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April: Songkran

The Thai New Year is a raucous celebration, with the throwing of water over all and sundry now its main element. Traditionally it was to do with the rice harvest, but now it's an excuse to get wet and wild. Mind your camera. Patong is the main centre for the excess in Phuket.

April: Phuket Bike Week

Upwards of 20,000 bikers from all over southeast Asia descend on Phuket around Songkran time to show off their rides and to enjoy the attendant parties. There's a lot of focus on big shiny Harley-Davidsons, and ancilliary events such as a beauty pageant and tattoo festival.

April – May: Pride Festival

Phuket's week-long Pride Festival, held in Patong, has echoes of Sydney's Mardi Gras, with exuberant street parades and beach parties. There's a serious side, too, with all monies raised being used to support the LGBTI community and AIDS research

July: Phuket Race Week

Based at Cape Panwa Hotel, this week of yacht racing is one of two main ocean racing festivals in Phuket, along with the King's Cup Regatta. Boats from all over the world, but particularly from Asia, gather for a serious, but very social, regatta.

August or September: Por Tor (Hungry Ghost)

This ethnic Chinese festival honours beloved ancestors with offerings of food, candles and flowers at altars of Chinese temples throughout Phuket. There are parades, and special sweets are created to celebrate the festival, held in late August or early September.

October: Patong Carnival

This carnival marks the beginning of the tourist high season in Phuket, and is held at the beginning of October. It includes a float parade along Beach Rd, music, cultural shows and a food festival. The carnival has been held for the past 30 years.

October: Vegetarian Festival

Participants in this Chinese festival win merit for maintaining a strictly vegetarian diet for 10 days in October, but the celebration has grown to include such things as fire-walking and graphic ritual body-piercing. It takes place near Chinese temples throughout the island.

November: Loy Krathong

A much gentler festival than Songkran, Loy Krathong in November is the festival of lights, and involves people of all ages setting small, candlelit paper offerings afloat on any and all bodies of water – dams, rivers, lakes and even the ocean. Simply beautiful.

November: Laguna Phuket Triathlon

This November event has become one of the world's major triathlons since it was first held in the early 1990s, and attracts top international competitors and as keen amateurs. The course is the traditional 1.8km swim, 55km bike ride and 12km run. There is also a 6km fun run.

December: King’s Cup Regatta

This significant international yachting festival is held in December to celebrate the birthday of Thailand's revered king. The regatta was established in 1987 under the king's patronage, and now sees events held off Kata Beach on Phuket's west coast.