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 Private Boat 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!

Raya Island, A Special Place In The 5 Star Heart

 

Raya Island also is known as Racha Island or King Island has a special place in the heart of the team here at 5 Star Marine.  You see, the first place that we ever visited on our first ever boat, Lucus 1, was Raya Island.

Raya Island is a favourite location of Shaun and Lisa the Co-Owners at 5 Star Marine.  Prior to owning 5 Star Marine, they would often take short Staycation breaks to the Rayaburi Resort which is located on Raya Island.

When Lucus 1 was coming out of the factory and due to go to water it just happened to be Lisa’s birthday and as a celebration for both the boat and Lisa’s birthday, the very first trip on Lucus 1 was to Raya Island.

Some snorkelling, beach time and lunch at the Rayaburi Resort was all enjoyed and then off to Mai Ton where they were lucky enough to see Dolphins.  It was such a wonderful day for the 5 Star team, Lisa, Shaun and their friends.

This is why Raya Island Private Speedboat Tours have a special spot in the hearts of the 5 Star Marine team here in Phuket.

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 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.

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. 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 travelling 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 travellers 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 its 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.

The Hidden Features of Phang Nga Bay

The Hidden Features of Phang Nga Bay

Having just arrived back from a wonderful day exploring Phang Nga Bay I found myself wondering, is James Bond Island really the Jewel of Phang Nga Bay or are there other equally stunning locations within the Bay?

The answer it seems was pretty obvious. Prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic when we ran James Bond Island Tours the shortest amount of time that we spent at one spot was at James Bond Island. I was always of the thought that this was because that James Bond Island was so busy.

Now that Covid 19 has decimated the tourist Industry here in Phuket we found ourselves out exploring bays, Island and lagoons without the crowds. This means that we are now actually regularly stopping at James Bond Island, spending more time there than we have ever before.

James Bond Island Is Still A Big Draw Card To Phang Nga Bay

But I don’t think It’s the most beautiful location out of the locations in Phang Nga Bay. For Example, canoeing through the Hongs at Koh hong Island at mid to high tide is life changing. Recently I had two groups of expat travellers tell me that this was the single best thing that they’ve done in there entire life.

Then of course there are the beautiful green lagoons for swimming. Lagoons like at Panak Island, Koh Kudu or Koh Roi. These lagoons are stunning in thereselves and allow for a great place to swim, relax and just let nature rush over you.

You could also add to that list the many caves in Phang Nag Bay. You have the Ice Cream Cave, Mangrove Cave, Elephant Cave and some caves that I am not even certain have a name or if they do everyone has a different name for them.

So if you are looking to explore Phang Nga Bay but don’t like the tourist trap of James Bond Island I would suggest to you that you don’t even need to visit James Bond Island to truly enjoy the bay.

Covid 19 Hotel Specials 2020

Covid 19 Hotel Specials 2020

Here at 5 Star Marine we have been lucky enough to help happy travellers from Phuket, Bangkok and surrounds to reach there intended destination.  With the effect of Covid 19 being felt across Phuket, Koh Yao Yai, Koh Yao Noi, Phi Phi Island and beyond there are a number of great hotel specials being offered.

We ourselves here have taken advantage of specials at hotels like Santhiya Resort Koh Yao Yai, Phi Phi Island Village Resort, Rayavadee Resort Krabi and the Anantara Mai Khao.  If you are supporting local tourism businesses and resorts by booking and staying at hotels offering deals and need transfers please contact us here for discounted transfer rates.

Quite often you will find that we are cheaper than you can find online, through the hotels or at the piers.  Our company policy is to support local tourism businesses and resorts and if we can make it affordable for you to transfer to and from these island destination resorts we are happy to help out.

You can read more about 5 Star Marine Transfers here and Santhiya Resort Koh Yao Yai transfers here.