Hey there my fellow Bali enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out the 6 best festivals in Phuket to experience this year. Looking for an exciting and unique cultural experience in Phuket? Look no further than the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. From the colorful and lively Wat Chalong Fair to the hair-raising and intriguing Vegetarian Festival, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
No matter what time of year you visit Phuket, there is always a festival or event to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in cultural traditions, delicious food, or just having a good time, these festivals are sure to provide a memorable experience.
Best Festivals in Phuket
Ok, let’s dive in and explore the most popular Phuket festivals and events to enjoy.
1. Phuket Vegetarian Festival
If you’re looking for a unique and bizarre festival to experience in Phuket, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is definitely worth checking out. This festival, also known as the Kin Jay Festival or the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, is celebrated annually in Thailand primarily by the Chinese community.
The festival has a fascinating history that dates back over 150 years. It is believed that a Chinese opera troupe traveling through Phuket fell ill with malaria so they decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and pray to the Nine Emperor Gods, which resulted in their swift recovery. The locals were amazed and decided to adopt the practice of vegetarianism and worship of the Nine Emperor Gods during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
The festival runs for nine days and is filled with a variety of activities. One of the most popular activities is the procession of devotees through the streets of Phuket where they display their devotion to the Nine Emperor Gods by performing acts of self-mutilation. This includes piercing their cheeks, tongues and other body parts with sharp objects. It may sound gruesome, but it is a deeply spiritual and cultural practice that is respected by the locals.
Another activity is the lighting of firecrackers, which is believed to ward off evil spirits. There are also various ceremonies and rituals that take place in the local temples including the raising of the pole ceremony, which marks the beginning of the festival.
One of the highlights of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is the delicious vegetarian food that is served throughout the nine days. The food is prepared in accordance with strict guidelines and is believed to be holy and cleansing. You can find a wide variety of dishes including vegetarian versions of traditional Thai dishes as well as unique vegetarian dishes that are specific to the festival.
2. Loy Krathong Festival
If you’re visiting Phuket in November, the Loy Krathong is one of the most important festivals in Thailand and is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Phuket. Here’s what you need to know about this festival.
Loy Krathong is a traditional Siamese festival celebrated by Thais to pay respect to the Goddess of Water and the Buddha. The festival usually falls on the full moon day of the twelfth lunar month, which is usually in November. The word “Loy” means to float, while “Krathong” refers to a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves that is used to carry candles, incense and flowers.
During the festival, locals and visitors alike gather around rivers, lakes and beaches to release their krathongs into the water. It is believed that the act of releasing the krathongs symbolizes letting go of negative thoughts and emotions and the sight of thousands of them floating on the water is truly magical.
Apart from releasing krathongs, there are many other activities to enjoy during the festival such as traditional Thai dance performances, beauty pageants and firework displays. You can also try Thai food and drinks from the many food stalls set up along the festival grounds.
Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated all over Phuket, but some locations are more popular than others. Patong Beach is traditionally one of the busiest centers of events on the island of Phuket for Loy Krathong. There are usually many celebration activities along Patong Beach, such as performances, the traditional “Nang Noppamas” beauty pageant and the renowned “Most Beautiful Krathong” contest.
Other popular locations include Sapan Hin lake in Phuket town, along the banks of Bang Maruan Lagoon in Thalang, Nai Harn Lake in Rawai, Karon Lake in Karon, Laguna Grove in Cherngtalay and Kathu Public Park.
3. Songkran Water Festival
If you’re looking for a festival that is unique to Thailand, the Songkran Water Festival is definitely worth experiencing. This festival is held annually in April and marks the Thai New Year. During the festival, people engage in water fights and other fun activities to celebrate the occasion.
The Songkran Water Festival is deeply rooted in Thai traditions and customs. It is believed that the water symbolizes purification and renewal and by dousing each other with water, people are washing away their sins and bad luck from the past year. Additionally, people will often visit temples to offer food and other offerings to monks and receive blessings for the upcoming year.
The main activity during the festival is the water fights. People will often gather in the streets armed with water guns, buckets and hoses to engage in friendly battles. It’s not uncommon to see people dancing and singing while getting soaked. Additionally, many bars and clubs will host parties and events with live music and DJs to keep the festivities going into the night.
Best Places to Celebrate
Phuket is one of the best places to celebrate the Songkran Water Festival in Thailand. Here are a few places to check out:
- Patong Beach: This is one of the most popular spots for water fights during the festival. The beach is lined with vendors selling water guns and other supplies and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to take a break from the action.
- Old Phuket Town: This historic district is a great place to experience the more traditional aspects of the festival. There are often parades and other cultural events held here during the festival.
- Bangla Road: This famous street in Patong is known for its nightlife and during the festival, it becomes a hub of activity. Many of the bars and clubs will host parties and events and there are plenty of opportunities to join in the water fights.
4. Phuket Old Town Festival
If you’re looking for a festival that showcases the rich history and culture of Phuket, then the Phuket Old Town Festival is the perfect event for you. Held annually in the historical center of Phuket Town, this festival is a celebration of the island’s heritage and traditions.
Phuket Old Town Festival is an event that highlights the history and culture of Phuket. The festival is held in the old town area of Phuket, which is known for its Sino-Portuguese architecture. The buildings in this area date back to the late 19th century and early 20th century when Phuket was a center of tin mining and the festival offers a glimpse into the island’s past and the unique blend of cultures that have influenced its development.
The Phuket Old Town Festival offers a wide range of attractions for visitors to enjoy. During the event, the streets around the Old Town are turned into walking streets and there are plenty of fun sights to see. Visitors can take a rickshaw ride around the area, which is a great way to see the historic buildings and learn about their significance.
There are also cultural performances including traditional Thai dances, music and theater. Artisans and craftsmen showcase their skills and there are plenty of opportunities to buy souvenirs and local products as well.
One of the highlights of the Phuket Old Town Festival is the food with the event offering a wide range of traditional Thai and Chinese dishes, as well as international cuisine. Visitors can sample local delicacies such as Hokkien noodles, dim sum and Thai desserts and there are also food stalls selling snacks and drinks, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
5. Patong Carnival
If you’re visiting Phuket in November, don’t miss the Patong Carnival. This annual festival marks the beginning of the high season in Phuket and is celebrated with great enthusiasm.
The Patong Carnival has been celebrated for many years and is a traditional event in Phuket. It is believed to have originated as a way for locals to celebrate the end of the rainy season and the start of the high season. Today, it is a major tourist attraction drawing visitors from all over the world.
The Patong Carnival is a three-day event that takes place on Patong Beach Road and is full of entertainment, sporting events, colorful parades, competitions, stunning performances and live music. There are plenty of stalls selling handicrafts, food and beverage and souvenirs as well making it a great place to shop for unique gifts.
One of the highlights of the festival is the beauty pageant where contestants from all over the world compete for the title of Miss Patong. The pageant is followed by a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the night sky.
Best Time to Visit
The Patong Carnival usually takes place in early November, when the weather is starting to get sunnier. If you’re planning to attend the festival, make sure to book your accommodation in advance as it can get very crowded during this time.
6. Por Tor Festival
If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience in Phuket, the Por Tor Festival is not to be missed. This festival is also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival and is celebrated by the ethnic Chinese community in Phuket.
The Por Tor Festival is a time to honor ancestors and pay respect to the dead. During this festival, it is believed that the spirits of ancestors return to the world of the living to receive offerings from their descendants. The locals believe that by making offerings of food, flowers and candles, they can appease the spirits and ensure their good fortune.
The Por Tor Festival is a month-long event filled with exciting activities. It all kicks off with a grand opening ceremony, followed by a parade of colorful floats and lion dances. The highlight of the festival is the spirit-possessed mediums performing self-flagellation and fire-walking. The festival also features a fresh market and street food stalls where you can try traditional Chinese delicacies.
Best Time to Visit
The Por Tor Festival is held annually on the seventh lunar month, usually between August and September. The exact dates of the festival may vary, so it’s best to check the lunar calendar to plan your visit. The festival is held in various locations throughout Phuket, but the main events take place in Phuket Town.
There you have it, my 6 best festivals to experience in Phuket. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences here.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.