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.

How Long Do We Have A 5 Star Marine Boat For During A Private Charter?

 

 

One of the frequently asked questions I received from customers prior to booking a Private Boat Charter with us is how long they get the boat for.

The answer to us is simple, as long as it’s safe to be out on the water. We do not hire out our boats more than once per day, so whether you take the boat for 1 hour, half a day, or the full day the price does not change.

When we price our Private Boat Charters we include the cost of fuel, so our price is not based on how long you have the boat but where the boat is going.

Now I know that seems like a really vague answer to the question, so let me give you a few guidelines. Most of our customers end up using our boats from between 5hrs to 8hrs. Generally, after 8hrs the customers are exhausted and want to head back to the pier, but this is not because we are rushing them, or forcing them back to the pier.

Our team is trained to ensure that our customers are happy and your happiness and satisfaction is our number one priority so we will only go back to the pier when you have had enough and are ready to go home.

There is an exception to that rule though. If we feel that you are asking us to stay out and it’s unsafe then we will advise you that the safest thing for you, our crew, and the boat is to go back to the pier.

What Do I Mean By Unsafe?

Generally, that means that it is getting too dark to stay out. Our boats are available to you from sunrise to sunset, so if you are getting close to sunset we will ask you to move to an island closer to the pier so that once the sun has set, we don’t have a long cruise back to the pier.

So feel free to use the boat as you like, our guide will provide advice to you on the best program for you on the day as well as guide you on how to ensure we get back to the pier at a time that is safe and not in the dark.

Why Does 5 Star Marine Donate Life Bags To The Local Community Of Phuket?

Avid followers of our social media know that multiple times a week we are out in the local community donating Life Bags to villagers who are in need.  Covid 19 has devastated the local economy here in Phuket where more than 90% of our GDP was reliant on International Tourism.

When Covid 19 first hit Thailand we all thought it would be around for just a few months and then we could “get back to normal” but Thailand and the world have faced a completely different reality.

Over 100,000 people in Phuket have lost their job with no hope or way of getting another job.  Over 50,000 people have left Phuket for other provinces searching for work in a country that has limited opportunities due to Covid.

Despite all of this, when we are out donating Life Bags we are often asked “Why Are We Helping?”

The answer is simple, I have been living here for 13 years and during that time I have built a number of successful businesses and without the help of the local Thai people, without the help of these communities, this would never have been possible.

I remember when I first started out running boats in Phuket we had all types of trouble.  Boat engines would have issues, fuel lines would clog, you name the problem and I’ve probably experienced it.  Being a foreigner on the water with these kinds of problems can often be a little scary.

Not in Phuket!

Even if I just slow our boat down to stop at a fishing spot you’ll find 3 or 4 boats that are passing by coming closer to “check we are ok”.  It is this kind of seamanship and community spirit that has allowed our company here at 5 Star Marine to prosper.

So now I believe that I, my team, and our entire 5 Star Marine company have an obligation to lift up the community, the very same community that helped lift us up.  We have been successful, we are a well-respected company and we now want to use our success to help the local people “Stand Up And Fight”.

This time is temporary and if I know that my company, my team, or our donation program can in any way help even just 1 person to fight through this hard time, to feel hope, to have faith that “this too shall pass” then this entire donation program is well worth.

To help our fellow man is the greatest service we can give and I am honored every day to be joined by our volunteers, to be joined by our staff, and to be joined by our friends in delivering Life Bags and support to communities in need.

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’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 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.

Why You Should Support Local Businesses During Covid 19 Pandemic

 

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!

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 find 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.

Can You Do Overnight Tours With 5 Star Marine?

 

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 to. 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.

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 traveling 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 travelers 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 it’s 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.