The Need Continues, and So Will We

From July 1st, 2021 we welcomed a positive and critical step in the right direction; with the opening of the Phuket Sandbox. With hopes that this will help jump-start the return of international tourism and the economic benefits that come with this for an island such as Phuket.

We are all hopeful that this will be a welcome development for southern Thailand and eventually the rest of the country. However, we know that this is going to take some time, and while it ramps up slowly, we understand that the need for food and our vital life bag efforts continue to be hugely important to many communities.

So, we continue to get our volunteers together to organize our life bag packing efforts, each and every Saturday at 10 am at Sutai Muay Thai. But it doesn’t stop there, once the huge packing efforts are complete the 5 Star Marine teams carry on through to distribution by truck or boat to some of the most suffering communities in and around Phuket. 

No matter what, we do what we can to help and will continue to do so until such time that tourism returns to more normal levels. 

The Life of a Life Bag – Video by Chris Parker

5 Star Marine was thrilled to welcome Chris Parker, (from Retired Working For You), as he joined their usual weekly efforts to see exactly what goes on behind the scenes of each vital life bag.

Chris Parker got an inside glimpse of how things work right from the organized packing efforts by volunteers at Sutai Muay Thai, to the distribution to some of the most suffering communities in and around Phuket. He joined the distribution efforts by truck and then headed out on the sea to get to some of the harder-to-reach places which the 5 Star Marine have been able to serve using their speedboats for deliveries.

In his follow-up, hard-hitting video, you get to see where these life bags go, and how vitally important they have become for the worst-hit communities around us here. 

In Chris’ own words: What 5 Star Marine in Phuket, Thailand have done during the past 14 months is nothing short of unbelievable. This video will tell the story about how, when the pandemic struck, one man decided to begin helping those in need on his home island and as the need grew, so did the effort. Today, One Phuket has handed out more than 210,000 ‘Life Bags’ with daily essentials for a local family who have no income. On Phuket, where tourism is basically everything, this has provided a lifeline and gotten many through this challenging year. 

The news in Bangkok and Thailand has been mostly bad this past year, but the Phuket Sandbox is reopening travel and bringing hope to the locals who are looking to get back on their feet. So book a ticket and be a hero!”

5 Star Marine is so grateful to Chris for filming this emotional and honest video and for helping to raise awareness by sharing this story on his YouTube platform also; all much appreciated. 

What a Year!

We know that uncertainty remains at unprecedented levels globally, but we wanted to take a moment to look back on all the positive experiences from the last year, to realize how far we have come – and wow what a year it has been for us.

We took time to regroup and focus on reprioritizing our efforts in the last 12 months, and this meant rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. We re-evaluated in order to understand where new opportunities could open up for us and where they made sense. We continued supporting the vulnerable communities and the people around us via our charity efforts. We focused on the upside wherever we could see or create one. We wanted to look at where we could add value to our community and what we should be doing during this time.  

All in all, we are feeling positive about the future and wanted to share our top positive moments from the last year with you: 

1. Adding To Our Fleet

Let’s start with our speedboat fleet, which has doubled in size; we now have a total of 12 Private VIP Speedboats which offer day and multi-night tours out of Phuket and Krabi. We introduced our first VIP Luxury Cruiser, which is a proud extension to our current speedboat fleet and offers a truly unique experience on the water.

2. New Premises

To accommodate our growing fleet size, the domestic market support, and prepare for the return of international tourists, we moved piers and into a new office at Boat Lagoon, Phuket. Our new glass-fronted office is a more welcoming environment for all our loyal VIP customers and future private tours. 

3. Once In A Lifetime Experiences

We are humbled and know how lucky our crew, staff, and guests have been in the last year. We had the opportunity to experience Phuket and the Islands like NEVER before. Deserted beaches, empty turquoise lagoons and even being some of the first people to climb the new 3600 Krabi Viewpoint. We made unforgettable memories and feel blessed to have these with us forever.

4. New Tour Options

We introduced overnight and multi-day tours to our Phuket and Krabi markets. This included supplying private guests with island hotel return transfers, and adding new day trip locations such as Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, and Koh Kradan. We also had some exciting and memorable multi-night tours to paradise locations such as Koh Lipe, where our guests experienced manta rays and turtles amongst other stunning marine life. 

5. Our Charity Efforts Kept Going

We financed, packed, and delivered over 190,000 Life Bags to support the local, vulnerable communities; not only in Phuket but in the hard-to-reach surrounding islands where help was so greatly needed. Our teams of staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly ordering, packing, managing logistics, and delivering these food-based Life Bags for over 15 months now. Often exhausted from the sheer scale of efforts, our teams have stood strong and kept these efforts going each and every week –  We want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved in this critical effort.

Here’s to more positive times ahead in 2021 and beyond. 

A Snapshot Of Our Life Bag Program In May​ 2021

If you didn’t know, for the last 14 months our business has been helping our local community survive through one of the most economically trying times ever seen.

As a tourist island, Phuket was devastated by Covid leaving so many without work, businesses closed and the local community needed help.

Seeing this need we stepped up and financed the purchasing, packing, and delivery of life bags all over Phuket.

Here’s a quick look at what we did in May:

All Good Things Must Come to an End

 

Last Chance Tourism isn’t a new concept. The enthralling social and psychological notion has been around for several years, feeding tourists with a desire to visit or experience a place at risk of vanishing, (or altering due to climate change), while they still can. Now, I am not suggesting that Thailand is about to disappear, however, a huge shift is most certainly on its way, so this might well be your Last Chance Tourism window of opportunity. 

With a strong push by the Thai government to reopen Phuket by this summer, and a relaxation in minimum mandatory quarantine days for vaccinated travelers starting imminently, it is inevitable that tourists will be coming back. 

The month of April provides one of the last periods to see the islands around Phuket as they currently are – think Phi Phi, Koh Racha Yai, Similan Islands, Hong Krabi, Railay Beach, Phang Nga Bay, Koh Lanta, etc. The list goes on and on with numerous stunning day trip options and multiple day itineraries easily accessible with 5 Star Marine’s private VIP speedboats. 

So, for those of us in or around Phuket right now, we do have a small opportune timeframe in which to enjoy these islands in all their natural beauty, minus the crowds before the tourists return. April bestows fantastic water clarify to us also, which makes for an even more memorable day out on the water especially if your private VIP trip fancies a spot of snorkeling. Towards the end of April / beginning of May, this will all start to change.

Which islands around Phuket are on your bucket list? Maybe there are some on your list that you have never been to. Or perhaps you have already been to one of the islands, however, it was so crowded with tourists that it just didn’t live up to your dreams. So, take the time and take the opportunity NOW while you still can, as this literally is your last possible chance to experience the islands around Phuket in peace and quiet, before the rainy season, rougher seas, and borders reopen. 

Put simply, why not embrace last chance tourism and make the effort to see somewhere you’re unlikely to ever see again in its present state?

Phuket Boat Lagoon Private Boat Charter Office

During this Covid 19 Season, the 5 Star Marine team has been well supported by the local and domestic markets booking private boats and excursions. Combine this with our Donation program that has seen over 100,000 meals donated by the team we thought it was time to move to a location more central to the areas that we operate from.

During November our team started the cleaning, set up, and operations of a new office for our Private Boat Charters at Phuket Boat Lagoon. Considering the location of Phuket Boat Lagoon, we thought it was strategic as it allowed easy and quick access to our office from all over Phuket.

Whether you are coming from Rawai, Patong, Laguna, or beyond Phuket Boat Lagoon is a centralized location. So when you board for your next tour with 5 Star Marine you will be checked in and prepared for your tour at our newly opened office for our Private Boat Charters.

A huge shoutout to our Administrative and Operations team for setting up the office and making it comfortable for our clients and staff. We welcome you to come to the office at any time for a chat.

Phuket Private Boat Charter

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.

What Is 5 Star Marine Doing To Make Private Boat Hires Safe Post Covid19?

What Is 5 Star Marine Doing To Make Private Boat Hires Safe Post Covid19?

We are very aware of how the Covid19 pandemic has affected us locally here in Phuket but also all of our international friends and customers.  Being parents of a 7-year-old boy we are as equally concerned as any other parent about ensuring every activity we undertake is safe, clean, and the right healthy choice.

With this in mind, during this slow down in tourism, we as a company have taken a number of steps to make sure we provide a clean and virus-free environment for all of our customers.

Boat Renovations and Deep Cleaning

We were one of the first companies in Phuket to pull our boats out of the water and book them in with the island’s best renovation team.  During the renovation of both of our VIP Private Speedboats, we had a deep cleaning undertaken.

All paint was sanded back to its original layer, new paint was applied, all surfaces were disinfected and cleaned.  This disinfection and cleaning happen on a weekly basis while the boat sits idle at our parking.

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boat

Equipment Disinfection

All of the equipment that we use onboard inclusive of life jackets, fins, ice boxes, ropes, and more were all disinfected, cleaned, and sealed in storage containers.  When we resume regular tours we will complete the disinfection process again prior to our first travelers joining us.

Single-Use Masks / Snorkels

If you follow us regularly on Facebook you will notice that we have opted to change our process of providing masks and snorkels to customers.  Instead of providing them, we will offer a “Covid Kit” to our customers that include a full face mask and snorkel which you can take home at the end of the tour.

Our Covid Kit will include a number of other items to ensure cleanliness and safety from the virus while onboard and visiting the islands.  Just contact us to ask what the kit includes.

boat view

Quarantine Of Staff

All of our Guide Team, Captain Team, Crew Team, and Admin Team undertook a 28-day Quarantine to ensure as the virus spread they were not in contact with anyone that was at risk of having the virus.

Additionally, our staff are all required to wear masks, carry hand sanitizer, and complete Airborne Pathogen Training so they know how to limit the risk of spreading a virus like Covid19.

Accreditation

The Thai Government is offering an accreditation program that allows businesses like ours to develop a set of guidelines for our employees, suppliers, and customers to follow to ensure the safe use of our private boats.

We are one of the first 1442 tourism businesses in all of Thailand to adopt this accreditation program.  We believe from our research we may be one of the only 2 Private Speedboat Tour companies in Phuket to adopt this accreditation process.

Additionally we have mandated our staff to undertake Airborne Pathogen accreditation and training as well.

first response

5 Star Marine Providing Safe, Health Conscious Private Boat Tours

Once travel is allowed to resume and it’s safe for you to join us on Private Boat Tours we look forward to welcoming you onboard and having a great, safe time with us.  We take pride in being industry leaders and hopefully you can see we have been taking major leaps forward to ensure you have a safe and fun time with us.

Family Celebrations and Experiences Done The 5 Star Way!

Family Celebrations and Experiences Done 5 Star Way!

You probably don’t know it, but the team here at 5 Star Marine are extensively experienced in creating and executing family celebrations, romantic experiences, and wedding receptions that integrate amazing scenery, beautiful blue water, and private islands.

Let me give you a few examples:

New Years Day Serenade –

We had a client join us from Spain and as part of his plans for New Years Day, he hired one of our VIP Private Speedboats for a custom program tour that included James Bond Island, Canoeing through the Hongs, and snorkeling at a quiet spot in Hong Krabi.

The client had specifically requested a Private Island Sunset Dinner complete with a live acoustic band.  To make this happen we split our teams up, we had the “on boat team” of Guide, Manager, Captain, Engineer, and Host looking after the customer as they did the tour.

The second team went to the private island, set up a romantic sunset dinner location, prepared their custom meal, set up the band, and did a sound test.  On arrival the band played a very special song that was specifically requested by the client, dinner was served as was a custom drinks menu.

After sunset, the band played into the evening and we transferred the client back via our VIP Private Boat.  This is just one example of a unique and special experience we can craft upon request.

50th Wedding Anniversary  –

We had a family group of 20 people join us on a private custom Phi Phi Island tour.  The tour was to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of our client.
We organized Snorkeling, Diving, Jet Skiing, and more while on tour.  While our “on tour team” were looking after the clients at Phi Phi we had our “Island Team” setting up a private island dinner for 20 people complete with a sound system for music and speeches.

A custom dinner menu was created, drinks were served, our DJ played an array of old and new songs and the speeches were moving.  At the end of the evening, we transferred the clients safely back to their hotels.  This is just one example of a unique and special experience we can craft upon request.

Post Wedding Tour –

We were delighted to have an Australian Bride and Groom select a Private Custom Tour to James Bond Island, Hong Island, Panyee Island, and more as part of their wedding plans.

Upon completing the wedding ceremony we transferred the Bride and Groom and their guest to our pier where we took them on a private tour complete with a wedding reception lunch.

Drinks were flowing on board as was a custom playlist on our VIP Private Speedboat sound system.  A truly unique way to have a post-wedding celebration and one that will be remembered by all who attended for years to come.

If you have a dream, an idea, or a plan that you would like to implement contact our team here at 5 Star Marine about how we can any dream come true and design a memorable experience for you and your friends, family, or even team members.

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.
  • Snorkeling – 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 of poor quality with the food lukewarm 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!