The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held over a nine-day period, usually in October, and came about due to the Chinese community’s belief that a vegetarian diet during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar enables them to obtain good health and a sound mind.
It’s fair to say that the festival transcends most people’s perceptions of what it entails. Many picture passive scenes of vegetarian food stalls and perhaps some accompanying music. The truth is that it in fact involves some dangerous activities for its participants, including ladder climbing with rungs made of knives, barefoot walks across hot coals, and some extreme piercings with various hooks and skewers. This is all accompanied by rapid-fire explosions and dramatic puffs of smoke thanks to all the Chinese fire crackers.
Celebrated countrywide, Songkran is the ultimate festival in Thailand–a time when people from every walk of life, from the young to the old, come out to participate in what is essentially one giant water fight! It takes place in April, which marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year, and Phuket is a great place to celebrate it as the whole island comes alive in celebration.
Loi Krathong is one of Thailand’s most significant festivals. Loi means to ‘float’ and ‘krathong’ is a small lotus shaped carving made (traditionally) from the trunk of a banana tree and decorated with folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense sticks. Held in November, thousands of these small candles are sent to float gently out to sea so that waters around the whole of Thailand become awash with light. If staying in Phuket or another coastal area, it’s possible to see these for miles out to sea, with reports of sightings close to the Similan Islands.