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Explore Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival on a Luxury Holiday in Thailand

September 23, 2013

One of the greatest pleasures of going on a luxury holiday in Thailand is witnessing the huge variety of traditional festivals that are held up and down the country every year.

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And one of our favourites – The Phuket Vegetarian festival – is coming up in a few days’ time, so those who have booked a vacation in one of Thailand’s luxury retreats at the beginning of October are in for both a gastronomic and cultural treat.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. Thais believe that the festival, and the sacred rituals which are performed throughout the ten-day period, bestow good luck on all who take part.

Beginning on October 4th, many Thais observe a vegetarian or vegan diet to clean themselves spiritually whilst sacred rituals are performed at a number of Chinese shrines and temples.

It is the ideal time to experience first class vegetarian food on the island, with many restaurants in Phuket offering special menus for the festival. These restaurants are signalled by a yellow flag hung outside.

Meanwhile, guests arriving at one of the luxury retreats on Phuket should look out for the following rituals:

  • On October 4th between 4-6pm Chinese shrines will raise the Go Tend pole, with lanterns being hung from the pole at midnight to signal the start of the festival. There will also be a number of fireworks displays and firecrackers.
  • On October 7th there will be a street procession in Sapam Shrine, a few miles north of Phuket Town, which begins at 7am.
  • On October 10th, Phuket Town itself will host a major street procession from Bang Neow Shrine, on Phuket Road, also starting at 7am. This is a very colourful parade which is a great spectacle if you can get up early enough and make it to Phuket Town.
  • The last full day of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes place on October 13th, when there is a Fire Walking event at Kathu Shrine in the afternoon which is guaranteed to give you goose bumps. Locals line up to prove their strength by walking on fire in front of noisy and applauding crowds.
  • Then on the final evening, at 5pm, the lantern poles are lowered at shrines across the island to mark the end of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
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