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 use 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 snorkelling 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 snorkelling 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 characterised 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 metres long.
Last, but certainly not least; the stunning coral reefs around these twin islands are just teeming with aquatic life, and make for excellent snorkelling. 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 snorkelling 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.
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.
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 into 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 then by Private Speedboat. Let us take you on a journey into the mystical Phang Nga Bay.
After a pretty rough 2020, we were hoping that 2021 would see a more stable and predictable Domestic Tourism market and the return in a small way of an international tourism market. The reality is that the start of 2021 has seen a lot of uncertainty combined with a resurgence in Covid 19 cases here in Thailand.
To date, Phuket has been lucky enough to not have reported many cases from the recent outbreak but with the amount of inter-provincial travel that occurred over the New Year period, it’s a matter of time before more cases are reported.
What Is 5 Star Marine Doing In Response To The Covid Resurgence?
At this time the Provincial Government of Phuket has not restricted our business or Private Boat Tour companies from operating. We have been ordered to increase the amount of Covid Screening we are doing at our pier.
So in response to the Covid Resurgence, we have implemented as follows:
1. Travel Advice – We have advised customers of ours that have booked multi-day tours outside of the Phuket Province about the possible effect that Covid will have on our ability to complete these tours. We have offered our customers the ability to cancel and refund their tours. We do not offer credits or deferred dates, we prefer to provide full refunds and wait for the government response to Covid to stabilize.
2.One Day Tours – We are operating all of our single-day tours to Phi Phi, Raya, Phang Nga Bay, Hong island, and beyond as normal. For these tours, you will be screened at the pier per our normal TAT SHA accreditation with hand sanitizer and medical masks available on all our boats.
3.Staff Screening – We are screening all of our staff per our TAT SHA regulations and response plan. To date, our staff has not returned any failed screenings but we continue to monitor the situation.
4.Boat Cleaning – We deep clean our boats daily, sanitize all our equipment, and use recommended and regulated procedures to do this in addition to our Company Response Plan which has been in play since March 2020.
Do You Have Availability?
For certain we have bookings and availability on all our boats. Due to orders issued by the BMA and advice provided to inter-provincial travelers a lot of our pre-bookings have now canceled and crews of all our boats are available to complete tours upon request.
Will You Continue Your Donation Program?
We have recommitted with our volunteer team to continue our Life Bag donation program in 2021 with the first day of packing starting on January 4th, 2021.
Here at 5 Star Marine, we have taken the opportunity during Covid to expand our product offerings and also expand our assets. In the last week, we have been lucky enough to launch our 3rd boat, Lucus 3, into the water and have it out on Charter.
Lucus 3 is similar to our Lucus 1 boat, a very stable boat and capable of doing all trips in all conditions safely. Lucus 3 is 39.9 feet with a back deck extension ideal for relaxing, fishing, and diving.
With 2 250 HP Yamaha engines powering the boat we are able to cruise to each destination at speed while also maintaining safety. The crew of Lucus 3 have been working hard to prepare the boat for charter.
The boat comes with an inbuilt Cool Box, Bluetooth Sound System, VIP Matting, and all the fixtures and fittings of Lucus 1 and Lucus 2. If you are looking for a safe, reliable, and cost-effective Private Boat Charter in Phuket then Lucus 3 is a great addition to the 5 Star Marine team.
Are you looking for a Private Boat Charter while visiting Phuket? You may be overwhelmed by the options available to you. Just a quick google search will show up millions of results from large companies to small, from owner-operated companies to agents. So how do you decide which is the right Private Boat Charter for you?
Selecting A Phuket Private Boat Charter
In our experience of selling, operating, and provided Private Boat Tours for 13 years here in Phuket we find that Private Boat companies fall into a couple of different categories:
Private Boat Agents
Private Boat Agents are companies that don’t actually own the assets that they are chartering to you. They have a relationship with the owner of the company that they are chartering from and make a commission. While Private Boat Agents are necessary to help owners like us, you will find that Agents will be providing prices and promises above what the Private Boat Charter company will deliver.
For example, in 2019 we received a booking from an Agent and they told us that they had explained to the customer the need to pay the national park fee and that it was not included in the price paid to the agent.
Upon meeting the customer we did a pre-trip briefing and found out they had no idea what the National Park fee was and the agent told them that everything was included. To ensure a good customer experience our company took a loss and paid the National Park fee for them and cut ties with the agent.
So when booking with a Private Boat Agent ensure that every promise they are making to you is a promise that the Boat Owner will back up. An easy way to tell if they are an agent is to ask for a photo of the exact boat they promise you will go on, or even call the owner so you can talk to them.
Group Tour Companies Providing Private Rentals
These companies are companies that generally target the Group Tour market, but if you wish you can choose to take one of their Group Tour boats on a Private Boat Charter. Generally, this means you will be taking a boat that has a lot of wear and tear with a crew that is set on a normal “route” and is not experienced in offering true private tours.
When I first came to Phuket I did this and would say it was the single worst experience I have had on a tour in Phuket ever. The crew did not care about our experience, were unhelpful about lunch options, and wanted to get back to the pier as soon as possible.
While these companies have their place in the market, from a price point of view they are on part of even slightly higher than a True Private Tour company but they offer service which is of an inferior standard on boats that don’t appear or operate as VIP.
True Private Boat Charter Companies
I believe that 5 Star Marine is one of those companies. We do not do group tours, our staff is trained to provide Yacht Like service to our customers, and we design and run programs that go anywhere from Phi Phi to Phang Nga, Krabi to Koh Rok and Koh Haa and beyond.
Our team is heavily trained on making sure they avoid crowds, they deliver custom experiences and receive feedback from our customers and adapt on the fly. Each and every single tour we do here on our Private Boat Charters are 100% customized we never do the exact same tour twice.
With travel looking like it will still be restricted in the upcoming Christmas break some of us are looking at what we can do to keep our kids entertained and maybe explore something that we have not seen before.
The good news is that in the December / January period we are past the Wet Season and into our Dry Season which means flat seas, clear water, sunny skies, and the opening of all of the national parks around the Phuket area.
As an owner of a Phuket Private Boat Charter company, my recommendations are a little biased but they are based on firsthand experience.
Multi-Day Island Hopping Trip
Over the last past few weeks, we have done trips like this. Where we pack onto the boat and head off exploring. Booking accommodation last minute, jumping from island to island and just living a free life on the sea.
The first trip we did was a 3 Day 2 Night trip that took us to Phi Phi, Krabi, Yao Yai, and beyond. We had some adventurous customers on board so we went snorkeling, swimming, lagoon hopping, and even went and snorkeled with some reef sharks.
The second trip we did was a 3 Day 2 Night trip that took us to Koh Haa, Koh Rok, Koh Lipe, and Koh Lanta. A truly stunning trip with some of the most amazing snorkeling that you have ever seen. If you really want to find the untouched paradises this is the trip for you and it’s suitable for people of all ages.
Koh Haa / Koh Rok / Koh Lipe
Out past, Phi Phi is these 3 paradise islands. Koh Haa is a beautiful spot for snorkeling where you have a high chance of seeing turtles and other amazing marine life. The coral reefs are alive with color and marine life. Do yourself a favor and while the international borders are restricted take a break out to Koh Haa.
Koh Rok is just 35 minutes past Koh Haa and again has the most amazing reef. You will see heaps of Clown Fish and other amazing varieties. What we love about Koh Rok is the colorful reef as well as the clear water.
Koh Lipe is a bit of a ride from Phuket, so take a few days to stay over while out there and explore things like 8 Mile Rock and the Black Beach. See Whale Sharks and more at locations like this. Truly an idealistic paradise.
Similan Islands / Surin Islands
With the change of season islands like Similan Island and Surin Island open up as possible destinations and are great places for relaxation, snorkeling, and exploration. Similan is a set of islands and Surin is just a beautiful untouched paradise.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started on what you could be doing this Christmas holiday. If you would like some custom recommendations just contact us and let us know what you’d like to experience and we will tailor something for you.
We have been asked a lot the last month or so what happens to a Private Boat Tour if the weather is bad, the wind is high or the sea is rough. It’s a good question and relevant this September and October as we are still in the Phuket Wet Season.
The answer is different from company to company. For example, today as I write this the rain is bucketing down but I am seeing video footage of tours going out.
Now in some cases, the Private Boat Tours will go out in bad weather as the customer requests it but in other cases, the companies do not allow for cancellations.
Here at 5 Star Marine Phuket, we offer a flexible cancellation policy. The policy allows you to cancel a tour up to the day before the tour for any reason without needing to lose a deposit or make full payment.
On the day of the tour if the weather is poor cancellation is allowable for the weather. This means we will not force you, your family or friends to take a tour in bad weather, sea conditions or wind conditions.
We wish your private boat experience to be a GREAT experience and the only way to do that is ensure we have good conditions for you, our customers. So to be clear, as a responsible Private Boat Company we will always give you the option to cancel ON THE DAY of your TOUR if the weather is bad.
IF you wish to go out this is your choice but we will never force you to take a trip just because you are booked. This is something that our company does differently from most private boat companies in Phuket.
During this difficult time of the COVID 19 Pandemic as many as 70% of tourism businesses have not been able to re-open here in Phuket. Whether that is from a lack of customers, financial problems, or staffing problems it doesn’t matter, what matters is that this means a lot of people are without work.
As a responsible company that is invested in the local community, as you can see from our regular donations, we also choose to support local businesses by spending at local restaurants, booking local staycations, and supporting businesses that have been supporting local people.
This is something we promote heavily on our social media as we strongly believe that the only path for tourism here in Phuket is through Domestic Tourism until at least the end of 2021. While the government has started to let in long-stay tourism the number of tourist arrivals is just not enough to sustain the local economy.
So we encourage you, if you can, to spend local, stay local and support local businesses. Also, pay special attention to those local businesses that are investing in keeping the community going.
Businesses like ours here at 5 Star Marine that are offering significantly discounted COVID Rate trips, businesses like ours that are making regular community donations, and businesses like ours that are taking the time to promote and help other local businesses.
Stay Local, Support Local and You’ll Discover Places You Never Knew Existed!
Raya Island also is known as Racha Island or King Island has a special place in the heart of the team here at 5 Star Marine. You see, the first place that we ever visited on our first ever boat, Lucus 1, was Raya Island.
Raya Island is a favorite location of Shaun and Lisa the Co-Owners at 5 Star Marine. Prior to owning 5 Star Marine, they would often take short Staycation breaks to the Rayaburi Resort which is located on Raya Island.
When Lucus 1 was coming out of the factory and due to go to water it just happened to be Lisa’s birthday and as a celebration for both the boat and Lisa’s birthday, the very first trip on Lucus 1 was to Raya Island.
Some snorkeling, beach time, and lunch at the Rayaburi Resort were all enjoyed, and then off to Mai Ton where they were lucky enough to see Dolphins. It was such a wonderful day for the 5 Star team, Lisa, Shaun, and their friends.
This is why Raya Island Private Speedboat Tours have a special spot in the hearts of the 5 Star Marine team here in Phuket.