Just like other provinces and following in their festive spirits, the island of Phuket is just as animated as other parts of Thailand and offers several entertaining annual events.
The Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Si Sunthon Fair is a local festival held on March 13 and celebrates the two heroine sisters remembered for bringing together the Thalang people in order to fight and win against a Burmese invasion in 1785.
The Chao Le Boat Floating Festival also known as the Sea Gypsy Festival is an event that is believed to drive away evil in order to bring around good luck. Similar to the Loi Krathong Festival held on mainland Thailand, ceremonies take place at night and centre around the floating of small boats in the sea which are believed to take with them the bad luck and troubles of the person that sent them afloat. Depending on the village you are in, this very scenic event can occur on different days and take place during mid-June and November.
What can only be described as a bizarre event in the eyes of most people, for the Chinese community living in Thailand the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival is both sacred and spiritual. Held during ten days in the month of October, local residents of Chinese ancestry partake in a strict vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing. Apart from a special diet, sacred rituals are performed within shrines and temples by devotees, male and female, who are known as Ma Song. Whilst in a trance-like state, the Ma Song will join in on aesthetic displays that include walking barefoot over hot coals; body piercing; self-beating; and self-mutilation such as cutting their faces and sliding long sharp objects like swords or even umbrellas through holes in their cheeks. It may sound gruesome but it is very much believed that these rituals and acts of commitment bestow good fortune upon those who observe it. Besides the symbolic ceremonials which you can also watch being paraded in the streets of Phuket, there are other sources of enjoyment on offer in the form of beauty pageants, fairs and food stalls with traditional Chinese cuisine and bites to be sampled.
A major tourist event, the Phuket Travel Fair is a bright and colourful fair that starts November 1st and is normally referred to as the Patong Carnival. The event is marked by parades, sporting events and an entertaining beauty competition.
December's Laguna Phuket Triathlon is an athlete's event that welcomes participants from across the world. The triathlon starts with a 1,800 metre swim, a 55 km bicycle race, a 12 km run and lastly a 6 km fun run. The stunning setting and sheer beauty of the island is a unique location to take part in such an event and is one not to miss if you're an avid sports enthusiast.
The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is an international event that sees professional yachtsmen go head to head in a bid to win royal trophies. This famous Regatta, whose participants are mainly from Thailand's neighbouring countries, takes place annually during the month of December and is hosted by the Kata Beach Resort. This is a great opportunity to catch a look at some stunning yachts amid one of the most splendid seascapes in the world.