Here we go Again! – Phuket Sandbox Rules Update

ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/


Today we are thrilled to report good, positive news – now doesn’t that make a change to the negative news cycle?

The new Sandbox rules mean that from now on it is easier than it has ever been before for Sandbox guests to explore Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island, Phi Phi, Hong Krabi, and beyond.

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.

Let’s Explore

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:

  1. A copy of your passport
  2. 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.

SHA Approved

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.

What to Look for in a Sandbox Phuket Private Boat Charter?

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/


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.

Luxury Inclusions

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
  • Insurance
  • 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.

Breaking News – Phi Phi, Phang Nga and Khai Islands Day Trips

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/


We have just received updated and encouraging new rules for Domestic and Sandbox guests which make day tours to locations such as Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay even easier.

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):

So, let’s break this down and look at the main positive changes with the new regulations:

DOMESTIC CUSTOMERS

  • 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:

  1. Proof of vaccination
  2. RTPCR or Antigen Covid-19 test (within 72 hours of the tour)
  3. Register with us 6 hours before the tour
    • We will register you with the marine department and relevant national parks
  4. Passport copy

SANDBOX CUSTOMERS

  • 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:

  1. Proof of vaccination
  2. 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
  3. Register with us 6 hours before the tour
    • We will register you with the marine department and relevant national parks
  4. Passport copy
  5. PLUS your MorChana app on your phone
  6. 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 Seascapes & James Bond Island

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.

The Experience

  • 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

Requirements

We are on hand to help you through each step of the process, but as an overview we simply need:

  1. ID card or passport per passenger (required the day before the tour)
  2. Vaccination record copy per passenger (required the day before the tour)
  3. We require this information to register you with the national park and local gov in Phang Nga Bay
  4. The MorChana application should be on your phone to check in and out
  5. 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.     

 

Team Work

The past 2 weeks have been a blur of activity trying to keep up with donation efforts, despite the tighter Covid-19 restrictions here in Phuket. These have unfortunately forced us to pause our mass packing efforts. However, even without our dedicated and fantastic volunteers being able to help out, we still need to pack, deliver and support the local communities.

It has been a challenging period where we have unfortunately also seen a combination of rising infections on the island, local villagers being sent into isolation, and workers camps being ordered to quarantine on site.

Right now, the need to get basic food and home supplies to those in need via our Life Bag program is greater than ever. So, our 5 Star Marine team combined forces with Sutai Muay Thai (just as we did at the start of the Life Bag journey over 17 months ago), and are still packing, still delivering, and still reaching out to the community.

As a result of our teams working together, over 11,000 life bags were delivered in the last 16 days – So we wanted to give a huge shout out to our teams for their amazing and continued efforts to help Phuket.

#savephuket

August Updates for Sandbox Guests

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/


There have been a number of brand-new Provincial rule changes, so make sure you are up to date with the latest information. Let’s take a look at what has changed: 

WHAT WAS THE 7+7 MODEL?

There was previously a planned 7+7 model; this was essentially where Sandbox tourists would have needed to stay in Phuket for 7 nights before being able to explore other provinces, like Phang Nga Bay, Krabi, and Phi Phi, etc.

THE 14 DAY MODEL

However, this 7+7 model has been delayed until at least 16th August 2021. So as of now, the latest Provincial rules state that Sandbox tourists must stay in Phuket for the 1st 14 days.

CAN I GO ON A BOAT DAY TRIP?

Yes, absolutely, you can still go island-hopping and experience day boat trips and make the most of your time on holiday if you are here on the Sandbox scheme. During your 1st 14 days, you can head out to stunning locations such as Koh Racha Yai, Koh Racha Noi, Coral Island, and Mai Ton.

One of our most popular island-hopping day trips at the moment is the combination Dolphin Spotting and Snorkelling Experience. Spend time at the beautiful beaches on Coral Island, with restaurants, snorkeling spots, canoes, and plenty of Instagram-worthy setups; then head to Mai Ton for the afternoon for some dolphin spotting.

NO GO ZONES

Unfortunately, Phi Phi and Phang Nga are currently no-go zones. This is a brand-new update and is scheduled to be in place from 3rd August until 16th August. So, put simply, you cannot leave the Phuket Province (but can still enjoy day trips to Racha Islands, Coral Island, and Mai Ton as mentioned above as they are Phuket Provincial Islands).

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?

Yes, we do have some rain during the monsoon season, however, it’s not all day, every day. We are still getting many great weather days to go out on our boat tours, and take wind conditions and our radar readings into consideration when planning the destinations. We are more than happy to help advise when is best to get out and explore.

THANK YOU!

As an island that relies so heavily on tourism, we wanted to thank you for choosing to come here on holiday, and extend a very warm welcome to Phuket. This restarting of tourism is critical for everyone here on the island. As a company, we have been supporting our community who need it most; so many people have had no income and no way to survive this period. We support through our Life Bag packing and distribution efforts, (with essential food and hygiene products).

We understand that Phuket is not exactly how it used to be; there are more rules and regulations, not everything is open, but you coming here as an international tourist is supporting the island and this is exactly what we need right now to rebuild our domestic economy – so, THANK YOU!

 

NEWS UPDATE – Sandbox Customers Island Tours

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/


PART 1: New Rules for Sandbox Customers  

Phuket recently announced some changes for Sandbox customers; what they can do and where they can go. A brand new update states that Sandbox customers can now go to some other islands after their 7th day of being in Phuket (they were previously only allowed to travel to a handful of different islands after day 14 here).

Sandbox customers can currently go to Koh Racha, Coral Island, and Mai Ton. From 1st August the Sandbox scheme will extend further to allow guests to travel to Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay which includes James Bond Island. Hong Krabi might also be added to this list, but this is not confirmed at this point.

PART 2: Why should Sandbox customers take a Private Tour?

We are not running ‘joining group tours’ for Sandbox customers. This is because we are simply trying to minimize the effect a potential positive Covid-19 test would do on our guests. For example, on a group tour if there was one positive case on the boat, then everyone else who went on the boat would need to quarantine too. So, the safest way to take a boat tour is with your friends or family you traveled herewith, (you probably came in on the same flight and are staying together also).

PART 3: How is Sandbox helping the local Phuket Community?

For over 16 months Thailand has been economically devastated, and we have been running a food relief program during this time for an island that depends on tourists to survive. So, the Sandbox is the first step to reopening Phuket and inject some much-needed funds back into the economy. It also provides opportunities for the locals to start working and earning again as demand very slowly starts to return.

Of course, we recognize there are risks associated, but by international tourists coming here, booking hotels, eating at restaurants, taking day tours, taxis, etc. it all helps local people start working again. The good news is that money is being injected into our economy by the Sandbox program, and for this we are grateful.  With our 5 Star Marine boats out on tour, it is supporting our captains, boat crew, admin staff, transfer drivers, plus we are supporting other local businesses like Ann’s Kitchen who provide our guest lunches, the shops that supply our soft drinks, and fruit for each boat, etc. The ripple positive effect is beneficial to a number of people and gives Phuket confidence to keep going.

So, we want to say Thank You for supporting us, so we can keep supporting Phuket.

 

Can Sandbox Customers Go Island Hopping?

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/


Here’s what you need to know about the island hopping, the check-in process, the do’s and the don’ts for your first 14 days as a Sandbox customer:

Where can you go in the first 14 days?

Within the first 14 days of arriving in Phuket, Sandbox customers are currently able to go to:

  • Racha
  • Coral Island
  • Mai Ton
  • A combination of these 3

Where do Sandbox customers depart from?

There are 3 sandbox customer departure points in Phuket, these are:

  • Ao Por
  • Chalong Pier
  • Rassada Pier

What paperwork is required?

Before the departure date, Sandbox customers need to provide:

  1. Passport copy
  2. Vaccination documentation

On the day of the tour please also bring your mobile phone with MorChana app installed.

What happens when you get to the pier?

  1. Check-in on your MorChana app on your mobile phone
  2. Your temperature will be checked
  3. 5 Star Marine team will help submit your documents and paperwork to the Marine Department

After these 3 steps, you are cleared to get onto the boat and can enjoy your day trip!

What happens when you return to pier?

  1. Once again, you will need to check in on your MorChana app on your mobile phone
  2. Your temperature will be checked
  3. You can then get on the bus to return to your hotel

So, as you can see there is plenty that Sandbox customers can enjoy, see and do for a day out at sea. Snorkel or relax on the sandy beaches at Coral Island, try your luck at spotting the friendly dolphins around Mai Ton, or go a little further to the white beaches and fantastic marine life at Racha.

5 Star Marine can help at each step of the way, they have tried and tested the process, are TAT SHA Plus certified, and will make sure you have a day to remember.

Contact us on 093 720 6221 to book your Sandbox-approved day trip.

Stamp and You Shall Receive

Here at 5 Star Marine, we love seeing how much our guests enjoy their travels onboard our private speedboats to Phi Phi, the Similan Islands, Hong Krabi, and beyond. For the past 16 months, our loyal residents have kept us busy exploring the islands around Phuket and Krabi, and now we feel that it is our turn to say ‘Thank you back. 

Say hello to the new and exclusive 5 Star Marine ‘Rewards Passport’ – the ultimate way for us to thank you; our loyal speedboat junkies. We have certainly missed international travel and passport stamps, so we are giving you the chance to feel the travel bug again. Dedicated to our loyal customers, each time you take a VIP speedboat trip with us to the islands in the Rewards Passport, you receive the relevant stamp. Simply collect all 7 destination stamps and you will receive your FREE day trip! No hidden extras, fuel costs, or charges; just a FREE day out with friends or family to create more memorable experiences with us.

For some inspiration on travel within 45 minutes of our pier at Boat Lagoon (and remaining in Phuket waters), you could consider a day trip to Coral Island returning via Mai Ton to try your luck spotting the friendly pod of dolphins. Perhaps a family-friendly day out to the Khai islands where you can enjoy shallow water snorkeling, relaxing on the beaches, and even a picnic lunch which can all be arranged by us.

Alternatively, if you are looking to get away for a night or two, why not enjoy the stunning snorkeling, wildlife, and beaches at Raya with a custom multi-day tour. In addition, from July 11th, 2021 you can explore the iconic and stunning Phi Phi islands again, as these open up to Phuket tourists.  

Wherever you chose for your next booking, just remember to collect your Rewards Passport before you set off, and start collecting your loyalty stamps for Phi Phi, Khai Islands, Raya, James Bond, Hong Krabi, Mai Ton, and the Similan Islands. Once filled with traveling stamps, you can collect your well-deserved reward, a FREE 5 Star Marine day trip experience. 

Thank you once again to all our loyal customers, we are proud that you have put your trust in us and look forward to welcoming you back onboard

Explore more to get more; contact 5 Star Marine on 093 720 6221 to book.

The Life of a Life Bag – Video by Chris Parker

5 Star Marine was thrilled to welcome Chris Parker, (from Retired Working For You), as he joined their usual weekly efforts to see exactly what goes on behind the scenes of each vital life bag.

Chris Parker got an inside glimpse of how things work right from the organized packing efforts by volunteers at Sutai Muay Thai, to the distribution to some of the most suffering communities in and around Phuket. He joined the distribution efforts by truck and then headed out on the sea to get to some of the harder-to-reach places which the 5 Star Marine have been able to serve using their speedboats for deliveries.

In his follow-up, hard-hitting video, you get to see where these life bags go, and how vitally important they have become for the worst-hit communities around us here. 

In Chris’ own words: What 5 Star Marine in Phuket, Thailand have done during the past 14 months is nothing short of unbelievable. This video will tell the story about how, when the pandemic struck, one man decided to begin helping those in need on his home island and as the need grew, so did the effort. Today, One Phuket has handed out more than 210,000 ‘Life Bags’ with daily essentials for a local family who have no income. On Phuket, where tourism is basically everything, this has provided a lifeline and gotten many through this challenging year. 

The news in Bangkok and Thailand has been mostly bad this past year, but the Phuket Sandbox is reopening travel and bringing hope to the locals who are looking to get back on their feet. So book a ticket and be a hero!”

5 Star Marine is so grateful to Chris for filming this emotional and honest video and for helping to raise awareness by sharing this story on his YouTube platform also; all much appreciated.