The 5 Best Festivals in Phuket
Festivals in Thailand are an important part of Phuket life as the largest island in the kingdom is rich with history. The calendar is filled with traditional festivals and newly created events all year. Some of these happen throughout the country, while others are exclusive to the people of Phuket. Here’s Metadee’s pick of the five best festivals in Phuket.
1. The Vegetarian Festival – in September and October
Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival is on the horizon. Formerly called Nine Emperor Gods Festival, this Taoist celebration in October 2023 is one of Phuket’s most intriguing events, well-known for the wacky firework explosions and hair-raising, cheek-piercing rituals, besides vegetarian food.
Undoubtedly one of the best Phuket events, the Vegetarian Festival centres on Phuket City. Even so, you can watch the Ma Song in Chinese shrines across the island. A highlight is when these religious devotees walk barefoot on burning coal while “wuo-wuo-wuo” – shouting fellow Taoist devotees throw rice onto the embers glowing with heat. In a word – a must-see festival Phuket Town!
2. Loy Krathong – in November
Loy Krathong is a traditional annual event extensively celebrated in Thailand and even neighbouring countries to pay respect to Buddha and the Goddess of Water. Loy Krathong falls on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar.
People head to the nearest pond, river, or beach to release a krathong, a small, lotus-shaped basket embellished with flowers, candles, and fragrant joss sticks. Thais believe that by letting a two-hands-sized raft float off, their fears and sorrows will go with the krathong, resulting in a new beginning and, ultimately, a better future. On the evening of Loy Krathong, you can buy krathongs almost anywhere on the street.
3. The Temple Fair at Wat Chalong – in January
Wat Chalong is a Buddhist temple in Phuket’s Chalong area, rumoured to help miracles happen. Both locals and tourists come to pray, burst firecrackers, and donate lotus and sweet-scented jasmine garlands. During the Wat Chalong Fair in January every year, one of the established Phuket events today, the temple is particularly alive with festivities. Visit, and you can hop on spinning carnival rides, admire exciting stage shows, and shop for souvenirs at the on-site market.
4. Songkran – in April
Once a festival to respect older people, Songkran has become an all-out water fight. If you visit Thailand between 13 and 15 April, expect to get soaking wet if you leave the safe zone of your hotel room. People lurk by the roadside with hoses and buckets of iced water or walk the streets armed with high-pressure water guns, ready to drench anyone who crosses their path. One of the festivals in Phuket you’ll want to join, the island celebrates it particularly on the 13.
5. The Surf Festival – in June
A new Phuket beach festival happened in June this year. Catching waves, surfers from abroad and the Thai kingdom showcased their talent on Kata Beach from 23 to 25 June, a stone’s throw from the hip Metadee Concept Hotel. Accompanied by pumping beats, the surf crowd enjoyed the surf festival, one of the latest festivals in Phuket that was part of the Year of Thai Tourism 2023 campaign. You can expect another rollicking edition in 2024.
Written by: Philipp Meier – Travel Writer