Phuket Sandbox Update – No Quarantine? No More Sandbox? Phuket Is OPEN.

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:

Phuket Sandbox Update – 7 Day Sandbox, Bars Open, Island Hopping Easier Than Ever!

As Phuket transitions away from its wet season towards the dry (or high) season, the Thailand Government has made a major and positive update to the Phuket Sandbox program.

Instead of being a 14-day Sandbox Program or the 7+7 Day Sandbox Model, it is now just a simple and easy ‘7 Day Sandbox’.

Along with the reduction in the Sandbox days, the number of RT-PCR Covid-19 Tests required while staying has also come down.  As of now, with the new update, there are just 2 tests required; the first on the day of arrival and the second on day 6 of your stay.

The good news continues as island hopping by private speedboat is now easier than ever before with a wide-ranging 11 destinations now open. Plus, none of these stunning destinations require additional Covid-19 tests for Sandbox Travelers.

The return of the dry season, the reduced Sandbox days model, fewer Covid-19 tests and new island destinations are all pointing in the right direction for our Sandbox Guests.

For full details watch this short video update below:

Here we go Again! – Phuket Sandbox Rules Update

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.

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

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.

 

Can Sandbox Customers Go Island Hopping?

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.

You NEED to Know This: Can you go to Phi Phi?

“Can I go to Phi Phi?” Well, with some requirements to be aware of, 5 Star Marine have broken these down for you. We know the rules, we have been through the process so that we know exactly what to do and how to do it. . so here is the lowdown:

WHO is allowed to go to Phi Phi National Park areas:

  • Sandbox customers cannot go to Phi Phi during the first 14 days after they arrive in Phuket. From day 15, Sandbox customers can go to Phi Phi with 5 Star Marine.
  • Expats living in Phuket are allowed to visit Phi Phi if they are fully vaccinated.

What are the REQUIREMENTS to go to Phi Phi?

  • Anyone going to Phi Phi needs to pre-register with the National Park one day prior to going to get approval.
  • 5 Star Marine will take care of the approval process for you, they simply need a copy of your passport and vaccine certificate.
  • When arriving at Tonsai Bay, 5 Star Marine staff will manage the process with the National Park and will hand over the relevant paperwork where vaccination documents will also be checked.

What about CHILDREN coming into the Phi Phi National Park?

  • Children 12 – 18 years old will need to show a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours.
  • Under 12-year-old children are allowed into the National Park, as long as they are with a fully vaccinated parent.

How LONG does it take to get there?

  • It takes 45 minutes from our pier in Boat Lagoon to reach the Phi Phi Islands.

WHERE is open?

  • Phi Phi Don has re-opened, where you can explore a number of coves, snorkeling spots, and even hidden lagoons. The water right now is stunning and turquoise with abundant marine life after having some time to rest.
  • You are allowed to access most of Phi Phi Don – including Laem Tong Bay, Monkey Beach, and Tonsai Bay, and the village itself. However, please note that Tonsai village itself is quiet with little open at the moment.

It’s the perfect time to get out there and support the island and small community, and the fact that it is still quiet is an added bonus. With only a few small requirements needed prior to departure which the team at 5 Star Marine can help you with, what are you waiting for? Book your Phi Phi adventure now and experience it like never before!

 

We’re On a Roll

With the successful and highly anticipated reopening of Phuket via the Sandbox program on July 1st under our belt, which welcomed fully vaccinated international visitors with no need to quarantine; we have been busy making sure we were ready for our international bookings as well as our continued domestic support. 

From the get-go on July 1st, major airlines including Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International started flying or scheduling to fly direct to Phuket from cities like London, Frankfurt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore.

We are super proud of our TAT SHA Plus status and having the opportunity to work with overseas bookings as Phuket kick starts its tourism once again after quite a hive of excitement and certainly a huge effort to welcome tourists back to the region.

But wait, that’s not all… there is more positive news; and don’t we all love a bit of uplifting reading right now?! 

So, currently, 5 Star Marine are offering day and multi-night trips (which are open to all travelers – Sandbox, Expat, or Domestic), staying in Phuket waters to some utterly stunning destinations such as Raya where you can experience soft white beaches, an abundance of animal life and fantastic snorkeling bays; or head out to Coral Island for an easy daytrip with snorkeling spots, a choice of great restaurants and the famous hornbill birds; alternatively how about Mai Ton to experience dolphins in their natural habitat, elegantly swimming alongside the speedboat and charming everyone onboard. 

If this wasn’t perfect enough, there’s more on offer as (drumroll please) Hong Krabi is scheduled to open on July 8th with Phi Phi following shortly after with a  scheduled opening date of July 10th, and 5 Star Marine will be able to re-start their day and overnight tours to the area. This is yet another positive and economically important step in the right direction for Thailand, and we literally cannot wait to enjoy the idyllic coral reefs, hidden coves, turquoise lagoons, 3600 viewpoints, secret caves and create more unforgettable experiences swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear tropical waters there.

You may have the positive mindset saying ‘Expect nothing, appreciate everything’ – but here at 5 Star Marine we are more likely to say ‘Expect everything, and enjoy it all on board with us’

360 Degrees, Yes Please

Ko Hong Krabi and the smaller Krabi province archipelagos are typically quieter than the more popular Phi Phi or Phang Nga Bay areas. However, the area provides you with everything you could want from a day out with your friends or family – snorkeling, discovering white sandy private beaches, hiking, or sightseeing – there is something to keep everyone happy. 

Ko Hong Krabi sits in-between the Koh Yao Islands and Krabi mainland and already had a great name for itself with its stunning lagoon. Entering through a narrow passageway you are greeted by the scenic and mesmerizing Ko Hong Lagoon. This striking turquoise body of shallow water is surrounded by high rock walls lined with lush mangroves giving a forgotten world feeling to it. Only accessible by small boat or longtail, some areas are so clear and shallow you can easily see your feet on the underwater sand.   

You could even get to enjoy the mystical sense of being in this bright turquoise lagoon all to yourselves as 5 Star Marine have the knowledge and expertise to miss the rush and give you the most private and memorable time here.  

After taking in the vibrant colors of Ko Hong Lagoon, let your adventurous side loose and make your way around to the most recent addition to the island; the breathtaking 360o Viewpoint. This impressive metal staircase structure was built in 2020, during Covid, and was designed to give panoramic 360o views of Krabi and the surrounding islands. It certainly delivers and is arguably one of the best seascape views of the Krabi island sets, Phang Nga Bay, and surrounding islands in the national park that you can get from anywhere. 

The climb is not for the fainthearted as you need to ascend the metal stairs (all 419 of them) and progress along wooden walkways for around 10 – 15 minutes in the heat before reaching the top viewing platform. Here, your efforts will be greatly rewarded with the most spectacular view. At around 109 meters above sea level, it is definitely a steep climb, but totally doable and worth the exertion to get to the top to see views of tropical islands and karst limestone mountains jutting out of the emerald waters. This experience is perfect for a group of friends or families with children; just remember to take shoes with you.

Once you have had your fill of these stunning panoramic seascapes, make your way back down to the shore and catch your breath before heading out to your pick of fantastic snorkeling and island locations nearby. With clear waters, secluded lagoons, and abundant marine life in the shallow and deep-water coral reefs; you could even get lucky enough to spot a reef shark on your adventure. 

With so much to see and do, the Krabi Islands are a perfect mix for sightseeing, adventure, snorkeling, and private white sandy beaches. 

360 view hong krabi island

Photo credit – sunny_rung

Closure Notice

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of today (Sunday 18th April) 5 Star Marine are pausing all tours for 14 days, in line with the brand-new Government requirement announcement. In summary, these new guidelines outline that:

1. Restricted Activities – underwater pursuits are prohibited, including snorkeling/diving;

2. Restricted Areas – Phuket is a ‘red zone’ which means our speedboats cannot access Phi Phi and Krabi areas, etc.

To make these newest requirements as seamless as possible for all our customers, please get in touch and we will honor all cancellations (no matter how far in advance) with honest, 100% refunds. Please rest assured we are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe, and the Government provincial team will be cleaning our pier, boats, and office, plus all staff members are receiving the PCR Covid-19 test.  

Throughout this challenging time, we will continue to maintain and support our staff and community donation programs – We understand that the community needs us now. . . more than ever. 

Bon Appetit!

With so many stunning locations on offer with our range of private speedboat tours, you might just want to just sit back, relax and enjoy all the experience has to offer – and not worry about what to pack for lunch, or if restaurants will be open or not.

With this in mind, 5 Star Marine has ensured that all guests can leave the lunch preparations and logistics behind; and instead, enjoy our new expanded range of super convenient and tempting day trip menus.

The new menu features some firm favorite set lunches, as well as the newly added Thai sharing buffet menu. We cater to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with a selection of set and buffet lunches on offer.

Here’s a glimpse of some of our menu highlights to get your mouth watering:

  1. Grilled vegetable and tofu ciabatta sandwich served with crisps
  2. Chicken pasty served with crisps
  3. NEW Thai sharing buffet menu, (a few dishes you can select from including the Green Chicken or Massaman Chicken Curry, Tom Yum, Vegetable Fried Rice, Fried Fish with Sweet Chili Sauce, etc.)
  4. The Thai sharing buffet menu is also available as a vegetarian option

For added convenience, all lunch orders are delivered to our pier in Boat Lagoon ready for your boat trip. So, all you have to decide is where to enjoy these delicious options; perhaps on a deserted beach, hidden lagoon, or even at a stunning viewpoint. The team will ensure you can sit back and enjoy your lunch in comfort.

Please click here for the full menu – and remember to order at least 48 hours before your trip by messaging Shaun on 093 720 6221

Bon Appetite!