Phuket Events & Festivals
Planning your holiday to coincide with one of Phuket’s many events and festivals could make all the difference between a good holiday and a really memorable one. There are important events scattered throughout the year, so check if your visit to Phuket will coincide with anything you’d be interested in.
The Vegetarian Festival, which takes place in late September, is the most famous and spectacular of these. However, there are events throughout the year. Songkran, in April, is the Thai new year but is also an excuse for a huge water fight. While Loi Krathong, in November is a more subdued but magical festival.
Songkran: 13th – 15th Apr
Beginning on the 13th of April Thai people all over the country celebrate the Thai New Year, the most important holiday on the Thai calendar. The holiday is best known for revellers playfully splashing water on each other and dabing scented powder on each others faces as a new year blessing. Over the years this has escalated into a huge water fight where anyone is fair game. People roam the streets armed with high pressure water pistols or stand by the side of the road with buckets and hoses, ready to drench any passer-by. If you venture out during this period, the 13th in particular, expect to get soaked!
Traditionally, however, Songkran is a time of cleaning and renewal. During Songkran Thais perform religious rituals such as cleaning Buddha images, giving alms to the monks and going to the temple to pray. Songkran is also a time for families. Many people return home over the Songkran holiday and pay respect to their elders by sprinkling scented water over their hands. The festival is a 3-day public holiday, (see holidays).
Phuket Bike Week: 11th – 19th Apr
The 21st Phuket Bike Week will take place over Songkran starting in Patong from the 11th to 13th and then moving to Saphan Hin in Phuket Town from 17th to 19th.
Activities throughout the six days will include a big bike exhibition, “Ride for Peace” bike parade, custom bike and tattoo contests, live music and entertainment, Miss Phuket Bike Week pageant, along with booths selling motorbike accessories and apparel from local and international vendors.
For more info visit: phuketbikeweek.com
Phuket Vegetarian Festival: 15th – 23rd Oct
The Vegetarian Festival takes place at the start of the ninth Chinese lunar month, which falls in late September or early October. This is Phuket’s most famous and spectacular festival. The rituals, which last for nine days, are performed to purify both body and mind. During this time, participants go on a strict diet, which is technically vegan as no animal products are allowed to be consumed.
There are processions through the streets and tests of devotion where supplicants perform acts of self-mortification including piercing of the cheeks and tongues with knives and various objects. The more impressive events include ascetic devotees walking on burning coals and climbing ladders with knife-edged rungs. Definitely not for the faint hearted. (For more info see Phuket vegetarian festival).
Loi Krathong: 25th Nov
Loi Krathong takes place on the night of the full moon in November and is the most magical of all Thai festivals. Small lotus-shaped boats woven from banana leaves, called krathongs, are floated on water. These vessels contain small flowers, candles, incense and offerings to thank Mother Water for providing water for them to use. Thai people also believe that if they place a strand of hair or nail clipping in the krathong their troubles will be carried away with it.
In Phuket, many people go to Saphan Hin on the edge of Phuket City to launch their krathongs. The beach at Patong is also popular. There you can also float paper lanterns into the sky. Watching hundreds of these glowing lanterns drifting up into the sky over the sea is an enchanting way to spend an evening.
Patong Carnival: tbc
The event is held annually to celebrate the start of the high season at Patong Beach. There are usually also be plenty of stalls selling handicrafts, food and beverage, fireworks displays, and parades. The event was previously held in November but for the last few years the date has been pushed back to December. This year’s event will feature elaborate parades, sound and light shows, traditional Thai dance performances, live contemporary music, and “saving the environment” activities at Patong Beach.
New Year’s Eve: 31st
For more information on all events in Phuket, contact the Tourist Office at:
Tourism Authority of Thailand
73-75 Phuket Rd.
T. Talad Nuea, A. Muang
Tel: 076 211 036, 076 212 213
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