BREAKING NEWS – Thailand Pass Abolished. Borders Open. Let’s Go To Phuket
12 months on from the introduction of the Phuket Sandbox the Thailand Government has announced that the Thai Pass, Sandbox, and all related programs will end as of the 1st of July 2022.
This is the clearest announcement to date that Tourism, Travel, and the Economic Plans of the Government are returning to a more normal approach. While the rules for wearing masks are still a little unclear, what is clear is that Phuket is OPEN, Thailand is OPEN and there has never been a better time to visit.
The local community here in Phuket had a really tough covid with our island reliant so heavily on tourism so it’s good to see some smiles returning to the faces of locals here. There is hope that we can survive, there is hope that we can rebuild a better Phuket.
All we need is YOU. Book a flight, book a hotel, book a tour, and get here to Phuket and see the amazing marine life, amazing island hopping, and more importantly the amazing people of Thailand.
Full details on the reopening here:
James Bond Private Boat
Explore in comfort and style when you book our famous James Bond Private Boat tour. Our luxury private speedboats are perfect when you get a group of friends or family together to enjoy this VIP experience.
We are happy to suggest an itinerary around seeing this day trip, and we stress that it is only a suggested itinerary, because with a James Bond Private Boat you get to decide the schedule with our experienced crew. Whilst on the James Bond Private Boat trip, we can easily accommodate and be flexible for your day; spend a little longer wandering around taking in the sites, or spend more time canoeing through caves, or enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Our James Bond Private Boat trip takes you to Phang Nga Bay which is one of nature’s stunning works of art. The seascape will present you with vast karst rock scenery at this visually stunning location. This luxury VIP James Bond Private Boat day trip allows you to enjoy the wanderlust sights, along with more active pursuits such as exploring caves in the area and taking a canoe out around the formations.
Our experienced teams will get you to the Instagram-worthy Koh Tapu (James Bond Island) during your James Bond Private Boat day trip, where you can enjoy the scenery of probably the most notorious spot in Phang Nga Bay. Boats are actually 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. This explains why the James Bond Private Boat tour is one of our most popular day trips, and one our team of crew and captains thoroughly enjoy going to.
We would suggest making a stop off at the floating Muslim community of Koh Panyee during your James Bond Private Boat, perhaps for lunch. Here you will get to see huts, restaurants, and even a floating football pitch which are all built over the water.
The James Bond Private Boat tour is certainly something that should be on everyone’s bucket list, and our day trip has something for everyone. Whether you want to experience stunning seascapes, partake in canoeing, caving or explore famous locations; however please do note that our James Bond Private Boat day is not designed for those looking to go snorkeling, it is more about the seascapes, canoeing, caving and exploring.
James Bond Private Boat Highlights
Your James Bond Private Boat day trip will be flexible to allow us to accommodate your desires. Our experienced captains and crew will help you beat the crowds and give you a day to remember. Some highlights you might want to enjoy 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 Private Boat 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.
Bookings and Enquiries:
+66 (0) 93720 6221
Phang Nga Bay Private Boat
With 5 Star Marine, you can hire one of our luxury VIP speedboats for an exclusive Phang Nga Bay Private Boat tour. Phang-Nga Bay, (or Ao Phang Nga National Park), has long been a popular destination for travelers from around the world and consists of numerous, beautiful islands.
Phang Nga Bay was a famous destination long before hit movies that were filmed there came out, including the 1974 Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun, which made ‘James Bond Island’ a world-renowned site.
With a custom Phang Nga Bay Private Boat, you will get guided around hidden coves and lagoons, as well as have the chance to stop off at the iconic James Bond Island if you wish. Our Phang Nga Bay Private Boat VIP tour is completely flexible, so you can customize your day with the help of our expert crew and captains to get an experience that is perfect for you.
On your Phang Nga Bay Private Boat day trip, you will see some stunning seascapes, including the huge jutting-out limestone formations and numerous caves. The whole area is a spectacular bay that offers a multitude of natural wonders just waiting to be explored.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous on your Phang Nga Bay Private Boat trip, why not do a little spot of sea kayaking and explore the incredible caves inside the towering karst formations in the area. Our crew knows exactly where to take you for these types of experiences, and are experts at beating the crowds too.
While on your Phang Nga Bay Private Boat trip, you will be taken on a tropical journey, and we would suggest making a stop off at the picturesque Gypsy Village (the floating Muslim community of Koh Panyee) during your day, perhaps for lunch. Here you will get to see huts, restaurants, and even a floating football pitch which are all built over the water.
Experience nature’s spectacular works of art; where the vast karst rock scenery presents a visually stunning location on your luxury Phang Nga Bay Private Boat. However please note this is not for those looking to go snorkeling, the Phang Nga Bay trip is all about the seascapes, canoeing, caving, and exploring.
5 Star Marine’s Phang Nga Bay Private Boat tour creates an unforgettable time at this world-renowned destination. By selecting this day trip, you will get the opportunity to discover Phang Nga Bay in the best conditions, with the least number of tourists, and also see parts of Phang Nga Bay that you will not experience on group tours.
Although our Phang Nga Bay Private Boat day trip is customizable, here is an idea of a sample itinerary you might enjoy:
- Visit a hidden cave around Panak Island
- Swim in clear turquoise waters at Ko Kudu Yai
- Lunch and sightseeing at Koh Panyee floating village
- James Bond Island tour (from Koh Ping Ghan)
- Canoeing/caving in the Phang Nga Bay area
Bookings and Enquiries:
+66 (0) 93720 6221
Maya Bay Phi Phi Island – The Most Famous Beach in Thailand
Maya Bay, Phi Phi is one of the best beaches in Thailand IF not the world, and was featured in the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio which was filmed over 20 years ago.
Maya Bay Beach was closed for over 2 years by the Thai Government to help the environment as it had become ruined by over-tourism, and it reopened in January 2022 with new rules and regulations that help to manage the tourists and how they access the bay.
Host of 5 Star Marine YouTube Channel Jay Leshark with 5 Star Marine Guide Alex head to Maya Bay before it closes again in August for another few months, and see what it is like and how the new management of Maya Bay works and look for Black Tip Reef Sharks that since the closure has returned to the bay.
Maya Bay, Thailand with its towering limestone cliffs, clear waters, coral reefs, and white sandy beach, is one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand. The main beach on Maya Bay is about 200 meters long, with soft white sand and exquisitely wonderful Corals, in fact, the whole bay is one big beautiful Coral Reef.
Although small in size just 200 meters long and 15 meters wide — the bay has drawn global attention since it featured in the Hollywood movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, filmed there in 1999 and released in 2000.
The Beach movie was directed by Danny Boyle and was based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Alex Garland. It was not a huge hit at the box office and Leonardo DiCaprio who played Richard, a young American seeking adventure, was actually nominated for a Raspberry award for the worst actor the year the movie was released. He lost to John Travolta as Terl from Battlefield Earth and as Russ Richards in Lucky Numbers.
Here’s a fact: Ewan McGregor was cast as the main character of The Beach, before leaving due to disputes with the director.
Maya Bay will be closing again on the 1st August 2022 for 2 months for the local authorities to do some research on how the opening has affected the bay and if the restrictors that they have put into place are working to help the environment.
Coconut Island: The Village Coconut Island
Located just minutes from mainland Phuket, The Village – Coconut Island is the perfect getaway holiday destination for overseas tourists and locals like Jay Leshark and his family, and they headed over to where it all started for Jay 15 years ago
After working for Sunsail Watersports Holidays teaching sailing in Turkey, Greece and Antigua Jay got a phone call back in 2007 from the owner of The Village, Coconut Island and then Jay arrived in Phuket to work at The Village in sales and marketing manager for their luxury villas.
Located on the idyllic Coconut Island or “Koh Maprao” as it is known in Thai, The Village offers true luxury and seclusion just 500m off the coast of Phuket, Thailand.
Set in a stunning position in Phang Nga Bay, the gateway to some of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches, islands, and scenery.
Jay and the kids took the short boat trip on their 24-hour water taxi service which whisked them to The Village, Coconut Island.
Discovered initially by shipwrecked explorers hundreds of years ago, Coconut Island has always retained it’s sense of mystery and adventure, and all of the elements of its resort are designed to reflect this.
They offer Jacuzzi suites, Grand Villas, and Pool Villas all have been built to cater for couples, families, groups and singles with all of the options encapsulating the privacy and luxury that has come to define The Village, Coconut Island.
While Jay was on Coconut Island, he went to visit the local village which had suffered like many other small local Thai villages, during the COVID pandemic. It was an opportunity for Jay to see the amazing work that Living Waters Phuket has done for many of the local people not only living in Phuket but also for those living in islands around Phuket.
Living Waters Phuket helped to provide portable water for 300 students at the Coconut Island School, as well as critical equipment for the school’s kitchen including a fridge, freezer, and fans.
Check out the video to see the adventures on Coconut Island as well as a walk around the local village on the island and a look into the school.
Who are Living Waters?
Living Waters Phuket is dedicated to building brighter futures for disadvantaged communities across Thailand.
They help by awarding financial grants which assist in funding essential relief projects (including sustainable food security, education requirements, renewable energy, and environmental issues) in Phuket, Koh Samui, and across Thailand.
Thailand Pass Update – May 2022
The Thailand Pass (for international travelers wishing to enter Thailand) has moved from an approval process to a simple registration process. On May 20th the CCSA (Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration) held a meeting to discuss the latest entry rules. You can watch the latest update here, plus we have outlined the changes below for ease.
The New Registration Process:
For international arrivals from June 1st 2022, the Thailand Pass has been eased significantly. So, when you submit your information, you will automatically get your QR code and approval to enter Thailand. Essentially it has moved from an approval system to a simple registration process only. For more information on this, you can visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand dedicated page.
What Is Different?
With the old version of the Thailand Pass, you had to go into the Thailand Pass system and submit more types of documentation. Then you would have to wait to be approved, or otherwise to enter Thailand. It was an approval system vs the new Thailand Pass registration process.
What Information To Submit:
The Thailand Pass has been updated and streamlined in the process. The rules are simple, you only need to show your vaccination status and proof of travel insurance. Please note, that for the Thailand Pass you are not required to be vaccinated, but you do need to declare your vaccination status. You can apply here for the new Thailand Pass.
Streamlined Entry Into Thailand:
So that’s basically it; just enter your vaccination status and proof of travel insurance and your Thailand Pass will be registered, a QR code is given automatically and you can enter Thailand. It really did just get that simple. We are happy to say that this is the end of the more complicated Thailand Pass, although we foresee you will need to pre-register your information to be able to travel into Thailand for the next couple of months; then it could possibly be scrapped altogether.
Why Come To Thailand Now?
It is now easier than ever to enter Thailand, so you get the chance to come on holiday here easily for the first post Pandemic (or even Endemic) low season. Phuket has so much to offer, a tropical paradise just waiting to be explored. There is also lots to see and do, with a good percentage of the island opened up; and with more tourists we expect even more restaurants, bars and tourist attractions to reopen their doors.
Keeping Up To Date:
5 Star Marine has been providing informative and up-to-date information on all aspects of entry rules, from the Thailand Pass updates right back to when they were giving information on the Sandbox schemes and entry measures, since around July 2021.
5 Star Marine runs fully customized private tours on their luxury fleet of speedboats. Here’s some inspiration you can plan with them for your upcoming Thailand adventure:
- Phang Nga Bay to visit the infamous James Bond Island
- Phi Phi, including Maya Bay from the boat – 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 snorkelling at the Khai Islands
- Tropical paradise in Koh Lipe
So, what are you waiting for? With the simple Thailand Pass now in place, we look forward to welcoming you to Phuket.
For bookings or Information:
The Beach, Maya Bay Closing AGAIN and Other Phuket News and Weather MAY 2022
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.
Phi Phi Island & Maya Bay Private Boat Tour
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
Krabi Private Tour
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:
Shaun Stenning moved to Thailand in the early 2000’s after successfully exiting a business in Sydney, Australia. After moving to Thailand he based himself in Phuket, Thailand right on Bangtao Beach.
During the first 6 months that Shaun was in Phuket, he started exploring the islands by hiring private boats from beach vendors. Shaun Stenning instantly fell in love with the islands, snorkeling, and boating, and started researching the market.
Shaun did not have any real boating experience. In his earlier days, he used to Ski on the Murray River and owned a Jet Ski while in Australia, but he did not have experience operating a large-scale Private Boat Charter business.
Prior to investing in his first boat, Shaun Stenning rented over 1,000 private boats for himself, friends, family, and clients. In this process, Shaun discovered what he wanted in a boat he was going to purchase.
This led Shaun to his first-ever boat purchase which was Lucus 1. This was a 39-foot private speedboat. In the early days of owning Lucus 1, Shaun Stenning went on every single private tour training his team and staff on how he wanted his private charter business to operate.
After successfully operating Lucus 1 and learning more about the private boat business in Phuket Shaun purchased Lucus 2. This was his first step into operating multiple boats on a single day that he owned.
Shaun Stenning found that he loved doing this and as such moved towards purchasing, renovating, and operating more Private Boats. This is where 5 Star Marine now operates and is the business that Shaun Stenning loves the most out of the assets in his portfolio.
You will meet Shaun and his wife Lisa on the pier at departure and return from your tour and Shaun still regularly goes out on tour with his crew.