Fairs and Festivals

1. Chinese New Year

Celebrated with firecrackers, crashing cymbals, and colorful costumes, the Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new lunar year, and is an auspicious day for the Chinese. The holiday is especially important in Phuket Town, where people dress in bright red costumes and numerous parades and feasts are held.prac_infoLate Jan/early Feb

2. Old Phuket Festival

Chinese opera, rickshaw rides, and a Phuket Baba Light Show are a few of the highlights of Old Phuket Festival, which coincides with the Chinese New Year. The festival is held in Phuket Town on Thalang, Krabi, and Phuket roads.prac_infoLate Jan/early Feb

3. Phuket Gay Pride Festival

More than a decade old, this festival includes four nights of wild parties and parades in Patong. With cabaret shows, fashion shows, and more, this annual event seeks to create a stronger gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community on Phuket.prac_infoFeb

4. Phuket International Blues Festival

Since its debut in 2005, this popular music festival has grown bigger every year. In 2011, guitar legends such as Mason Ruffner and Curtis Salgado headlined the event. Bands travel from around the globe to play here.prac_info25–26 Feb • www.phuketbluesfestival.com

5. Songkran

The traditional Thai New Year celebration turns the entire country into one big water fight. Getting sprayed with water is considered good luck, and many Thais visit temples to pay respect to Buddha by sprinkling water on his statue.prac_info13–15 Apr

6. Visakha Puja

Thailand’s Buddhist temples overflow with merit-makers on this holy day marking the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha – three events that occurred on the same day in different years. At night, believers walk around the temples in a candlelit procession.prac_infoMay

7. Por Tor Festival

During the annual “Hungry Ghosts” festival, offerings of special cakes, candles, and flowers are made to deceased ancestors, who are believed to revisit their earthly homes on this day. Chinese shrines serve as the center of the festival.prac_infoAug

8. Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Celebrated over nine days, this festival serves to “purify” participants and bring them good health. At many Chinese shrines in Phuket Town, participants invoke the gods by walking on fire, as well as displaying extreme acts of body piercing and self-mortification.prac_infoLate Sept/early Oct • www.phuketvegetarian.com

9. Loy Krathong

Sins of the previous year float away as Thais pay homage to the guardian spirit of water. Participants build small banana-leaf vessels and decorate them with flowers and candles. If a person’s boat floats, they will enjoy good luck for the year.prac_infoLate Oct/early Nov

10. Chao Ley Boat Floating Festival

At this festival, participants float ceremonial vessels hoping to receive happiness and prosperity, and ward off bad luck. Held in Chao Ley (sea gypsy) villages, the festival also pays tribute to the Chao Ley’s ancestors.prac_infoNov


Top 10 Sporting Events

1. Muay Thai

No visit to Thailand is complete without witnessing this martial art form.prac_infoWeekly

2. The Bay Regatta

More relaxed than the King’s Cup Regatta, these races are popular with visitors.prac_infoFeb

3. Phuket Bike Week

An annual gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, this fest involves music, parties, and awesome bikes.prac_infoApr

4. Phuket International Cricket Sixes Tournament

A popular event, this brings international cricketers into competition in Karon.prac_infoApr

5. Phuket International Rugby Tournament

This three-day tournament draws teams from Australia and Asia.prac_infoMay

6. Laguna Phuket International Marathon

Runners from around the world compete in this race that starts at Bang Tao Beach.prac_infoJun

7. Six Senses Phuket Raceweek

A week of parties and yacht races, this festival attracts many participants.prac_infoJul

8. Phuket Surfing Contest

Held at Kata Beach, this contest lets surfers vie for more than B100,000 in prizes.prac_infoSept

9. Laguna Phuket Triathalon

This athletic event features a 1-mile (2-km) swim, 34-mile (55-km) cycle race and 8 mile (12-km) run.prac_infoNov

10. King’s Cup Regatta

The regatta started in 1987, when King Adulyadej celebrated his 60th birthday.prac_infoDec

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