There is never a dull moment is Phuket, and you will find there are events and festivals throughout the year. When you plan your trip to Phuket it is a good idea to check to see what is happening at that time of the year. Whether you are young or old there is definitely something to suit everyone.
Songkran which takes place in April is the Thai New Year and is a great excuse to have a big water fight. All over the island you will see people soaking everyone with water guns. Especially around Patong beach where people drive their pick-up trucks with big barrels of water on the back drenching passersby. It is an event never to be forgotten and extremely fun.
Phuket Bike Week: 9th to 12th
Phuket bike week is spread over the four days and three nights that lead up to the Songkran festival. For all of those motorbike lovers out there this is definitely the place to go when travelling to Phuket. There will be a bike exhibition at Jungceylon and if you go to Loma Park you will be able to go to the beach party and music festival. The event is organised by the Phuket Riders Club and this year they plan to have a “Ride for peace” where there will be around 2550 motorbikes riding all over Phuket.
Songkran: 13th – 15th
Songkran is the Thai New Year and is celebrated all over Thailand. For Thai people this is the most important event of the year. For everyone here it is a time when people get to relax, enjoy themselves and pay respect to their elders.
The 13th is the main day where people from all over Phuket make their way to Patong beach to enjoy the one of the biggest water fights in the world. Everyone is armed with water guns and simply spray anyone and everyone. You also see people dabbing talcum powder on people’s faces as a New Year blessing.
Be careful when riding a motorbike during this time as you are sure to have buckets of water thrown at you, it might sound quite daunting but it is a very fun time and everyone should experience Songkran at least once in their lifetime.
Apart from all the fun it is also a time for religious rituals. Like most New Years in other cultures it is a time for cleaning for the New Year. A lot of the Thais will clean Buddha images, and going to the temple to pray.
Phuket Punchline Comedy Club: 21st
The Punchline Comedy Club delivers the very best from the UK comedy scene, and has been established in Far Eastern Countries since 1994. If you are in Phuket when they are having a show it should deffinitly be on your list of “things to do in Phuket”.
When: Wednesday 21st April 2010.
Doors: 8pm Show: 8.30pm
Where: Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, Patong Beach
Tickets: 960 Baht in advance/ 1200 Baht on the day, available at many outlets including Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes in Patong, Chalong, & Laguna, and also on Tue 20th April 2010 between 5pm-7pm in the Holiday Inn Resort lobby. Please visit http://www.phuketcomedy.com/ticket_info.html for list of all outlets
Detailed info: www.phuketcomedy.com
Booking info: 089-646-9278
Phuket Race Week: 21st – 25th
The Phuket Race Week is an annual event which takes place on the East side of Phuket Island. People travel from all over the world to gather their boats and yachts together for one of the largest regattas in South East Asia.
If you enjoy sailing then the Phuket Race Week is the place to be.
Por Tor Festival
This festival dates back from ancient China where they believe that during this time the gates of the after world open up allowing the spirits of the dead to be set free. In order to keep the spirits from causing mayhem the Chinese make food offerings for the hungry ghosts and pay their respects. It is very common for them to give Turtle shaped cakes to the spirits because turtles are animals that represent longevity.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
The Vegetarian Festival falls either in late September or Early October, which is the ninth Chinese lunar month. The Vegetarian Festival is one of Phuket’s most famous Festivals and it lasts for nine days. During the nine days various rituals are performed to purify both body and mind. During the Vegetarian Festival participants also go on a strict diet, where they can only eat non-animal based food and products.
Some of the rituals performed at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival are described as “acts of self-mortification”. Such acts include piercing of the cheeks and tongue with sharp objects such as knives and pins. Other rituals you will see at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival are walking over hot coals, and climbing ladders with sharp bladed rungs.
Loi Krathong in English means “to float a raft”. The tradition behind Loi Krathong is where Thai People send small handmade rafts a float into the seas in order to give respect to the goddess of water. It is also a way to try to gain forgiveness for all of the bad things you may have done in the previous year.
In Phuket you will see many people launching their krathongs made out of banana leaves with flowers and candles. You will also see many people flying khom fai (fire lanterns) into the night sky. It is a very beautiful sight during Loi Krathong
King’s Cup Regatta (add a bit more)
The King’s Cup Regatta originally started in 1987 to celebrate the 60th Birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand. Now after 13 years the King’s Cup Regatta is Asia’s largest regatta.
The King’s Cup Regatta goes on for around eight days five of which being race days. It is all somewhat of a social gathering and you will be able to see all the boats anchored just off Kata Beach. It is really quite a picturesque sight and there are plenty of parties to attend during the King’s Cup Regatta. The whole experience should definitely not be missed if you are in Phuket during December.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon
The Laguna Phuket Triathlon is a fun annual event which takes place in the Laguna Resort located by Bang Tao Beach. Athletes from all over the world join in the fun whether they are professional or simply amateur athletes. The entire event consists of a 1.8km swim, a 55km cycle and then finally a 12km run. If you think you have the energy and strength then why not join in the fun?
Just another excuse to have more celebrations, the Patong Carnival is basically put on to celebrate the start of the high season.
There are lots of various food stands, things to buy such as local handicrafts. You get to see some beautiful local Thai dancing on some of the various stages that are erected across Patong Beach. There are also fireworks displays and parades to enjoy. It is definitely worth visiting the Patong Carnival if you are in Phuket during the middle of December.
New Year’s Eve: 31st
Just like anywhere else in the world, New Year’s Eve in Phuket is a huge party. Pretty much anywhere on the island you will find lively events happening. Most beaches will have some kind of beach party. In Patong and Karon you are sure to see fireworks and most other parts of the island too.
Phuket Gay Festival
The Gay Pride Festival in Phuket first started in Patong as quite a small street party in 1999. Over the years up till now it has grown to around ten thousand visitors. The Phuket Gay Pride attracts visitors from all over the world and is a big event for the gay community in South East Asia.
The Gay Pride lasts for 4 days with a street a parade and is now funded by the Gay community and businesses from Bangkok and Pattaya.