There are a number of notable events held in Phuket throughout the year - including ceremonial festivities for locals, as well as festivals related to food, sports and the environment.
The first annual ceremonial festival held in Phuket is the Thao Thep Krasatri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival on March 13 that celebrates the two heroines who supposedly successfully defended Phuket against defeat by the Burmese in the late 18th century.
The first annual contemporary celebration for locals is the Songkran Festival which heralds the beginning of the new year, and lasts for three days from April 13 to 15 – with new years' day falling on the 15th.
Then there's the Boat Floating Festival which is held twice a year, during the 6th lunar month and the 11th lunar month in a number of villages (including Sapam) throughout Phuket – traditionally on different days. The festival focuses on releasing small boats at night with the aim of driving out evil and attracting good luck. With a touch of what many would consider to be witchcraft, where finger - or toenail clippings, along with locks of human hair and sometimes little dolls carved out of wood are put into little boats and then sent down the streams; and where the local folk do their own special dances around their own fishing boats.
The Por Tor is another significant (if bizarre) festival which sees those participating walking on "fire" and climbing bladed ladders. It happens in September and has been celebrated since the early 1800s.
The Loi Krathong Festival is celebrated in November every year, and is something worth seeing. Strongly influenced by the Indian lantern or Diwali Festival, it could be described as a festival of lights, where floats are decorated with incense and candles, and put on boats and other things to float down the rivers. Fireworks and festivities definitely make this a festival worth remembering.
Events Involving Food
An annual seafood festival is designed to show visitors some of the best cuisine the region has on offer. Held during the rainy season in April each year (as part of the "new year" Songkran Festival), the Seafood Festival features seafood stalls, along with stands that demonstrate regional cuisine and culture.
Every year there is also a Vegetarian Festival held in September or sometimes in October, coinciding with the Por Tor Festival, where people wear white clothes and only eat vegetarian food.
There's also a triathlon held at Laguna Phuket, in Bang Tao Bay, in November every year, where the world's leading competitors compete on the triathlon circuit – running, cycling and swimming in some of the most beautiful parts of the world.
Originally held in honor of the King of Thailand's birthday in 1987, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta has become a popular annual international event, with yachtsmen from all over the world participating. The venue is Nai Harm Bay on the south-west Coast of Phuket.
In November each year Phuket's very own Travel Fair is held at Patong Beach, and has been since 1985! An unashamedly tourist-orientated fair, the idea is to show those who bring visitors to the island just what the island has to offer.
The giant sea turtle is a legend in this part of the world, and so it should come as no surprise that there is a fair dedicated to these amazing marine animals that lay their eggs on the beaches on the shores of Phuket, when the baby turtles are released into the sea. The main venue is the Sea Turtle Conservation Center run by the Royal Thai Navy in Songkran, and it coincides with the annual Water Festival and national Fisherman's Day held on April 13 every year.
Travel tip shared by David Wright