I often see people asking whether they should book tours before arriving to Phuket or on arrival at Phuket at the street vendors.  Whenever someone posts something like this the local community has different thoughts, ideas and advice to the person writing the post.

After 11 years here booking tours myself, being part of a tour company and also running a private boat marine business my advice is a little conflicted.  If you plan to do a group tour, then generally you will find it best to book once you arrive in Phuket as you can compare prices at different agents.

The only exception to that is if you wish to book one of the premium tour providers like Phuket Sail Tours or Simba Tours.  These companies generally book out well ahead of time and as such it’s best to at least reserve a spot prior to arriving.

So if you plan to book a group tour that sits in the “general” category and not in the small group or VIP tour category then I would strongly recommend to you that you should research before you arrive and then book on the ground.

But if you are booking with a popular tour provider in the VIP or Small Group category then I would suggest that you reserve.  Then when it comes to Private Boats you should also reserve the boat if you wish to go with a reputable private boat provider.

For example here at 5 Star Marine we pre-sell more than 75% of our month weeks or months in advance as we are a popular and reputable provider.  If you land in and try to secure a private boat you may not get the date you want, the price you want or even the boat you want.

If you’d like more advice feel free to contact us.

We receive a lot of enquiries via Facebook, WhatsApp and Email from Solo travelers looking to join tours with 5 Star Marine.  While we are aware that the experiences that we provide are extremely unique and memorable it’s important to understand that they are this way as no tour is the same.

We customize each tour to the customers on the boat.  If our customers love to snorkel then we go to multiple snorkeling locations.  If our customers love to relax on the beach, we go to multiple quiet and idealic beach locations.

To do this kind of customized tour it means that we are limited to just Private Tours.  This means it’s just you and your travelling companions on the boat with our crew and guide.

Now for a Solo Traveller this can be expensive as you are not splitting the cost with other travelers or with your family.  The reality is, if you compare our company, 5 Star Marine, to a typical group tour company we are more expensive.

But at a group tour company you’ll have anywhere from 25 to 75 people on the boat.  So if you have 75 people all paying 1300 THB per person then these group tour companies are making significantly more than us as a Private Boat Tour provider.

The reason we decided to do only Private Tours is we can craft, and execute programs which suit just you and ensure 100% satisfaction 100% of the time.  This is why we receive 5 Star Trip Advisor and Facebook Ratings and people rave about what we do.

We are customizing the tour to you and ensuring that you have the most memorable time we can give you.

Often we are asked when we are out with clients what is the average group size we work with on our Private Boat. The answer is generally between 2 and 6 people. We find that generally our clients wish to explore the islands at there own pace, with there own space and the freedom to choose to stay, go or even sleepover if that’s what they want.

A true private boat like 5 Star Marine is a boat that is designed to be flexible to you, what you want and to ensure we deliver the best experience that you could possibly have on the day.

You want to stay longer on a beach no problems, you want to snorkel 4 times no problems, you don’t want to get wet, no problems.

There is literally nothing we cant do to customize our Private Boat Tours for you and this generally appeals to couples looking for something romantic, young families worried about kids getting tired or people who have visited Phuket before and just want to avoid the crowds and visit the best destinations at the best time.

So while our main Private Boat, 5 Star Marine Lucus 1 can hold up to 35 people we generally do not run the boat full and just create a luxurious space and environment for you and your family to enjoy the entire boat.

When I first came to Phuket over 11 years ago I hired a Private Speedboat to take me to Phi Phi Island and also on a separate day to James Bond Island. While the speedboat was ok (not amazing, but it didn’t sink) the tour was no different to a standard Group Tour, just done on a Private Speedboat.

Fast forward 11 years and with years of experiencing chartering, leasing, hiring and going on Private Boats in Phuket I’ve come to realize that when most tourists visiting Phuket ask an agent, tour desk or online operator for a Private Speedboat what they are really getting is a Group Tour boat, hired Private for the day.

This means your concept of arriving at destinations without the crowds, visiting remote spots, finding hidden gems are all pipe dreams. The captains of these group tour boats that are rented to go Private are not trained on how to avoid the crowds, devise routes that discover unique locations and generally give you a “True Private” experience.

For me, a true Private Boat Tour in Phuket experience is where I find beaches, snorkeling spots, lagoons, restaurants where there are very few people, that are probably not even on a brochure and are uniquely beautiful.

So, when you look at hiring a Private Speedboat in Phuket my answer to the question as it relates to this post is NO not all Private Speedboats are the same.

This is one of the reasons that 5 Star Marine is so popular and well reviewed. Our company designs programs and tours to suit the customers on the day, the conditions on the day and the tides on the day.

While we will provide an itinerary to you prior to booking, we will also advise you that this may be adjusted on the day as we visit and pass by locations that intrigue you. For example, yesterday we conducted a private tour of Hong Krabi, this tour included 7 stops at some absolutely stunning locations and each stop was completely private, no other boats.

When booking a Private Boat in Phuket we strongly advise that you ensure that the boat is a “True Private Boat” and not just a Group Tour boat that has been provided to your Privately for the day.

Because if it’s just a group tour boat, then you wont enjoy the tour as much and it wont be as memorable is if you take a true Private Boat like the 5 Star Marine boat here in Phuket.

We often see posts on Facebook forums and Trip Advisor where visitors to Phuket are asking who are the best agents on Phuket to book tours through, or hire Private Speedboats from.

Obviously as a Private Boat Charter provider in Phuket we have agents across Phuket who promote our private boats to visitors, but we always advise our agents to allow the potential customers to talk direct with our boat management team. We advise this so that you, the potential customers can hear the latest news on the weather, wind, wave and tide conditions.

Sometimes people make bookings with Agents and they just don’t realise that the agent may not have been on a private boat before, visited Phi Phi in the last 5 years or even seen the private speedboat that you are booking.

This is why we make our team available to any agent on Phuket who are promoting our private boat charter to potential customers. So when you are talking to your Private Speedboat Agent you can always feel free to request to ask to talk to the boat owner or manager directly so you can get the most up to date information.

When it comes to weather, sea conditions, pick up times and route planning the team who are out on the water everyday are the best people to talk to as they know the most current conditions and what to expect when you are booking.

Here at 5 Star Marine we specialize in Private Boat Tours and often customers we talk to prior to joining onboard our VIP Private Speedboat ask us why our tours are more expensive than traditional Group Tours.

The reality is quite simple, on a Private Tour we limit the number of people on our boat to just you, your family and friends. This means if it’s just the 2 of you on a romantic cruise or your extended family of 10, the only people on the boat are you and your friends with our crew.

By limiting our boat to just Private Boat Tours we create an exclusivity of experience for you that you could not have on a Group Tour. Group Tours can be more affordable as they are filling there boats to capacity.

For example, let’s assume that most group tour boats can take 48 people on the boat. If you pay, as an example, 2000 THB per person to be on the boat, then that boat will be producing income of 96,000 THB for the day.

Now as a responsible Private Boat Tour company we do not charge anywhere near this 96,000 THB price, in fact you’d be quite surprised by how affordable private boat tours can be.

With that said though you should keep in mind, that when we conduct a private boat tour the entire boat, equipment, crew are all dedicated to making the day out on the sea the most incredible day for just YOU!

We are not focusing on the other 40+ people on the boat. So YES, Private Boat Tours are more expensive, but how often do you get the chance to cruise around the stunning islands of the Andaman Sea in the luxury of a VIP Private Boat?

If you’ve read the history of 5 Star Marine you’d understand that for many years prior to starting 5 Star Marine we operated private tours through our tour agency, Lisa Phuket Tours.

Our Agency was one of the top agencies in Phuket for Private Boat Tours, but on most tours we were using boats that we leased. In 2019 we decided to make a change and invest in building a fleet of our own boats.

The advantage of using boats that we owned is we had full control over the experience you would receive with us. The quality of the boat, the equipment on the boat, the crew, everything we could control, resulting in a better overall experience for you, our customers.

Now with that said, if you read any of the review on the Lisa Phuket Tours facebook page you would realize that we were highly recommended and our tours were much loved.

This is because we were very particular about the boats that we leased. Now we can take our business to the next step, we can enhance our guests experience and ensure 5 Star service across the board.

That’s why 5 Star Marine looks new, when in fact it’s not new. 5 Star Marine is just an extension of our Lisa Phuket Tours business, which has been running for 3 family generations here in Phuket.

So if you’re looking for a Private Boat Charter in Phuket then contact our team at 5 Star Marine, or Lisa Phuket Tours.

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