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MANATHAI Surin Phuket
MANATHAI Surin Phuket
MANATHAI Surin Phuket

2019 Unmissable Festivals & Events in Phuket

Phuket is more than beautiful beaches, parties, island hopping and relaxation. There are a lot of fantastic events taking places throughout the island all year long too. These are the perfect excuse to discover local life and culture. Here we list some of our favorites for you to mark your calendar.

 

SONGKRAN (13-15 APRIL)

If you come to Phuket during mid-April you’re in for a big surprise. This is the time when Thai people celebrate the New Year, Songkran (‘the passing of’), an event that marks the beginning of the solar calendar. For some, it’s a period of reflection and carrying out of familial shows of respect to elders. But for others (the majority nowadays) it’s a perfect excuse to hit the streets and throw tons of water at anything that moves! Traditionally speaking, Songkran was the time of year when the rice harvest was in and farmers had to wait for the rains to begin in order to plant their rice. This would be the driest point of each year so it would seem illogical to waste water by pouring it over elders’ hands but amazingly, gradually over the years, Songkran has developed into a festival of water throwing using buckets and water guns.

VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL (29 September – 7 October)

This colorful event is held annually to celebrate the Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. Though the origins of the festival are unclear, it is commonly believed that the festival was brought to Phuket by a wandering group of Chinese opera singers, who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island. After adhering to a strict vegetarian diet and praying to the Nine Emperor Gods, they made a complete recovery. The people celebrated by holding a festival in their honor. Subsequently, the festival has grown and developed into a spectacular yearly event; sacred rituals are performed by entranced devotees known as “Ma Song” at various Chinese shrines and around the island, they walk barefoot over hot coals, ascend ladders with bladed rungs, swallow knives and pierce their cheeks with knives and swords.

LOY KRATHONG (13 NOVEMBER)

Loy Krathong is Thailand’s beloved ‘festival of lights’. It is held annually on the evening of the 12th lunar month, usually in the first half of November. The celebration involves various rituals at the Buddhist temples around Phuket, but the most famous and popular part is the launching of a Krathong – a floating lantern carrying candles and joss sticks, as well as all of your wishes. As any large body of water is illuminated with thousands of little lights, it creates a magical, wondrous sight. This festival definitely falls into the ‘not to be missed’ category for anybody in Thailand at the time.

KING’S CUP REGATTA (30 November – 7 December)

Phuket’s famous international yachting event, The King’s Cup Regatta, returns to the azure waters of the Andaman Ocean every December for a week of partying, sailing, and great fun. A yachting enthusiast himself, His Majesty King Bhumibol was patron of the King’s Cup, as it was launched in his honour in 1987. Since that time, its popularity has gained significant momentum on the international yachting scene over the years, and it’s a highlight of the international season. The King’s Cup Regatta attracts some of the world’s best yachtsmen, yachtswomen and their expensive boats to the waters of Kata Beach, off the island’s west coast, where these local and visiting sailors vie for the coveted trophy, creating a truly spectacular sight in the process.

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