural wonder. The towering limestone karsts rising from emerald waters create a surreal atmosphere. Explore the caves and take a long-tail boat tour to truly appreciate the beauty of this unique island.


Watch full video here:

Phuket offers a diverse range of experiences, from relaxing on pristine beaches to exploring vibrant markets and enjoying adrenaline-pumping activities. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker, this tropical paradise has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Phuket, Thailand!

Phuket Traffic, How Bad is it?

Phuket Traffic Is it that bad?

Phuket, a tropical paradise nestled in the Andaman Sea, is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage. However, amid the allure of its natural beauty and tourist attractions, there lies a persistent challenge that both residents and visitors must contend with – the infamous Phuket traffic.

The island’s roadways are a complex tapestry of narrow lanes, bustling thoroughfares, and winding coastal roads. The surge in tourism over the years has exponentially increased the number of vehicles on these already congested streets, creating a conundrum for those navigating the island. From the heart of Phuket Town to the tourist-heavy Patong Beach and beyond, traffic jams have become a daily ordeal that locals and tourists alike have learned to grapple with.

During peak Phuket tourist seasons, (December to March) the situation exacerbates as the island welcomes an influx of visitors seeking sun-soaked beaches and vibrant nightlife. The narrow roads that wind through popular destinations become clogged with rental cars, scooters, and tour buses, creating bottlenecks that test the patience of even the most seasoned travelers.

The bustling nightlife hubs, particularly in Patong, witness a surge in pedestrian traffic, further complicating the vehicular movement.

Phuket’s geography also plays a role in its traffic challenges. The island’s landscape is characterized by hills and valleys, leading to winding and sometimes steep roads. The limited options for major thoroughfares make it challenging to create effective traffic management systems. Moreover, the lack of alternative routes exacerbates congestion during accidents or road closures.

DID YOU KNOW – If you have a traffic accident on the Phuket roads the rules state that you MUST NOT move your car or motorbike. You need to wait until police come and ask you to move (that doesn’t always happen), OR wait for the insurance company to arrive so they can take pictures and this could be up to an hour waiting. Even if you are blocking the street, the rules say you MUST NOT move no matter how big or even how small the accident.

Efforts have been made to address the traffic issues on the island. The construction of new roads and the widening of existing ones are ongoing projects aimed at improving the flow of traffic. Additionally, public transportation options such as buses and shared minivans have been introduced to encourage residents and visitors to opt for more sustainable modes of transport, but to be honest these have not worked.

However, despite these initiatives, the traffic situation in Phuket remains a complex and persistent challenge. Some have suggested the implementation of smart traffic management systems, including the use of technology to monitor and regulate traffic flow. Others advocate for increased investment in alternative modes of transportation, such as cycling lanes and pedestrian-friendly zones (good luck with that).

While Phuket continues to enchant visitors with its natural beauty and cultural treasures, the issue of traffic congestion looms large over the island. Balancing the demands of a burgeoning population and thriving tourism industry with sustainable transportation solutions is an ongoing challenge. As Phuket evolves, finding innovative and effective ways to alleviate traffic congestion will be crucial to preserving the charm and accessibility of this tropical gem.

Your best option, just go out on a 5 Star Marine Phuket Private Boat Tour and stay away from the traffic.

5 Star Marine Phuket Annual Charity Birthday Bash

Over 130 friends and family from all over Phuket headed out for a day of dolphin watching, snorkeling, beach games, and of course FUN for the 5 Star Marine Phuket annual Charity Birthday Bash

On Saturday the 7th of October the pier at 5 Star Marine was buzzing with over 130 people looking forward to a day out with 5 Star Marine Phuket. Breakfast was on hand as well as face painting and balloon animals and everyone was ready for the annual Phuket charity event. There was no fee to come to the event, all we asked was that people donate what they wanted to our amazing charity Living Waters Phuket.

Everyone was ready to go and after a short brief from Shaun the boats filled up and off, we went to the first stop, dolphin watching and snorkeling at Maiton Island.

Maiton Island, nestled off the southeastern coast of Phuket, Thailand, is a pristine tropical paradise that captivates with its unspoiled beauty. This idyllic island, also known as Ko Maiton or Honeymoon Island, boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches, and lush greenery that creates a postcard-perfect setting.

Maiton Island is also famous for its resident population of Phuket dolphins, and very often you can catch glimpses of these playful marine mammals in their natural habitat. Sadly, the dolphins didn’t show up. We think it was because YouTube host Jay Leshark was on the tour and he has a strange dislike for dolphins. So yes, let’s blame Jay.

One of Maiton Island’s other main attractions is its vibrant underwater world, making it a haven for snorkelers and a perfect place to go on the Birthday Bash. The coral reefs surrounding the island teem with a kaleidoscope of marine life, including colorful coral formations, tropical fish, and other fascinating sea creatures.

After an hour and everyone getting all wrinkly it was time to jump back onto the boats and head to the next stop, Coral Island.

Coral Island, locally known as Koh Hae, is a popular island for tourists and locals alike, due to its stunning coral reefs and picturesque landscapes. Located just a short boat ride from Phuket’s southeastern coast, Coral Island is a haven for water enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

A perfect Phuket snorkleing spot

The island’s underwater world is a kaleidoscope of vibrant coral formations and diverse marine life. Snorkelers can snorkel directly from the beach and explore the rich biodiversity beneath the crystal-clear waters. The vibrant coral gardens are home to an array of tropical fish, sea anemones, and other captivating sea creatures, creating an immersive experience. Just watch out for the sea urchins. Stunning creatures but those spikes can be nasty.

In addition to its underwater allure, Coral Island offers an array of water and beach-based activities, from parasailing and banana boat rides to jet-skiing and sea kayaking.

Away from the water, the island boasts pristine beaches with powdery white sand, providing the perfect backdrop for relaxation and sun-soaked leisure. Or if your like us, set up an awesome football pitch with jumpers for goal posts and spend an hour running around in the hot tropical sun getting sandy and (if your like Jay Leshark) forgetting that you are not 20 years old anymore.

Many of the guests just chilled out on the beach and enjoyed some delicious Thai cuisine at the beachfront restaurant, and possibly a few drinks or four.

If you have never been to Coral Island it’s well worth a visit.

Its easy accessibility from Phuket, coupled with its natural beauty and a plethora of recreational offerings, makes it a must-visit destination for those seeking a day of adventure, relaxation, and exploration in the enchanting waters of southern Thailand, and especially if you are a young family.

But enough of the sales pitch.

After a few hours on the beach, it was time to head back to Boat lagoon.

It was a fantastic day and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that came and supported the amazing Living Waters Phuket.

We shall see you all next year for the 5 Star Marine Phuket annual Charity Birthday Bash

Whats Islands Are Open In Phuket In November?

November is the start of the Dry Season / High Season in Phuket with many travellers planning there holidays to Phuket during this time.  During the Dry Season Phuket has it’s calmest waters and best weather conditions.  This is the perfect time for island hopping!


During low season, May to October many of the islands around Phuket close for a variety of reasons, BUT now we are entering high season they open up, so below we have a list of what islands re open NOW here in Phuket.

In the Phuket area, Phi Phi Islands is very well-known. One of its famed islands gained notoriety when it appeared in Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 film “The Beach.”

Contrary to popular belief, Phi Phi is actually a series of six islands rather than the single island that many people think it is. With the exception of National Park buildings, none of these five islands have undergone development or construction. They are Virgin Islands.

Bioluminescent and Sea Canoeing TourDuring your customized Phang Nga Bay tour, 5 Star Marine will lead you through undiscovered lagoons and coves. You will also make a stop at the recognizable James Bond island, which rose to fame as a feature of the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

Phang Nga is perhaps one of nature’s most magnificent artworks, with its expansive karst rock landscape creating an incredibly picturesque setting. You could spend days exploring this place because there are so many interesting formations. Please be aware, though, that this is not for snorkeling enthusiasts. The seascapes, canoeing, caving, and exploration are the main highlights of this vacation.

The two idyllic Racha Islands; Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi, are also sometimes referred to as Raya Island and provide the ideal destination to enjoy nature. With some of the best snorkeling reefs in Thailand and quiet, tropical white powdery beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, they provide a balanced combination of relaxing, tranquil locations with amazing sea life.

It is most popular to explore Koh Racha Yai (situated just 20km south of Phuket, and a mere 45-minute speedboat ride away); however, to experience the plethora of marine life on offer, 5 Star Marine can take you a little further to its smaller twin, Koh Racha Noi – An uninhabited rocky island, with plenty of fantastic snorkeling bays.

When looking for an easy, close-by island day trip that is good for families, snorkelling and relaxing on the beach you can’t beat the Khai Islands. The Khai Islands is made up of 3 separate islands:

  1. Khai Nai
  2. Khai Nau
  3. Khai Nok

Each of the three Islands offers something slightly different for you to experience; Khai Nai offers clear, shallow water and snorkelling which is perfect for families with young children. Khai Nau is also an excellent spot for some snorkelling right off the boat, and has a great variety of coral and marine life to explore. Finally, Khai Nok has some good off the beach snorkelling and offers you the opportunity to relax on the beach.

5star marine coral islandsCoral Island, also known locally as Koh He, is an easy and family-friendly day-trip destination from Phuket.

This beautiful island has 2 main beaches (Long Beach and Banana Beach), where you can find a handful of restaurants, enjoy a few different snorkeling spots, or just relax on its sandy beaches.

Are Similan Islands Open 2023Enjoy a memorable boat trip to the renowned Similan Islands; a stunning archipelago in the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, which is made up of 9 islands (please note that the Similan Islands are only open from October 15th to May 15th each year).

This is one of the best-known island groups in this area, and its fame is heavily due to having some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world. When you first come to these islands, you will see huge boulders sitting on the shores on several of the islands, and these create a distinctive feature for this area.

The beaches are snow white, with soft sand, and are perfect for enjoying a lunch picnic or just to relax upon. You can often enjoy a deserted beach just to yourselves here.

Koh Ha - Koh Rok_Rightside05If you are looking for something a little more exotic, lesser known and arguably as beautiful, (if not more), than the Similan Islands, then this private tour is for you. These small islands are situated just south of Koh Lanta in the Mu Ko Lanta National Park.


For a very special experience, these two islands combine stunning water clarity with a diverse range of colourful marine life and corals, and therefore offer some of the best snorkelling opportunities you can find. In season, you can also regularly see whale sharks between these islands too.

Phuket Charity Fun Run | Walk, Run, Bike 9 Fighting Stroke | Thailand 2023

In a remarkable display of commitment to community and health, Shaun, Jay, and Lucus from 5 Star Marine enthusiastically participated in the Charity Walk, Run, Bike 9, a nationwide event dedicated to fighting strokes.

The trio laced up their running shoes and joined the ranks of participants in the Charity Walk, Run, Bike 9 event. Their involvement in the Phuket 5km run not only showcased their dedication to physical well-being but also demonstrated solidarity with the nationwide movement against strokes.

The scenic route around Phuket Town provided the perfect setting for this meaningful event. As they traversed the streets, the participants not only enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings but also collectively worked towards promoting a healthier lifestyle and supporting the fight against strokes.

The Charity Walk, Run, Bike 9 has emerged as a powerful platform for fostering awareness about stroke prevention while encouraging people to adopt healthier habits. Team 5 Star Marine’s active participation is a testament to their commitment to community welfare and their understanding of the significance of promoting overall well-being.

5 Star Marine Team’s active role in the Charity Walk, Run, Bike 9 for Fighting Stroke not only highlights their commitment to community engagement but also emphasizes the importance of fostering a healthy lifestyle. As events like these continue to gain momentum across Thailand, the collective impact on raising awareness about stroke prevention and promoting overall well-being becomes increasingly significant. Kudos to Team 5 Star Marine Phuket and all the participants for making a positive contribution to this noteworthy cause.

What Islands are open in Phuket, Phang Nga, Phi Phi and beyond.

November 2023

The islands off Phuket, nestled in the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, are a true tropical paradise that beckons travelers from around the world. These idyllic isles, such as Phi Phi, Similan, and Racha, are renowned for their stunning natural beauty and diverse marine life.

With pristine white-sand beaches, lush emerald jungles, and crystal-clear waters, these islands offer a wide range of experiences, from relaxation on the sun-kissed shores to thrilling water sports and world-class diving and snorkeling opportunities. Each island has its unique charm and character, making them an essential part of any visit to Phuket, providing an escape to a world of tropical splendor just a boat ride away from the vibrant culture and nightlife of Phuket itself.

During low season, May to November many of the islands around Phuket close for a variety of reasons, BUT now we are entering high season the open up, so below we have a list of what is open NOW here in Phuket.

Phi Phi – OPEN

Phi Phi, holds a special place in the hearts of travelers seeking the epitome of tropical beauty. Comprising of the two main islands Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, the latter famous as the filming location for “The Beach,” at Maya Bay, these islands are known for their breathtaking landscapes.

Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two, is a bustling hub of activity with a vibrant village, offering a mix of beachfront relaxation and lively nightlife. Meanwhile, Phi Phi Leh boasts dramatic limestone cliffs rising dramatically from the clear waters, creating a mesmerizing backdrop for snorkelers and divers. The Phi Phi islands are a postcard-perfect destination with their emerald waters, palm-fringed shores, and the kind of natural allure that captures the imagination of all who visit, ensuring its status as a must-see destination in Thailand.

Maya Bay – OPEN

Maya Bay, located on Phi Phi Leh, is a place of unparalleled beauty and cinematic fame. This stunning bay achieved international recognition as the primary filming location for the movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Encircled by towering limestone cliffs and boasting a crescent-shaped beach of soft, powdery sand, Maya Bay is a vision of tropical perfection. In recent years, to preserve the fragile ecosystem, authorities temporarily closed Maya Bay to visitors, allowing nature to heal, and they now close it for 2 months every year. Maya Bay’s allure remains undiminished, and its captivating beauty continues to inspire those who dream of experiencing its unspoiled grandeur.

Phang Nga Bay – OPEN

Phang Nga Bay, a natural wonder located along Thailand’s southwestern coast, is a captivating tapestry of limestone karsts, emerald waters, and lush mangrove forests. This bay is celebrated for its surreal and cinematic beauty, made famous by James Bond films like “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

The towering limestone formations, often referred to as “hongs” or caves, can be explored by kayak, revealing hidden lagoons and tranquil grottoes within. With its serene, otherworldly landscapes and rich biodiversity, Phang Nga Bay stands as a testament to the stunning natural beauty that Thailand has to offer, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

James Bond Island – OPEN

James Bond Island, known locally as Koh Tapu, is an iconic islet located within Phang Nga Bay, Thailand. This famous island became a global sensation after it was featured in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

What sets it apart are its distinct limestone karsts that dramatically jut out of the emerald waters, creating a unique and captivating seascape. The tall, slender rock formation, with its distinctive vertical shape, is now synonymous with the allure of Phang Nga Bay. Visitors flock to this picturesque spot to capture the essence of cinematic beauty and marvel at the natural wonder that has become an enduring symbol of Thailand’s stunning landscapes.

The Similan Islands – OPEN

The Similan Islands, a pristine archipelago situated in the Andaman Sea, are a natural paradise that lures adventurers, divers, and nature lovers from across the globe.

Renowned for their unspoiled beauty and vibrant underwater ecosystems, these nine islands are a designated national park, boasting crystal-clear waters, dazzling coral reefs, and a kaleidoscope of marine life.

Divers and snorkelers flock to the Similans for the chance to explore some of the world’s most exquisite dive sites, encountering schools of colorful fish, majestic manta rays, and the occasional whale shark. Above the water, the islands offer serene beaches, granite boulders, and lush tropical forests, making them a haven for those seeking an idyllic and secluded escape. The Similan Islands are a testament to nature’s grandeur, making them a cherished gem in Thailand’s island paradise.

Koh Rock – OPEN

Koh Rock, a hidden gem in Thailand’s Andaman Sea, is a secluded paradise that remains relatively untouched by mass tourism. Located between the popular tourist destinations of Krabi and Phuket, this small and tranquil island is a haven for those seeking a more private and authentic Thai island experience.

With its rugged limestone cliffs, lush greenery, and pristine beaches, Koh Rock offers a stunning natural backdrop for visitors. The clear, aquamarine waters surrounding the island are perfect for snorkeling and diving, allowing adventurers to explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter an array of marine life. While it may lack the bustling nightlife and commercial developments of more prominent Thai islands, Koh Rock’s tranquility and unspoiled charm make it an ideal destination for travelers looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in the pristine beauty of Thailand’s coastal landscapes.

Som Tum, Thai Spicy Green Papaya Salad, Thai Food

Som Tum, Thailand’s Beloved Papaya Salad

Thai cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its bold flavors, aromatic herbs, and harmonious balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy tastes. Among the plethora of dishes that showcase the richness of Thai food culture, Som Tum, also known as green papaya salad, stands out as a flavorful and refreshing delight.

All you need to make a basic Som Tum is:

A green papaya
Some Chillis
Fish Sauce

Pound for a bit in a mortar and pestle and out comes this perfect fresh, tasty and spicy Som Tum.

The Origins of Som Tum

While the exact origins of Som Tum are debated, it is widely believed to have originated in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isaan.

This region is famous for its fiery and pungent cuisine, heavily influenced by Laos and Cambodia.

Som Tum is a perfect representation of Isaan cuisine’s distinct characteristics.

Som Tum’s roots can be traced back to the traditional Isaan mortar and pestle method of food preparation, dating back centuries. The Isaan people would use locally available ingredients like green papaya, fish sauce, lime, and chilies to create simple yet flavorful salads.

Over time, the dish evolved as traders and immigrants introduced new ingredients and techniques to the region.

Som Tum the Perfect Thai Food

So, as I mentioned earlier the fundamental components of Som Tum include:

Green Papaya:

The unripe green papaya is the star ingredient. Its firm texture and mildly sweet taste provide the perfect canvas for absorbing the flavors of the dressing.


Thai bird’s eye chilies are the fiery element in Som Tum. The number of chilies used can be adjusted to suit your spice tolerance.

Fish Sauce:

Fish sauce adds a savory, umami depth to the dish, balancing the heat and acidity.


Freshly squeezed lime juice contributes a bright and zesty sourness.


A bit of sugar, traditionally palm sugar, provides sweetness to counterbalance the sourness and spiciness.


Garlic cloves are pounded in the mortar to release their pungent aroma and flavor.


While the basic ingredients remain constant, there are several regional and ingredient variations of Som Tum across Thailand:

Som Tum Thai: This is the most common version, typically found in central Thailand. It includes roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, and sometimes, yardlong beans.

This one is my favorite. I am always disappointed if I order Som Tum and it comes without peanuts and dried shrimps and you will find many restaurants and hotels that cater to tourist will not add the peanuts and dried shrimp.

Som Tum Laos: In northeastern Thailand (Isaan), the salad often features fermented fish sauce (plara) and can be even spicier than its counterparts.

Som Tum Poo Pla Ra: This variation includes fermented fish sauce, crab, and is often enjoyed with sticky rice.

This one I really don’t like. The fermented fish and crab kinda put me off. It’s not for the fait hearted.

Som Tum Mamuang: This version uses green mango instead of papaya, providing a tart and slightly different texture.

Everyone has their own little tweaks and tricks for their perfect Som Tum, and that’s what makes it such an awesome dish, in fact it’s not just a dish

It’s a representation of the diversity and vibrancy of Thai cuisine.

From its humble origins in the Isaan region to its variations across Thailand, this green papaya salad reflects the country’s rich culinary heritage.

Whether you prefer it spicy, sweet, or somewhere in between, Som Tum is a delightful exploration of Thai flavors that will leave your taste buds tingling and your heart yearning for more.

So, the next time you crave a refreshing, spicy, and utterly satisfying dish, give Som Tum a try, and embark on a culinary journey through Thailand’s remarkable food culture.

Discovering Paradise: The Enchanting Beauty of Phi Phi Islands by Shaun Stenning

According to Shaun Stenning, Nestled in the heart of the Andaman Sea, the Phi Phi Islands stand as a testament to nature’s unparalleled beauty. These tropical gems, located in Thailand, have captured the imagination of travelers worldwide. Comprising of six islands, with Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh being the most renowned, this archipelago is a haven for beach lovers, adventure seekers, and anyone in search of a slice of paradise. In this blog, we will explore the mesmerizing Phi Phi Islands and uncover the secrets that make them a must-visit destination.

A Tropical Oasis

5 Star Marine Phi Phi IslandsPhi Phi Islands boast pristine, powdery white beaches that meet crystal-clear turquoise waters, creating a surreal and picturesque backdrop. The gently swaying palm trees complete the postcard-perfect scene, inviting visitors to bask in the serenity of nature. Phi Phi Leh, the smaller of the two main islands, is famous for Maya Bay, a secluded cove made famous by the movie “The Beach.” The allure of Phi Phi Leh lies in its untouched beauty, with towering cliffs and lush greenery enveloping the bay.

Underwater Wonderland

5 Star Marine Phi Phi IslandsShaun Stenning said, Beyond its stunning shores, Phi Phi Islands offer an underwater paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The vibrant coral reefs are home to a kaleidoscope of marine life, including colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and majestic manta rays. Exploring the underwater world here is like venturing into a living kaleidoscope, where every corner reveals a new and mesmerizing spectacle.

According to Shaun Stenning, Phi Phi Islands stand as a testament to nature’s magnificence, captivating all who venture to their shores. With their pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, adventurous activities, and rich cultural heritage, these islands offer a multifaceted experience that lingers in the hearts of travelers. As we explore this tropical haven, let us remember our responsibility as custodians of such beauty, ensuring that Phi Phi Islands remain a paradise for generations to come. So, pack your bags, embark on this enchanting journey, and let the allure of Phi Phi Islands weave its magic around you