360 Degrees, Yes Please

Ko Hong Krabi and the smaller Krabi province archipelagos are typically quieter than the more popular Phi Phi or Phang Nga Bay areas. However, the area provides you with everything you could want from a day out with your friends or family – snorkeling, discovering white sandy private beaches, hiking, or sightseeing – there is something to keep everyone happy. 

Ko Hong Krabi sits in-between the Koh Yao Islands and Krabi mainland and already had a great name for itself with its stunning lagoon. Entering through a narrow passageway you are greeted by the scenic and mesmerizing Ko Hong Lagoon. This striking turquoise body of shallow water is surrounded by high rock walls lined with lush mangroves giving a forgotten world feeling to it. Only accessible by small boat or longtail, some areas are so clear and shallow you can easily see your feet on the underwater sand.   

You could even get to enjoy the mystical sense of being in this bright turquoise lagoon all to yourselves as 5 Star Marine have the knowledge and expertise to miss the rush and give you the most private and memorable time here.  

After taking in the vibrant colors of Ko Hong Lagoon, let your adventurous side loose and make your way around to the most recent addition to the island; the breathtaking 360o Viewpoint. This impressive metal staircase structure was built in 2020, during Covid, and was designed to give panoramic 360o views of Krabi and the surrounding islands. It certainly delivers and is arguably one of the best seascape views of the Krabi island sets, Phang Nga Bay, and surrounding islands in the national park that you can get from anywhere. 

The climb is not for the fainthearted as you need to ascend the metal stairs (all 419 of them) and progress along wooden walkways for around 10 – 15 minutes in the heat before reaching the top viewing platform. Here, your efforts will be greatly rewarded with the most spectacular view. At around 109 meters above sea level, it is definitely a steep climb, but totally doable and worth the exertion to get to the top to see views of tropical islands and karst limestone mountains jutting out of the emerald waters. This experience is perfect for a group of friends or families with children; just remember to take shoes with you.

Once you have had your fill of these stunning panoramic seascapes, make your way back down to the shore and catch your breath before heading out to your pick of fantastic snorkeling and island locations nearby. With clear waters, secluded lagoons, and abundant marine life in the shallow and deep-water coral reefs; you could even get lucky enough to spot a reef shark on your adventure. 

With so much to see and do, the Krabi Islands are a perfect mix for sightseeing, adventure, snorkeling, and private white sandy beaches. 

360 View Hong Krabi

Photo credit – sunny_rung

Complete Guide to Getting into Thailand – Updated April 2021

International Arrivals Requirements

Introduction

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced a full list of the requirements for vaccinated international travelers to enter Phuket with reduced quarantine measures.  

Stages

The new requirements came into effect on April 1st, 2021, and are split into two stages:

  1. April 1st, 2021 until June 30th, 2021 – Relaxation in quarantine requirements (7 days)*
  2. July 1st, 2021 onwards – Quarantine requirements lifted

Requirements

International tourists who want to enter Phuket from April 1st will be required to demonstrate proof that they have had 2x doses of a World Health Organisation (WHO) recognized vaccine (refer to Accepted Vaccine section), as well as having all essential documents noted below. 

Essential Documents Required

  • Valid vaccine certificate (an original paper or a print-out of an online vaccine certificate): A medical certificate with laboratory results indicating COVID-19 has not been detected. This should use the RT-PCR method and be issued less than 72 hours before departure. 
  • A Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate.
  • Valid visa or re-entry permit. 
  • Health insurance policy to include a COVID-19 policy with a minimum coverage of US$100,000.
  • Confirmation of Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel booking (Stage 1).

Accepted Vaccines

The TAT also confirmed that as of Mar 31 the following vaccines were accepted:

  • ARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses needed)
  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed)
  • AZD1222 by SK BIOSCIENCE – AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed)
  • BNT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran (INN) by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses needed)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses needed)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (1 dose needed)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses needed)

Travelers are recommended to enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country for up-to-date and full details.

Arriving at Phuket International Airport

Upon arrival, tourists will go through COVID-19 screening, including PCR tests. They will also be required to download a specified track and trace application to ensure that they only visit the designated areas.

* Quarantine will be reduced to 7 days for international arrivals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine, approved, and registered with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or approved by the WHO, no less than 14 days before the traveling date. However, they must be from countries with no mutated strain of SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and constantly updated by the MoPH, the TAT note. (Source: The Phuket News)

Stage 2 – July 1st, 2021 

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn stated that “Phuket will be the pilot destination that will lift quarantine requirements from 1 July onwards while other destinations will still require a seven-day quarantine. Starting from the fourth quarter of this year, quarantine is expected to be lifted entirely in all areas.”

Exceptions to Reduced Quarantine Measures

Vaccinated international arrivals who are unable to present a valid vaccine certificate to the International Port Health Control at the port of arrival, will be subjected to no less than a 10-day quarantine, the TAT confirmed.

The quarantine period will be reduced from 14 days (15 nights) to 10 days (11 nights) for international arrivals from countries with no mutated strain of SAR-CoV-2 virus who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have not completed the full vaccination, it added.

The current 14-day quarantine period remains in place for people arriving from the 11 countries with SAR-CoV-2 virus mutations and variants as announced by the MoPH (as of Mar 31); namely, Botswana; Cameroon; Congo; Ghana; Kenya; Mozambique; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania; Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

RT-PCR Test Schedule

During quarantine in Thailand, foreigners are required to undergo an RT-PCR test on Days 5-6 for those under a 7-day quarantine. For a 10-day quarantine, two tests are required on Days 3-5 and Days 9-10. For a 14-day quarantine, three tests are required on the day of arrival, Days 6-7, and Days 12-13. (Source: The Phuket News)

 

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(Image credit Richard Barrow)

How do you like my island, Mr Bond?

With virtually no tourists around, why not take some time now to visit one of the (normally) busiest islands in Ao Phang Nga National Park – the one and only James Bond Island. 

With a custom Phang Nga Bay tour, 5 Star Marine will guide you around hidden coves and lagoons, as well as stopping off at the iconic island which became a major attraction after featuring in the 1974 Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun.  

Phang Nga truly is one of natures’ spectacular works of art; where the vast karst rock scenery presents a visually stunning location. In fact, with the sheer number of unique formations, you could explore here for days. 

On your private day trip, you could stop by Panak Island to float along gently inside one of the hidden caves surrounded by mangroves, before enjoying a peaceful golden bay all to yourself. Move onto Ko Kudu Yai to take in the exquisite beauty of the clear turquoise water in this stunning lagoon. 

At lunchtime make a stop at the small island community of Koh Panyee; where huts, houses, and restaurants are built on stilts over the water. Don’t miss the opportunity to see their unique floating football pitch either! Then get your Bond Instagram to pose ready as you make your way to James Bond Island, (Khao Phing Kan); An internationally renowned tourist destination since appearing as the hideout for Bond’s antagonist, Scaramanga. 

Boats are not allowed too close, as this is a protected marine area, but you can view the famous sight from Koh Ping Ghan; an island with an immensely tall leaning rock and some small caves to explore. With the tourists gone you can see the island properly minus the crowds. Take your time to stroll around, in peace and quiet for the first time in around 40 years. 

After getting your fill of this notorious island, you can continue on to enjoy some sea canoeing or more cave exploring before making your way back to base. Perhaps you might make a final sunset stop at Koh Pear, a small strip of an island that looks and feels like you are walking on water – a perfect end to the day. 

5 Star Marine’s Phang Nga Bay tour creates an unforgettable time at this world-renowned destination. 

5 Star Marine Supports One Phuket

5 Star Marine together with Sutai Muay Thai continues to collectively pool their resources to assist vulnerable communities in and around Phuket and Phang Nga and has done so for over a year now. To date they have donated in excess of 150,000 life bags; each one containing enough staple supplies to feed a family of 5 for around 4 days.

The fleet of 5 Star Marine speedboats has been critical to this effort, enabling access to some of the most at-risk areas. This has allowed their charity efforts to go further afield, reaching vulnerable communities in smaller villages and islands as well as across Phuket itself. 

Last month (February 2021) saw the launch of One Phuket; born from a small group of local residents, charities, and businesses coming together to collaborate on how to help those most in need during this unprecedented economic crisis. 5 Star Marine are proud to fully support One Phuket’s operational efforts and are working collectively on several elements of this crucial charity drive.  

One Phuket is now turning its attention to finding long-term, durable solutions to help get the people of Phuket through this pandemic, and beyond. They have come together to see how best they should combine with existing initiatives taking place, for the greater good of the most vulnerable communities. Some of their efforts will focus on opportunities that result in job creations, and hopefully a more sustainable future for our beautiful island. 

 5 Star Marine has ramped up their own philanthropy work by taking on all of the ordering, packing, and deliveries of life bags for One Phuket. With over a year of experience in this area, they are also fully supporting One Phuket by sharing guidance and best practices in the areas of operations and government regulations among others.

5 Star Marine also will support One Phuket on an ongoing basis, providing donations and funding necessary to reach life bag goals when required.  

5 Star Marine has built trusted relationships with a network of local OrBorTors via previous outreach campaigns. These connections have enabled them to get immediate information from behind the scenes on the real needs of these communities and work on this intelligence. This sort of information is critical and will be shared with One Phuket to help their charity efforts where they are needed most. 

Although 5 Star Marine does not take donations, One Phuket does and is asking for monthly or one-off donations however big or small; every little help.

Please join their Facebook group to find out more and see how you can get involved.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onephuket

UWC Lends a Helping Hand to 5 Star Marine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Glorious Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Covid 19 Donation Update February 2021

As we move towards the end of February I felt it was important to give a quick update to our customers, friends, family, and supporters on our efforts to provide food relief to local Phuket residents. 

We are now past the 12-month mark of the devastating effects of tourism here in Phuket.  We are seeing more and more businesses closing, people giving up and desperation coming forth. 

Thailand was hit with a resurgence of Covid during the December / January period which saw Phuket shut down Domestic Travel.  This “Second Wave” was devastating to morale as well as the financial resources of those surviving. 

During the past month and a bit we have received more and more requests for help, and the requests have become more desperate. 

As we visit communities they share with us that they have been without work for 12 months, they don’t know where to turn, and they are just struggling. 

The good news is that we have increased our funds available for donation meaning we can reach more people, help more people and provide more support. 

In addition to that, to make things more fluid and to take some pressure from Sutai Muay Thai Team and 5 Star Marine Team we have recruited volunteers. 

As you can see in the video below our packing days are getting lots of people turning out to help. 

This would never have been possible without the help of UWC Thailand, its teachers, students, and volunteers.  In addition to UWC Thailand, we have also had great ex-pat help. 

To help manage our volunteer efforts to of our wonderful friends and customers Stepped into the position of Volunteer Managers. 

Huge shoutout to Pete and Nina for taking on that responsibility and allowing us to help more people more efficiently. 

So as the year continues, we expect to continue to be providing food relief support to our local Phuket communities. 

Stay Safe
Shaun

Lucus 5 – Private Speedboat

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

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

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

Volunteers Needed For Saturday 30th January 2021

This Saturday The 30th January 2021 At 9:00 AM We Need Your Help. Due To The Resurgence Of Covid 19 More And More Families In Phuket Are Without Work. For Over 11 Months We’ve Been Packing And Distributing Life Bags. This Saturday We Need Some Extra Hands To Prepare A Donation.

There Is No Cost, We Are Not Asking For Donations We Want Your Time. We Have Purchased The Supplies, We Have The Packing Tools We Just Need Some Good Old Fashioned Sweat.

DISCLAIMER: Before You, Volunteer To Help Please Note We Use Plastic. Until We Find A Free Source Of 8000+ Environmentally Friendly Bags Per Month We Use Plastic. We Understand The Downside Of Using Plastic But We Just Haven’t Found A Viable, Free Alternative.

For 11 Months We Have Donated And Each Time We Donate We Run Out Of Life Bags. We Are Maximizing Our Resources To Buy Food to Feed More People And The Cost To That Is We Must Use Plastic.

So If You Have Time And Can Help Here Are The Details:

Date: 30th January 2021 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00am
Location: Sutai Muay Thai https://g.page/sutaimuaythai?share

We Will Supply All You Need To Pack. We, Will, Have Covid Screening On-Site And Work To Make It A Safe Packing Environment. Both Sutai Muay Thai and 5 Star Marine Staff Will Be On-Site To Pack And Ensure TAT SHA Compliance.

If You Can Help Comment Below Or Private Message Us. It Takes 10 People About 4hrs To Pack 300 Life Bags. We Are Packing 900+ So We Need At Least 30+ Volunteers!

5 Star Marine Covid Update January 2021

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.