Ngan Kin Jeh (Vegetarian Festival), Phuket Town
Concierge.com's insider take:
For nine days at the start of the ninth lunar month (typically late October or early November) the streets of Phuket fill up with singing and dancing revelers, fireworks light up the skies, and you might assume it's a national holiday. Not quite. It's the annual Vegetarian Festivalwhich sounds like a vegan rave, but is actually a Taoist version of Lent. Thais of Chinese origin abstain from meat, alcohol, and sex and take part in spiritual trances and self-mutilationthat is, skewering and spearing themselves in the cheeks or the arms and legs. It can seem a bit wild to outsiders, but it's a cultural experience, and there is delicious vegetarian food for sale everywhere.