We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

boston, MA
Level Contributor
107 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

We are interested in doing a Phang Nga bay day trip. Simba sea trips and Phuket sail tour both get high marks. But their price at 3000+ baht per person is quite a bit higher than some of the other day trip package websites (around 1000 baht). Can someone one comment on the reasons for the huge price difference? Is it because of the equipment, food and drink, itinerary or something else? I wouldn’t mind paying if I know it is worth it.

Also, everywhere I look, people say do not book the day trips until you get there. We are going to be in Phuket around Christmas, should I still wait? Can you actually book Simba sea trips or Phuket sail tour in a travel agency booth?

Thanks a lot for your help?

Vernon, Canada
Level Contributor
336 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

I haven't personally gone on one of these tours yet, however they were recommended to us for several reasons. The emphisis seems to be on safety (smaller groups, not over crowding the boats) Alot of people said it was more like a private charter, with personalized service. I think these 2 tours also try and avoid the crowds.

If you decide to book with one of these, I would absolutely book it before you get there, especially around Christmas when the Island will be very busy.

We booked with Phuket sail tours for February, and when I enquired, they were already taking reservations.

Jacksonville Beach...
Level Contributor
455 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

If you can swim really good in rough waters for miles, can eat anything and don't get sea sick

save the $$$. You get what you pay for and it is vacation.

Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
14 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

We did the cheapie version with leader marine as there were 4 of us and $ were a consideration, and had a great time. It was very relaxed, we were allowed to jump off the roof of the boat which my boys loved, and the lunch was fine. That said, we were lucky as there were only around 15-20 on the boat, I think they could have easily had double that or more. We saw the phuket sail tours boat, and it was quite a bit smaller and only seemed to have a handful on board, and they did seem to be getting into less crowded locations. Perhaps book the phuket sail tours in advance, and then if you have enough spare days try the other type for one of the other day trips? We bargained them down on the tour cost also, do not pay the brochure price if booking with one of the agencies there ( not simba or PST though).

Frankston Australia
Level Contributor
239 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive


I think you are being a bit of an alarmist or just flipant with your comment.

Are you telling me that the expensive boats don't sail on the same seas to Phi Phi and you won't get sea sick if you do sail on them. Of course there are going to be more people on the cheaper tours but then I assume you have never sailed on a ferry either.

If you have a family group of 6 including 2 teenagers...Up to 12000bht saving is an attractive offer and you can buy a lot of prawns for approx $400.

We travel for 3 to 4 months every year and we look at things in a different perspective in the times we travel with our kids and grandkids.

Level Contributor
2,118 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

Read the reviews


Nowra, Australia
Level Contributor
389 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

On our visit to Phuket in feb 2011 we did the Phi Phi Island trip with a tour we booked from a street vendor. Cost was approx $60 Aus each.

There was 43 customers on board. We were given 1 glass of soft drink and a container of pineapple passed around the boat once. It was hot and crowded on board. Lunch was edible and no one got sick. Had to pay approx 100 baht for flippers. Snorkelling off the back of the boat. I am not agile enough to climb back in, so no swimming or snorkelling for me.

In August 2012, we did (almost) the same trip with Phuket Sail Tours. Only 12 customers on board, a very large esky full of canned soft drinks (still had plenty left so was told to take some with us when we got back) and a very large platter of mixed fruit and local cakes. Lunch was on Phi Phi island and the food was good. Flippers and snorkling gear included in price. Snorkling off the back of boat plus off a beach.. i could go this time! The tour guide, Elise, went out of her way to talk to everyone as a group and individually.

Would i pay the extra again for basically the same tour?

Yes..... having only a few on board made the difference. More personalised service.

If money is tight... go with the cheaper tours

Either way... just enjoy your selves but do book NOW if you wish to go with Phuket Sail Tours or Simba


Phuket, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Phuket, Kata Beach
Level Contributor
5,674 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

The main difference is the number of people on board. The total expenses are about the same, so the higher quality/less crowded tours have to make up for less people by charging more per person.

On top of that a bit more for higher quality catering and that is the difference.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
2,037 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

If you want to book Simba or PST it's best to do it before you go. You may not get the dates you want, or get on at all if you wait till you get there. If it's just two of you, for Phi Phi island you may as well pay the extra and go with the top operators. There are top operators other than these two, but the cost is about the same, or even more.

Phang Nga bay tour is a little different to Phi Phi. If all you want is a look through the hongs and to see the magnificent rock formations as you pass through, then IMO you don't have to go with the most expensive operators. A hong is a hong. The specialist operators will take you to hongs that are less frequented, but I don't imagine they look any different. I don't know about December but when we went the water was pancake flat. I think it's the same year round, but maybe ask/search.

We paid 1400 baht each and had a great day with Phuket Panwa Canoe Tours. Their boat is a big 2-level ferry (canoes down below, people up top) and it was nice to have the space to move around, as opposed to a speed boat. Though I must admit I liked the look of the PST yacht as it sailed past. We took their biggest boat and I reckon that's the one to take. Sure, the boat was full, but not over capacity. They split you into groups when you went to the hongs so there's only be 5 or 6 canoes in whatever area you were in (for the most part, you couldn't help a bit of crossover). You could dive off the top of the boat if you wanted as well. Only drawback was lunch was a little cold, but there was plenty of it and plenty of drinks. Not much for non-meat eaters, but I made do.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Patong
Level Contributor
4,375 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

I have done both trip, the cheapie to both Phi Phi and Phang Nga (the 1st year I went) and Phuket sail Tours for the last 3 years.

The difference is as already stated above , the number of people on Board, the quality of the service, and food. As Steven said it cost the operator the same to do the tour whether there is 20 on board or 40 on board, so the price does have to be made up for there as well.

Here are some of my experiences and observations.

The year I went to Phi Phi with the cheap operator, we should not have been taken out the conditions were way too dangers. We had 12-15foot waves (and I am not exagerating) It took us over 2 hours to go directly to Phi Phi buy speed boat, I trip that sould have taken approx 1-1.15hrs.

All other boats I saw that day were very crowded with people, Lunch was fine , but I was too ill from the trip to eat.

Now yes as stated above all the boats cross the same body of water, so price cant effect that , but where Phuket Sail Tour wins here is on saftey. If the forecast is said to be bad/dangerous they will not take you they will cancel the trip and try to reschedule, if not possible you will get a full refund.. Bare in mind here they loose money, whether they can reschedule or not. A lot of time and money has gone into the bookings and getting the boat ready, food supplies etc.

Phi Phi is a very busy place all tourists like to go there, but Phuket Sail tours does there very best to try as much as posible to keep you away from the crowds as much as possible. They have changed there departure times to try to avoid being in the same place as the other boats at the same time.

Spped boats take a max of 20 people, but most often its only about 15 people on board.

Phang Nga, by sail boat or speed boat, is the same sort of thing, Speed boat numbers the same as above, Sail boat, max 10 people, more likely 8 on board.

Again they go out of their way to keep you away from the masses, ( like Phi Phi , not possible at James Bond Island , and maybe in the sea canoes which is on the speed boat trip) but the rest of the trip they keep it as private as possible. The Sail boat trip through Phang Nga is very peaceful as, it is much easier for them to keep you away from stacks of people.

I have seen many other boats in Phanga Nga , literally packed to the rafters. But what scares me more is that I have seen many tour groups (from other operators) coming out of the caves and hongs with no guide and no tourches, so very dangerous and irresponsible. Some of the caves are full of hole where people have dug for treasure, and these people are just wandering in the dark. Oh yes and bare foot!!!!

With Phuket Sail Tours Captain Mark (or Sean) guides you through the caves and gives you loads on information on them and their history. Every one is given a touch and Mark will tell you exactly where to step, warn you where it is slippery etc

Food aboard The sail trip is fantasic, From the moment you leave the peir, the food keeps coming. Theres a beautiful fruit basket, Then out comes the fried chicken wings (dont cring till you have tasted them, I have never had any as good anywhere in the world) The eskie is full of soft drink and water, and beer may be bought for 50b.

Lunch is on a secluded beach, and has been prepared on the boat and bought ashore, it includes soup (to Die for) a Thai Chicken dish, vegies, rice and fresh seafood bought from the local fisherman whilst on route.

Ok that it from me. Its all about saftey, peacefulness and service. Worth every cent and more. I will be back for my th trip with Phuket Sail Tours in Feb if all goes to plane


Level Contributor
133 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Why Simba sea trips/Phuket sail tour so much more expensive

We just did the 2 tours with Phuket Sail Tours. 14 people on the boat, plenty of room to sit in the bow seats or in the shade in the back, depending on preference. Able to move around easily. They also try to get to the popular spots before the crowds. Their boats are much faster than the long tails, so spend less time travelling.

We had an asian lady tourist on board, who was terrified of water. First time in the water they had her in a life jacket, plus life buoy, with two staff helping her. By the end of the trip, she just had a life jacket on & with her husband was snorkelling over a reef hundreds of metres from land. I was impressed by their desire to make sure she had a good experience.

Get answers to your questions about Rawai
Recent Conversations