FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Simba has long prided itself on committing to the lowest passenger numbers per boat of any speedboat operator, not only in Phuket but across Thailand.
We believe that low passenger numbers are an important factor in making the Simba tour experience superior to any other speedboat tour in Phuket.
Over the course of a typical 12-month season we average just under 14 people per boat. This includes adults and children and we are very confident no other operator in Phuket will ever match such low numbers. Indeed, it is unlikely they could even determine what their average load is! Incidentally we average 1 child per tour.
We have recently changed our policy on maximum passenger numbers to ensure that each boat type in the Simba fleet has an appropriate passenger number limit. We are making this change to reflect the fact Simba 5 and 6 (commonly used on the Phi Phi Sunrise tours) are somewhat bigger than Simba 2 and 3 (commonly used for Phang Nga Bay) and accordingly can absorb a slightly bigger passenger load with no impact on comfort. This is clearly evident through the higher permitted passenger numbers as per each boat licence.
We have also dropped the target passenger numbers on Simba 2 and 3.
Simba 2: 14 – 15 adults (licenced to 23)
Simba 3: 14 – 16 adults (licenced to 26)
Simba 5: 16 – 17 adults (licenced to 30)
Simba 6: 17 – 18 adults (licenced to 33)
Please be aware that tour operators are increasingly using the ‘small group’ descriptor for tours that take 25 – 30 passengers, nearly a 100% increase on Simba’s policy!
At Simba we create a custom pickup schedule for each day to minimise your time en-route to the marina.
Our staff prepare the hotel transfer routes the day before your tour. You can expect to receive an email detailing the actual pickup time early in the afternoon, the day before your tour.
Hotel Transfer Charges (Not applicable for Private Charters)
If your pickup location is outside the complimentary mini-van route of Kata, Karon and Patong, Kamala, Surin, Bangtao we need to hire a private car to make the return transfer. Please check this link to view a map of the free transfer zone.
The cost for car is 500 THB baht each way (per car – not per person) and we will organise this for you.
This can be paid on the day of your trip when you pay the balance of the tour costs. We will advise an exact pick-up time the day before the tour.
AT TIME OF BOOKING (DEPOSIT & BOOKING FEE)
A 35% deposit is required to confirm your booking. Our payment gateway is Paypal. If you do not have a Paypal account please proceed with the payment process, and you will see an option to pay by credit card even if you do not have a Paypal account.
If you are from Turkey, Paypal payment will not be possible. Please email us directly to arrange an alternate deposit method.
Due to sharply rising costs associated with credit card payments (both on-line and ‘card present’) we have introduced a service fee of 2% across bookings for most tours. Simba pays nearly 4% in fees to allow customers to (1) pay deposits online via the Paypal portal and (2) pay any balances owing via Paypal on-line or Visa/Mastercard on the morning of the tour. We recognize that for many customers credit cards is a convenient means of payment and we will continue to allow card transactions as a means of payment for both deposits and balances outstanding.
We also recognize that some customers prefer to pay with cash (baht) and thus Simba will refund 100% of the service charge for any customer that settles the balance owing in cash. For example, a 2 person booking for Phi Phi Sunrise would receive a 176 baht refund for settlement of balances outstanding in cash.
BEFORE TOUR DEPARTS/PAYMENT OF BALANCE
Visa, Mastercard and Cash (baht) on arrival at our office for payment of your balance owing before departure. ( Sorry. No AMEX)
There is an ATM located just outside our office if you need to withdraw cash.
If you are booked on our Jungle Trip to Khao Sok National Park, please bring cash to pay the balance as there are no credit card facilities in the tour bus.
There are no additional costs on a Simba tour. However we do stop at some places where there will be a bar, so if you would like an alcoholic beverage you may purchase one yourself. Tipping is customary but not obligatory around Phuket, so if you would like to show your gratitude for our Thai staff there will be a tip box at the end of the day.
You will also notice at time of payment that we apply a 2% Booking Processing Fee. This recovers only a portion of the fees we incur to process your order and payment.
There can be several reasons you cannot see your desired tour on a particular date such as:
- The tour is already sold out
- There may be insufficient demand to run each tour type every day (this applies to Low Season mostly)
- Insufficient resources to run that tour with our current tour offerings on that date
If you are able to request far enough in advance, we may be able to schedule a tour for you if it’s not already available.
At short notice, we are generally unable to schedule an additional tour on your preferred date unless your group size is 6 or more for boat tours, or 5 or more for the Khao Sok National Park tour.
This is due to us having minimum required numbers for a tour to take place, as we need some time to sell additional spots on the tour to other guests.
Simba is on Google Maps. Use this link for navigation.
We are located in the middle of Phuket Island and you need to allow at least 35 minutes travel time from most of the west coast beach areas. If you are staying north of the airport, then please allow 40 minutes.
As most things are provided for you on-board, we ask you to travel as lightly as possible. We suggest that you dress for a day at the beach (bathers, shorts t-shirt and flip flops or sandals). Bring with you a hotel towel, sunscreen, camera and some cash or credit card to pay for the balance of the trip (& tipping / incidentals).
Please do not bring big bags on the boat as we simply do not have space to store them. We can keep your luggage safe at our office throughout the day while you are on tour.
We provide dry bags for your use throughout the day, to keep your electronics and personal items dry thoughout the day.
Snorkels, masks and flippers are provided on the boat.
There are no visible reefs on Phang Nga Bay so unfortunately not. The water is also cloudy (due to limestone formations) and sometimes dark; this also makes for a poor snorkeling experience.
If you are pregnant it is not advisable to undertake tours on speedboats for medical reasons. Our insurance company will not cover any pregnant women and accordingly, we are not comfortable booking pregnant ladies. If you do choose to join us it is strictly at your own risk. If you need to leave the tour prior to its scheduled conclusion any costs for boat hire to bring you back to port early will be for your cost – NOT Simba.
We often have non-swimmers onboard all the various trips we do. Phang Nga involves more sightseeing, cave exploring and canoeing so it holds much more interest for non-swimmers. Phi-Phi also involves sightseeing and stopping at magical islands so you can explore from the safety of solid ground! For those adventurous yet maybe weak swimmers, we can provide life jackets, floating noodles and even hold your hand through the whole experience. We also try to select snorkeling spots that are protected and don’t have strong currents.
This is a very difficult question for us to answer, as we do not personally know your health issue and are not doctors. If you have any mobility issues maybe this is not a trip for you, as you will have to climb up and down ladders and on and off the boat. If you have severe medical conditions (back pain etc), please seek your doctor’s advice before booking a trip. Only you can tell whether you are capable of undertaking this trip.
Please note our passenger insurance does not cover any events / injury associated with pre-existing conditions.
Yes, all our trips are suitable for children (4-12 years) and they will enjoy themselves throughout the day. However, if you have younger children, it can be a very long hot day for them. We also do not have a storage area for prams/strollers etc. Please note we can insure down to 3 months of age only.
Please note, each tour will involve a number of deep water swimming stops and accordingly it is very important that you commit to looking after your child whilst in the water, particularly if they are not confident swimmers. The crew and guide have a responsibility to monitoring all passengers whilst in the water and cannot devote themselves to any one group.
Yes, Simba always has English speaking tour guides onboard. On request, we have Mandarin speaking guides also, and this would need to be arranged well ahead of the tour (min. bookings apply).
Please note that in accordance with Thai Labour Law we only employee Thai Nationals as tour guides.
Yes, Simba has limited accident insurance for all registered guests aged between 3 months and 75 years old. Guests over 75 years old guests need to arrange their own insurance cover. For any cover to be valid we MUST have your correct name and age and passport # , for all booked guests in your group.
All of our boats are also commercially insured , and our company is one of very few operators in Phuket to hold public liability insurance.
We also have a valid TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) license and our tour guides are licensed (Simba has a very strict policy of only employing Thai tour guides as per national labour laws).
We are not insured for pregnant women, pre-existing back injuries or other medical conditions,and are not comfortable booking them as speed boats can and do bounce around in rough seas. No personal belongings such as cameras and iPhones are covered by our insurance, so please avoid dropping them over board. Wet bags are provided on board the boats for protection.
The monsoon season in Phuket does bring about stronger winds, bigger swells and a higher chance of rain, but it also means less tourists! Before we undertake any of our trips, whether in the dry or monsoon season, we check the tides, swell chart, satellite images, local weather radar and weather reports. If we feel there is any danger to you, our boat or us we will cancel the trip as early as possible. Simba will cancel a trip if we feel anyone’s safety is compromised.
Because of the exposure to the Indian Ocean sea swells, we assess our Phi Phi tours on a daily basis, and these can be subject to cancellation between May and November. If this is the case, you have the choice of a full refund, or a switch to a Phang Nga bay tour where the water conditions are generally better.
During May to September our Phang Nga Bay tours are more protected from the elements and generally has smaller waves and wind effect.
The concept of ‘safety first’ is extremely important to us.
As a general rule, most people do not get seasick on our boats. However if you suffer badly from motion sickness, we do offer you seasickness tablets in the morning. It is advisable to take these at least 30 minutes before the trip. If you suffer from severe seasickness, then perhaps reconsider booking a boat tour.
1. Complete the booking form that can be found on the Booking Page or alternatively click on the ‘Book This Tour’ button found on each tour page.
2. Please fill out all the necessary fields in our booking form as they are needed by our insurance company and the Thai government.
3. A deposit is required to confirm your booking. Our payment gateway is Paypal. If you do not have a Paypal account please proceed with the payment process, and you will see an option to pay by credit card also.
If you are from Turkey, Paypal payment will not be possible. Please email us directly to arrange an alternate deposit method.
In case of a private charter booking, please note your booking is not guaranteed until payment of the deposit has been received.
4. We will contact you by email the afternoon before your tour to confirm room details and pick-up time.
Cancellations are a difficult affair for both us and prospective customers. We therefore try to approach it with a ‘common sense’ attitude. You must be aware that there is a significant financial impact on Simba when a customer cancels a tour rip at late notice we have a high level of fixed costs and we only take a maximum of 15-17 adult customers. We also pre-book many of the activities undertaken on the day of your trip, all of which are non refundable to Simba.
If you cancel due to sickness and we are unable to place you on another trip, you can go to the doctors and obtain a medical certificate. We can then issue you with a receipt for the money paid to Simba, all of which can be claimed back from the majority of holiday insurance providers. If we decide to cancel due to bad weather, we will have done so taking into consideration customer safety and that of the vessel as well as predicted weather forecasts and satellite images. In this instance your deposit will be refunded in full if an alternative date cannot be found.
*In the event that you are a ‘no-show’ on the morning of your trip, for whatever reason, the full balance of your trip is due.
*If you have booked a group of guests and one or more does not show on the morning of the trip, the person who booked the trip will be required to pay the full balance.
Cancellation Policy : Please read.
By advancing your deposit to Simba Sea trips, you therefore agree to be bound by the below terms and conditions.
Cancellations within 5 days of the trip, or a no show (inc missed departure when using own transport) will result in 100% of the total cost being charged. This means you would not only lose the deposit you would be required to pay the balance stated on the confirmation email.
Note – if Simba is able to re-book your seats to other customers you of course will be provided a full refund ASAP.
In the case of sickness we will make every effort to move you to an alternative date however the cancellation policy still stands. As we limit the number of guests on each trip we do get fully booked and a reschedule may not be possible. A refund will be applicable should we be able to re-book your seats to other customers.
If Simba cancel a trip and can not reschedule during your time in Phuket we will refund 100% of all deposits immediately.