Phuket Travel Guides
January through February
Chinese New Year takes place around the end of January or beginning of February, according to the moon. Phuket Town puts on a show of firecrackers, lion dancers parade, live music and food stalls. Lanterns line the streets and the smell of incense wafts through the air.
The most frenetic festival in the country is that of Songkran, the Lunar New Year and all-around national water fight. Held from the 13th to 15th April each year…it’s a wet one! Traditionally it was celebrated by Buddha images being bathed with water and the showing of respect to monks and elders. From the sprinkling of water onto someone’s hands it has evolved into mass drenching for anyone who decides to venture outdoors. This has to be one of the friendliest, though wet, festivals anywhere and a great way to make new friends.
<p>Keep cameras and cell phones protected if you participate in Songkran…nothing is spared if you get a dousing! It’s not advisable to drive a motorbike during this festival.</p>
The 15th of May is Buddha’s Birthday. Local Wats (Buddhist Temples) celebrate by holding candlelit processions. A tourist may take part in these parades and it can prove great fun.
It’s the Queen’s Birthday on August 12th and also Thailand’s Mother’s Day. As with all royal anniversaries this celebration guarantees a display of fireworks and light.
The Vegetarian Festival held in early October is celebrated in Phuket Town and Trang province only. For this weeklong celebration, Chinese Buddhists eat only vegetarian food. There are numerous ceremonies and processions, which are both interesting and shocking. Self-mortification is practiced during these celebrations and the participants’ parade through the streets with bicycle wheels, spears and the like, pierced through their skin. The food sold in street stalls at this time is well worth sampling.Visit this website for further information about Phuket Vegetarian Festival
<p>The morning parades are not for the faint of heart.</p>
October, or around that time, sees the X-Games being held in Phuket. Here the participants compete on an international level in sports such as skateboarding, rock climbing and similar activities.
Some of the most beautiful sights are the festivities relating to the annual festival of Loy Kratong held on November’s full moon. All over the country, little floats (kratong) are made from banana trunks, flowers and candles and set afloat on the water. This symbolizes the casting away of troubles and a call for a happy future. As the moon rises in the evening people converge around bodies of water throughout the country to release their kratongs. In some areas large paper hot-air balloons are released.
In November, Phuket holds the Phuket Triathlon. Like the Kings Cup Regatta it too attracts participants from around the globe.
The Phuket International Seafood Festival from December 1st to 6th presents a delicious array of seafood samplings as well as a parade, ice carving and regional cuisine demonstrations, bar tender shows and fireworks. All this and much more are part of this wonderful gastronomic delight that takes place in Patong.
Sand Sculpting Festival takes place on December 1st on Karon Beach. This beach activity is fun for all ages and is well worth a look at some impressive sculptures. For more information contact: 076 249 400 ext. 1507
Official National Holidays
December 5th is the King’s Birthday. The King is much revered throughout Thailand, something that is probably unique in the world today. All Thais celebrate his birthday and government buildings, private homes, businesses and the palace are all illuminated specially for the occasion. In Phuket, they hold a regatta in his honour.
Held from 5 December for one week is the popular week King’s Cup Regatta, honouring the King’s birthday and his love of sailing. The regatta attracts yachts from around the globe and bases itself at Kata Beach.
January 1 - New Year’s Day
February (full moon day) - Makka Bucha
April 6 - Chakri Day
April 13 - Songkran, Thai New Year
May 1 - Labour Day
May 5 - Coronation Day
May 7 – Royal Ploughing Ceremony
May (full moon day) - Visakha Bucha
July (full moon day) - Asanha Bucha commemorates the first sermon of Buddha
August 12 - Queen’s Birthday
October 23 - Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 - King’s Birthday
December 10 - Constitution Day
December 31 - New Year’s Eve