I am often asked when I join our customers on tour what is my favorite destination to visit on a Private Boat Tour. The answer to the question is difficult and my answer will change dependent on the season. But one part of my answer will always stay the same and that is that Phang Nga Bay is the most visually stunning above the water area to explore.
Why Is Phang Nga Bay So Stunning?
With 47 Islands in the Bay (I think there is more, but at 47 who’s counting?) just entering Phang Nga Bay is a stunning and moving experience. As you cruise into the bay and see the length of the bay, the number of islands, the stalactites, and formations you will be stunned.
I often say to our customers that entering into Phang Nga Bay is like stepping into a Jurassic Park movie. The setting is very similar and the feeling of the bay is amazing. As you look around Phang Nga Bay and marvel at how the island formations were made, how some of the stalactites have grown you really start to appreciate it’s a true wonder.
Is James Bond Island In Phang Nga Bay?
While Phang Nga Bay is better known to tourists as the area where James Bond Island is located, to me as a Private Boat Charter Company I truly believe that James Bond Island is just one of many stunning islands and formations in Phang Nga Bay.
I feel the overwhelming joy that James Bond was filmed in Phang Nga Bay as it gives a marketing attraction and motivation to enter the Bay. But the reality is that once you are in the Bay James Bond Island becomes irrelevant as you marvel at the true wonder and beauty of Phang Nga Bay.
There is no better way to explore Phang Nga Bay, the Mangroves, the Hongs, and the Hidden Caves then by Private Speedboat. Let us take you on a journey into the mystical Phang Nga Bay.
Our team was lucky enough to recently visit and stay at Santhiya Resort Koh Yao Yai as they are offering Post Covid specials which are simply spectacular.The Santhiya Resort has been one of our dream places to visit and stay as we often do return Private Boat Transfers to the resort as well as Private Boat Excursions from the resort.
We were not disappointed by Santhiya Resort.The infinity pool looking out into Phang Nga Bay and over to Phuket has to be the highlight of the entire resort.Relaxing in the pool, having a quiet drink, and watching the sunset in one of the most picturesque areas of Phuket cannot be missed.
Also, all rooms at the resort have fantastic views out into Phang Nga Bay, and the rooms we stayed in all held spas on the balconies making for a nice touch.The resort has some amazing woodwork making it all have a very authentic Thai feel.
The beach that affronts Santhiya Resort Koh Yao Yai is always quiet.It’s not an extremely well-known tourist destination but it is fantastic for swimming and young children.Lucus, our 7-year-old, had a great time playing on the beach, chasing crabs, and swimming in the calm seas.
Being a Private Boat company here in Phuket we are happy to offer the services of our boats and crew for anyone looking to get away from the mainland and have a break.Santhiya is offering amazing deals right now.Contact us to find out how we can offer you a Private Boat Transfer to Santhiya Resort or combine a day trip with a stopover at Santhiya Resort.
As a father of a 7-year-old boy, I understand what it’s like to take Children out on tour as a parent. Lucus, my son, has been coming out on boats since he was 6 months old and I’ve found that as he gets older the kinds of tours that he can join the change.
Based on my personal experience with my son Lucus and the children we’ve had on board here is what we would recommend in terms of Private Boat Tours for young children.
Age 6 Months to 2 Years Old – Private Boat Tours
At this age, your child is most probably too young to really experience any of the tours so the tour selection should come down to something that you would like to see and is safe for your child as well.
Generally, this means you should consider a tour into Phang Nga Bay / James Bond Island as the water is calm, the speed of the Private Boat slower, and the chance of bumps during your ride considerably less. Also, Phang Nga Bay tours can be done in as little as 3hrs if you wish to push through the tour between nap and feeding times. In our experience, though you can have your child nap on our large outdoor cushions or in your pram/stroller.
A secondary location that also offers a similar level of safety and sea conditions would be Hong Krabi. This location also offers the ability for you to snorkel whereas Phang Nga Bay does not.
Age 2 Years Old – 6 Years Old – Private Boat Tours
At this age, your child needs to be kept engaged with multiple new things to see, explore, and do otherwise they may become agitated on tour. For my son from 2-4 years old, he personally loved the Phang Nga Bay Private Tour, Khai Island Private Tour, Raya Island Private Tour, and Hong Krabi Tour.
As he got older, around 5-6 Years old his preference moved towards Phi Phi Island Private Tours as there was more to see and he was a confident swimmer. Again it’s important for her to time stops frequently and use our outdoor cushions for nap time.
7 Years And Above – Private Boat Tours
Generally, any tour would be suitable for a child of 7 years and above. Just check on sea conditions prior to departing as one negative experience with a child could ruin any future chances of going on a Private Tour.
By default, any private boat tour booked with the 5 Star Marine team direct will include a transfer from your hotel across to our pier. For those of you who are looking for something a little more VIP or Unique, we offer a Hotel and/or Beachside pick up.
For a small additional fee, we will move our boat from our pier up to your hotel or beachside and pick you up directly. This saves on transfer time and provides a unique and often romantic experience for you and your fellow guests.
Recently we have completed hotel pick-ups from Trisara Resort, The Surin, Panwa, Surin Beach, and Bangtao Beach to name just a few. If you are looking for ways to customize your tour and make it unique just ask us.
Nothing is too much for us and with our team of experienced captains and guides, we can navigate most beaches and hotel pick-ups. All you need to do is ask!
I often see people asking whether they should book tours before arriving to Phuket or on arrival at Phuket at the street vendors. Whenever someone posts something like this the local community has different thoughts, ideas and advice to the person writing the post.
After 11 years here booking tours myself, being part of a tour company and also running a private boat marine business my advice is a little conflicted. If you plan to do a group tour, then generally you will find it best to book once you arrive in Phuket as you can compare prices at different agents.
The only exception to that is if you wish to book one of the premium tour providers like Phuket Sail Tours or Simba Tours. These companies generally book out well ahead of time and as such it’s best to at least reserve a spot prior to arriving.
So if you plan to book a group tour that sits in the “general” category and not in the small group or VIP tour category then I would strongly recommend to you that you should research before you arrive and then book on the ground.
We Recommend Booking Private Boats In Advance
But if you are booking with a popular tour provider in the VIP or Small Group category then I would suggest that you reserve. Then when it comes to Private Boats you should also reserve the boat if you wish to go with a reputable private boat provider.
For example here at 5 Star Marine we pre-sell more than 75% of our month weeks or months in advance as we are a popular and reputable provider. If you land in and try to secure a private boat you may not get the date you want, the price you want or even the boat you want.
If you’d like more advice feel free to contact us.
We receive a lot of enquiries via Facebook, WhatsApp and Email from Solo travelers looking to join tours with 5 Star Marine. While we are aware that the experiences that we provide are extremely unique and memorable it’s important to understand that they are this way as no tour is the same.
We customize each tour to the customers on the boat. If our customers love to snorkel then we go to multiple snorkeling locations. If our customers love to relax on the beach, we go to multiple quiet and idealic beach locations.
To do this kind of customized tour it means that we are limited to just Private Tours. This means it’s just you and your travelling companions on the boat with our crew and guide.
Now for a Solo Traveller this can be expensive as you are not splitting the cost with other travelers or with your family. The reality is, if you compare our company, 5 Star Marine, to a typical group tour company we are more expensive.
But at a group tour company you’ll have anywhere from 25 to 75 people on the boat. So if you have 75 people all paying 1300 THB per person then these group tour companies are making significantly more than us as a Private Boat Tour provider.
The reason we decided to do only Private Tours is we can craft, and execute programs which suit just you and ensure 100% satisfaction 100% of the time. This is why we receive 5 Star Trip Advisor and Facebook Ratings and people rave about what we do.
We are customizing the tour to you and ensuring that you have the most memorable time we can give you.
Generally, when we receive inquiries about private boats we are asked what is the difference between James Bond and Phi Phi Island. The immediate response out of our mouths is they are night and day tours.
The tours while taking place on the water are two completely different tours. For example, the James Bond Island Private Boat Tour takes place in lagoon-like water. There is very little clarity around the waters of James Bond (or Phang Nga as it is known locally). When you go on a James Bond Island Private Boat Tour you go to look at the wonderful limestone rocks, stalactite formations, hidden caves, lagoons, and of course the famous James Bond Island.
But when you go to Phi Phi you go see the crystal clear water, the white sandy beaches, the colorful marine life, rocky outcrops, and if you are really lucky maybe a reef shark or two. The Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour is really about seeing what’s under the water, as well as what’s above whereas the James Bond Island Tour is about seeing what’s above the water.
Both tours are equally as beautiful, you just need to decide what kind of tour you want, do you want to go swimming, snorkeling and sitting on white sandy beaches or do you want to go sightseeing, sea canoeing and cave exploring?
Here at 5 Star Marine we specialize in Private Boat Tours and often customers we talk to prior to joining onboard our VIP Private Speedboat ask us why our tours are more expensive than traditional Group Tours.
The reality is quite simple, on a Private Boat Tour we limit the number of people on our boat to just you, your family and friends. This means if it’s just the 2 of you on a romantic cruise or your extended family of 10, the only people on the boat are you and your friends with our crew.
By limiting our boat to just Private Boat Tours we create an exclusivity of experience for you that you could not have on a Group Tour. Group Tours can be more affordable as they are filling there boats to capacity.
For example, let’s assume that most group tour boats can take 48 people on the boat. If you pay, as an example, 2000 THB per person to be on the boat, then that boat will be producing income of 96,000 THB for the day.
Now as a responsible Private Boat Tour company we do not charge anywhere near this 96,000 THB price, in fact you’d be quite surprised by how affordable private boat tours can be.
With that said though you should keep in mind, that when we conduct a private boat tour the entire boat, equipment, crew are all dedicated to making the day out on the sea the most incredible day for just YOU!
We are not focusing on the other 40+ people on the boat. So YES, Private Boat Tours are more expensive, but how often do you get the chance to cruise around the stunning islands of the Andaman Sea in the luxury of a VIP Private Boat?
Often we have guests ask us via message or at one of our agent locations across Phuket why the native weather applications on iPhones or Android devices often predict rain each day but the predictions are incorrect.
The answer is difficult to be honest. When we are running Private Boat Tours we often use a combination of applications to predict the weather and then on the day of a tour we will also use a number of other applications as well.
When it comes to forecasting rain or sunshine a lot of people make the mistake of taking the forecast for Phuket and applying it to the island destination that they are intending to visit.
For example, we may have a forecast for rain in Phuket, but no rain in Phi Phi. So it’s important to look at the correct forecast model, for your intended destination and then also check things like wind condition, radar, tide and waves.
For each of these things we use different apps as in our experience no single app gives you an accurate prediction of Phuket’s weather conditions.
Often we can be out on the boat in beautiful sunshine snorkeling while our offices in Phuket are being drenched with torrential rain. A good Private Boat Charter company will be able to to tell you the best time to leave the pier, the best time to come back and how to avoid the rain.
Where a Group Tour provider is restricted by route and Gasoline allowances, this is not something that you will find here at 5 Star Marine. We will adjust programs to suit weather conditions and ensure you are a smooth, comfortable ride.
We are active members of many different forums in the Phuket area and often see visitors asking for trip recommendations and past visitors often reply with comments like “Go Early Too Miss the Crowds.”
Now this may seem like a good recommendation as this is how some group tour companies market themselves. But it’s important to understand that it’s not necessary to go early to miss the crowds, like it’s also not necessary to go late.
A great private boat tour company can design a program which avoids the crowds at any time. For example the team here at 5 Star Marine design programs that leave anywhere from 6am to 2pm from the pier.
Why such a big range in private boat tour start times?
The answer is simple, we are designing programs that suit our customers needs and also the wind, sea and rain conditions that we see occurring on the day. As every single private boat tour we conduct here in Phuket is customised and designed to meet you, our customers needs, every single private boat tour is different.
Some tours dictate we leave early, some dictate we leave late. For example, right now we are in Low Season (it’s the rainy / monsoon season in Phuket from mid May to October) which means that we have high winds in the afternoon, starting from around 2pm. This suggests that if we have a route plan that goes out into the open season, we should suggest an earlier leaving time.
How Can You Know What Is Your Best Leaving Time?
Again the answer is simple. Ask an experienced private boat tour provider who cares more about your experience than your money. When you are booking with the tour provider ask what wind, sea and rain conditions they are expecting for the next day. If they answer you without checking any apps, then probably don’t trust them, they just wanted your money. Instead just message us and we’ll let you know even if you’re not booking with us.