Island Hopping Here We Go

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!

New Island Destinations for Phuket Day Tours

From the 15th of October 2021, there will be additional day tour options available to both Domestic and Sandbox customers. This time of year brings with it a change from the Monsoon to the Dry Season; where you can enjoy calmer winds and sea conditions which unite for a perfect combination for a day out on the sea.

This time of year also welcomes the reopening of the Similan and Surin Islands, by the National Park departments.  Two phenomenal island-hopping destinations situated off the West Coast of Phuket.  These areas are bursting with amazing marine life, rich coral and sandy white beaches.  Similan and Surin islands are only available to visit 6 months of the year, so this is something we have been looking forward to.

This year 5 Star Marine has licensed its fleet of boats to enter the stunning areas in and around the Similan and Surin Island National Parks.

The great news is that this means that both Domestic customers and Sandbox guests can all enjoy the natural marine richness and crystal clear blue waters these locations have to offer.

In addition to these destinations opening, the islands of Koh Rok and Koh Ha will also be able to welcome guests.  These are another two fantastic snorkeling and Day Tour locations that are a “must-see” and feature on many bucket lists.

To find out all the details about these new openings as well as take a sneak peek at what these destinations have in store for you, check out the YouTube video below:

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

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.

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!

 

The Need Continues, and So Will We

From July 1st, 2021 we welcomed a positive and critical step in the right direction; with the opening of the Phuket Sandbox. With hopes that this will help jump-start the return of international tourism and the economic benefits that come with this for an island such as Phuket.

We are all hopeful that this will be a welcome development for southern Thailand and eventually the rest of the country. However, we know that this is going to take some time, and while it ramps up slowly, we understand that the need for food and our vital life bag efforts continue to be hugely important to many communities.

So, we continue to get our volunteers together to organize our life bag packing efforts, each and every Saturday at 10 am at Sutai Muay Thai. But it doesn’t stop there, once the huge packing efforts are complete the 5 Star Marine teams carry on through to distribution by truck or boat to some of the most suffering communities in and around Phuket. 

No matter what, we do what we can to help and will continue to do so until such time that tourism returns to more normal levels. 

‘Captain’s Choice’ – A Maximum Flexibility Private Tour

Captain’s Choice is 5 Star Marine’s unique luxury boat tour experience, offering you the perfect combination of maximum convenience plus flexibility. It brings together a new collection of inspired day sea tours tailored to your personal expectations; with an element of surprise thrown in to ensure your day is exactly what you would have wished for. 

So, all you have to do is book your VIP boat experience then, simply turn up on the day for your adventure. That’s literally all you need to do! No worrying about where to stop for lunch, what to do first, which order to sightsee or snorkel, where is best for the sea conditions that day – you can leave the hard decisions to our expert Captains and concentrate on enjoying your trip to the deserted paradise islands around Phuket.

Our experienced team of Tour Managers and Captains will ensure you have the perfect day out on the water, and fulfill your expectations to leave you with special lasting memories of your VIP tour with us. We are also TAT SHA Plus approved, so you know that you and your booking are in safe hands.

For the ultimate travel experience, you can trust 5 Star Marine’s ‘Captain’s Choice’ to bring you itineraries that are only available to small and private booking groups and not offered with any other boat tour company. 

We have already taken a number of international bookings, so don’t delay and book your ‘Captain’s Choice’ luxury day out now, to enjoy the bespoke selection of untouched paradise locations on offer. 

Contact 5 Star Marine on Facebook to book.  

No Quarantine in Phuket For Vaccinated Tourists

International Travellers – What You Need to Know

Phuket will be the first destination in Thailand to reopen to overseas tourists, from July 2021. This comes after over 15 months of the island being closed off to tourists; and now the local businesses, restaurants, hotels, and shops are looking forward to welcoming travelers back. Thailand has a full Covid-19 plan to reopen the whole country, and this starts in July where fully vaccinated tourists can fly to Phuket without the requirement to quarantine.  

Under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ program, Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists, starting from 1 July 2021. Tourists will be required to spend the first seven days on the island, before being allowed to travel to other Thai destinations. (source TATNEWS.org)

Phase 1: Phuket

From the 1st July 2021, fully vaccinated travelers can visit Phuket without the need to quarantine on arrival. 

The main requirements for overseas tourists are set out below*

  • Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required (full vaccination)
  • Obtain a Certificate of Entry (CoE) before departure
  • Travel insurance with Covid-19 cover
  • Download the Thailand Plus tracking application before departure and upload the required information
  • Must fly directly to Phuket International Airport*
  • Present a negative PCR test result (issued a maximum of 72 hours before departure)
  • Covid-19 test on arrival
  • Stay in Phuket for a minimum of 7 days

*Please enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in your own country for up-to-date travel requirements and to ensure you are eligible for quarantine-free arrival into Phuket. 

5 Star Marine Private Boat Tours

From July 1st, we are looking forward to welcoming back our international market VIP guests with a range of private boat trips. We are excited to give our staff the opportunity to work with international guests again and we also want to give you the chance to explore some exciting destinations whilst the islands are still blissfully quiet and beautiful.

From 1st July 2021 we are able to offer private tours to the following destinations:

Please contact us to book your bespoke VIP boat tour experience. 

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. 

All Good Things Must Come to an End

 

Last Chance Tourism isn’t a new concept. The enthralling social and psychological notion has been around for several years, feeding tourists with a desire to visit or experience a place at risk of vanishing, (or altering due to climate change), while they still can. Now, I am not suggesting that Thailand is about to disappear, however, a huge shift is most certainly on its way, so this might well be your Last Chance Tourism window of opportunity. 

With a strong push by the Thai government to reopen Phuket by this summer, and a relaxation in minimum mandatory quarantine days for vaccinated travelers starting imminently, it is inevitable that tourists will be coming back. 

The month of April provides one of the last periods to see the islands around Phuket as they currently are – think Phi Phi, Koh Racha Yai, Similan Islands, Hong Krabi, Railay Beach, Phang Nga Bay, Koh Lanta, etc. The list goes on and on with numerous stunning day trip options and multiple day itineraries easily accessible with 5 Star Marine’s private VIP speedboats. 

So, for those of us in or around Phuket right now, we do have a small opportune timeframe in which to enjoy these islands in all their natural beauty, minus the crowds before the tourists return. April bestows fantastic water clarify to us also, which makes for an even more memorable day out on the water especially if your private VIP trip fancies a spot of snorkeling. Towards the end of April / beginning of May, this will all start to change.

Which islands around Phuket are on your bucket list? Maybe there are some on your list that you have never been to. Or perhaps you have already been to one of the islands, however, it was so crowded with tourists that it just didn’t live up to your dreams. So, take the time and take the opportunity NOW while you still can, as this literally is your last possible chance to experience the islands around Phuket in peace and quiet, before the rainy season, rougher seas, and borders reopen. 

Put simply, why not embrace last chance tourism and make the effort to see somewhere you’re unlikely to ever see again in its present state?