Upcoming cultural festivals and unique special events
First held in 1999, the annual Phuket Pride event is the only gay pride parade in Thailand. The 2017 event is themed “Come Together”, and takes place in Patong. Organized by the charity organisation Phuket Loves You (PLU), with support from local businesses, the event raises money to support LGBT and HIV charities, giving Phuket’s LGBT community access to quality sexual health care. Last year the festival was marked by a parade as well as art shows, charity auctions, street parties, open-air concerts, cabaret shows, and firework displays.
Held during the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event that ends up being much gorier than the name would suggest. During this time, local people of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a nine day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purpose of spiritual cleansing and merit making. People also tend to wear white clothing during the ceremonies, but what might shock visitors is the practice of body piercing and self-mortification, as participants puncture their cheeks with knives, skewers, and other sharp items. Not recommended for the faint of heart.
Established in 1987, and today considered by many to be Asia’s biggest and most popular sailboat competition, the annual King’s Cup Regatta in Phuket attracts international yachtsmen from all over the globe. In the water off Kata Beach, competitive sailors will race in dinghies, keelboats, and multi-hull vessels. Last year marked the 30th anniversary of this acclaimed sporting event, and those making the trip this year will once again see world-class race teams competing and then celebrating in style at various parties around the island.
The inaugural Phuket Food & Wine event will take place at the Royal Phuket Marina’s International Exhibition Centre (RPMIEC). The three-day event will bring together manufacturers and suppliers of gourmet cuisine, fine wines and luxury kitchen equipment. In addition to the exhibition, visitors can also look forward to engaging food and lifestyle events, including a beach BBQ at The Village, Coconut Island (a small island off the marina, accessible by a 10-minute boat ride), a charity dinner, a chef’s competition regatta, whisky, as well as wine and cigar tastings, cooking demonstrations, dining events, conferences and seminars, and a gourmet farmers’ market.