All Year Round in Phuket Town: 7 Events To Mark Down in 2017 Calendar
In our last entry, we’ve established that no matter what month or season, there’s always going to be sunny and busy days on the Pearl of the Andaman. Whether you’re staying for a short visit or over a year, it’s always useful to know what’s hip and happening so as to keep your options open. Celebrations synonymous with Phuket like Songkran and Vegetarian Festivals are well and good but there’s much more to the island than that. To boot, here are 7 events also unique to Phuket you don’t want to miss in 2017.
1. Phuket Old Town Festival
February 3-5, 2017
Locals’ much-loved three-day celebration is returning in its eighteenth year. It is held along the four main roads that make up the famous Phuket Old Town: Thalang Road, Dibuk Road, Krabi Road, and Phang Nga Road. From late afternoon till midnight, expect cultural – Thai, Chinese and Peranakan – performances, parades, art exhibitions, live music, and “night bazaar” stalls a la holiday town. And the best part? Street food.
2. Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Sunthorn Festival
March 14, 2017
You know you’re living la vida local when you leave tourists’ usual haunts for one of these. Phuketers get together every year to commemorate heroines Thepkasattri and Sri Sunthorn’s five-week rallying of civilian troops to defend Phuket against Burmese invaders during the Burmese-Siamese War (1785-86). Reenactment performances and fairs are held throughout Thalang District, particularly near the Heroines’ Monument and Pranansang Temple.
3. Phuket Gay Pride Festival
April 27 – 30, 2017
While Bangkok is only getting its first pride parade in over a decade this year, Phuket is has organised the vibrant annual Gay Pride and Festival on Patong Beach since 1999. Through colourful parades, parties to sports events, LGBTQ people and their allies will get to come together and raise awareness for the issues faced by the LGBTQ community and promote the freedom to love. Most of the profit will be donated to LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS charities.
4. Loi Reua Ceremony (Boat Floating Ceremony)
May 10 and October 5, 2017 (also Visakha Bucha Day and The End of Buddhist Lent Day)
Loy Reua is a ceremony observed by different communities of the Moken or sea people across Phuket. Participants would build a boat from local rakum palm wood and place wooden dolls decorated in their likeness in the boat before launching it into the sea. This is believed to remove bad luck, now embodied in the dolls, far away from the community. Witness the ceremony that finishes with ronggeng dancing in action in Ban Sapam, Nga Cape, Rawai Beach, Si Ray Island, Lanta Island and Phi Phi Island areas.
5. Laguna Phuket International Marathon
June 3-4, 2017
Gym rats and runners, gather at Laguna Phuket Resort for the opportunity to do your favourite cardio – ugh seriously? – for a good cause i.e. help raise funds for the Laguna Phuket Foundation, which supports various community and school charities in Phuket and neighbouring provinces. This year, you can choose among the 2km, 5km and 10km courses (Sat) as well as half marathon and marathon (Sun). Don’t lose all your breath running, though. The scenic route along the northwest coast is supposed to be pretty breathtaking.
6. Por Tor Festival (Hungry Ghost Festival)
September, 2017 (exact date TBA)
Phuket is not fully itself without the ethnic Chinese community and their customs. One of them, Por Tor, is an important merit-making event in which flowers, candles and red turtle-shaped cakes called ang ku are offered to the ancestors on altars. Witness this beautiful event at Seng Tek Bel Shrine in Old Town then proceed to browse through the market on Ranong Road for Chinese-influenced local dishes.
7. Phuket King’s Cup Regatta
December 3-8, 2017
In 1986, Thailand’s yachting fraternity met to discuss what they could do as a tribute to HM King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday, December 5, 1987. So was how Asia’s biggest sailing race came to be. Like any other year, 2017 will attract professional yachtsmen-women from every corner of the world. You can visit Kata Beach to witness them and their brilliant (water) craft competing for the coveted trophy.
Whichever event you decide to plan your days around during your visit, don’t forget to stop by Full Moon Brewwork for a nice refreshing pint of some of Thailand’s best craft beers. Unlike the ceremonies and shindigs listed above, we’re here for you daily.