Whether its to honour a religious belief or just for fun, the festivals of Phuket are exciting, sometimes bizarre spectacles and certainly never bland. The island’s most distinctive spectacle is the annual Vegetarian Festival, featuring processions of god-mediums performing shocking acts of self-mortification as a test of faith. It is held over 9 days in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar (late September-early October).
Other colourful and lively events unique to Phuket include the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, the Gay Festival and Phuket Bike Week, while others, like Loy Kratong and Songkran, are part of a nationwide celebration.
Phuket Gay Festival
Once a community project and now an annual event, the Gay Festival is becoming an increasing attraction for tourists to Patong Beach. Beach activities, street parties, with lots of outrageous costumes and stage shows.
Thao Thep Krasatri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival
In March every year in memory of the two heroines who led the defence of the island against the Burmese in 1785. Events vary every year.
11th Phuket Bike Week
An amazing collection of Harley’s, Hondas and super bikes at this annual event, now in its 10th year. Music, parties, contests and charity rides around the island. The fun begins at the Ride Thailand party at Thainaan Restaurant.
Thailand’s most famous festival celebrating the Thai New Year. Prepare for the fun and get very wet or stay indoors! A loud, boisterous festival that includes a lot of water throwing in the streets.
Turtle Releasing Festival
Also a part of the New Year celebrations – the government has also named this National Fisheries Day. Turtle release is centred mainly at Mao Khao and Nai Yang beaches on the northern end of the island.
Phuket Race Week
The inaugural of the Phuket Race Week. Five days of great yacht racing and parties. Organised by Image Asia.
Por Tor Festival
A merit-making festival for the ethnic Chinese. Special food, candles and flowers are presented to the ancestor’s altars. Cakes in the shape of turtles are made because turtles live to great age and it is believed that by making such offering worshippers may extend the length of their lives.
Held in the 7th lunar month: Phuket Town, Phuket.
Phuket Fireworks Festival
More than 4000 fireworks will light the sky in a dazzling display at Sapan Hin in Phuket Town.
Celebrated by the Chinese community, this festival continues for 9-10 days. Plenty of body piercing and strange processions of people under trances. Part of a cleansing ritual involves many local residents. Excellent vegetarian food on sale in the street stalls.
Loud and colourful with lots of visual entertainment and fun for visitors. Each year is different, but the festival includes a parade, shows and concerts. This marks the start of the official high season.
1st week of November: Patong Beach, Phuket.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon
Now in its 12th year, the annual Laguna Phuket Triathlon is an event that attracts top athletes from all over the world. The race begins with a 1.8km swim followed by a cycle along a 55km course up a coastal road, and ends with a 12km run. Email for further details.
Loy Kratong or Full Moon Day
It is one of the most beautiful festivals in Thailand. Floats made from banana trees with candles and incense are placed into the water at night to take away bad luck. Held at all of Phuket’s major beaches and in Phuket Town.
Phuket International Sportfishing Classic
Fishermen from all over the world attend this classic event. Lots of tales about “the one that got away”. The competition is a “catch and release” event and promotes sportfishing around Phuket’s waters.
Late November 2005: Chalong Bay, Phuket.
King’s Cup Regatta
One of the more exciting event on the island’s sporting calendar. The regatta attracts yachts from all over the world that race from Phuket to the neighbouring islands.
Phuket International Marine Expo
An exhibition of boats and other marine products. PIMEX made its debut in December 2003, attracting top industry players and visitors from all over Asia. Organised by Image Asia.
Phuket International Seafood Festival
Phuket is a seafood lover’s paradise. The festival will host events, activities and cooking demonstrations.
4th Andaman Sea Rally
An annual boating event from Phuket to the Andaman Islands, open to both power and sailboats. Explore the spectacular sailing of the Andaman Islands and enjoy it in a social atmosphere. A fun event with some serious offshore racing.