What’s Left To Explore? Some Ideas for The Upcoming Christmas Break!

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 Private Boat 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.

What Happens To A Private Boat Tour If The Weather Is Poor?

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.

Raya Island, A Special Place In The 5 Star Heart

 

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 favourite 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 snorkelling, beach time and lunch at the Rayaburi Resort was 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.

The Different Seasons Of A Phi Phi Island Tour

I often get asked by our customers why some people who book private boats with us go to the same location multiple times in a year.  The answer is a little complex but please allow me to explain.

Phi Phi Island is a set of 6 Islands and each island has multiple areas to explore.  Dependent on the time of year, the weather conditions and the wind, some locations are more beautiful at one time of year than another.

For example, during our low season or wet season, the wind is generally strong on the Camel Rock and Maya Bayside of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley so it is more pleasant to snorkel, swim and explore on the Pileh Lagoon, Viking Cave and Leam Tong Bayside of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley.

The opposite is true of our High Season or Dry Season.  During this season you’ll fine that it’s most pleasant exploring Camel Rock and Maya Bay sides of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley.

In addition to this difference, an island like Bamboo Island, which is in the chain of Phi Phi Islands is best explored during our High or Dry Season as it is susceptible to high winds during our low or wet season.

This is why some of our customers who book Private Boats to Phi Phi Island decide to visit the same location twice, as there can be totally different experiences based on the season.

When Will Phuket Open Post Covid?

When Will Phuket Open Post COVID?

One of the most asked questions on Facebook Groups that are related to travelling to Phuket is “When Will Phuket Open?”

The answer to the question until now has been “no-one knows”. There were reported efforts of a travel bubble, which would allow entry of certain citizens from certain countries.

This though was put on ice when a foreign diplomat arrived on a special request entry and ended up testing positive for COVID triggering a lockdown of the areas that he visited and mass testing.

The reality is the government doesn’t want to affect the continuing economy that it has by injecting large cases of COVID into the country.

The alternate to that reality is that tourism is a large chunk of the GPD of Thailand so at some point, the amount of economic pain caused by closed borders will be so great that they are forced to open.

This “Tipping Point” appears to be happening now, to be honest. The government is now talking about “Safe and Sealed” zones where they will allow long-stay travellers who wish to visit islands like Phuket for at least 30 days.

The first 14 days will be a quarantine in a 1km zone at approved resorts and then after that, they are free to travel.

The details are still being worked out, which sometimes means that maybe this won’t happen at all as its difficult to manage is too hard.

So the answer to the question still remains, We Just Don’t Know.

Is Maya Bay At The Phi Phi Islands Open?

Is Maya Bay At The Phi Phi Islands Open?

One of the highlights of touring around Phuket via Private Speedboat is visiting Maya Bay.  For those of you who may be a little younger, you may not know why Maya Bay is so well known.  You see, Maya Bay was featured in a movie that had Leonardo DiCaprio as the major actor.  Ever since this movie was released crowds of tourists have rushed to Phuket to board a Private Boat and head to Maya Bay and walk on the same sand that Leo walked on and swim in the beautiful blue water that he swam in.

The problem this caused was that due to a lack of a Tourism Management Plan there were thousands of people visiting Maya Bay every single day which led to the destruction of the reef and Marine Life leaving the bay.  While this is a horrible side effect of the popularity of the bay for the local people of Phuket and Krabi the movie was a great way to feature the beautiful area to the rest of the world.

Due to the Coral Reef destruction and over-tourism, the Thailand Government made a decision to close Maya Bay for restoration. 

Maya Bay at Phi Phi Island is still closed and will remain closed most probably until 2021. 

Here at 5 Star Marine, we hope that it stays closed even longer as the coral regrowth rate is slow, and while marine life is returning to the bay, opening up the bay will just destroy the good work that has been done.

In fact, if you ever come with us on a Private Boat to Phi Phi Island you’ll realize that we don’t even below Maya Bay to be the most beautiful Bay out of all of the Bays out at Phi Phi Island.  For example, you have things like Camel Rock, Pileh Lagoon and more to go and explore.

Just like James Bond Island is an icon attracting people into Phang Nga Bay, Maya Bay is just an icon attracting people to go visit, swim, snorkel and explore the Phi Phi Islands.  While it’s worth a photo, a visit and a little reminiscing of the movie The Beach in our opinion it is not the only reason why you should be visiting Phi Phi Island.

The Hidden Features of Phang Nga Bay

The Hidden Features of Phang Nga Bay

Having just arrived back from a wonderful day exploring Phang Nga Bay I found myself wondering, is James Bond Island really the Jewel of Phang Nga Bay or are there other equally stunning locations within the Bay?

The answer it seems was pretty obvious. Prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic when we ran James Bond Island Tours the shortest amount of time that we spent at one spot was at James Bond Island. I was always of the thought that this was because that James Bond Island was so busy.

Now that Covid 19 has decimated the tourist Industry here in Phuket we found ourselves out exploring bays, Island and lagoons without the crowds. This means that we are now actually regularly stopping at James Bond Island, spending more time there than we have ever before.

James Bond Island Is Still A Big Draw Card To Phang Nga Bay

But I don’t think It’s the most beautiful location out of the locations in Phang Nga Bay. For Example, canoeing through the Hongs at Koh hong Island at mid to high tide is life changing. Recently I had two groups of expat travellers tell me that this was the single best thing that they’ve done in there entire life.

Then of course there are the beautiful green lagoons for swimming. Lagoons like at Panak Island, Koh Kudu or Koh Roi. These lagoons are stunning in thereselves and allow for a great place to swim, relax and just let nature rush over you.

You could also add to that list the many caves in Phang Nag Bay. You have the Ice Cream Cave, Mangrove Cave, Elephant Cave and some caves that I am not even certain have a name or if they do everyone has a different name for them.

So if you are looking to explore Phang Nga Bay but don’t like the tourist trap of James Bond Island I would suggest to you that you don’t even need to visit James Bond Island to truly enjoy the bay.

Covid 19 Hotel Specials 2020

Covid 19 Hotel Specials 2020

Here at 5 Star Marine we have been lucky enough to help happy travellers from Phuket, Bangkok and surrounds to reach there intended destination.  With the effect of Covid 19 being felt across Phuket, Koh Yao Yai, Koh Yao Noi, Phi Phi Island and beyond there are a number of great hotel specials being offered.

We ourselves here have taken advantage of specials at hotels like Santhiya Resort Koh Yao Yai, Phi Phi Island Village Resort, Rayavadee Resort Krabi and the Anantara Mai Khao.  If you are supporting local tourism businesses and resorts by booking and staying at hotels offering deals and need transfers please contact us here for discounted transfer rates.

Quite often you will find that we are cheaper than you can find online, through the hotels or at the piers.  Our company policy is to support local tourism businesses and resorts and if we can make it affordable for you to transfer to and from these island destination resorts we are happy to help out.

You can read more about 5 Star Marine Transfers here and Santhiya Resort Koh Yao Yai transfers here.

Covid Safe Private Boats Phuket

Covid Safe Private Boats Phuket

5 Star Marine aims to be an industry leader and when it comes to Covid Safety, Health and Cleanliness we have taken extensive measures to ensure that our boats, our crew, our policies and procedures are industry leading.

Take a look at some of the steps we’ve taken to ensure your safety while on the water with us.

Cheap Phi Phi Island Tours

Prior to providing Private Boat Tours to island sets like the Phi Phi Islands we were heavily involved in the resale and promotion of Cheap Phi Phi Island Group Tours.  The kind of tours where 35 to 50 people are on a boat and they quickly move from stop to stop.

As a reseller of these tours we were frequently changing providers as our clients often came back dissatisfied with the Phi Phi Island Group Tour.  Complaints we often received were:

  • Cheap Phi Phi Island ToursTravel Time – Due to the nature of a group tour the bus that transfers you to the pier has to stop at multiple hotels to pick up other guests. Sometimes those guests are late and you stuck waiting on a bus adding an extra 1hr each way onto your travel.
  • Boat – The quality of the boat is poor and has too many people on the boat for you to really enjoy the sights. Additionally when snorkeling it takes some time to get into the water as too many people are trying to get off at once.
  • Equipment – The equipment on the boat is faulty. Life jackets don’t close properly, masks leak, snorkels are broken, no fins are available.
  • Snorkelling – The area where they are snorkeling is too crowded as multiple boats with 35 – 50 people are in the same area and they keep getting kicked in the head.
  • Lunch – The buffet lunch is poor quality with the food luke warm and of a low quality.

These are just some of the complaints we heard and helped to solve.  Out of the frustration of sending customers to companies that really didn’t care about delivering quality experiences we created 5 Star Marine.

5 Star Marine Private Boat Tours to Phi Phi Island

The 5 Star Marine team, boats and equipment are all high quality.  Our boats are some of the newest and best maintained on the water.  Our crew and guides are constantly receiving training and are instructed to avoid the crowds.

So while 5 Star Marine Private Boat Tours to Phi Phi Island may be more expensive than Cheap Phi Phi Island Group Tours the difference in experience is not comparable.  Decide to make your Phi Phi Island trip memorable for all the right reasons and chat with the team at 5 Star Marine today.

You’ll be amazed at how affordable we are!