Nestled in the Andaman Sea, Phuket, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Andaman,” is a tropical paradise that has captured the hearts of travelers from all corners of the world. This stunning island in Thailand is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, vibrant culture, and wide range of activities that cater to all types of tourists. In this blog post, we will take you on a virtual tour of Phuket, offering insights into its attractions, culture, and tips for an unforgettable vacation. Shaun Stenning said.
1. The Allure of Phuket’s Beaches
Phuket’s coastline is adorned with an array of mesmerizing beaches, each offering a unique experience. Patong Beach, the island’s most famous, is known for its bustling nightlife and water sports. If you seek tranquility, head to Kata or Karon Beach for a more relaxed atmosphere. Adventurous souls can explore hidden gems like Freedom Beach or Ao Sane Beach for snorkeling and diving adventures.
2. Island-Hopping Adventures
Phuket serves as a gateway to some of Thailand’s most picturesque islands. Take a day trip to Phi Phi Islands, known for their crystal-clear waters and stunning cliffs, or visit the Similan Islands, a diver’s paradise teeming with vibrant marine life. These excursions promise unforgettable memories and Instagram-worthy moments.
3. Cultural Experiences
Beyond its natural beauty, Phuket boasts a rich cultural heritage. Explore the Old Town in Phuket City, where colorful Sino-Portuguese architecture tells the story of the island’s history. Visit the Wat Chalong temple, a spiritual haven where you can learn about Buddhist practices and admire intricate architecture. The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a must-see, showcasing vibrant processions and unique rituals.
4. Gastronomic Delights
Phuket’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of Thai and international flavors. Sample local dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, and Massaman Curry in street-side eateries or upscale restaurants. Don’t forget to indulge in fresh seafood at seafood shacks along the coast. The night markets, such as Phuket Weekend Market and Malin Plaza, offer a chance to savor authentic Thai street food.
5. Adventure and Outdoor Activities
Phuket offers a plethora of adrenaline-pumping activities for adventure enthusiasts. Go zip-lining through the lush rainforests of Hanuman World, explore the island’s interior on an ATV or go white-water rafting in Phang Nga Bay. The options are endless for those seeking an action-packed vacation.
6. Spa and Wellness Retreats
Shaun Stenning said, Phuket is a hub for wellness and relaxation. Numerous world-class spas and wellness centers offer traditional Thai massages, yoga retreats, and detox programs. Pamper yourself with a spa day overlooking the ocean or find inner peace through yoga and meditation sessions.
7. Sustainable Tourism
Phuket is increasingly committed to sustainable tourism practices. Support eco-friendly tours and accommodations that prioritize environmental conservation and community engagement. Responsible travelers can participate in beach clean-up activities or learn about sea turtle conservation efforts at the Phuket Marine Biological Center.
According to Shaun Stenning, Phuket is more than just a destination; it’s an experience that will leave you with lasting memories. From its pristine beaches and cultural heritage to its adventurous spirit and delectable cuisine, Phuket offers something for everyone. As you plan your next vacation, consider Phuket for an unforgettable journey into a tropical paradise that seamlessly blends natural beauty, culture, and adventure. Embrace the island’s charm, immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, and return home with a heart full of memories and a longing to return to this enchanting corner of Thailand
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.
When you book our Khai Islands Private Tour, you get to experience not just one, but a group of three famous, small islands.
Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai and Koh Khai Nui; each offer something slightly different, and The Khai Islands Private Tour is a mere 15 – 20 minute speedboat ride from our centrally located pier in Phuket, Boat Lagoon.
These three popular and family-friendly islands are situated close together and are especially appealing for beginner snorkellers because you can go straight off the beach on some of the islands to enjoy the underwater vibrant coral and marine life on offer.
With our Khai Islands Private Tour, your day trip is customisable; there is no need to rush to get to the next island, or restrictive time slots for lunch. If you are enjoying your picnic lunch on the beach (which we can arrange for you, including Thai sharing dishes and western favourites) then just let us know and take your time to relax for longer.
With our Khai Islands Private Tour, there is no set schedule; the day is bespoke for you, so it will be very different to the more rigid timings you might find with the group tours.
Therefore, if you are looking for an easy, close by island day trip that is good for families, snorkelling and relaxing on the beach you can’t beat 5 Star Marine’s Khai Islands Private Tour.
Let’s take a look at what the three Khai Islands have to offer:
- Koh Khai Nok
The distinctive egg-shaped island of Koh Khai Nok helps to explain its other known name “Egg Island”. It is blessed with soft, sandy beaches, and the water is crystal clear with a pale blue tinge. Simply standing in the water just off this island you will get to see plenty of colourful fish, so it is a perfect spot for swimming and snorkelling. On your Khai Island Private Tour, you can take your time to enjoy this islands’ sandy beach, relax and take in the sights and experience some off-the-beach snorkelling here.
- Koh Khai Nui Island
Khai Nui is another wonderful spot for snorkelling, this time right off the boat. It is another picturesque and small island you can visit on your Khai Islands Private Tour. It boasts pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters abundant with a great variety of coral and marine life making this a great spot for swimming, diving and snorkelling off the boat.
- Koh Khai Nai
This is the largest of the three islands and Koh Khai Nai offers clear, shallow waters which makes it popular and a safe choice. This area offers some perfect snorkelling opportunities for families with young children due to the shallow, clear waters. There is also a postcard on a white sandy beach to enjoy a spot of lunch on.
5 Star Marine’s Khai Island Private Tour
Our Khai Island Private Tour is personal and customisable, so your day trip itinerary will take into account what you want to get out of your day, be fully flexible so you can spend more time doing what you enjoy, and be a combined itinerary with our experienced guides. Our guides and captains will ensure that you discover the three islands in the best possible conditions, and understand that timing at Khai Islands can be important to give you the best experience on the day.
Contact us to book your Khai Island Private Tour:
One of our most popular day trip destinations is the world-renowned James Bond Island Private Tour, which takes you to Phang Nga Bay. This luxury VIP speedboat Private Tour allows you to enjoy famous sights, along with more active pursuits such as exploring caves in the area and taking a canoe out around the formations.
Whilst on our James Bond Island Private Tour, you will get to discover the stunning and vast karst limestone seascapes which jut out of the emerald-green water, giving the Phang Nga Bay area a truly unique and visually stunning location to explore.
Of course, our experienced teams will get you to the famous Koh Tapu (James Bond Island) to enjoy the scenery of probably the most notorious spot in Phang Nga Bay. Boats are 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.
In fact, this destination has continued to prove so popular that in the pre-pandemic days there were near on 1 million people per year coming to the area. Of course, this helped support the locals, shops, restaurants, and the floating Muslim community of Koh Panyee; where huts, restaurants, and even a floating football pitch are built over the water.
However, Covid-19 brought with it a harsh blow to the community with barely any visitors; on the other hand, it provided the peace and quiet that this area needed so very much. In turn, with more or less no tourists and far fewer boats venturing out to the area, this famous landmark and surrounding areas got their first chance in over 40 years to recover and recuperate.
The James Bond Island Private Tour is certainly something that should be on your bucket list, especially now that it is quieter than ever before. This Private Tour has something for everyone; whether you want to experience stunning seascapes, partake in canoeing, caving or explore famous locations; in more peace and quiet than in the last 40 years.
James Bond Islands Private Tour Highlights
Your James Bond Island Private Tour will accommodate your desires for the day. Our experienced captains and crew will help you beat the crowds and give you a day to remember. Some of the stops you might want to make 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 Island Private 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.
James Bond Islands Private Tour Inclusions:
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:
Deciding which company to book a Phuket Private Boat Charters 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 Charters 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 Charters companies. Therefore, by selecting to go on a Phuket Private Boat Charters 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 charters, what exactly does this mean versus a group speedboat charter? Here are just some of the benefits to going the private boat charters 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.
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.