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?

Important Update on Cancellations – April 2021

Customers

At 5 Star Marine, we are proud to say that you, our valued customers, always remain our top priority. This means that if you would like to cancel your April adventure on the sea with us, we will happily provide a refund of your deposit, no questions asked.

We understand that right now, with everything going on, you might want to postpone your plans until you feel safer traveling. We will honor all cancelations – not with credit notes, but with honest fast refunds. 

Just get in contact with us via the booking channel that you used and provide us your bank details so we can swiftly process your refund.

We are dedicated to making your time on the sea a 5-star experience in every way, and look forward to welcoming you back in the future should you decide to cancel your current booking. 

Community

5 Star Marine wants to reassure everyone that our essential community work will continue; supporting the most vulnerable people with our life bag donation program we have been running for over 14 months to date. Our life bags are crucially needed to help those in need during this economic crisis; each one supports a family of 4 people for 5 days.

Please note that our volunteering packing life bag efforts at Sutai Muay Thai on Saturday mornings will pause for the time being. This decision was made (6th April 2021) as a proactive measure in the interests of all our volunteers’ safety. Please rest assured that life bags will still be packed and distributed, but only by 5 Star Marine staff in a controlled environment.

UWC Lends a Helping Hand to 5 Star Marine

 

5 Star Marine and Sutai Muay Thai continued to support vulnerable communities in and around Phuket and Phang Nga for over a year now, and to date, we have exceeded over 150,000 life bag donations, (each of the bags contains enough staple supplies to feed a family of 5 for around 4 days). 5 Star Marine’s speedboats enabled to access some of the most at-risk areas and allowed the charity efforts to go further afield. 

Given the complete scale of operations, they recently put out a petition, not for donations, but for more people to help packing of donation bags. So when UWC Thailand International School proposed that they could help as part of their community and Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA’s), this offer was gratefully received. More helping hands was exactly what 5 Star Marine was looking for!  

Packing and delivering over 2,000 life bags each and every week is an immense commitment and the 5 Star Marine team has committed a significant amount of time and effort already. Now thankfully, we have more willing volunteers, as students and teachers help out weekly both on and off-campus.

The school will be providing a 20+ strong team of students and teachers each Saturday to assist with the community packing at Sutai Muay Thai. These sorts of activities are a vital part of student life and learning; providing an opportunity to bring students, staff, and parents, (as well as the wider community), together.

In addition to the off-campus efforts, there will be a weekly group of students (up to around 50), who will aim to pack 1,000 life bags each week for this worthy initiative. In true UWC style, the school has launched a competition inviting all students to challenge the packing process and in particular to look at how to reduce plastic usage, reuse, or recycle elements of the current food packing practices. 

5 Star Marine team are grateful for the hands-on deck needed, and the response from UWC has been a perfect fit to help with these donation efforts. They continue to take the safety of all school and other volunteers, beneficiaries, and staff as of paramount importance, with all donation activities being overseen by public health officers and local arbiters; adhering to screening, sanitizing, and queuing with social distancing guidelines.

Food Glorious Food

The last year has seen so many restaurants sadly close their doors around Thailand due to the lack of tourists. However, the last thing anyone wants to worry about when booking a private speedboat tour to a beautiful location around Phuket, is whether anywhere will be open to stopping for lunch or not. 

With this in mind, 5 Star Marine has ensured that all passengers continue to enjoy the best experience possible by launching a new, super convenient, and tempting day trip picnic menu. 

Lunch menu orders will be delivered to the 5 Star Marine pier in Boat Lagoon ready for your boat trip to Phang Nga Bay, Krabi, Phi Phi, and beyond. This means you will have more time to enjoy the lead-up to your trip and certainly be able to alleviate any concerns on where to get lunch on the day itself. 

This new offering means you can sit back and relax and know a delicious picnic lunch will be ready for you to enjoy, perhaps on a deserted beach, hidden lagoon, or even at a stunning viewpoint. The team will make sure you can sit back and enjoy your lunch in comfort.

The menu essentially features some firm favorites which are easy to eat on or off the board, and cater to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with a selection of set lunches on offer. There are 10 different sets to choose from, here are our top 3 choices to give you a glimpse of what there is on offer:

  1. Grilled vegetable and tofu ciabatta sandwich served with crisps
  2. Smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich served with crisps
  3. Mixed peas, feta cheese, and pomegranate seed salad with dressing

Please remember to order from the menu at least 48 hours before your trip, by messaging Shaun on 0937206221

In Safe Hands, with 5 Star Marine

5 Star Marine pride themselves on continuously striving to remain an industry leader in all areas, and when it comes to Covid-19 safety this is certainly no exception. They were, in fact, one of the first private boat companies in Phuket to be awarded the TAT SHA Certification in 2020.

So, what exactly is this accreditation, and why is it important to pick a tourism experience with these credentials? The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in collaboration with the public and private sector partners, introduced an “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certification, aimed at elevating confidence in Thailand as a destination among international and domestic tourists.

This private speedboat tour company has taken extensive measures to ensure that its speedboats, staff, crew, policies, and procedures are industry-leading. Not only have they been accredited by the Thai Government by proving they competently following ‘Covid-19 Safe Guidelines and Principles’, but they have also gone the extra mile so that you can rest assured of all aspects of health and safety during this unprecedented time.

5 Star Marine passed the inspection with flying colors, presenting their comprehensive ‘Covid-19 Response Plan’ to TAT officials, which highlighted amongst other areas tourist safety and security protocols in particular.

Sanitization kits were fully examined, plus all staff and crew were put through additional training to ensure the utmost safety for all passengers. They have demonstrated without a doubt that they can follow the strict Covid-19 control guidelines set out by the Department of Disease Control and Ministry of Public Health in Thailand. Furthermore, they have developed plans and operational procedures which focus not only on the crew and tourist safety but also promote safe interactions between local communities on the day or overnight trips. 

In addition to this, their staff is accredited with, (a US-based Certification) which educates them on how to deal with Airborne Pathogens such as Covid-19. An additional US-based certification has also been obtained; a ‘Covid Safety Certification’ which focuses on how to most effectively sanitize equipment to be Covid-19 safe. Something which is of paramount importance and guidelines is followed each and every day.

5 Star Marine is proud to be one of the first TAT SHA certified tourism services and looks forward to welcoming more domestic and international travelers onboard for once-in-a-lifetime experiences on their private speedboats in 2021. 

Overnight Sea Life Safari

Thailand’s local wildlife has been given a much-needed chance to recover since the disappearance of tourists flooding in. Islands and national parks have seen sea and wildlife populations start to return, making right now a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get out and explore. 

The Sea Life Safari offers a chance to relax and enjoy the abundance of marine animals over 2 days and 1 night, where the 5 Star Marine team uses their experience and expertise to take you to little-known coves, bays, and secret spots to glimpse the fantastic wildlife on offer.  

The two idyllic Racha Islands, (Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi), provide the ideal destination to enjoy nature; with some of the best snorkeling reefs in Thailand, tropical white powdery beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Koh Racha Yai has situated a mere 45-minute speedboat ride away. However, to experience the plethora of marine life on offer, you need to venture a little further to its smaller twin, Koh Racha Noi – An uninhabited rocky island, with plenty of fantastic snorkeling bays. 

During this 2-day trip, you can take your time to relax on stunning deserted beaches, snorkel at both islands and dine at local restaurants in beautiful bays. When you want to explore the local wildlife, 5 Star Marine knows all the best spots. 

You might get lucky enough to encounter a pod of inquisitive dolphins playing near your boat, or even see some Green or Hawksbill turtles who are fundamental to our marine ecosystems.  Look up to the skies to catch sight of the unusual Hornbills, which are characterized by their long, down­curved bill with a bright yellow casque (or horn) on top. 

Get the opportunity to glimpse some smooth-coated sea otters, which have even been known to try to get aboard! How about dragon spotting? OK, not exactly, but Thailand’s Monitor Lizards can grow up to a staggering 2 meters long. 

Last, but certainly not least; the stunning coral reefs around these twin islands are just teeming with aquatic life, and make for excellent snorkeling.  There are opportunities to see giant starfish, pufferfish, or sea turtles, and reef fish like Parrotfish, snapper, and angelfish can be found in the shallow waters just steps from the beach where you have your pick of snorkeling spots. 

Although sightings of these creatures cannot be guaranteed, one thing is for sure; when tourists do return, spotting some of these animals will again become a rarer opportunity. 

2 day / 1 night Sea Life Safari itinerary with FREE round trip private minibus transfers available now.

Lucus 5 – Private Speedboat

Due to strong support by our local ex-pat community, 5 Star Marine is proud to announce the arrival of Lucus 5. Adding to our existing fleet of 3 VIP Custom Private Speedboats, Lucus 5 is a 39 feet speedboat complete with back decking, Bluetooth sound, 2 X 250 HP Yamaha Engines, VIP Matting, and full fixtures and fittings.

This boat is perfect for cruising to the Island Destinations surrounding Phuket like Phi Phi, Raya, Phang Nga, and beyond. It is comfortable in all sea conditions and can reach over 42 Knots.

If you are looking for a safe, reliable, and cost-effective Private Boat in Phuket then you can’t look past Lucus 5.

Phang Nga Bay Private Boat Tour

I am often asked when I join our customers on tour what is my favorite destination to visit on a Private Boat Tour. The answer to the question is difficult and my answer will change dependent on the season. But one part of my answer will always stay the same and that is that Phang Nga Bay is the most visually stunning above-the-water area to explore.

Why Is Phang Nga Bay So Stunning?

With 47 Islands in the Bay (I think there is more, but at 47 who’s counting?) just entering Phang Nga Bay is a stunning and moving experience. As you cruise into the bay and see the length of the bay, the number of islands, the stalactites, and formations you will be stunned.

I often say to our customers that entering Phang Nga Bay is like stepping into a Jurassic Park movie. The setting is very similar and the feeling of the bay is amazing. As you look around Phang Nga Bay and marvel at how the island formations were made, how some of the stalactites have grown you really start to appreciate it’s a true wonder.

Is James Bond Island In Phang Nga Bay?

While Phang Nga Bay is better known to tourists as the area where James Bond Island is located, to me as a Private Boat Charter Company I truly believe that James Bond Island is just one of many stunning islands and formations in Phang Nga Bay.

I feel the overwhelming joy that James Bond was filmed in Phang Nga Bay as it gives a marketing attraction and motivation to enter the Bay. But the reality is that once you are in the Bay James Bond Island becomes irrelevant as you marvel at the true wonder and beauty of Phang Nga Bay.

There is no better way to explore Phang Nga Bay, the Mangroves, the Hongs, and the Hidden Caves than by Private Speedboat. Let us take you on a journey into the mystical Phang Nga Bay.