ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/
With the latest outbreak of Covid starting to affect travel internationally Thailand has made changes to the entry requirements into Thailand. One of the major changes is that the Test and Go system for entry is now suspended indefinitely.
Right now the only way to enter Thailand without 14 days Quarantine is via the Phuket Sandbox program. To find out all the details join Jay and Shaun as they discuss the latest news:
We are excited to remain open for the entire Christmas and New Year period, and are looking forward to welcoming you on board for a tailor-made and festive private speedboat tour with us during this time!
Reflecting on the last 12 months, we would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for the level of support we received from all of our wonderfully loyal, local customers, who have helped us during the past 20 months. Without you, we would not still be operating as we are today, and for that our company, team, captains, and tour guides are immensely grateful.
As a company, we managed to take time to regroup and focus on reprioritizing our efforts, and this meant rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. We keep continuing to support the vulnerable communities and the people around us via our charity efforts, with 5 Star Marine involved in all packing and delivery efforts of essential food relief parcels and bags. We focused on the upside wherever we could see or create one. We wanted to look at where we could add value to our community and what we should be doing during this time.
Living Waters Phuket Foundation was born from this desire to help and continue to support our community; it was set up to build brighter futures for communities in need and provides financial grants for projects around relief areas including sustainable food security, education requirements, renewable energy, and environmental issues. We are excited to report that already in only 6 weeks, 4 major funded projects have been completed and many, many more have applied for funding and are undergoing our impartial review process for approval.
We were thrilled to see many new destinations open back up for our day tours, and now offer over 11 stunning destinations including the Similan Islands, Phi Phi, Racha, Phang Nga Bay, Coral Island, Krabi tours, Mai Ton Dolphin Spotting plus many more tailor-made options to ensure you had the perfect day out. We saw a rise in popularity of our dual tour to Phi Phi and James Bond Island which literally has something for everyone; plus, we are awaiting the much-anticipated opening of Maya Bay on 1st January 2022.
You can watch more on Maya Bay and Shaun’s personal thoughts here:
Our YouTube channel has gone from strength to strength and we appreciate all the love and support we are getting. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe and follow here:
5 Star Marine was lucky to welcome so much interest and publicity from bloggers and news reporters – we are grateful for the coverage and interest in our community efforts. Chris Parker, (from Retired Working For You), joined to see our food packing and delivery efforts first hand to see exactly what goes on behind the scenes of each vital life bag.
We also gained and appreciate hugely the support of local and international media, including but not limited to:
During the last year, we also had a chance to more than double the size of our fleet; we now have 15 Private VIP Speedboats and a VIP Luxury Cruiser which is a proud extension to our current speedboat fleet and offers a truly unique experience on the water. In addition, to accommodate our growing fleet size, the domestic market support, and prepare for the return of international tourists, we moved piers and into a new office at Boat Lagoon, Phuket. We love our new glass-fronted office which has been a more welcoming environment for all our loyal VIP customers.
So, to wrap it up – it has been a year of highs and lows, of challenges and new opportunities. We are thankful, grateful, and happy to be where we are and we will continue to help those in the community who need it most; and will always be grateful to our loyal customers for making 2021 the year it was for us.
Shaun and the entire 5 Star Marine Team
For over 20 months the 5 Star Marine team has been purchasing dry food supplies, packing life bags, and then distributing them into the community. This project started during the first Covid Lockdown in Phuket. From there it has grown from a few hundred bags a week to a few thousand bags a week.
In fact, just recently the 5 Star Marine team packed over 8000+ super life bags with over 4 tonnes of rice. This project is funded by the 5 Star Marine Founders and is expanding now beyond just food relief.
As tourism starts to return employment becomes available, not at a scale yet where the problem ceases, but it is becoming more accessible. As this return tourism continues the 5 Star Marine team are focusing on projects to help support the community in its recovery.
Find out more in the video below:
Deciding which company to book a Phuket Private Boat Charter with, as well as which tropical paradise you want to explore for the day can lead to a confusing lineup of different options. To help you consider your choices, we have looked at some of the more important criteria to allow you to determine your perfect day out on a Phuket Private Boat Charter.
All of 5 Star Marine’s boats are fully crewed by experienced captains, tour guides, and crew members; so, you get to relax onboard your Phuket Private Boat Charter and enjoy their dedicated services.
Their experienced crew also knows how to miss the crowds and take you to some hidden gems you would not get to experience with other Phuket Private Boat Charter companies. Therefore, by selecting to go on a Phuket Private Boat Charter with 5 Star Marine, they can ensure that you get to discover paradise islands, coves, and viewpoints in the best possible conditions, with the least number of tourists.
Private Versus Group Tour:
When we talk about a Phuket private boat charter, what exactly does this mean versus a group speedboat charter? Here are just some of the benefits to going the private boat charter route:
- Captain and crew will be dedicated entirely to you, your family, or friends on board
- We are able to tailor-make excursions to the islands surrounding Phuket
- We can be flexible on pick up and drop off location (hotel, pier, beach, etc.)
- You will receive a unique and customized program that is tailored to suit your exact preferences
- We can be flexible on timing; it is your private boat charter after all!
- You can choose to remain at a lagoon or private beach for a longer period if you are enjoying yourself, you won’t have to fit in with a group timetable
- With a small and intimate group of people, you are close with, it is a more Covid-19 safe environment, with fewer people on board and more space to yourselves
- You will get to discover hidden coves and caves that you will not experience on group tours because time does not allow
- We can organize a private beach picnic for your small Phuket Private Boat Charter to enjoy
Safety Is THE Top Priority:
Since 2020, 5 Star Marine have run Phuket Private Boat Charter under their TAT SHA approved status. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) awarded this certification, and the TAT Safety and Health Administration Plus Certificate is proudly held by the company also.
As one of the first tourism services to gain TAT SHA Plus status in 2021, 5 Star Marine was recognized as adhering to public health measures regarding Covid-19 safety. This means that all guests can rest assured and feel safe and secure onboard a 5 Star Marine Phuket Private Boat Charter.
New Rules – No Problem:
It is of utmost importance that tour companies keep updated with the latest rules and regulations, which change frequently here in Thailand. So, here at 5 Star Marine, we do the hard work to understand how new regulations, closures, and new openings affect you getting out on the water.
Management and crew go out to newly opened locations 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 is thoroughly up to date.
Flexible Cancellation Policy:
Payments for your Phuket Private Boat Charter can be made on the day, whereas some group tours take money in advance. 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.
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 your private trip:
Phuket Private Boat Charter Inspiration:
- Take in the seascape views of the limestone karsts and caves in Phang Nga Bay, and visit the infamous James Bond Island
- Experience world-class snorkeling in the Similan Islands, potentially encountering manta rays, whale sharks, turtles, and a plethora of tropical fish
- Visit the caves, beaches, and island paradise around Phi Phi, including Maya Bay – the location of The Beach film starring Leonardo di Caprio
- Escape to white sandy beaches and enjoy quiet walks on Racha Island
- Try your luck spotting dolphins at Koh Mai Ton before heading to Coral Island to enjoy snorkeling and lunch at Banana Beach Club
- Visit Hong Krabi for a swim in the turquoise lagoon before getting your adrenaline pumping by climbing up to the 360-degree viewpoint
- Visit Koh Ha and Ko Rok if you are looking for something a little more exotic and lesser-known. These small islands are situated just south of Koh Lanta in the Mu Ko Lanta National Park.
Contact us to get out and explore, there are so many places to be discovered on your Phuket Private Boat Charter. We look forward to welcoming you on board for once-in-a-lifetime experiences with 5 Star Marine.
ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/
What Is The Thailand Pass?
The Thailand Pass is an online system designed to support the country’s ‘Ease of Travel’ thus making the documentation and process for travelers entering Thailand more efficient than the previous Certificate of Entry (COE).
As per the old COE, the Thailand Pass will collect data for entry forms, however, it is a more concise and efficient system.
How Do You Apply For The Thailand Pass?
You can apply for the Thailand Pass yourself by visiting this website Thailand Pass Application and following the directions given. There is information in Thai and English and is available for Thai Nationals and Non-Thai Nationals alike.
Andy recently returned to Phuket from the UK and has been updating us on his first-hand experience of the Thailand Pass process. As he has just gone through the process himself, he has offered us some great tips and advice to help you guys get out here more smoothly.
Andy’s Bottom Line:
“With the Thailand Pass it is critical that you provide and load your details in the correct order online. So, you need to go to website (link provided above) and provide all necessary details”:
The hurdles are manageable, and it is all certainly doable, but just take Andy’s advice and remember to do things in the right order– if you think your visa is going to take 2 weeks then apply for this first, then move on your Thailand Pass with all the documents needed. The document process is outlined below for ease:
- Your visa is the first item that needs uploading
- Then upload your Thailand Pass
- You will need Covid insurance for when you are in Thailand, an SHA Plus hotel, and SHA Plus taxi/transportation
- Upload a copy of your passport
- Provide your test from the departure side (in Andy’s case this was the UK), plus your test for the Phuket side:
- For the Thailand side test, there are 2 systems: one in Bangkok which is inclusive so your hotel will arrange the transport, transfer, and test all for you. The other system is for Phuket, where you need to do this yourself individually.
- For the Phuket Side, you arrange everything individually, pay for your test in advance (the actual test will take place at the airport), plus book your SHA Plus transport and hotel.
- Once approved you will get an email notification with QR code (you can print this or just use this on your phone as it is ). There is also a new online system so you can log on and use your reference number to check on your application.
Andy’s Top Tips:
- Insurance – Andy took out a local Thai insurance policy that had the minimum amount of coverage required.
- Have all documents (passport copy, etc.) in JPEG format versus PDF – this will make the upload process faster.
- Use Google Chrome when applying.
- Have a Gmail email address for ease of the application.
What Happens When You Arrive In Phuket?
Andy explained that when he got off the plane in Phuket, he thought the new system has been improved dramatically. There were supervisors and people to help in each area, whose role is to guide you to the correct area and be on hand for any questions you might have. On arrival, the Thailand Pass is more organized and guided, compared to the previous more confusing methods.
- You wait 1-2 minutes whilst they check you have all the correct paperwork and then you are free to head over to the desk to present your negative Covid-19 test, your hotel booking plus transportation information.
- Next, you head over to Immigration who check your paperwork.
- Then you move straight through to baggage reclaim to collect your luggage.
- The last airport stage requires you to line up for your Covid-19 test, which took Andy just a few minutes only.
- Lastly, you get into your SHA Plus transport and go directly to your hotel to check in.
- The RT – PCR test results will be back with you anywhere from 4 – 24 hours.
- And that’s it – you are then free to go out and explore.
- The only remaining item is that you must test on day 6 days, (a self-antigen test)
See For Yourself:
Watch the video for more information, handy tips, and helpful advice from Andy and Shaun on the Thailand Pass process.
Andy and Ann:
Andy is married to Ann, the owner of Ann’s Kitchen in Boat Avenue, which serves Thai and Western dishes. Ann has been serving up great food in Phuket for over 9 years, and the menu has evolved over time. 5 Star Marine us Ann’s Kitchen for their picnic menus for private boat day trips, where you can order from a selection of Thai dishes, vegetarian options, sandwhiches, wraps, and salads to take on board.
For any further information on the Thailand Pass, or private speedboat bookings please contact us.
The Iconic Bay
Maya Bay is one of the most iconic areas in the Phi Phi islands, situated on Phi Phi Ley it was made famous after featuring in the 2000 movie, “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation shut the bay down completely to tourists in June 2018, after staggering mass tourism destructed the coral life, reefs, and marine ecology.
Shaun Stenning, CEO of 5 Star Marine explains “Maya Bay needed to close because it was in a devastatingly poor state; with too many boats, oil in the water, and harmful reef destructions. The closure did not affect our tours to the area, we simply respected the closure and enjoyed the view of the bay from afar.”
At its peak, the bay welcomed far beyond what the area could cope with; seeing over 4,000 tourists and more than 200 boats each and every day resulting in devastating damage to the area. Although the actual Bay was closed off, it remained a popular location to take photos of from a distance or swim off to the side of the bay.
The Rehabilitation Project
Since the closure over 3.5 years ago, the Maya Bay area has been undergoing a rehabilitation project which has included planting new corals on the reefs over more than 4 acres in and around the bay. Parts of the beach have been regenerated, and protective walkways have been constructed.
The marine recovery during the pandemic has helped speed this along, with no tourists near the area at all, the water is much clearer and the corals have had a chance to regenerate with the added help of coral planting.
The Scheduled Reopening
Reopening is set for January 1st, 2022, as announced by the National Resources and Environment Minister. However, there will be new rules in place to preserve the rehabilitated beach and bay from another ecological ruin.
“I actually hoped that Maya Bay would keep closed forever, but we understand there is a need to rebuild tourism after the pandemic and the bay is being used for this purpose. I am hopeful that the tough restrictions on access are strongly enforced and total visitor numbers are capped per day at 1,000 maximum” said Shaun Stenning
Currently, Koh Phi Phi National Park is finalizing an improved piper to the island and defining the swim zones for visitors. There are expected to be new rules limiting opening times from 10 am – 4 pm each day; visitors will only be allowed to spend 1 hour in the designated swimming zones, and all boats will need to anchor at another bay on the other side of the island.
Let’s hope that the paradise it once was, and what the Marine Park have worked so hard to get Maya Bay back to will remain just that, and we will not abuse the natural beauty as we did before; this time adhering to the new rules and trying to respect nature far more.
Watch our latest video to see the adventures of Lucus, Aswa, Jay, and cameraman Sunny as they head out fishing, snorkeling, freediving, and more around Phuket.
After leaving the 5 Star Pier at Boat Lagoon the excited team makes a stop at Koh Mai Ton. This is normally part of our dolphin spotting tour and is also a great snorkeling spot. Apart from one longtail, they had the whole place to themselves, and Lucas was straight in there showing off his freediving skills. Then the boys enjoyed some cannonball jumping off the boat before heading off to the next stop.
Fishing was on the cards next, so the private VIP speedboat stopped at Koh Doc Mai, which means flower island. This is a great diving spot too, but today was all about a spot of fishing. In only 1 hour, 4 fish were caught, including a grouper and snapper, (please note that all hooks were removed and the fish were released back into the ocean straight away).
Fishing is available onboard all our private charters, and our experienced crew can be on hand to help get all the gear ready if you need it.
Next, the gang of boys made their way to Ko He, or Coral Island to grab lunch from Banana Beach Club. This beach club serves a good selection of dishes, plus offers massages, canoes, and plenty of Instagram-worthy setups. You can enjoy some decent snorkeling from the shore there also. It is both kid and adult-friendly with big loungers, tables in the shade, and fun areas to explore for all.
With snorkeling, boat jumping, freediving, and fishing all ticked off, they headed back to base in Boat Lagoon.
If you would like to book a snorkeling and fishing experience, please contact us. All of our tours are private and fully customizable to suit your requirements.
This is one of our most popular VIP private speedboat day trips. This combination tour has a little something for everyone; from snorkeling with rich marine life, swimming in bright turquoise lagoons, seeing famous beaches and coves; to canoeing, spectacular karst rock seascapes, and of course the iconic James Bond Island.
Phi Phi is a particularly well know location in the Phuket region, with one of its iconic islands made famous after being featured in the 2000 movie, “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. The Phi Phi Islands have some stunning coral reefs abound with marine life, ready to give you an unforgettable experience, swimming, and snorkeling in crystal clear tropical waters.
Whereas the second part of the day trip is to Phang Nga which is truly one of natures’ spectacular works of art; where the vast karst rock scenery presents a visually stunning location. This area is all about the seascapes, canoeing, caving, and exploring, versus the underwater scenery and beaches around Phi Phi.
With so much to do and see in just one day, we recommend touring from 8 am – 6 pm for the full experience. So, let’s take a look at a sample itinerary (please note all tours are private and fully customizable to your requirements):
- Depart from the 5 Star Marine pier in Boat Lagoon and head out towards Phi Phi. Make a stop at Maya Bay, the most notable “Beach” from the 2000 hit movie, on Phi Phi Leh. Although you cannot currently, walk on the beach, it is still a fantastic experience to visit this beautiful and famous cove and take photos from a distance or swim off to the side of the Bay.
- Head around to Loh Samah Bay, which is a small bay on the other side of Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh. It offers some beautiful marine life and therefore makes for a good snorkeling stop-off point.
- Enter into Pileh Lagoon and enjoy a swim in the clear turquoise waters. This lagoon also starred in “The Beach” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, as a spot where he dived off into the aquamarine waters.
- Explore Small Monkey Beach, where you can see these cheeky little creatures sitting on the karst rocks and relaxing on the beach!
- Continue onto Wong Long Bay, which is only accessible to smaller boats due to the narrow entrance to a bay. Luckily our private speedboats can fit inside so you get the opportunity to have a quiet bay potentially all to yourselves.
- Move onto Big Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don, which is a great place for a picnic lunch with a soft sand cove beach going into a shallow bay.
- Stop for some more snorkeling at Phi Phi Don at Ao Nuoi and discover rich corals and marine life together with a picturesque beach setting.
- Take in the beauty of Bamboo Island – a stunning setting, with shallow clear blue waters and a picturesque beach. Enjoy some snorkeling in this area and you might even spot a blacktip reef shark.
- Head towards Phang Nga Bay and enjoy some canoeing and exploring amongst the caves and rock formations.
- Make your way towards the iconic James Bond island, which became a major attraction after featuring in the 1974 Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun. Then get your Bond Instagram to pose ready as you stand in front of James Bond Island, (Khao Phing Kan); An internationally renowned destination since appearing as the hideout for Bond’s antagonist, Scaramanga.