One of the attractive qualities of Phuket, aside from its stunning landscape and gorgeous beaches, is the sheer amount of incredible events it hosts, many of which attract visitors and participants from all over the world. It is this international flavour, along with high-profile activities that really jettisons Phuket into the limelight of luxury stay destinations that truly offers it all.
From a kaleidoscope of colorful processions and Chinese dragons, to luxury superyachts and a regatta, from rock and blues to traditional dance, sea gypsies to surfing supremos, Phuket is an exciting destination.
For boat lovers and those who dream of sailing the seven seas the PIMEX Phuket International Boat Show at the Royal Phuket Marina is a must and the biggest of its kind in Asia. With stunning boats on show, spectacular brand launches and lifestyle boating products, attendees can also enjoy Very International Phuket! a luxury lifestyle exhibition.
Phuket is renowned for its Chinese New Year celebrations when the streets of Phuket Old Town are decorated in beautiful red lanterns. With colorful parades, spectacular Chinese dragon dancing, and firecrackers the atmosphere is electric during the two-day festival. With a strong Chinese community, Phuket really lights up for what is essentially one of Thailand’s three New Year celebrations.
Other events include the newly started in 2016, Phuket Lantern Festival to celebrate and highlight Phuket’s culture and heritage and feel-good music with the Phuket International Blues Rock Festival. The two-day charitable music event brings in musical stars from across the globe whilst helping out charities too.
One of the most renowned events in Phuket’s calendar is the Thao Thepkasattri Sri Suntorn Festival with fun sports and cultural events. There is even a huge battle re-enactment each day in the open-air theatre with hundreds taking part in the epic performance.
Aside from the traditional Western New Year’s Day, the Songkran Festival , or the water festival, is the real Thai New Year. The perfect place to celebrate three days of fun-filled, water splashing fun is by the beach during Thailand’s hottest month of the year.
Maybe the last place you would expect to see over 10,000 motorcycles gather is in Phuket, but for over 20 years, Phuket Bike Week has seen big bikes roar into town for an impressive display and five-day festival.
Meanwhile, a parade of a different kind welcomes seven days of parties and extravagant outfits with Phuket Gay Pride sparkling with a multitude of fun events and a parade of floats in Patong.
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day is a big event across Thailand and an important holiday with processions and special events across Phuket to mark the importance of farming in Thailand.
The Sea Gypsy Boat Floating Festival, also held in October, sees local sea gypsies giving thanks to the ocean with traditional dance and song as they float their boats out at night; a wonderful cultural insight.
Thousands of participants from more than 50 countries gather in Phuket with their running for the annual Laguna Phuket International Marathon. The event also hosts a half marathon and several smaller runs including a 2 km run for kids.
Cruising along the Andaman Sea on the summer breezes are glorious yachts competing in the five-day Phuket Raceweek. The renowned regatta goes overboard with a full itinerary of sailing and socializing.
Mother’s Day is celebrated to coincide with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s birthday and children show respect by giving their mothers white jasmine flowers. This is a time of dining and days out with decorations in the street and a feeling of family love.
The surf’s up in September with the Quiksilver Thailand Surf Competition on Patong Beach, Phuket’s liveliest shore. With surfers from distant shores competing, there is plenty of opportunity to feel inspired and take some surf classes or to join the beach parties.
A visual feast that is fascinating, surreal and simply extraordinary, Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival is a nine-day extravaganza that is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the island’s calendar. Visitors can discover gourmet vegetarian delights during the Chinese festival which is celebrated throughout Thailand, but nowhere probably as famously as in Phuket. Sacred rituals at Chinese shrines are performed and this is a time of cleansing and heralding in good fortune.
There is a sense of theatre to the festivities too with hot coal walking and bladed ladder climbing. Ma Song who believe they have been chosen to be spirit mediums show the protection of the gods by practicing self-mutilation with piercings such as swords through cheeks. Watching the Ma Song parade is a fascinating and unique sight to behold.
Another well-known festival, usually in October, with a fair in March 2017, is Old Phuket Town Festival which offers a slice of times gone by with traditional sweets, historical exhibitions and some modern-day sound and light shows.
On the night of the full moon of the 12th lunar month, Phuket along with the rest of Thailand honors Loi Krathong, a festival of lights when floating candles create a magical scene; a time of peace, reflection, and renewal. Right by the water, with traditional Thai music and dancing and special menus in many of the restaurants, Phuket is the perfect place to let go of the old and welcome in prosperity for the future.
Also in November, the Laguna Phuket Triathlon attracts the superfit to Phuket’s shores to compete in individual and team relay races for decades. For those not quite up to a 1.8 km swim, 55 km bike and running 12 km, the action makes for a great spectator sport too.
When the cooler December winds blow it is time for the biggest and most popular regatta in Asia. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta draws close to 100 boats each year as it has for over 30 years. What has become one of the best yachting events on the sailing calendar, the eight-day event is absolutely fabulous.