If there’s one thing Phuket does well, it’s festivals!
If you time your visit right, you could be in for a treat. There are many festivals and celebrations throughout the year, some bigger than others. Here’s my top 5 picks – in date order since I can’t seem to decide which one is my favourite:
- Phuket Vegetarian Festival (Oct 15-23): If you don’t know anything about the Vegetarian Festival before you come, you could be in for a shock. Firewalking, body piercing (I’m talking about knives and spanners through the cheek) and of course firecrackers – not for the faint-hearted. There are also all kinds of vegetarian foods on offer throughout the festival. Those who participate in the festival and rituals are believed to have good fortune.
- Loy Krathong (Nov 28): Loy Krathong is Thailand’s ‘Festival of Lights’. At night, the waters of Phuket are filled with ‘krathong’ – floating lanterns with candles and incense. And of course a festival in Phuket isn’t complete without plenty of food, drink and market stalls. Patong is a great place to be for this beautiful celebration and Bangla Road is transformed into a bustling street fair.
- Phuket Old Town Festival (Jan 28-30): Streets in the Old Town get closed off to traffic, lit up by lanterns and packed full of stalls, food, drink, arts, crafts, street performers, parades and general revelry. This festival celebrates the town’s history, culture and ethnic mix.
- Chinese New Year (Feb 10): Phuket has a large Chinese influence, so this is a good one to be around for. Phuket Town is the place to be for Chinese New Year celebrations. Performances, parades, lanterns and firecrackers. LOTS of firecrackers.
- Songkran (April 13-15): Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year – although you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a huge water fight party. Grab yourself a water gun and join in the fun in Patong. Warning: unless your camera is waterproof, leave it in your room. And if you don’t want to get absolutely soaking wet, stay inside.
While the festivals above may be the most popular and well-known, there always seems to be something interesting happening in Phuket. Different areas and temples have their own smaller festivals and celebrations throughout the year so make sure to keep an ear out while you’re here.
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