Experience a celebration like no other at Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival. Stay at Amari Phuket, located across a jungle-covered hillside with stunning panoramic views across Patong Bay during 8 – 17 October, a quiet haven from the bustling streets and heart of the festival.

Also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, Thai locals of Chinese heritage believe that abstinence from meat and performing sacred rituals for nine days during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar helps bestow good health and peace of mind for the community.

In Phuket, the whole town comes together in honour of the event with a procession through the streets to ‘Jui Tui’, the city’s most revered shrine. Visitors can enjoy the parade of loud drums and traditional music, dancing, and fire crackers as well as fresh and exotic vegetarian street food dishes lining the streets.

Read our extensive review of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.

The parade is so much more than vegetarian food and music, however, with participants wearing elaborate costumes and piercing their faces with obscure objects. Everything from large spears to hooks and even spades and bicycle handles – the weirder, the better.

Each piercing represents a sacrifice, with the hope of earning future protection from harm for the community. Devotees enter a trance and ask the gods to enter their bodies, as it is believed that they feel no pain during the piercings and few have residual scaring. Other sacrificial rituals which take place include walking across burning coals barefoot and crossing a ladder made of sharp iron blades. There is no denying this celebration isn’t for the faint hearted.

After a day of festivities, travellers can round off the evening watching a huge display of fireworks before returning to the calm comfort of Amari Phuket, located on a secluded stretch of Patong beach away from the colourful excitement.

Best At Travel (02037 977 216) offers seven nights for the price of four at Amari Phuket from £855pp, saving £180pp. Price is based on two people sharing a Superior Ocean Facing Room on a Bed & Breakfast basis, departing London Heathrow on 8 or 9 October 2018 with EVA Air.

For more information please visit, www.amari.com/phuket/