Phang Nga Bay is a magnificent bay located in southern Thailand. It is fames for its striking limestone cliffs and unique rock formations. The bay is home to several small islands, including the famous James Bond Island. Exploring this intriguing area is best done via a private speedboat tour, where you will get the opportunity to visit the islands and see various caves and lagoons found within them at your own pace.
The bay is also home to several sea gypsy villages, where you can take the opportunity to learn about the local culture and way of life. Kayaking is an increasingly popular activity in the area, as are caving and swimming; more about these activities later on in this guide.
The scenery around Phang Nga Bay is truly impressive, and is a must-see destination for anyone who is visiting or living in Phuket. The area is also known for its wildlife and marine life, including monkeys, macaques and rare species of birds.
Overall, Phang Nga Bay is a unique and a one-of-a-kind day trip destination that offers visitors the chance to explore stunning natural landscapes, learn about the local culture, and participate in a range of outdoor activities.
Top Instagram Spots
Phang Nga Bay is a popular spot for Instagramable shots; some of the top places to get snap happy at include:
- James Bond Island: This iconic small island with a unique limestone tower is one of the most photographed spots in Phang Nga Bay. Find out why later on in this guide.
- Koh Panyee: This island is home to a Muslim fishing village and is built on stilts, offering a unique and picturesque setting for photos.
- Hong Island: This area is very well known for its beautiful lagoons and turquoise waters, making it a popular photo hotspot, with no filter needed.
- Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay: This is a great way of exploring the bay and its islands, offering numerous opportunities to take in the natural beauty of the area and capture unique photos.
- The Caves: The bay is home to many caves and lagoons that can only be accessed by boat or sea canoe. These unique limestone formations offer a great backdrop for your Instagram pictures, and we talk more about a number of them later on in this guide.
- Mangrove Forests: The bay’s mangrove forests offer a different type of scenery, with twisted roots and dense foliage providing an interesting contrast to the limestone cliffs and islands.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat. . .
Sea canoeing is a fascinating way to explore the Phang Nga Bay area and they provide a popular option to explore the bay’s limestone cliffs, caves, and lagoons. Be guided or take yourself through small tunnels and into caverns and lagoons that larger boats cannot reach, finding hidden gems and plenty of fantastic photo opportunities.
Phang Nga Bay’s landscape is regarded as among the most beautiful in Thailand, with towering limestone cliffs providing a stunning experience as you glide in the water past these renowned formations.
Crew onboard your 5 Star Marine private speedboat are able to organize this experience for you, and will also be on hand to brief you on the seascape and how to enter tunnels and caves at certain times. Note that access is dictated by tides and water levels at certain areas.
Ultimate Caving Spots
We can carve out a bespoke itinerary with you to ensure you get the best out of your day to the Phang Nga Bay area. This means we can beat the crowds and come up with a flexible day plan to suit you, so if you wish to explore caves, you have come to the right place! You have the opportunity to discover secret caves and lagoons, and immerse yourself in the natural and hidden beauty of this area.
Canoe through turquoise waters, into secret tunnels and intriguing lagoons that lead up to spectacular caverns. Phang Nga Bay has various caves that are popular for exploration. Some of the most popular include:
- Tham Lod Cave is a big limestone cave with a tight entrance that leads to a wide chamber filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. It’s also home to a colony of bats.
- Koh Panak Cave is located on Koh Panak Island, this cave has numerous big chambers with remarkable rock formations and clear pools of water.
- Panak Island Caves also include Oyster Cave, Diamond Cave, and Mangrove Cave which may all be explored at different times.
- Hong Cave can be found on Hong Island. This cave is famous for its magnificent rock formations and crystal-clear water. It also serves as a haven for a significant number of bats.
- Tham Phra Nang Nai is located on the island of Koh Tapu and is a cave with a vast chamber with a beautiful rock formation that resembles a reclining Buddha.
- Tham Khao Mao Khao can be found on the island of Khao Phing Kan. This cave has a big chamber with spectacular formations and a small lake.
Please keep in mind that these caves are not always accessible due to changes in tide and weather, and access to some of them is limited for certain periods. Our knowledgeable staff can help you pick the best sites to get your caving fix.
The Famous Island
Located in Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island is an exciting area to explore. This limestone island is part of the Ao Phang Nga National Park and was featured in the film “The Man with the Golden Gun” in 1974; starring Christopher Lee and Roger Moore, where the island was the hideout location for Scaramanga.
The James Bond Island Tour that 5 Star Marine provides remains a highly enjoyed trip as a result of the popularity of the film. During this private tour, the experienced crew will take you out to the famous Koh Tapu (James Bond Island) so that you can take in the sights of Phang Nga Bay’s most iconic location.
This is actually a marine protected area, therefore boats cannot go too close. However, nearby Koh Ping Ghan is an island with a huge leaning rock and several caves to explore, and serves as a great vantage point for taking pictures of the renowned site. As a result of the film, this attraction has helped to support the surrounding inhabitants, stalls and restaurants.
Bioluminescence: A Natural Wonder
The capacity of some creatures to emit light is known as bioluminescence, and it may be found in numerous forms in the Phang Nga Bay area. One of the most noteworthy instances is the bioluminescent plankton present in the bay’s waters. These tiny organisms emit a bright blue-green light when disturbed, producing a captivating appearance in the water. The phenomenon is caused by chemical reactions within the plankton, which produce light as a by-product.
Bioluminescent plankton can be found in the Phang Nga Bay area all year round, but the very best time to see them is during the rainy season, which runs from around May to November. This time of year produces conditions which are favorable for their growth. The best time to see the bioluminescence is at night, when the water is calm, and the light from the plankton is more visible. If you want to experience these natural phenomena, you may opt for a multi-day tour with 5 Star Marine to the area with a bespoke itinerary to include this.
It’s important to note that bioluminescence is a fragile ecosystem, and human activities can impact the population of these organisms, therefore visitors are encouraged to be mindful of their impact and to follow responsible tourism guidelines to help ensure the preservation of the bioluminescence in the bay.
Floating Island Football
Koh Panyee is a small island located in Phang Nga Bay which is best known for its floating Muslim fishing village. Built on stilts directly over the water, this fascinating village is home to those who primarily make their living through fishing.
This floating island may only be reached by boat, and makes for a unique stop during your day out in Phang Nga Bay. Once on Koh Panyee, you can explore the village which features traditional wooden houses, a school, a stilt-mounted mosque, several modest souvenir stores and a few restaurants with views of the Andaman Sea.
A highlight of this small island is their floating football field, which is located in the middle of the village and is built on a raft made of bamboo. The field sits directly on the water and it is used by local children to play football as well as other sports. This provides a great place to take photos and understand the community’s passion for sport and their resourcefulness.
There are a few restaurants on Koh Panyee Island where you can try local seafood and other traditional Thai dishes. Some restaurants on the Island include:
- Koh Panyee Village Restaurant: This restaurant is located on the north tip of the village and offers a wide range of traditional Thai dishes with a good seafood selection. Although the Thai food is quite reasonable, expect to pay a little more for your seafood choices here.
- New Fern Restaurant: There is a walking exit into the floating village from this restaurant, so you can explore easily after your lunch. They serve the usual fare, sometimes with a buffet option, plus you can find vegetarian options here too.
- Andaman Seafood: Serving fresh seafood with pleasant service, this is a popular lunch spot. Prices area a little higher here, as is the case with most tourist frequented restaurants.
Panyee Muteara restaurant: This restaurant has a nice atmosphere and helpful service. Food reviews can be mixed, but mostly guests enjoy the traditional food and the scenic location with ocean views.
Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Highlights
Although no two itineraries are the same, we like to give you an idea and some inspiration for what your special day out on the water might look like. We work with you to come up with the perfect itinerary that works for you and your guests, plus avoids the masses; but just to give you an idea of possible places to visit during your day out in Phang Nga Bay, here is a sample day guide:
- Stop by Panak Island to float along gently inside one of the hidden caves surrounded by mangroves, before enjoying the 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? Here you can enjoy some traditional food as well as helping to support the local community.
- Then get your Bond Instagram pose ready as you make your way to James Bond Island, which is viewed from Koh Ping Ghan.
- Continue on your private tour around Phang Nga Bay with some sea canoeing or cave exploring before making your way back to base.
- Alternatively, make a final sunset stop at Koh Pear, a small strip of an island which looks and feels like you are walking on water – the perfect end to your memorable day.
To book, or find out any further information on discovering Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island or any of our other island destinations, please contact us directly and we will be more than happy to assist you:
Phuket Tourism News | Episode 2 | January 29
Welcome to the Phuket Tourism News. Each week Shaun and Jay will bring you weekly Phuket Tourism News. Phuket News that is for you, Phuket News for those coming to Phuket, and Phuket Tourism News is what you need to make sure you have an amazing time when you come on holiday to Phuket.
Turtles in Similan Islands
The Similan Islands is a paradise waiting to be discovered. They are one of the best-known island groups in the Andaman Sea, largely because of the wonders that await beneath the clear-blue waters. The Similan Islands are around 84 km northwest of Phuket and this little archipelago is one of the most interesting diving areas in the world, as well as a favourite destination for yachties and boat tours.
You can find different species of Turtles at the Similan islands and the Andaman coast and although no marine life encounter is guaranteed but the chance of snorkeling with sea turtles whilst in the Similan Islands is pretty high.
There have been five different species of turtles that have been seen at the Similan Islands, although the Loggerhead turtle has not been seen in the last 15 years. Green Turtles, Leatherback Turtles, The Hawksbill Turtle and the Olive Ridley Turtle are all visitors to the Similan Islands.
There is also a turtle sanctuary on Similan Island One run by the Royal Thai Navy ensures a healthy population of turtles in the Similan Islands. If you are interested in a trip to the Similan Islands then check out the 5 Star Marine Phuket tour here
Elephant Camps in Phuket
Elephants have been part of Thai culture and society for hundreds of years. The Thailand elephant has played a large role in manual labor, war, royal iconography, and the tourism industry.
Since the logging industry became illegal in Thailand, many elephants and their handlers, called Mahouts, had to find other ways to earn a living and feed their elephants, and this lead most of them to turn to the entertainment and tourism industry.
There are a large number of different elephant camps in Phuket and while you should defiantly see these stunning creatures up close, we strongly recommend that you do your research before you head to the closes elephant camp and choose one that is ethical. Look for camps that have rescued older elephants and DO NOT ride elephants or even take mud baths. There are some great elephant sanctuaries in Phuket where you can experience these giants in a safe and ethical way.
Again, PLEASE DO NOT ride elephants.
Living Waters Phuket Foundation, was established in late 2021 to help charities, foundations, and government organisations. Living Waters Phuket Foundation is dedicated to building brighter futures for disadvantaged communities across Thailand. Living Waters Phuket 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. For more information on Living Waters Phuket click Here
What’s happening in Phuket? – Phuket Events
Kolour Phuket 2023 – 4th February at Café Del Mar Phuket
Kolour is taking up a month-long residency at Café del Mar Phuket across the weekends of February the 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th. The lineup of home-grown artists and 12 international headliners is set to make this season one for the books.
Each weekend begins with you warming up your dancing shoes Friday night at the Pre-Party, then they keep the rhythm going after the main event at our dedicated After Party each Saturday.
Legalize Reggae Fest – Saturday 11th February from 5 pm
Legalize Reggae Fest is the first major music festival dedicated to all genres of bass music and marijuana legalization in Thailand. The island will be splashed with a wave of creative musical vibe and an atmosphere of love, empathy, and freedom of human rights.
The music program for 1 day. (5 pm – 2 am)
Job 2 Do
DJ Sick Selector
Big Roba Soundsystem
The Bay Regatta – 22nd – 26th February 2023
Celebrating its 26th year, The Bay Regatta sails from the Island of Phuket, through the islands of Phang Nga Bay to Krabi, with nightly stop-over parties. Finishing with a 30-mile sprint back to Phuket for a final prize giving in Ao Chalong.
Best Beaches in Phuket
Where is the best beach in Phuket? That’s a tough question as everyone is looking for something different in their beach experience. Whether it be just chilling out and relaxing on a sunbed and soaking up the tropical sun, or more of an action-packed day of jet skiing, parasailing, and stand-up paddle boarding. There are Phuket beaches that have what you want, from the lively Patong Beach to the very relaxed and chilled-out Nai Yang Beach set in one of Phuket’s National Parks.
One top tip from us is to try the lesser-known beaches, such as Leam Singh beach which you can only get to by Thai Long Tail boat from Surin Beach, or try a beach on the East coast of Phuket. Bottom line there is a beach in Phuket for you.
Phuket Tourism News | Episode 1 | January 22, 2023
Welcome to the first episode of our brand-new Phuket Tourism News. Each week Shaun and Jay will bring you weekly Phuket Tourism News. Phuket News that is for you, Phuket News for those coming to Phuket, and Phuket Tourism News is what you need to make sure you have an amazing time when you come on holiday to Phuket.
Maya Bay Closed for 2 days
Maya Bay in Phi Phi, was closed for 2 days, 15th and 16th of January as the Thailand National Parks fixed a few issues with the back entrance to the Bay. Maya Bay is arguably one of the best beaches in the World and with that, it does bring some problems. The major issue is the number of people that want to set foot on the white sand of Maya Bay, which was made famous by the 2000 film “The Beach” staring Leonardo DiCaprio. The Thailand National Parks over the past 2 years started to manage Maya Bay much better with restricting the number of people that visit the bay and managing the bay, with stopping boats enter from the front and not allowing people to swim in the bay which all has some major positive effects, such as Black Tip Reef Sharks coming back to the bay after years of not being there.
We do think that the bay will be shut again in August and or September and once we get official word from the Thailand National Parks then we will let you know.
Changes to the payment of National Park fees
As reported by Shaun and Jay a week ago the way National Park Fees are to be paid has changed. Before when you book a Boat Tour with 5 Star Marine Phuket, we would inform you to bring cash (Thai Baht) with you so that you can pay the entrance fees to the National Parks when you arrive at the park. This could be when you visit Maya Bay in Phi Phi, or James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay. Most Thailand National Park entrance fees are pretty standard, from around 200 THB to 500 THB per adult, and then generally 50% discount for kids and free for infants. As of the 17th of January 2023, ALL Thailand National Park fees will need to be paid online and you will be issued with a digital ticket.
No More Covid Restrictions for arrivals to Thailand
With the Chinese New Year coming, and Chinese now allowed to travel after years of lockdowns many countries had put in restrictions for travelers from China and Thailand had followed suit, however it had not just made these restrictions for travelers from China, but for travelers from every country. This was a few days of crazy back-and-forth information from the Thailand Government, and local Thai Authorities. But after 3 days of not really knowing what would happen it was announced that all restrictions would be dropped straight away. Great news for the people coming to Thailand and for the Thailand Travel industry. So as of writing, there are NO COVID restrictions for people coming to Thailand.
Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China, and it all starts on January 22nd. Thailand is expecting over 1.8 million tourists to come into the Kingdom during the Chinese New Year. The year of the Rabbit is a symbolic one, as for the past 2 years due to COVID 19 most Chinese New Year celebrations have been very muted. Phuket has a rich Chinese history and Chinese New Year is celebrated across the whole island. One of the best places to go to celebrate this Chinese New Year is in Phuket Old Town where you will find a host of events and happenings as well as traditional lion dances and celebrations at the many Chinese temples located within Phuket Town. Oh, and get ready to eat, as there are hundreds of Chinese street foods and classic traditional Chinese foods to sample.
129 Leatherback turtle eggs found in Phang Nga
The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle in the world and they are the only species of sea turtle that lack scales and a hard shell. Last week 129 leatherback sea turtle eggs were discovered in Phang Nga Bay. Growing up to seven feet long and exceeding 2,000 pounds it will be exciting to see what happens over the next few months and we will keep you updated on any hatching news.
Where is the best place to watch a Phuket Sunset?
Phuket has many stunning beaches and viewpoints that all claim to say that they are the best place to watch a Phuket Sunset. As the sun sets on the West Coast you can watch as the sun slowly drops below the horizon, from any of the West Coast beaches, such as Patong beach, Kata beach, Karon beach, Surin beach, Bang Tao beach, and Layan beach. Or if you’re lucky enough to be staying on any of the hillsides at any of these beaches you will also get a stunning Sunset. However, you can also head over to the East Side of the island as the sunsets on this side are as beautiful. Ok, you don’t get the big ball of flame dropping below the horizon, BUT what you do get is the stunning skies changing to a fiery orange, and you could also be having a local Thai BBQ and a cheeky cocktail on Rang Yai Island, at one of the 5 Star Marine’s Sunset BBQ tours.
Watch the full video here:
For more details on this tour click here.
What are the best areas to stay in Phuket?
How about the Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town.
Nestled in the heart of Phuket’s vibrant old town, Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town provides the perfect place to stay and soak up the rich cultural heritage of Southern Thailand. A wealth of shopping, dining and entertainment venues are within easy reach and Phuket’s beautiful beaches are easily accessible.
The hotel’s design reflects traditional Thai arts and crafts, cleverly contrasting with the contemporary style for which Courtyard is so popular around the world. Guests can stay in stylish and spacious rooms and suites, practice their Thai boxing skills in the fitness center or cool off in the outdoor pool with panoramic views of Phuket, while children will be entertained at the kids’ club.
Diners can savor Southern Thai cuisine and international dishes at Krua Talad Yai, or enjoy light refreshments at Kolae pool bar and Talung Lounge. For event planners, several well-equipped function spaces and a grand ballroom are ideal for every occasion, from important business meetings to talk-of-the-town weddings and parties.
Phuket is a well-known island paradise, famous for its stunning beaches, lush hills, temples, and fun nightlife. But one of its best-kept secrets remains the vibrant neighborhood of Phuket Old Town, AKA Phuket Town or Phuket City. Phuket City, on Phuket, is the capital of Thailand’s Phuket Province. In the Phuket Old Town, the famous Thalang Road is lined with colorful 19th-century shophouses and Sino-Portuguese buildings and during the weekend it hosts one of the biggest walking markets in the whole of Phuket.
Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town
With 248 rooms, Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town is an idea place to stay for those wishing to have a central location in Phuket, business travelers, and those looking to be in the middle of the stunning Phuket Town.
The rooms all have:
- Complimentary high-speed
- 55-inch wall-mounted LCD TV
- Individually controlled air conditioning
- Working desk
- Electronic in-room safe
- Coffee & tea making facilities
- Daily complimentary drinking water
- Iron & ironing board
- Bathroom amenities
- Hair dryer
- Universal electronic socket
KRUA TALAD YAI
Savor authentic Southern Thai cuisine and popular international dishes at our all-day dining restaurant, which showcases a vibrant culinary marketplace concept with open kitchens and a choice of indoor and outdoor seating.
Connect with your friends, family or colleagues at Talung Lounge, which transforms from a stylish grab & go café by day to a chic bar after dark. Our traditional Thai afternoon tea is served daily – perfect for sharing with a loved one.
KOLAE POOL BAR
Cool down and swim up to our inviting pool bar, which serves refreshing beverages including handcrafted cocktails and local craft beers throughout the day, along with a casual lunch menu and majestic views of Phuket Town.
Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town Facilities
The Fitness Center is fully equipped for an invigorating workout. From free weights and cardio machines to a Thai boxing area, you’ll find everything you need to stay in shape.
Take a refreshing dip in the outdoor sparkling swimming pool, an inviting open-air space featuring comfortable sun beds, alfresco dining and panoramic views of Phuket.
Keep your little ones happy at the Kids’ Club, with a full range of entertaining and educational activities, including fun games, arts and crafts.
Events and Happenings
One of the key unique selling points for the Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town is that it features nine function spaces with more than 900 square meters of floorspace, including a 600-guest capacity ballroom – ideal for every type of event, from intimate business meetings to grand social gatherings, including one-of-a-kind weddings.
So, there you are. An awesome hotel in the heart of Phuket Town, and only 15 minutes away from our 5 Star marine pier at Boat Lagoon Marina. If you are interested in booking here are the contact details:
Phone: +66 (0) 76 643 555
Email: [email protected]
Thailand National Park Fees changing
As of the 17th of January, the way Thailand National Park entrance fees are being paid is changing. How will this affect you and your tours with 5 Star Marine into Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay, Similan Islands, and all the other Thailand National Parks?
There are more than 140 national parks in Thailand, all offering an authentic menu of adventures so that you can experience the landscapes, wildlife, and nature of Thailand in all its glory, depending on which one you are visiting. The Thailand National Parks cover almost 20% of the Kingdom’s territory, from the north and its mountains to the south and the marine parks, Thailand is a diverse nation.
So, what are the changes?
In the past when you book a Boat Tour with 5 Star Marine Phuket, we would inform you to bring cash (Thai Baht) with you so that you can pay the entrance fees to the National Parks when you arrive at the park. This could be when you visit Maya Bay in Phi Phi, or James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay. (There are others, see below)
Most Thailand National Park entrance fees are pretty standard, from around 200 THB to 500 THB per adult, and then generally 50% discount for kids and free for infants.
As of the 17th of January 2023, ALL Thailand National Park fees will need to be paid online and you will be issued with a digital ticket.
So how does this work? Well simple!
When you arrive at the 5 Star Marine pier at Boat lagoon Marina you will be met by your guide who will help you plan your tour. Once you know where you are going, and more to the point, which National Parks you will be going into, the guide will work out the fees, and all you do is pay our office team cash. They will then arrange the online payment to the National Parks Authority of Thailand and hey presto, you get a digital ticket.
So, I guess you are asking why don’t you just pay it yourself online. Well sadly you need to have a correct tour license and number, to get an online National Park account, as well as a host of other paperwork, and trust me, the Thailand authorities love paper work.
Bottom line is that nothing has really changed, apart from you paying your National Park fees at the office, rather than when you arrive at the National Park.
Check out the video as everything is explained in more detail there.
Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga National Parks
The private boat tours that we offer here at 5 Star Marine Phuket visit some of the most beautiful islands in the world and many of these are within Thailand’s National Parks. Phuket National Parks, include:
Phang Nga National Park
One of the most popular and most photographed islands in Phuket has to be the iconic James Bond Island, it is located in Ao Phang Nga National Park. But, James Bond Island is just one of forty-two karst islands within this marine park. The islands are home to some awesome cliffs, stunning beaches, romantic lagoons, and epic caves, making it a real treat for visitors.
Phi Phi National Park or its real name: Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, Phi Phi Islands National Park
Phi Phi National Park is a world-famous marine park located in Krabi Province south Thailand and covers an area of about 388 km². Phi Phi National Park is known for its beautiful white-sandy beaches, coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and limestone karsts, popular among divers and snorkelers. It is also home to one of the world’s best beaches Maya Bay. That’s right Maya Bay, where the 2000 movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Similan National Park
Similan National Park is a fantastic destination for travelers looking to explore underneath the sea. Found off the west coast of southern Thailand, the Similan National Park is a top location for diving and snorkeling, thanks to its crystal-clear waters, thriving sea life, and vibrant reef.
Than Bok Khorani National Park
The landscape of Than Bok Khorani National Park is dominated by a series of limestone mountains, evergreen forests, mangrove forests, and numerous islands. The main flora is evergreen forest, peat swamp forest, strand forest, and mangrove forest, as well as, various types of marine flora. The awesome Ko Hong or Hong Island is located at the edge of the Than Bok Khorani National Park. Ko Hong is an islet with a secluded, lake-like lagoon, steep limestone formations & white sand beaches.
For more details on any of our destinations click here
Hello Phi Phi!
The Phi Phi Islands are a collection of six small islands off the coast of Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the two main islands in this particular group. The larger of the two, Phi Phi Don, is a vast archipelago off the coast of Phuket which attracts visitors to its pristine beaches and the variety of activities and dining options available.
Located in the south, Koh Phi Phi Leh is the island which was made famous by “The Beach.” Maya Bay is a small, sheltered bay with clear blue waters, white sandy beaches and towering limestone cliffs making it a popular day trip destination in Phi Phi.
Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island, Yung Island, and Palong Island are the other four islands that make up the remainder of the Phi Phi Islands group.
Maya Bay Complete Guide:
- The Bay – This famous bay, situated on Phi Phi Ley, is perhaps the best-known destination in the whole archipelago. The 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach” used it extensively, which was a major contributing factor to the area’s fame during the years which followed.
- Top Tip – So, when is really best to visit Maya Bay? At 5 Star Marine, we have experienced captains and crew who know how to miss the crowds. When planning a private tour to the Phi Phi islands area, we suggest that in order to have a quieter experience, you should visit Maya Bay either early in the morning (between 7am – 9:30am) or later in the afternoon (around 3pm – 4:30pm).
- Rehabilitation Efforts – Maya Bay remains one of the most iconic areas you should visit on your Phi Phi Island private day tour; and right now, the beach is open to visit and walk on. For purposes of natural rehabilitation, Maya Bay will close for certain months during the year. However, fear not – this does not mean you cannot enjoy Maya Bay as you can still take in the beauty of the Bay from a short distance away on board your private boat, yet you simply cannot walk on the actual beach during the rehabilitation times.
- Respectful Tourism – 5 Star Marine are committed to ensuring that guest can enjoy the beauty of Maya Bay, whilst practicing responsible tourism, to help keep the area protected and allow it to continue regenerating. The Marine Park have worked tirelessly to get Maya Bay back up to its previous paradise condition; so, all private Phi Phi day trips adhere to the new rules and help demonstrate respectful tourism.
- Getting There – A floating pontoon is situated on the opposite side of the island, so our Phi Phi private day tours take guests to Phi Phi Leh to the pier at Loh Samah Bay. Here you will be greeted by a National Park ticket booth before you make your way to a wooden boardwalk and nature path which connects Loh Samah to Maya Bay.
- *Please note that the May Bay National Park will in future (updated January 2023) require all visitors to pay fees online prior to entering; 5 Star Marine can assist with this process or any questions guests might have once it is implemented.
Phi Phi’s Ultimate Snorkelling Spots:
A trip to these islands would not be complete without a spot of snorkeling; after all this area is renowned for being home of excellent underwater opportunities. The clear, warm waters house a wide variety of marine life, including impressive coral reefs, colorful tropical fish plus other marine animals.
You are spoilt for choice with so many snorkelling spots around the islands to select from; including shallow coral gardens and deeper areas with more diverse marine life. Some of the most popular snorkeling areas around the Phi Phi Islands include:
- Yong Kasem Bay, which is also referred to as “Monkey Bay” and is not only home to these long-tailed macaques, but the soft sands and coral reefs here can only be reached by boat, making it a perfect stop on your custom Phi Phi day trip.
- Nui Beach can be found on the west coast of Koh Phi Phi Don and is a truly beautiful little cove enclosed by steep karsts to the south of Loh Lana Bay. There is excellent snorkelling to explore on both sides of Nui Bay.
- Bamboo Island is a charming island with bright, shallow waters suitable for both snorkelling and swimming. This small island is located a short boat ride from the larger Phi Phi Islands and is known for its stunning soft sand beaches and clear waters. Take the opportunity to try to see the abundance of tropical fish here or perhaps even the sea turtles.
- Leam Tong Bay is a picturesque bay located on the island of Phi Phi Don and is acclaimed for its clear, turquoise waters and pristine white sandy beach, as well as its excellent snorkelling opportunities. The bay has several spots to select from and discover the beauty of the marine and coral life just underneath the surface of the clear waters.
- Viking Cave is a prominent attraction found on Phi Phi Although the bay and cave are well-known for their scenery, much more can be found underwater with some excellent and noteworthy snorkelling. This cave was named for the ancient, Viking-like murals inside which are thought to have been drawn by sea gipsies or pirates who sheltered here from storms.
- Loh Samah Bay is known for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life, making it another great spot for snorkelling. Some of the species you could be lucky enough to discover include parrotfish, angelfish and clownfish as well as a variety of corals and other marine life.
Phi Phi’s Quietest Beaches:
It is worth noting that many of the beaches on Phi Phi can get busy during peak season, so if you are looking for a truly quiet and secluded spot, you may want to consider visiting one of the smaller, less well-known beaches on the island. Our crew are there to assist you with local knowledge on where is best to go and when in order to miss the crowds. Here is a small selection of secluded, picturesque beaches you could expect to experience on your Phi Phi private luxury day trip:
Ao Nui or Nui Beach is a visually stunning and secluded small cove beach is known for its crystal-clear sparkling waters and soft, white sand. It is an ideal spot for relaxing and sunbathing and is surrounded by lush vegetation, adding to its natural beauty. Located south of Lana Bay, on the west coast of Phi Phi Don, you will find only limited facilities. Therefore, this is a good spot for an arranged beach picnic whilst on your private Phi Phi boat tour.
Moo Dee Bay is located on the south eastern end of the island, providing a secluded and peaceful beach that is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun. It is surrounded to the south by coconut groves and to the north by a lush jungle making it feel even more remote.
Laem Tong Beach is only accessible by boat, and located on the north-eastern side of Koh Phi Phi. This access makes it an ideal site for a tranquil beach visit, where if timed right you could enjoy virtually complete privacy here.
Phak Nam Bay, which is often referred to simply as Relax Bay, is located on the east coast of Phi Phi Don Island, just south of Loh Bagao. This beach provides visitors with an off-the-beaten-path felling, and is nestled between the sparkling ocean and the complementary shades of the jungle folliage.
With so many stunning, soft white sandy beaches to pick from, our crew will be happy to help you decide based on your criteria for the day. No two day trips are the same, so we work with you to establish the perfect itinerary to make the most of your day out.
We count ourselves lucky to have so many beachfront restaurants, providing a unique and tropical opportunity to dine view of the ocean, sand in your toes and breeze in your hair. Enjoying a holiday vibe lunch with a view of the beach and the ocean can be a genuinely spectacular experience.
Dine on local seafood and other Thai and western foods, often inspired by what is in season and providing you the opportunity to experience something new and different. We round up just a few beachfront restaurants to inspire you with idyllic and unique dining experiences that combine local food, a tropical environment and a laid-back beach ambiance:
- Malee Seafood Restaurant, Koh Phi Phi Don
This local, low-key beach restaurant serves fresh and tasty Thai dishes with notably friendly service. Prices are reasonable, and the menu is varied; offering choices from Thai salads to authentic curries, all enjoyed directly on the beach.
- Takada Restaurant, Zeavola Resort & Spa, Koh Phi Phi Don
Located at the northern tip of the island, Takada beachside restaurant and bar offers 5 Star Mediterranean food which you can enjoy with a calming sea wind and your toes in the soft sand. Light lunches are available, including lamb, steak, salmon, seabass, and local seafood specialties, in an upscale setting.
- Chilli and Pepper, Phi Phi Don
Ok, so this one isn’t quite beachfront but more treehouse on stilts nestled into the cliff at the end of the beach! This is a small, hidden gem with a picture-perfect sea view. Food is freshly made to order, authentic and good value with decent portion sizes at this family-run, off-beaten-track unusual restaurant.
- Hippies Bar, Koh Phi Phi Don
Fun bar with quality local food right on Tongsai beach. Portion sizes are generous and a selection of Thai and Asian favorites are served. Here you will be surrounded by a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, good service, and decent drinks to top it all off.
- Tonsai Seafood, Koh Phi Phi Don
A renowned name in the restaurant lists of Phi Phi; Tong said Seafood has a fantastic beachfront location. A popular spot with seafood lovers due to the generous portions of local seafood and Thai dishes which come with uninterrupted sea views.
- Jasmin Restaurant, Koh Phi Phi Don
This beachfront restaurant in Laem Tong Bay specializes in seafood, Asian and Thai dishes. The owner and staff are all very welcoming and food served is authentic and highly rated. The menu is varied and can cater to vegetarians plus other dietary requirements. It also serves cocktails and drinks, all with enticing oceanfront views.
- Mama Ping, Phi Phi Don
Authentic Thai cuisine situated directly on the beach. Mama Ping is renowned for its friendly, family atmosphere, beach style laid back vibe, and good honest food. With Thai, seafood and vegetarian options you will be sure to find something to suit everyone here.
Phi Phi Don is an excellent hiking location, especially if you appreciate picturesque routes with stunning vistas. The treks on the island are typically moderate in effort, but you may select from a variety of paths based on your interests and fitness level.
The Viewpoint Hike and the Loh Dalum Bay Hike both provide panoramic views of the island and its surroundings, while the Phi Phi Don Village Hike, for example, allows you to tour the local village:
The Viewpoint Hike: This is the most popular hike in Phi Phi and offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding area. It is a moderate hike that takes about 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the level you decide to go up to.
West Koh Phi Phi Coastal Trail: This 2.7-km point-to-point trail is generally considered an easy route; it takes an average of 45 min to complete. It starts from Loh Dalum Beachfront and goes all the way North of the island, all on the coastal trail.
The Phi Phi Don Village Trail: This hike takes you through the village on Phi Phi Don, giving you a chance to see how the local people live and work. It is an easy to moderaate hike that takes about 1 hour to complete, depending on your pace.
The Loh Dalum Bay Hike: This hike takes you to Loh Dalum Bay, a popular beach located on the north side of the island. It is a slightly longer hike that takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
For more hiking / trekking inspiration and detailed routes, you can refer to All Trails. Please remember to wear appropriate footwear, bring plenty of water and be mindful and always respectful of your surroundings when hiking in Phi Phi Don.
The 5 Star Marine crew can assist with the best island drop off points depending on the trail you might want to try out.
Get Me To Phi Phi:
Getting to the Phi Phi Islands from the 5 Star Marine base in Boat Lagoon is an easy affair. The private speedboat journey will take around 45 minutes to 1 hour, where the crew will ensure your comfort throughout.
A Luxury 5 Star Experience:
Through the assistance of our knowledgeable crew and captains, your tour to the Phi Phi Islands can certainly be tailored to fit your specific requirements. So, whatever you are looking for, you get the chance to craft your own unique itinerary and take pleasure in the results of the collaborative planning for the perfect day out exploring Phi Phi.
To book, or find out any further information on discovering Phi Phi or any of our other island destinations, please contact us:
Viewpoints are particularly popular in and around Phuket, Thailand because the area is fortunate enough to be blessed with a diverse tropical landscape and numerous breath-taking natural landmarks and seascapes.
A popular question when guests book a custom private speedboat trip with 5 Star Marine is “where can we island hop to go to a viewpoint?” We find that our luxury daytrips that are complemented by a viewpoint are popular as they offer a unique perspective and a chance to see a location near to Phuket from a different point of view. From a viewpoint, you can see a wider area and take in the natural beauty of a landscape in a way that you cannot from ground level. Some island viewpoints near Phuket offer spectacular panoramic views, which provide a sense of awe, creating a memorable day out on the water.
Getting up to some of the more challenging viewpoints offers a sense of accomplishment; as reaching the top can requires some considerable effort, such as hiking a mountain or climbing a staircase. Once you reach the top you are rewarded with a panoramic view of nature’s beauty. This is the perfect time for a spot of photography, with picturesque views to share on social media and to capture your memories.
1. Phi Phi Viewpoint
The Phi Phi Viewpoint is a popular private tour day trip destination, located in the Krabi province. It offers a panoramic view of the Phi Phi Islands and Andaman Sea, and is located on a hill at the southern end of Phi Phi Don Island which can be reached by a steep climb of about 300 steps.
Once you get to Phi Phi Don, you can reach the viewpoint after around a 30-minute walk, or if you are feeling energetic a brisk 20-minute climb. From here you get the opportunity to see the beautiful turquoise waters and white sandy beaches of the Phi Phi Islands, as well as the surrounding islands. The view is particularly stunning at sunset, when the sky is painted with vibrant hues.
Overall, the Phi Phi Viewpoint is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Phuket and looking for a special day trip; offering breath-taking views and a chance to take in the beauty of the Andaman Sea.
2. Koh Nok Viewpoint
There are few more rustic and tropical locations for a genuine return to nature. This unique island, which is quiet and untouched, is the perfect escape from the trappings of contemporary life. A day trip to this tiny island just south of Koh Yao Noi will give an opportunity to reconnect with nature and create memories that will last a lifetime. This experience is popularly combined with a custom tour or Krabi tour for example.
The hike to the top can be a touch challenging, especially if there has been recent rain. However, a rope and rocks help you climb up, and you are truly rewarded with a stunning panoramic view once you reach the peak. Do remember to bring water and mosquito repellent with you, as you will most certainly need these.
This is more of a climb for adults, but children can play under supervision on the quiet beach below so it is still a popular family option. The climb, although challenging, takes only around 15 minutes, but we would recommend a decent pair of shoes to help with the steep ascent.
3. Railay Bat Cave
The Bat Cave Viewpoint is a popular tourist destination located near Railay Beach in Krabi. If you hire a kayak from Railay beach, you can paddle around to Phra Nang Cave Beach and make your way through the jungle before finding the base of the climb.
It is reached by a short hike from the main beach area, and the actual climb is a steep one through various parts of Bat cave (which is named due to the fact that it is home to a large colony of bats).
Once all the way to the top, you are rewarded with panoramic view of the surrounding area, including Railay Beach, Phra Nang Beach, and the limestone cliffs that define the landscape of the area. From here, take a moment to catch your breath and can take in the beautiful surrounding turquoise waters. Don’t forget your head torch if you want to go all the way to the top, as some areas of the cave are pretty dark!
4. Hong Krabi
Hong Island in Krabi has a spectacular panoramic 360 degree viewpoint which is often enjoyed after taking time to enjoy the beauty of Ko Hong Lagoon on the other side of the island. After this, you can make your way to the impressive metal staircase structure which was built in 2020, 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 will need to ascend the metal stairs (rumoured to be around 420 steps), and progress along wooden walkways for around 10 – 15 minutes in the tropical heat before reaching the top viewing platform. Here, your efforts will be greatly rewarded with arguably on of the most spectacular views.
At around 109 metres above sea level, it is definitely a steep climb, but totally doable and worth the exertion to get up 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, but is also safe for families with children too; just remember to take shoes, hats and water with you.
5. Koh Yao Yai Viewpoint
This viewpoint is located in the north of Koh Yao Yai which is a fairly large island located in the Andaman Sea, between Phuket and Krabi. It is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, laid-back atmosphere and viewpoint.
A visit to the Koh Yao Yai Viewpoint offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding area. It is a popular spot for sunset viewing and photography, and an easy stop off for your day trip to Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island or Krabi.
You can find this viewpoint slightly inland, near to Chong Lard Pier, which offers some of the island’s best views. It is reached via a steep pathway that runs through a coconut and rubber tree plantation. Once at the top, take a breath and enjoy the view with some idyllic photo opportunities.
Overall, we see that viewpoints offer a chance to add something different into your day trip; an opportunity to view a place from a different angle as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment and providing beautiful chances for memorable photography.
• Sunset is the opening music of the night.
• Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.
• It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.
• Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.
Ok, that’s enough inspirational quotes about sunsets.
Our brand-new Phuket Sunset BBQ is now available and can be part of any of our tours, or if you are looking for something magical then why not book up a Phuket Sunset Beach BBQ and Dolphin Spotting?
When it comes to BBQ’s, in my opinion, any time of the day or night is perfect for a BBQ, BUT if you want something special then how about, while watching the sunset, you enjoy a traditional Thai BBQ on a white sandy beach while enjoying a cocktail, all this adds up to that perfect BBQ experience, in fact that perfect 5 Star BBQ experience.
The 5 Star Marine Phuket brand-new Phuket Sunset BBQ is now available and can be added to any of the 5 Star Marine Phuket tours, so if you are heading to Phi Phi to check out the awesome Maya Bay, then on the way back you can stop and chill and relax and watch the Sunset drop down behind Phuket before you head back to the 5 Star Pier. Or if you are heading up into Phang Nga Bay to see the spectacular James Bond Island then again on the way back to the 5 Star Phuket Pier, you can enjoy a traditional Thai BBQ while sipping on a sunset cocktail.
If you are looking for something magical then why not book up a Phuket Sunset Beach BBQ and Dolphin Spotting?
Grab your family and friends, and be ready for an unforgettable experience on the water.
The 5 Star Marine Phuket private Sunset Beach BBQ and Dolphin Spotting Tour, is unlike the standard Phuket group excursions. We will not hurry you from the beach to the beach, or rush you to miss any of the stunning Phuket Islands. You have exclusive use of one of our luxury speedboats.
The Phuket Sunset Beach BBQ and Dolphin Spotting tour is a special private cruise, and the perfect blend of snorkeling, dolphin spotting, and traditional Thai-style private beach BBQ.
As with all our 5 Star Marine tours, the Phuket Sunset Beach BBQ and Dolphin Spotting tour is bespoke, but as a general idea, you would leave from our pier in Boat Lagoon for a cruise around the stunning surrounding islands.
Go snorkeling in crystal clear waters where you will get to see an array of colourful tropical fish and other marine life; and of course, ALL snorkeling equipment is included on board.
Then we go and check out the dolphins. There is nothing that compares to seeing dolphins in their natural habitat, and getting the opportunity to witness them in the wild is a spectacular experience. So, this tour gives you the chance to potentially see a pod of dolphins; and as naturally inquisitive creatures they often come right up and swim alongside our speedboats giving you an unforgettable close-up experience.
After seeing these stunning playful animals, it’s then time to indulge in a private beach BBQ featuring authentic Thai-style beef and chicken satay, all grilled on the beach for you by the 5 Star Team. You can take a dip in the sea, and enjoy a cocktail or Mocktail on the beach as you watch the sky light up in a thousand colours for an unforgettable tropical sunset experience.
This is a true 5 Star Marine experience.
See the tour information here: https://5starmarinephuket.com/locations/phuket-sunset-cruise/
Check out our Private VIP Speedboats
Here at 5 Star Marine Phuket we have a fleet of 15 private VIP Speedboats and Luxury Cruisers (and our fleet is still growing). All our fully customised boats are TAT SHA Plus approved, and adhere to the highest levels of comfort for your ultimate tailor-made experience.
We get lots of questions all the time about the 5 Star Marine Phuket boats. So let’s talk about our boats. Our boats are all the same. So we have Lucas 1 to 15. Same style, same fit out, same layout, same inclusions. Everything’s the same.
So as you step onto the boat from the pier, at Phuket Boat Lagoon, you’ll see that there’s a back deck. This back deck that’s there is to enable easy access on and off the boat. A lot of guests ask us, can the boat come all the way up to the, beach? And the answer is yes, we can back all the way up to the beach. And then you can just step straight off onto the beach. And another great thing is while you’re snorkelling, there are two long ladders there. One that you can go down and one that you can go up.
All our boats have two engines which are better for safety and a nice deck that you can get up and down on nice and easy. And it also protects you from the engines. So when you go snorkelling, you are nowhere near the propeller, which is good.
So as you go inside the boat you’re going to see that actually we just upgraded the cushions inside our boat. Nice big fat cushions. To make it comfortable for you, there is a shaded back area where you can sit and an open front area as well. Both of these are available for you throughout the tour. And inside we also have a cooler full of ice, soft drinks, and water. And if you like, you can bring anything else onto the boat and put it inside the cooler. Also every boat has a toilet.
Now, some of the other questions that we also get asked is there a smaller boat available? The answer to that question is these boats that we’ve just talked about are specifically built here in Phuket for Phuket sea conditions. Now we don’t run smaller boats because we think that it’s unsafe. So all of our boats are two engine boats. They’re all 39 foot long and they’re designed for Phuket specific sea conditions that allows you to have a nice safe trip.
We’re often asked our boats suitable for young kids. The answer to that is yes, of course. And that’s why the boat is so big. That’s why it’s got two engines. We feel very comfortable about it. In fact, all of our boats are named Lucas after my son, who’s been going on board with us since he was 6 months old.
Our crew are well trained and experienced in making sure that you have a safe journey. So who’s going to be on the boat with you? Well look, if you’d like Jay our YouTube host, Jay will be there with you. But typically on our boat, we’re going to have 3 crew on board with you. We’re going to have a captain, an engineer, and an English speaking guide.
Now the captain, his job’s to take care of the boat and make sure that you get from A to B, nice and safely. The guide is there to customize the tour prepare you for each of the stops, help you with your snorkelling, maybe organize where you’re going to go and have lunch and your engineer will be there on the boat helping with your experience as well.
If you’re considering a private boat tour in Phuket we would love to have you on board with us. Whether you’re one passenger or you’re a family group we can customize the program and the tour to suit you. Any questions at all, feel free to drop a comment below. And we’d love to see you on board.
Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa Hotel is one of Phuket’s best hotels. The 5-star Marriott Bonvoy beachfront lifestyle resort comes with a unique design. Situated on the beautiful Mai Khao Beach, and only a 15-minute drive from Phuket International Airport.
5 Star Marine Phuket YouTube host headed up to the Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa Hotel to have a look around the stunning resort and check out the rooms and the facilities at this beautiful Phuket 5-Star Resort.
The Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa Hotel offers spacious Deluxe rooms (46 sqm.), homey One Bedroom Suites (97 sqm.), and contemporary, tropical design private Pool Villas starting (117 sqm.).
One of the distinctive design elements of the Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa Hotel is the Renaissance Phuket’s signature lobby and villas roofing inspired by the shape of the Leatherback Turtle shell as Mai Khao beach is one of the few Phuket beaches that continue to have nesting turtles.
What about food and drink?
Well lucky for you the Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa has a wide selection of onsite restaurants and bars to choose from.
The Sand Box Beachfront Bar & Eatery at Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa is one of the most exclusive beachfront dining spots in Phuket with a modern tropical design, a cool open-concept kitchen, and a brand-new Italian imported wood-fired pizza oven, and all this with stunning views over Mai Khao Beach.
Then there is the multi-award-winning Takieng restaurant. Serving classic Southern Thai and Phuket’s favorite dishes with premium local ingredients, Takieng is in the top 25 Phuket restaurants in 2022. Takieng means ‘lantern’ in Thai, referring to the local fishermen’s daily routine of taking the longtail boat with their fishing nets and lanterns to catch fish at night to avoid the heat from the day’s sun.
Many of the ingredients used are locally sourced, some of which are hyper-locally sourced, such as mole crabs and Lin Harn leaves that can be found exclusively on Mai Khao beach.
There is so much more to The Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, including the stunning Quan Spa, a fully equipped 24-hour fitness center with daily recreational activities such as Thai boxing, yoga, beach volleyball, and water sports, and a fully staffed Kids Club.
To be fair the best thing to do now is to watch the video of Jay’s walk-through so you can get a full idea of this beautiful 5 Star Phuket Resort.