Here we go Again! – Phuket Sandbox Rules Update

Today we are thrilled to report good, positive news – now doesn’t that make a change to the negative news cycle?

The new Sandbox rules mean that from now on it is easier than it has ever been before for Sandbox guests to explore Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island, Phi Phi, Hong Krabi, and beyond.

In fact, we were just out at Phi Phi enjoying the stunning Pileh Lagoon. Now, if you have ever been or seen photos you will know that this gorgeous lagoon is normally crowded with well over 100 boats at one time; but for this day trip the 5 Star Marine speedboat was the ONLY one in the lagoon – yes you read that right. Can you imagine having this all to yourself? A priceless experience, never possible before, so now really is the best time to explore exotic locations with a luxury speedboat day tour.

Let’s Explore

Private VIP Speedboat Day Tours Days 1-7 (Sandbox Guests)

  • Koh Mai Ton for some dolphin spotting
  • Coral Island for snorkeling and relaxing at the beach club
  • Koh Racha for superb underwater marine life

Private VIP Speedboat Day Tours Days 8-20 (Sandbox Guests)

  • Phi Phi – stunning lagoons and beaches
  • Hong Krabi – the new 360 Degree Viewpoint
  • Phang Nga Bay / James Bond Island – canoeing through the caves, enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the infamous island
  • Khai Islands – snorkeling in shallow waters
  • Koh Mai Ton – dolphin spotting
  • Koh Racha – stunning marine life
  • Coral Island – beautiful beach resort
  • Koh Lon – sunset cruise

Requirements Just Got Easier

All you need to give us is:

  1. A copy of your passport
  2. Your Vaccine certificate

That’s it – no long, confusing list anymore! You just provide us with these 2 items plus approval to talk to your hotel and we take care of EVERYTHING else. We coordinate with the SHA manager at your hotel to get the paperwork required, so you only need to worry about where to explore next.

No More Tests

For Day Tours from days 8-20, the new rules mean that you DO NOT need to take another Covid-19 test which is great news and one less thing to think about.

SHA Approved

Of course, we are proudly TAT SHA Plus approved, but now are also SHA Plus Transportation Approved so the entire speedboat fleet is licensed and approved by the Government and Marine Department to go outside of the Phuket Province. For our Sandbox guests, this means that every single boat is safe, secure and Covid-19 approved. Plus, we test staff weekly as an added measure to make guests feel comfortable and safe.

Look What Is Around The Corner!

On October 15th we are more than a little excited to report that the Similan, Surin Islands, Koh Rok, and Koh Ha are all open and are ready for your to explore (Sandbox guests between day 8 -20). We have no doubt that it is going to be amazing to be out there at these paradise islands by yourselves – literally experience them like NEVER before.

Contact us to find out more or to book your Sandbox tour.

Phuket Sandbox Day Tours – TAT SHA Plus Approved

Since the initial opening of the Phuket Sandbox scheme, 5 Star Marine have been operating SHA Plus Approved Day Tours for customers who joined the 14 Day Program and 7+7 Program Sandbox initiative.

As we continue to provide Day Tours to the islands around Phuket, we have been busy making sure we are up to date on Phuket Sandbox Travelers Day Tour rules, as well as which destinations they are able to experience.

Today, we are pleased to launch the “Phuket Sandbox Info” section of our website which is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date news, information, and rules for travelers currently within the Phuket Sandbox. The aim is to answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding taking a Day Tour.

All you need to do is select whether you are visiting Phuket on the 7+7 Program or the 14 Day Program; from here click through to find out the most up-to-date news and information.  If you are already here in Phuket and would like to get out on tour and explore, then head straight to our SHA Plus Approved Day Tours and Transfers section.

As one of the first Private Boat Tour companies in Phuket to become SHA Plus approved, we take pride in understanding, translating, and providing the most up-to-date information there is related to the Phuket Sandbox, Day Tours, rules, and restrictions.

We are updating these pages on a daily basis, whenever rules change, we also make sure updates occur. Our YouTube Channel is a great source for the most up-to-date information on rules, destinations, and more!

If you prefer to talk to someone, feel free to contact us as we provide a FREE concierge service for guests traveling to Phuket.

You NEED to Know This: Can you go to Phi Phi?

“Can I go to Phi Phi?” Well, with some requirements to be aware of, 5 Star Marine have broken these down for you. We know the rules, we have been through the process so that we know exactly what to do and how to do it. . so here is the lowdown:

WHO is allowed to go to Phi Phi National Park areas:

  • Sandbox customers cannot go to Phi Phi during the first 14 days after they arrive in Phuket. From day 15, Sandbox customers can go to Phi Phi with 5 Star Marine.
  • Expats living in Phuket are allowed to visit Phi Phi if they are fully vaccinated.

What are the REQUIREMENTS to go to Phi Phi?

  • Anyone going to Phi Phi needs to pre-register with the National Park one day prior to going to get approval.
  • 5 Star Marine will take care of the approval process for you, they simply need a copy of your passport and vaccine certificate.
  • When arriving at Tonsai Bay, 5 Star Marine staff will manage the process with the National Park and will hand over the relevant paperwork where vaccination documents will also be checked.

What about CHILDREN coming into the Phi Phi National Park?

  • Children 12 – 18 years old will need to show a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours.
  • Under 12-year-old children are allowed into the National Park, as long as they are with a fully vaccinated parent.

How LONG does it take to get there?

  • It takes 45 minutes from our pier in Boat Lagoon to reach the Phi Phi Islands.

WHERE is open?

  • Phi Phi Don has re-opened, where you can explore a number of coves, snorkeling spots, and even hidden lagoons. The water right now is stunning and turquoise with abundant marine life after having some time to rest.
  • You are allowed to access most of Phi Phi Don – including Laem Tong Bay, Monkey Beach, and Tonsai Bay, and the village itself. However, please note that Tonsai village itself is quiet with little open at the moment.

It’s the perfect time to get out there and support the island and small community, and the fact that it is still quiet is an added bonus. With only a few small requirements needed prior to departure which the team at 5 Star Marine can help you with, what are you waiting for? Book your Phi Phi adventure now and experience it like never before!

 

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. 

Limited VIP Trips Re-Starting on 1st June 2021

During the last few weeks, our private boat tours have been put on hold to help keep Phuket safe. During this time, we have been able to concentrate on our charity efforts as well as finding safe and responsible ways to get our VIP guests back out on the water. Our piers, boats, and office have all been thoroughly cleaned by Government provincial teams, plus staff members have been PCR Covid-19 tested – and we are happy to report that all of our fantastic team are officially Covid-19 free.

Therefore, from 1st June 2021, we are looking forward to welcoming back our existing VIP guests as we will be re-opening with a range of limited private trips. Please note that all guests will be required to complete a short Declaration Form prior to being accepted on board, and also must comply with all Provincial announcements. These precautions and regulations will enable us to re-open our operations on a smaller scale to keep staff and guests safe.

Re-opening at this point is important to give our staff the opportunity to work again and keep motivated during these difficult times. We also want to give you the chance to explore some exciting destinations whilst the seas are still calm, and the islands are blissfully quiet and beautiful.

From 1st June 2021 we are able to offer private small group tours to the following destinations:

If you would like to book a trip to the aforementioned areas, please get in contact to book and fill in our Declaration Form.

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. 

Frequently Asked Private Boat Charter Questions

As we continue to grow our customer base and offer more unique Private Boat Charter Experiences it’s important we feel to write a post that offers answers to our most asked questions.

Find some of our most frequently asked questions answers below:

What Do You Have On Your Private Boat?

In all of our Private Boat Charters, we include Water, Soft Drink, Fresh Fruit, Masks, Snorkels, Life Jackets, Beach Mats, and Fins. At request, we can put on an outdoor cushion, picnic equipment, plastic cups, wine glasses, and more. If we have it in supply we are happy to place it onboard for you.

Can We Bring Our Own Alcohol?

You are more than welcome to bring Alcohol on board. We have an icebox on all of our boats with plenty of ice to cool down and keep cool your Alcohol. Additionally, we can purchase alcohol for you and place it on board and you can pay the receipt of the purchase.

We do not mark up on Alcohol purchases and do not charge corkage fees.

How Long Do We Have The Private Boat For?

Quite simply put, we do not limit time on our boats. We hire out our boats once per day so the boat is available to you for the day. Whether you want to start at sunrise or finish at sunset we do not mind as long as it’s safe to be out we will stay out with you.

Do You Include Return Pier Transfers In Your Pricing?

Our price quotes do not include Transfers from your Hotel to our pier. We can provide this service to you at an additional price with no issues. Our team of drivers are professional, safe, and have baby seats available for you.

Do You Include National Park Fees In Your Pricing?

National Park Fees are not included in our pricing, this is an extra charge that is payable on the day direct to the National Park officers. As this is not a fee we collect we prefer for you to pay it directly to the National Park Officers.

Do You Include Lunch In Your Pricing?

We do not include lunch in our pricing. For an extra charge, we can organize a picnic lunch for you, or you can ask our Guide for a recommendation on the best restaurants for you on your tour. The reason we don’t include lunch is that most packaged lunch options are limited and do not cater to everyone’s needs. We prefer to allow you to select the meal you want at the price you are willing to pay.

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 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 to 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.

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.

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.