BREAKING NEWS – Thailand Prime Minister Announces No Quarantine For Travellers From Some Countries.
As Phuket and Thailand in general move to a “Live With Covid” model and look to restart tourism the National Government are making positive announcements to support the reopening of Thailand.
In a recent televised announcement, the Prime Minister suggested that from November 1st that travelers from some low-risk countries will be able to enter Thailand without any quarantine or sandbox needed.
Now the full rules and process for entry have not yet been decided but for a look at what we expect to happen please watch our latest update video below:
The 5 Star Marine team is continuing with their food relief efforts here in Phuket. After 19 months of providing emergency food relief to the local community, our team is proud to continue to help those in need.
In this month’s update, I took the time to share with you why this Food Relief Project is needed, what the numbers are behind the economic situation, and exactly where we were delivering life bags over the last 15 days.
Find the full details in the video below:
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:
Out of Phuket Province Islands:
For the following islands we simply need your Passport Copy and Vaccination Certificate:
* 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:
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.
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!
Today we take you along with us to show you the highs and the real lows of what a day out delivering Life Bags really looks like, from the inside. Join Nando from Sutai Muay Thai, Shaun Stenning, Khun Zeera, and the rest of the team from 5 Star Marine on a day in the life of their Food Relief Project.
As we haven’t been able to pack with volunteers for the last 6 weeks due to restrictions, we work around this and have 1,000 Life Bags all ready with our packing coordinators, to get out on the road using 2 trucks (which carry max 250 bags per run), plus we need to get some Villa Market supplies to another packing pod today.
The days start fairly upbeat, the team is motivated and we are getting ready to go with Khun Zeera steering truck one and Nando behind the wheel of truck number 2.
We start at our packing coordinators’ house. They have managed to pack an impressive 1,000 Life Bags (to put this in perspective, it normally takes 15-20 people over 3 hours to pack this amount). To see what 1,000 Life Bags actually looks like check out the video – it is a lot!
Loaded up we head off to Wat Chalong, where we were greeted by a long line of people waiting for food. There are only 150 bags for this drop, is it going to be enough? The community leader helps coordinate and people wait patiently, but it soon transpires that there are not enough supplies and it is so painful to see the look in the eyes of the people who are left empty-handed in the queue. We leave with heavy hearts knowing these people will not have any food today, it is a harrowing sight and feeling. We must move to the next community, but it can be hard to leave – sometimes we want to turn around and give more to the first drop but this is the situation we often face. In reality, we do run out. It hurts to see and be part of this, but we try to ensure the Life Bags go to the individuals most in need.
Next, we drive back to ‘Life Bag Base’ to refill and put a further 250 bags in per truck (when you have been doing this for 19 months you get pretty sharp at knowing how many life bags fit in a boot, front seat, back seat, etc!)
The next drop is to help Covid-19 infected households. This is where community volunteers step in and unload for us, to keep our teams safe and to restrict us from having to enter the households. There are around 25 houses with positive members, (each house has around 8-11 people inside), so the Public Health Team comes in and takes the Life Bags into the houses for safety reasons.
Next, we head to Bangtao where there is a community in isolation. Actually, many villages get locked down and/or put into community isolation however it is not widely publicized. We make it our business to know where these are – most have had no jobs for 19 months and now are being told to stay home with no way to get food supplies. Here, we do not go into the Home Isolation (HI) community; the whole street is sealed so we drop the Life Bags off to them at a distance.
This area in Bangtao had just spent 14 days in Hospital Quarantine, but when they got out unfortunately 1 person tested positive so now the whole community has to do 14 days of home isolation = 28 days without work, without support, without food.
So, with all the talk of different isolation or quarantine types filtering into the day of deliveries, we thought we should highlight the different types people are having to go through:
- Hospital Quarantine
- Hospital Quarantine (quarantine in a hotel)
- Field Hospital Quarantine
- Community Covid Centre
- Community Isolation
- Home Isolation (HI)
Behind the scenes, this food relief program is foreigner funded, but let’s not forget it is all local Thai’s doing the actual handouts plus donating water and extra supplies – the community helps out a lot and the Phuhiyban and village chiefs are all very thankful and supportive.
We make a stop in the Manik area to drop off supplies after the Bangtao Home Isolation drop.
We return to base to fill the trucks with supplies once again.
Our penultimate is in Ban Rong, which has been devastated by Covid as the pier is centered around transfers that used to generally go to Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi; which are not getting many visitors right now.
It was agonizing to realize that in Ban Rong, just like Chalong earlier in the day, we were running out of Life Bags. At this point the camera was turned off; we were deflated and devastated. We stopped filming after Ban Rong, it was shattering and heartbreaking to run out twice in one day.
Khun Zeera headed for Phuket Town for the evening drop with 200 Life Bags in tow; this was the last drop of the evening and after starting pre 9 am, she did not return home until after 7 pm that night.
The Day Summary
This was just 1 day, a mere snapshot of the week and the 5 other locations the team had already been out delivering to. This is what a typical Life Bag day looks like, we try to drop a little hope to the people who need it the most, but we do run out and we do encounter traumatic scenes and people who are scared and want this all to end.
Nando Sums It Up Nicely
We asked Nando what keeps him going, and as he says: “The team; if you have a strong team, you cannot do this. Every time you go on a donation drive, and you see the gratitude on people’s faces it motivates me personally to carry on” Nando came from humble beginnings, and his dad set him an excellent example, often helping his workers’ families when needed. “I like to give without needing to receive. It’s a lot about how much love you give, not only how much you give, this can be enough, and what I learned as a kid is: do not expect to receive back.”
We are the ‘Gap Guys’ – filling in until we are no longer needed, and tourism returns, and with it brings a positive difference in the economic situation in this beautiful country.
If you want to help or know more please contact us
Today we are thrilled to report good, positive news – now doesn’t that make a change to the negative news cycle?
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.
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:
- A copy of your passport
- 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.
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.
As we continue to provide Day Tours to the islands around Phuket, we have been busy making sure we are up to date on Phuket Sandbox Travelers Day Tour rules, as well as which destinations they are able to experience.
Today, we are pleased to launch the “Phuket Sandbox Info” section of our website which is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date news, information, and rules for travelers currently within the Phuket Sandbox. The aim is to answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding taking a Day Tour.
All you need to do is select whether you are visiting Phuket on the 7+7 Program or the 14 Day Program; from here click through to find out the most up-to-date news and information. If you are already here in Phuket and would like to get out on tour and explore, then head straight to our SHA Plus Approved Day Tours and Transfers section.
As one of the first Private Boat Tour companies in Phuket to become SHA Plus approved, we take pride in understanding, translating, and providing the most up-to-date information there is related to the Phuket Sandbox, Day Tours, rules, and restrictions.
We are updating these pages on a daily basis, whenever rules change, we also make sure updates occur. Our YouTube Channel is a great source for the most up-to-date information on rules, destinations, and more!
If you prefer to talk to someone, feel free to contact us as we provide a FREE concierge service for guests traveling to Phuket.
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.
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
- 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.
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):
- Domestic travelers can go to Phi Phi
- Domestic travelers can go to Phang Nga Bay
- Domestic travelers can go to Khai Islands
- Sandbox travelers can go to Phi Phi
- Sandbox travelers can go to Phang Nga Bay
- Sandbox travelers can go to Khai Islands
So, let’s break this down and look at the main positive changes with the new regulations:
- 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:
- Proof of vaccination
- RTPCR or Antigen Covid-19 test (within 72 hours of the tour)
- Register with us 6 hours before the tour
- We will register you with the marine department and relevant national parks
- Passport copy
- 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:
- Proof of vaccination
- 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
- Register with us 6 hours before the tour
- We will register you with the marine department and relevant national parks
- Passport copy
- PLUS your MorChana app on your phone
- 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.
Sandbox Day Tour
Enjoy a day sightseeing, caving, and even experiencing a picnic lunch minus the hordes of tourists around the fantastic seascapes of Phang Nga Bay and the world-famous James Bond Island – this is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience James Bond Island in peace and quiet.
Here at 5 Star Marine, we have a tried and tested Sandbox day tour to get you out enjoying the islands surrounding Phuket. In fact, we were once again the 1st company in Phuket to take sandbox guests out to surrounding islands; this time it was Phang Nga Bay
So if you are in Phuket and part of the Sandbox program, contact us to make this iconic day trip possible.
- Depart from our main pier at Boat Lagoon and head to Koh Yao Noi (which is part of Phang Nga Bay) to take a quick but necessary covid test (along with our crew also)
- Head onto Koh Panak for some sightseeing and stunning stalagmites
- Get your adrenalin fix canoeing and cave exploring at Koh Hong Phang Nga
- Enjoy a picnic lunch at the renowned James Bond Island
- Make a stop at the famous floating village of Koh Panyee floating village
- Make a quick stop to pick up the test results
- Then finally enjoy swimming at Naka Noi before the stunning sunset views captured whilst returning to the pier at Boat Lagoon
We are on hand to help you through each step of the process, but as an overview we simply need:
- ID card or passport per passenger (required the day before the tour)
- Vaccination record copy per passenger (required the day before the tour)
- We require this information to register you with the national park and local gov in Phang Nga Bay
- The MorChana application should be on your phone to check in and out
- 1 x Antigen Covid-19 Test per passenger (our fully vaccinated crew will take this test also)
How Many Nights?
- You can enjoy this fantastic day tour from day 15 onwards of the Sandbox Program
- You will need to provide proof that you have completed 14 nights in Phuket to qualify
- It is not possible to go pre-day 15; however, there are different day tours to Coral Island, Racha Islands, or Mai Ton you can still enjoy
Please Contact Us for our free concierge service to help with all requirements.