Phuket Backpacker Thailand : Phuket Festivals

Vegetarian Festival : This annual festival is the most colorful and dramatic celebration by Phuket’s Chinese-Thai majority and it takes place during the first nine days of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually in late September or early October.

The Chinese believe that great merit is acquired by inviting the nine gods of the Vegetarian Festival to earth paying homage to them and in return receiving their blessings and cures and then sending them back home with a dazzling ceremony.

Por Tor Festival ;  This is an ancestor's festival of the ethnic Chinese that falls on the seventh Chinese lunar month, which is the same as the ninth lunar month of the Thais. Special foods, flowers and candles are presented to the ancestor's altars. Cakes in the shape of turtles are made from flour. This is done because turtles live to great age and it is believed that by making such offering worshippers may extend the length of their lives. It is an important merit-making festival.

Thao Thep Krasatri-Thao Sri Suntorn (Two Heroine Sisters' Festival) :   An annual event held in memory of the two heroine sisters, Khunying Muk and Khunying Chan, who jointly led the soldiers and people of Thalang, as Phuket was known formerly, in repelling the invading Burmese troops after a siege of one month. The titles of Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon were bestowed on the sisters by King Rama I and a statue was erected at a crossroads near the centre of the island in recognition of the invaluable service they did to the country. Many celebratory events and activities are organized to commemorate this historical event.

Turtle Release Fair :   Phuket used to be a home of various species of sea turtles which came ashore to lay eggs seasonally around the end of the year. Although tourists are no longer organized to watch sea turtles laying eggs at night, when they go diving they can still find some swimming past them. In order to help preserve these lovely animals, they are bred at the Phuket Aquarium and when the young sea turtles are mature enough, they are released into the sea in a ceremony.
The ceremony is usually held at Phanwa Cape and Nai Yang- Mai Khao Beaches on 13 April to coincide with the Songkran Festival.

Chao Le Boat Floating 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.

Phuket King's Cup Regatta :
The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is Asia's biggest and most popular regatta. More than a regatta, the week long event consists of great parties, great sailing and lots of fun.

Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the event has been held every year since during the first week of December.

With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, the Regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organising Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket.

The Phuket King's Cup is the jewel in the crown of the Omega Asian Yachting Circuit, a circuit of the leading regattas in Asia including the Raja Muda International Regatta, the Singapore Straits Regatta and the China Sea Race.

Phuket Gay Festival ( 28 January-1 February ) Once a community project, now an annual event, the Gay Festival is becoming an increasing attraction for tourists to Patong Beach . Beach activities, street parties, lots of outrageous costumes and stage shows.