Vegetarian Festival (Nine Emperor Gods Festival). Phuket

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Vegetarian Festival

Nine Emperor Gods Festival is a nine-day Taoist celebration. In Thailand, this festival is called thetsakan kin che (Thai: เทศกาลกินเจ), the Vegetarian Festival. It attracts crowds of spectators because of many of the unusual religious rituals that are performed.

Phuket (ภูเก็ต, map) is Thailand’s largest island, approximately 863 kilometres (536 mi) south of Bangkok. It is 48 km in length, 21 km at its widest, and is in Southern Thailand, on the west-facing Andaman Sea coastline.

The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign ships’ logs of Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English traders, but was never colonised by a European power.

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In accordance with the traditions, many religious devotees will perform ritualized mutilation upon themselves and one another while under a trance-like state. This is done without anaesthetic, always inside or near the temples surrounded by other devotees with only iodine, petroleum jelly and surgical gloves as precautionary measures.

The purpose of this practice is a mixture of veneration for their gods and ancestors, to display their devotion to their beliefs and the trance itself, which has a profound impact upon demeanour for days or weeks after, frequently with devotees appearing exceptionally calm and focused in their day-to-day activities after the festival is completed.

Phuket Old Town (map). The main streets of Old Town are Thalang, Phang Nga, Krabi, Dibuk, and Yoawarat. Old Town is noted for Sino-Portuguese buildings on both sides of the street. Many old buildings have been converted into shops, hotels, restaurants, and museums.

Destinations >> Aquaria Phuket opened on August 24, 2019. Hat Karon (หาดกะรน, map) is the second largest of Phuket’s tourist beaches, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) from town. Freedom Beach (map), one of the prettiest beaches in the island, with incredibly soft white sand and clear blue waters. It is just a few minutes away from Patong Beach, accessible by boat or hiking.

There is a night market that opens from Th-Su (map), a couple of traffic lights past the Central Festival shopping mall. You can buy many things from clothes to jewellery to sunglasses. A great place to visit during your stay.

Public transport

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+ – Whether you travel by air, rail, land or sea, you can find all the information to plan your journey through Asia here.

 BUS >   The most reliable buses from Bangkok are the public BKS buses from the Southern Bus Terminal (map) to Phuket. >> Green Bus CorporationNakhonchaiair Co., Ltd.PhetprasertSombat Tour Co., Ltd. (*List of bus routes in Bangkok)

 RAIL >   Travellers by train must get off at Phun Phin railway station (map) and continue for another 5 hours by regular bus to Phuket. Do not buy the bus ticket until you actually see the bus and can make sure it is not standing room only, as it picks up passengers at the popular Ko Samui ferry. If full, wait for the next one.

State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has a 4,000-km network covering most of the country, from Chiang Mai in the north all the way to (and beyond) the Malaysian border in the south. Compared to buses, most trains are relatively slow and prone to delays, but safer. Tickets may be purchased on-line from (*Rail transport in Thailand)

 AIRPORTS >   Phuket International Airport (map). Airports of Thailand. Bangkok has two major airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport which is the main airport and serves most full-service carriers, and the smaller Don Mueang International Airport which primarily serves low-cost carriers.

 WATERWAYS >   There are daily ferry boats that connect Phuket to neighboring islands Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. Ferries depart daily from Rassada Pier (map), with service expanding each year.