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“Brillaint day trip”

Blue Stars Kayaking
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Longtailboat at Koh Sam Sao, National Marine Park, Bluestars
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed October 22, 2013

Brillaint day trip with an english (and german) speaking guide and friendly thai crew. Had the opportunity to snorkel/swim and then kayak once thether group had finished. Lovely food on the boat, free water, tea, coffee and soft drinks all day. Couldnt fault this trip at all to be honest. Really was worth the money. Taxis to and from hotels were also included.

Thank Joshua S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 13, 2013 via mobile

we went with this company at Ang Thong Marine park, and we were delighted. excellent communication, pick up at our hotel, great food, excursion on the boat was fun, not too much crowded on the boat, plenty of time for the kayak (more than 45min in caves and under rocks). the staff was giving clear instructions in english and in german. to recommend!

Thank momotchi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

I've wanted to travel since Alex Garland wrote The Beach. Life got busy, my trip got put on hold and it took me 15-years to actually make it over. A pilgrimage, or at least trip to Ang Thong was not an option. I had pretty high hopes for this part of my trip and I wasn't let down by Blue Stars per se, but I was let down by the entire experience. I think I had built it up too much over the years and almost no experience could have met my true expectations.

I arranged for this excursion by eMail before arriving on Koh Samui, believing they were my only real option for an all-inclusive day-trip to Ang Thong. Once you're on Koh Samui, you'll realize they are NOT the only shop in town. They were incredibly attentive with me in my eMail exchanges and contacted me by phone at a designated agreed-to time to confirm my attendance the evening before the day-trip. I don't recall pricing anymore so I won't quote it, but most tourists paid on the boat from what I could tell. The evening before they gave me a time to meet my van/bus (transport is included) and it was there on-time.

The boat isn't huge, but larger than most other boats in Ang Thong. I felt this had the tendancy to convince other, smaller boats to reschedule their visits to scenic spots if they saw us. A light breakfast is served and it included a couple fruit items (pineapple and watermelon if I recall) and pastries or bread items (I vaguely remember plowing through croissants in an attempt to reduce a hangover). Those with motion sickness take note. They had motion-sickness pills on-board, I suggest you take one if you've ever been sick on a boat before. I was out on a 'calm' day and there was enough action to keep me under the weather until snorkeling. If it makes a difference, I followed this trip up with around 40-dives, or 30 boat trips on a boat of approximately the same size in conditions that were usually worse than those in Ang Thong and never had an issue. I think I just needed to get my sea legs.

Our first stop was snorkeling/kayaking. I felt the snorkeling was mediocre. The place we stopped was beautiful, and the kayaking was entirely picturesque, but visibility was terrible and there was very little to see other than sea urchins. As there was still a bit of wave action even in the protected cove, I stayed away from the more shallow areas (on advice from the tour operators) so it might have been nicer, but the urchins kept me away. To me, it felt like we were only snorkeling at this spot because there were too many people on the tour to get all of us in kayaks (2-man kayaks mostly, I was on this tour solo and they put me in my own kayak, much to my pleasure) and didn't have anything for us to do. I imagine it's difficult to find a spot that's amazing for kayaking (by that, I really mean picturesque) and great for snorkeling. This tour operator's main draw seemed to be the 'kayak' side of the adventure, so I'm not surprised.

They really go over-the-top to ensure you take home some excellent photos. I think I took more photos on this day than I did the entire month I was in Thailand. They take lots of photos of you with your own camera while kayaking, which I thought is a really nice added touch. I hate wasting time on photos if they're using an operator's camera and are hoping I'm going to shell out top-dollar for photos at the end of the trip. If you have underwater housing/protection for your equipment, bring it. Otherwise, they'll give you a dry bag to keep whatever essential gear you want to use on the kayak.

They served a decent lunch, I was pretty hungry so I couldn't complain, but I overheard a few complaints. Again, I thought it was decent, but if you're a picky eater, you may want to bring your own snacks. They served bottled, name-brand sodas at lunch. The rest of the trip was getting to the 'hidden lake' on Wua Ta Lab where we did a little more kayaking to the base / tourist center and climbed the stairs to the viewpoints. I was really overwhelmed by this part of the trip, it really is pretty amazing. I will say it's a bit of a climb, and I felt it was a good idea to grab a bottle of water for the trek. The tourist center had everything I could want (I lost my lighter earlier in the day and was happy to replace it at the same price I saw lighters for in most 7-11's in Thailand), and plowed through a couple beers before making my way back to our boat. I grabbed a couple beers for the trip back to Samui, but as is the case in Thailand in the summer, they are never still cold when you want to drink them. I kept running into this and will probably bring a lightweight folding cooler next time.

I toyed with giving this attraction a lower star rating, but I think it wouldn't really help give a balanced view of Blue Stars. The boat was excellent, the staff were incredibly attentive, the meals were decent and I felt the price was reflective of true value.

Personally, it felt very 'cattle boat' to me. From my experience, it catered primarily to a non-English crowd. The staff all spoke English extremely well, but I think I was with 4 other English speaking tourists and I was the only person who spoke it as a first-language. This was not my experience elsewhere in Thailand, so it might have been an exceptional day. There were quite a few families on-board with younger children. Almost everyone was traveling in groups or at-least couples, and it wasn't my favorite solo-traveling activity. The kayaking was really 'fun for the whole family' and I was hoping for a little more action and adventure. The snorkeling was pretty bad, but I enjoyed getting wet.

In general, I'd recommend this company to a friend or family in particular I'd recommend this to families with teens, or couples looking for a fun, healthy activity. If I wanted to go to Ang Thong again and I was traveling solo or with friends, I'd probably wait until I was on Samui to find a tour operator, and go with the one I thought would have the most fun. My justification for this is that half, if not more than half of your day is in transit to Ang Thong and the sites in the park, so if the boat, company on the boat and activities on the boat don't fit your interests, you're in for a long day. It felt like most of the boat, myself included, slept for most of the trip back to Samui. I think that says a lot about how excellent the activities are, but also about the atmosphere on the tour.

Kudos again to the guides and staff on the boat.

1  Thank Glass_Top_Cohiba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

I have been on kayaking and snorkeling trips from Krabi, Phuket and now with Blue Star Kayaking in Koh Samui. The Blue Star trip was the worst of all the kayaking and snorkeling trips I have been to. The german speaking guide did not mix with the tourists and did nothing to help make the trip enjoyable. The kayaking and snorkeling spots chosen by Blue Star were disappointing when compared to those from Krabi or Phuket. My advise - if you have been or are planning to go to Krabi or Phuket do not waste your time and money on a Blue Star kayaking / snorkeling trip in Koh Samui.

2  Thank Kumar M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2013 via mobile

Well organized (on time, food, drinks). Friendly and helpfull personell. Freedom to choose what to do or not to do. German and English speaking host.

Marine park trip:
Packed program. Almost no time to relax and experience the activity. Quickly get in kayak, row hard to keep up, fast passage, quick photo moment, back to boat with the many others. No authenticity. Many more tourists from other excursion companies present.

Old, not so well maintained boat. Too many people on board and probably not prepared for emergency situations. Food was ok, but not delicious. Snacks in the afternoon were a nice treat.

If you're looking for a speedy, basic excursion, this is ok. I would however recommend a company that allows more time to experience the activities better, with less people (but maybe that means a private self guided tour)

2  Thank Sander_Stulemeijer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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