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.
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.
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.
I’ve had some interesting conversations over the past few weeks with customers about the types of tours that a private boat company like 5 Star Marine can do.
As a True Private Boat company, and what I mean by that is we cater only to the Private Boat Market, we are not a group tour boat offering you a private service, we have full flexibility on what we can offer.
For example, if you’d like to visit Phi Phi Island, do a day tour, stay the night and come back the next day we can do a 2-day 1-night tour.
Maybe you want to explore for longer?
Then we can head out past Phi Phi to Koh Lanta, Koh Rok, Koh Haa, Koh Lipe or beyond. All of these locations we have visited before and we can build 2, 3, 4 or even 5-day tours.
Each day we would go exploring, sightseeing, swimming, relaxing and at the end of the day find a hotel that suits your budget to stay the night.
These kinds of tours are invigorating and give you more time to explore places that normal tours do not go. This is truly the beauty of having a private boat and booking with a true Private Boat Company.
So, if you are thinking about getting away from Phuket for a few days chat with us about your options, what would work for you and the kind of experience you are looking for.
If you like remote, we even have a floating villa in the Mangroves of Phang Nga Bay completely away from everyone else.
As I said if you have an idea, or dream just reach out and we will work something out for you.
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:
- Travel 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!
During the Corona Virus (Covid19) period we here at 5 Star Marine Phuket decided it would be ideal to take our Private Boat, Lucus 1 out of the water for yearly maintenance. During this maintenance period we did a deep clean on Lucus 1.
What Is A Deep Clean?
All fixtures and fittings from the private boat were removed. This includes seats, roof, masks, snorkels, life jackets and more. We removed everything off the boat and cleaned all of these fixtures and fittings in anti-bacterial solutions. Once they were cleaned in the anti-bacterial solution we then cleaned them again per our normal process.
We wanted to be 100% sure that we had completely removed any risk of contamination. Now while we say this it’s important to note that we have no record of any guests, staff or crew contracting Covid19 and we stay regularly in contact with our guests.
In addition to cleaning the fixtures and fittings of the private boat, we also took the time to use an anti-bacteria solution to clean the boat itself. This combined with the fact that we sanded back to our base original paint and then re-painted the boat means that Lucus 1 is one of the cleanest and newest looking Private Boats in Phuket.
Lucus 1 Private Boat Refurbishment Photos
As a father of a 7 year old boy I understand what it’s like to take Children out on tour as a parent. Lucus, my son, has been coming out on boats since he was 6 months old and I’ve found that as he gets older the kinds of tours that he can join change.
Based on my personal experience with my son Lucus and the children we’ve had onboard here is what we would recommend in terms of Private Boat Tours for young children.
Age 6 Months to 2 Years Old – Private Boat Tours
At this age your child is most probably too young to really experience any of the tours so the tour selection should come down to something that you would like to see and is safe for your child as well.
Generally this means you should consider a tour into Phang Nga Bay / James Bond Island as the water is calm, the speed of the Private Boat slower and the chance of bumps during your ride considerably less. Also Phang Nga Bay tours can be done in as little as 3hrs if you wish to push through the tour between nap and feeding times. In our experience though you can have your child nap on our large outdoor cushions or in your pram / stroller.
A secondary location that also offers a similar level of safety and sea conditions would be Hong Krabi. This location also offers the ability for you to snorkel whereas Phang Nga Bay does not.
Age 2 Years Old – 6 Years Old – Private Boat Tours
At this age your child needs to be kept engaged with multiple new things to see, explore and do otherwise they may become agitated on tour. For my son from 2-4 years old he personally loved the Phang Nga Bay Private Tour, Khai Island Private Tour, Raya Island Private Tour and Hong Krabi Tour.
As he got older, around 5-6 Years old his preference moved towards Phi Phi Island Private Tours as there was more to see and he was a confident swimmer. Again it’s important her to time stops frequently and use our outdoor cushions for nap time.
7 Years And Above – Private Boat Tours
Generally any tour would be suitable for a child of 7 years and above. Just check on sea conditions prior to departing as one negative experience with a child could ruin any future chances of going on a Private Tour.
Often when we are discussing with potential clients a Private Boat Charter to the Phi Phi Islands we are asked what is a traditional Phi Phi Island tour. Our answer is generally direct and maybe a little confusing for our guests. You see, we say we don’t have a traditional Phi Phi Island tour, every single tour we run out to Phi Phi Island is unique, customised and tailored to the customers on the Private Boat.
As a Private Boat Charter company we encounter a wide range of guests. We have guests who love snorkeling, guests who want to see reef sharks, guests who want to snorkel from the boat, guests who want to snorkel from the beach, guests who want to sightsee.
Due to the wide range of guests we have and the wide range of tours they wish to experience we build a custom program for every single guest. When building that program for a Phi Phi Island tour we consider the guests desires, the sea conditions, the water clarity and the wind direction.
If the wind is coming from a certain direction it may make sea conditions more pleasant in different areas of Phi Phi Island. So this is why every single time that we run a Private Charter Boat to Phi Phi Island we take a different course, we stop at different locations and we time the tour differently.
What Can You Expect From A Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour?
Instead of giving an EXACT plan of what we will see and do at Phi Phi Island we allow our guides and captains to have complete flexibility on the day. With that said there are a few things we can guarantee you’ll have the opportunity to experience. Those things include 2 or more wonderful snorkeling spots, 1 or more great beaches for relaxing, 1 or more spots to view the local monkeys, 1 or more beautiful lagoons and a quiet spot for lunch.
If you’d like to find out more about a Phi Phi Island tour, simply contact us and we’d happily discuss how we can customise a Private Boat Charter to Phi Phi Island for you.
All parts of the world are concerned about the current Corona Virus health crisis, which is fully understandable considering the quick growth of the virus and the uncertainty it is creating.
Here at 5 Star Marine Phuket we have been taking steps to help our local staff, local suppliers and local operators to prepare for an extended period of low to no charters.
As a tourism driver island Phuket is feeling the affect of the international flight cancellations and government mandated travel bans. With that said the locals and us believe that this momentary dip in travel will be for the greater good.
It gives us a chance as a company to reflect on what we can do to improve our business, clean up the popular areas of Phuket and prepare better tourism management plans in the future.
For those travellers who were affected by the Corona Virus here at 5 Star Marine we are extending a full refund as the Corona Virus was in no way something that you have or had control over. For a refund please contact us via email and we will advise you of the simple process.
We do hope though, that as things recover that you choose to come back and visit Phuket and book a Private Boat through us here at 5 Star Marine.
During this quiet time our staff are dedicating there time to maintenance, cleaning and stock management. While the english speaking management and guides are volunteering to help tourists navigate visa issues as well as finding flights home.
Stay safe during this period!
Shaun, Lisa, Tony, Nut, Jin, Got, Lift and Omar
We receive a lot of enquiries via Facebook, WhatsApp and Email from Solo travelers looking to join tours with 5 Star Marine. While we are aware that the experiences that we provide are extremely unique and memorable it’s important to understand that they are this way as no tour is the same.
We customize each tour to the customers on the boat. If our customers love to snorkel then we go to multiple snorkeling locations. If our customers love to relax on the beach, we go to multiple quiet and idealic beach locations.
To do this kind of customized tour it means that we are limited to just Private Tours. This means it’s just you and your travelling companions on the boat with our crew and guide.
Now for a Solo Traveller this can be expensive as you are not splitting the cost with other travelers or with your family. The reality is, if you compare our company, 5 Star Marine, to a typical group tour company we are more expensive.
But at a group tour company you’ll have anywhere from 25 to 75 people on the boat. So if you have 75 people all paying 1300 THB per person then these group tour companies are making significantly more than us as a Private Boat Tour provider.
The reason we decided to do only Private Tours is we can craft, and execute programs which suit just you and ensure 100% satisfaction 100% of the time. This is why we receive 5 Star Trip Advisor and Facebook Ratings and people rave about what we do.
We are customizing the tour to you and ensuring that you have the most memorable time we can give you.