Rules for Domestic Guest Speedboat Day Trips – October 2021

The weather is starting to turn, the seas are getting calmer and in addition, the islands around Phuket are still quiet.

So, this really is the best time to appreciate a VIP speedboat day out on the water with friends and family.

For clarity, 5 Star Marine have broken down the rules per destination for all our DOMESTIC / EXPAT guests; effective 1st October 2021.

Phuket Provincial Islands:

For the following islands, we simply need your Passport Copy, (on your phone is sufficient). That is it, no further requirements:

  1. Mai Ton
  2. Coral Island
  3. Racha Islands

Out of Phuket Province Islands:

For the following islands we simply need your Passport Copy and Vaccination Certificate:

  1. Phi Phi*
  2. Phang Nga Bay*
  3. Hong Krabi*
  4. Khai Islands*
  5. Koh Rok
  6. Koh Ha
  7. Similan Islands
  8. Surin Islands

* Covid-19 tests are NOT required for any of the above islands.

** If you are unvaccinated a simple Antigen Test in most cases is all that is needed to visit these locations.

Here is a great graphic that summarises this all:

sandbox rules updated

With the requirements hugely easing, please contact us to book your memorable day out on the water, or if you have any questions about the new rules.

Island Hopping Here We Go

We are thrilled to welcome a LOAD of new destinations to enjoy from 1st October; and yes, these are going to be open to both Sandbox and Domestic guests.

With the change in season, the seas become calmer so let’s take a look at the exciting new destinations which now become accessible; working our way out from our base pier in Boat Lagoon:

1. Khai Islands

Three popular and family-friendly islands offering shallow snorkeling only 15 minutes from the pier. These islands are close together and are especially good for beginner snorkellers as you can go straight off the beach and experience a plethora of tropical fish. Also, a great spot for a beach picnic.

2. Mai Ton & Coral Combination

5 Star Marine runs a respectful dolphin spotting program at Mai Ton Island which is around 30 minutes from Boat Lagoon, where you can also snorkel before making your way to Coral Island, with beautiful snorkeling, plus relax on the beach with great vibes on Banana Beach Club, which also offers activities, massages, lunch, etc.

3. Racha Islands

The two idyllic Racha Islands; Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi, provide some of the best snorkeling reefs in Thailand and quiet, tropical white powdery beaches with crystal-clear turquoise waters. With Manta Rays and Whale Sharks hopefully coming back again this October / November, don’t miss your chance to spot these magnificent creatures.

4. Phi Phi

Phi Phi is a particularly well know location in the Phuket region, and now with the change in season you can take advantage of some stunning location all to yourself – literally, you might just be the only boat out there! Enjoy Phi Phi Ley and Bamboo Island and chance spotting turtles and clownfish.

5. Krabi Islands and Hong Krabi

The turquoise waters of the Hong Krabi Lagoon are to die for, and why not get your adrenaline going with a climb up to the new 360-degree viewpoint on Hong Krabi? This 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. It might be a long climb but it is worth the reward. Enjoy the infamous Railay beach for a lunch stop and gorgeous scenery too.

6. Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga truly is one of natures’ spectacular works of art; where the vast karst rock scenery presents a visually stunning location. This location provides a different type of tour, it is not a snorkeling tour, but more about the seascapes, canoeing, caving, and exploring.

7. Koh Rok

The sea becomes like a lake in high season, making Koh Rok and Koh Ha idyllic destinations to make the most of when the season comes around. This area combines stunning water clarity with a diverse range of colorful marine life and corals and therefore offers some of the best snorkeling opportunities you can find. In season, you can also regularly see whale sharks between here and Koh Ha also.

8. Koh Ha

This offers some of the best snorkeling, stunning soft sandy beaches, and is less crowded than the better-known Similan Islands. A little further to travel compared to most of our other day trip locations; but well worth every minute for the guaranteed natural beauty and a great stop on the way to Koh Lipe.

9. Koh Lipe

This will open up in the next few weeks and boy are we raring to go! Koh Lipe is bursting with things to see and do; enjoy a romantic time at Sunrise or Sunset Beach, explore the coral reefs snorkeling at Red Coral, head to Monkey Beach or Stonehenge Rock. You might even get to spot the odd whale shark, Manta Ray, or turtle.

10. Similan & Surin Islands

Two phenomenal island-hopping destinations are situated off the West Coast of Phuket.  These areas are bursting with amazing marine life, rich coral, and sandy white beaches. Enjoy 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. We can’t wait for it to open from October 15th to May 15th. Further away and only open 6 months per year, due to the monsoon season plus in an attempt to preserve the marine environment.

11. Phuket By The Sea Tour

This unique program leaves from Boat Lagoon and travels under the Sarasin bridge then you make your way down to the banana beach past Surin, Kamala, and Patong for example, where you can stop off at a beach club or two!

So there you have it – 11 amazing tours opening up from 1st or 15th October. There are a few rules and regulations for Sandbox and Domestic customers, but please contact us to find out more, and in most cases just need your passport and proof of vaccination.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and explore while you can!

New Island Destinations for Phuket Day Tours

From the 15th of October 2021, there will be additional day tour options available to both Domestic and Sandbox customers. This time of year brings with it a change from the Monsoon to the Dry Season; where you can enjoy calmer winds and sea conditions which unite for a perfect combination for a day out on the sea.

This time of year also welcomes the reopening of the Similan and Surin Islands, by the National Park departments.  Two phenomenal island-hopping destinations situated off the West Coast of Phuket.  These areas are bursting with amazing marine life, rich coral and sandy white beaches.  Similan and Surin islands are only available to visit 6 months of the year, so this is something we have been looking forward to.

This year 5 Star Marine has licensed its fleet of boats to enter the stunning areas in and around the Similan and Surin Island National Parks.

The great news is that this means that both Domestic customers and Sandbox guests can all enjoy the natural marine richness and crystal clear blue waters these locations have to offer.

In addition to these destinations opening, the islands of Koh Rok and Koh Ha will also be able to welcome guests.  These are another two fantastic snorkeling and Day Tour locations that are a “must-see” and feature on many bucket lists.

To find out all the details about these new openings as well as take a sneak peek at what these destinations have in store for you, check out the YouTube video below:

Here we go Again! – Phuket Sandbox Rules Update

Today we are thrilled to report good, positive news – now doesn’t that make a change to the negative news cycle?

The new Sandbox rules mean that from now on it is easier than it has ever been before for Sandbox guests to explore Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island, Phi Phi, Hong Krabi, and beyond.

In fact, we were just out at Phi Phi enjoying the stunning Pileh Lagoon. Now, if you have ever been or seen photos you will know that this gorgeous lagoon is normally crowded with well over 100 boats at one time; but for this day trip the 5 Star Marine speedboat was the ONLY one in the lagoon – yes you read that right. Can you imagine having this all to yourself? A priceless experience, never possible before, so now really is the best time to explore exotic locations with a luxury speedboat day tour.

Let’s Explore

Private VIP Speedboat Day Tours Days 1-7 (Sandbox Guests)

  • Koh Mai Ton for some dolphin spotting
  • Coral Island for snorkeling and relaxing at the beach club
  • Koh Racha for superb underwater marine life

Private VIP Speedboat Day Tours Days 8-20 (Sandbox Guests)

  • Phi Phi – stunning lagoons and beaches
  • Hong Krabi – the new 360 Degree Viewpoint
  • Phang Nga Bay / James Bond Island – canoeing through the caves, enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the infamous island
  • Khai Islands – snorkeling in shallow waters
  • Koh Mai Ton – dolphin spotting
  • Koh Racha – stunning marine life
  • Coral Island – beautiful beach resort
  • Koh Lon – sunset cruise

Requirements Just Got Easier

All you need to give us is:

  1. A copy of your passport
  2. Your Vaccine certificate

That’s it – no long, confusing list anymore! You just provide us with these 2 items plus approval to talk to your hotel and we take care of EVERYTHING else. We coordinate with the SHA manager at your hotel to get the paperwork required, so you only need to worry about where to explore next.

No More Tests

For Day Tours from days 8-20, the new rules mean that you DO NOT need to take another Covid-19 test which is great news and one less thing to think about.

SHA Approved

Of course, we are proudly TAT SHA Plus approved, but now are also SHA Plus Transportation Approved so the entire speedboat fleet is licensed and approved by the Government and Marine Department to go outside of the Phuket Province. For our Sandbox guests, this means that every single boat is safe, secure and Covid-19 approved. Plus, we test staff weekly as an added measure to make guests feel comfortable and safe.

Look What Is Around The Corner!

On October 15th we are more than a little excited to report that the Similan, Surin Islands, Koh Rok, and Koh Ha are all open and are ready for your to explore (Sandbox guests between day 8 -20). We have no doubt that it is going to be amazing to be out there at these paradise islands by yourselves – literally experience them like NEVER before.

Contact us to find out more or to book your Sandbox tour.

What to Look for in a Sandbox Phuket Private Boat Charter?

Deciding where you want to explore on a Phuket Private Boat Charter, as well as who to book the tour with can lead to a confusing choice overload. To help determine what to look for we have considered the more important criteria, so you can focus on what matters when looking for a Sandbox Phuket Private Boat Charter.

Certified for Safety – TAT SHA Plus

Since 2020, 5 Star Marine have run Phuket Private Boat Charters under their TAT SHA approved status. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) awarded 5 Star Marine with this certification, as a tourism-related business on the island; and the TAT Safety and Health Administration Plus Certificate is proudly held by the company.

As one of the first tourism services to gain TAT SHA Plus status in 2021, this recognized that 5 Star Marine is certified as adhering to all public health measures set up for Covid-19 safety, and as such allows guests to feel safe and secure onboard their fleet of private speedboats.

Responsible Employee Vaccinations

5 Star Marine has gone over and above with 100% of their employees (all crew, captains, and office staff) being fully vaccinated and up to date with boosters. Although TAT SHA Plus status only requires 70% of employees to have been fully vaccinated, the company took the extra steps and preventative measures as your safety on board is absolutely paramount.

Rules – Practice Makes Perfect

It is of uttermost importance that tour companies keep updated with the latest rules and regulations, so here at 5 Star Marine, we do the hard work to understand how new regulations affect you getting out on the water.

Management and crew go out to newly opened locations under the Sandbox rules to personally check the requirements for themselves. This means you can be 100% comfortable when you go out on your Phuket Private Boat Charter, knowing that 5 Star Marine’s knowledge of the rules have been tried and tested in advance.

Flexible Cancellation Policy

Payments for your Phuket Private Boat Charter can be made on the day, 5 Star Marine do not take deposits so there is no need to worry about refunds or lost money if the weather turns poor. Obviously, we cross our fingers and toes for smooth seas and bright skies, but in the event that the tour date is predicted to be poor weather, 5 Star Marine will re-schedule with you.

Luxury Inclusions

To make sure you have the best time on your Phuket Private Boat Charter, 5 Star Marine add in a few little extras for your comfort and convenience during the trip:

  • Masks and Snorkels
  • Fins (Adults)
  • Life Jackets
  • Insurance
  • Beach Mats
  • Tour Photos and Video
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Soft Drinks and Water
  • Picnic or Thai Sharing Lunch (available on request / extra cost)
  • Licensed Guide
  • Hand Sanitiser

Please feel free to contact us to help you get out and explore your Phuket Private Boat Charter; right now you can experience the stunning islands like never before, with so few tourists around. We look forward to welcoming more international travelers onboard for once-in-a-lifetime experiences with 5 Star Marine.

Breaking News – Phi Phi, Phang Nga and Khai Islands Day Trips

We have just received updated and encouraging new rules for Domestic and Sandbox guests which make day tours to locations such as Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay even easier.

Here at 5 Star Marine, we have already done the hard work to understand how this affects you getting out on the water, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that we are up to date with the latest requirements. Drum roll please, we have some BREAKING NEWS!

Breaking News (from 8th September):

So, let’s break this down and look at the main positive changes with the new regulations:

DOMESTIC CUSTOMERS

  • You can now take a day trip to Phi Phi, The Khai Islands, and Phang Nga Bay (previously you could only go to Coral Island, Racha, or Mai Ton) – please note all criteria below must be met
  • Now you only need 1x RTPCR or Antigen test from Phuket for a day trip to Phi Phi, Khai Islands, or Phang Nga Bay (previously 2x tests were required)
  • Domestic customers can depart from Boat Lagoon

Domestic Customers’ Requirements:

  1. Proof of vaccination
  2. RTPCR or Antigen Covid-19 test (within 72 hours of the tour)
  3. Register with us 6 hours before the tour
    • We will register you with the marine department and relevant national parks
  4. Passport copy

SANDBOX CUSTOMERS

  • If you are on the 7+7 Sandbox Program, you can now take a day trip to Phi Phi, The Khai Islands, and Phang Nga Bay from day 8 – please note all criteria below must be met

Sandbox Customers’ Requirements:

  1. Proof of vaccination
  2. RTPCR or Antigen Covid-19 test (within 72 hours of the tour)
    • This rule just got easier as you can use your day 6 or 6 test for the tour on day 8, for example
  3. Register with us 6 hours before the tour
    • We will register you with the marine department and relevant national parks
  4. Passport copy
  5. PLUS your MorChana app on your phone
  6. PLUS a transfer form from your hotel (issued after the 7th night of stay) for Phi Phi, Khai Islands, or Phang Nga Bay

Please feel free to contact us to help you get out and explore Phi Phi, the Khai Islands, and Phang Nga Bay now, whilst you can experience these areas like never before with so few tourists around.

Whether you are a Domestic or Sandbox customer we are ready to welcome you safely onboard our TAT SHA Plus certified fleet.

 

Food Relief Efforts 1.5 Years In – Biweekly Update

With no end in sight from the devastating community impact, here at 5 Star Marine, we’re working around the clock to make sure more people than ever before receive a vital helping hand. Despite the challenges, we have managed to make August the largest month for Life Bag donations so far, with OVER 17,000 Life Bags given out in the last 15 days alone!

Here’s our update from the last 15 days so you know what we have been up to, and wow it has been busy:

  • Covid-19 cases are sadly still rising in Phuket
  • Therefore, we cannot enlist our wonderful volunteers to support this process
  • 5 Star Marine and Sutai Muay Thai have continued packing efforts throughout to ensure this donation program does not stop
  • In addition, we had help from the UWC Thailand teachers as well as various household/villa complex packers to help try to keep up with the need on and around Phuket
  • Every single day our team is out packing and delivering our Life Bags
  • We are proud to be helping those who really need it in community isolation and people in need in hotel isolation, as well as our usual community areas we assist

In the last 2 weeks, we have managed to pack and arrange deliveries to local communities and islands surrounding Phuket, including Kow Kaew, Koh Sirey, Rawai, Na Nai, Chalong, Bang Rong, Thalang, Naka Yai, Coconut Island, Irsunthoon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao plus numerous other locations.

We are doing our best to uplift the local spirits, with the biggest month so far for Life Bag donations, we are managing to help even more than before; despite the lack of ability to use volunteers, no Domestic travel, and a small trickle of Sandbox guests. We are currently in one of the worst situations we have been in with regard to food relief, but we are still going.

Our Life Bag donation effort has now reached 1.5 years. We know there are so many more to help, and it is devastating to see, but we have to keep going, and so we continue reaching out to those we know need it most. We look forward to updating you in 2 weeks’ time on our efforts. Stay safe.

Domestic Vs Sandbox Rules

With all the different rules and regulations depending on if you are a domestic guest or a Sandbox visitor, we thought that this needed breaking down; so here it is: 

CURRENT REGULATIONS

 DOMESTIC GUESTSSANDBOX TRAVELLERS
PierBoat Lagoon, Chalong PierChalong Pier
Destinations*Coral Island, Racha Islands, Mai Ton IslandCoral Island, Racha Islands, Mai Ton Island
VaccinationProof not requiredVaccination certificate required
MorChana AppNot requiredMorChana App on phone required
ID**Passport copy or Thai IDPassport copy or Thai ID
Rewards StampAvailable for Racha and Mai Ton tripsAvailable for Racha and Mai Ton trips

* As we are unable to leave the Phuket province (until 16th August) the day trips are currently restricted to Coral Island, Racha Islands, and Mai Ton Island.

** Identification as indicated in the table has required a minimum of 24 hours prior to the boat trip departure.

AFTER 16th AUGUST?

For domestic guests, the following areas are due to open up after 16th August:

Please note that you will need to be fully vaccinated with the exclusion of children and those under 12 years old do who do not need a negative Covid-19 test. Fully vaccinated adults must provide a negative antigen test also (rules as of 8th August 2021)

Remember to request your Rewards Passport, to get stamps for your day trip experiences – collect all 7 destinations and get a totally FREE day trip, no hidden extra charges!

Whether you are a domestic or sandbox customer we at 5 Star Marine are ready to welcome you safely onboard our TAT SHA Plus certified fleet.

 

NEWS UPDATE – Sandbox Customers Island Tours

PART 1: New Rules for Sandbox Customers  

Phuket recently announced some changes for Sandbox customers; what they can do and where they can go. A brand new update states that Sandbox customers can now go to some other islands after their 7th day of being in Phuket (they were previously only allowed to travel to a handful of different islands after day 14 here).

Sandbox customers can currently go to Koh Racha, Coral Island, and Mai Ton. From 1st August the Sandbox scheme will extend further to allow guests to travel to Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay which includes James Bond Island. Hong Krabi might also be added to this list, but this is not confirmed at this point.

PART 2: Why should Sandbox customers take a Private Tour?

We are not running ‘joining group tours’ for Sandbox customers. This is because we are simply trying to minimize the effect a potential positive Covid-19 test would do on our guests. For example, on a group tour if there was one positive case on the boat, then everyone else who went on the boat would need to quarantine too. So, the safest way to take a boat tour is with your friends or family you traveled herewith, (you probably came in on the same flight and are staying together also).

PART 3: How is Sandbox helping the local Phuket Community?

For over 16 months Thailand has been economically devastated, and we have been running a food relief program during this time for an island that depends on tourists to survive. So, the Sandbox is the first step to reopening Phuket and inject some much-needed funds back into the economy. It also provides opportunities for the locals to start working and earning again as demand very slowly starts to return.

Of course, we recognize there are risks associated, but by international tourists coming here, booking hotels, eating at restaurants, taking day tours, taxis, etc. it all helps local people start working again. The good news is that money is being injected into our economy by the Sandbox program, and for this we are grateful.  With our 5 Star Marine boats out on tour, it is supporting our captains, boat crew, admin staff, transfer drivers, plus we are supporting other local businesses like Ann’s Kitchen who provide our guest lunches, the shops that supply our soft drinks, and fruit for each boat, etc. The ripple positive effect is beneficial to a number of people and gives Phuket confidence to keep going.

So, we want to say Thank You for supporting us, so we can keep supporting Phuket.

 

Can Sandbox Customers Go Island Hopping?

Here’s what you need to know about the island hopping, the check-in process, the do’s and the don’ts for your first 14 days as a Sandbox customer:

Where can you go in the first 14 days?

Within the first 14 days of arriving in Phuket, Sandbox customers are currently able to go to:

  • Racha
  • Coral Island
  • Mai Ton
  • A combination of these 3

Where do Sandbox customers depart from?

There are 3 sandbox customer departure points in Phuket, these are:

  • Ao Por
  • Chalong Pier
  • Rassada Pier

What paperwork is required?

Before the departure date, Sandbox customers need to provide:

  1. Passport copy
  2. Vaccination documentation

On the day of the tour please also bring your mobile phone with MorChana app installed.

What happens when you get to the pier?

  1. Check-in on your MorChana app on your mobile phone
  2. Your temperature will be checked
  3. 5 Star Marine team will help submit your documents and paperwork to the Marine Department

After these 3 steps, you are cleared to get onto the boat and can enjoy your day trip!

What happens when you return to pier?

  1. Once again, you will need to check in on your MorChana app on your mobile phone
  2. Your temperature will be checked
  3. You can then get on the bus to return to your hotel

So, as you can see there is plenty that Sandbox customers can enjoy, see and do for a day out at sea. Snorkel or relax on the sandy beaches at Coral Island, try your luck at spotting the friendly dolphins around Mai Ton, or go a little further to the white beaches and fantastic marine life at Racha.

5 Star Marine can help at each step of the way, they have tried and tested the process, are TAT SHA Plus certified, and will make sure you have a day to remember.

Contact us on 093 720 6221 to book your Sandbox-approved day trip.