Festivals & Events - What to do?
Chao Le Boat Floating Festival Date : June and November
Location : Rawai Beach
The festival falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The fest is held at the Chao Le, or Sea Gipsy, villages in Phuket. The Rawai and Sapam villages hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Sire village celebrates on the 14th; and the village at Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket's northern tip) celebrates on the 15th. Ceremonies, which center around the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai Festival of Loy Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and to bring good luck. Fingernail clipping and strands of hair are put in the little boats before being released, along with little dolls fashioned from wood. Afterwards, the villagers perform their famous dance round their own boats, called the Ram Rong Ngeng.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon Date : November
Location : Bang Tao Beach
This annual year end event sees the world's top triathletes and hundreds of amateurs competing for prize money and placing on the world triathlon circuit. The course, which includes swimming, bicycling, and running through the beautiful natural surroundings of Laguna Phuket in Tambon Choeng Thale, takes from two-and-a-half to five hours to complete.
Loi Krathong Festival Date : November
Location : Chalong Bay
Loi Krathong is a tradition believed to have been influenced by the Indian Lantern or Diwali Festival, in which floats are made in worship of the three Brahmin Gods Bhrama, Vishnu, and Shiva. The belief was adapted to fit in with the Thai agrarian way of life, dependent upon the flow of water, changing it into a festival where one pay obeisance to Phra Mae Khongkha, the goddess of water. The practice became widespread nationally and internationally in due course, and has become synonymous with the Thai Culture. While each region will heave its own variations, the krathongs (floats) are normally shaped as a lotus from locally available materials.
Phuket King's Cup Regatta Date : 4-11 December
Location : Kata Beach
The festival was first held in 1987 in honor of His Majesty's 60th birthday. The King of Thailand is a noted boating enthusiast and yachts come from around the world to participate in the competition, which is the largest and most popular in Southeast Asia. It is held yearly on the anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, 5 December. Site of the regatta is Nai Harn Bay. If you are looking for accommodation during the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, please see below.
Phuket Travel Fair Date : November
Location : Chalong Bay
Phuket Travel Fair also known as Patong Carnival is held on November 1, was first initiated in 1985 at Patong to welcome in the tourist season and designed to foster co-operation among tourism-related operators both in the private and public sectors. Many colorful and interesting activities are organized, such as merit-making in the morning, water sports contests, a Miss Visitor Contest, among others.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival Date : September-October
Location : Saphan Hin Park
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the vegetarian festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. During this time, local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples and aesthetic displays such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs are performed by entranced devotees known as "Ma Song".
Por Tor Festival Date : September
Location : Katu, Chid-Chiew Shrine, Ban San Market, Por Tor Kong Shrine in Phuket Town
This festival is held from the first through the ninth nights of the ninth Chinese lunar month; that is, in September or October. It was first celebrated in 1825, when a troupe of actors enacted these rites toward off a plague. Vegetarian food is eaten by participants and white clothes worn during the period of the fest. Self utilization is practiced by those whose bodies become the temporary residence of powerful gods. Parades of worshippers brave fireworks while carrying images through the street; others walk on fire or climb bladed ladders. Participants number in the thousands. The whole forms one of the most bizarre festivals in Thailand.
Thao Thep Krasatri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival Date : March
Location : Thalang District
This festival is held on 13 March yearly in memory of the two heroines who led the defense of the island against the Burmese in 1785. The festival is held to honour the memory of 2 herioic sisters, Thaop Thep Krasatri and Thai Sri Suntorn. The sisters rallied the people of Phuket to defend Phuket from Burmese troops. Celebrations take place around the, "Two Heroines Monument".