The Thao Thepkasattri – Thao Sri Suntorn Festival is one of Phuket’s largest and most popular festivals. The celebrations last for about two weeks and take place in March to commemorate a victory over the Burmese army that was led by two local sisters, Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Sri Suntorn.
As one of the major festivals in Phuket it is a time when many Phuket private villas are rented out to both locals and tourists for the celebrations, as the festival reaches across boundaries and covers many cultural and sporting activities. The festival celebrates local legend where the sisters rallied the islanders to defend Phuket when it was besieged by Burmese invaders over 200 years ago.
The celebrations takes place in various locations in the Thalang area in the north of Phuket, where there is also monument dedicated to the two sisters. The festivities begin with a number of Thai sporting contests. These include takraw tournaments – a game that resembles volleyball but in which contact is made with the feet – as well as bicycle races, a mini-marathon, a tug-o-war and ‘uppasombot moo’ (a Buddhist ordination) ceremony.
The high point of the festival is the annual historical performance about the history of Phuket. The play is held outdoors and features a minimum of 300 different actors! This elaborate retelling of the heroic siblings and how they spurred on the local forces runs consecutively over 3 nights, usually at the Thalang Victory Memorial Field.
The local fair is also well worth a visit, with stalls, traditional shadow puppet performances, Thai sporting displays and trials and traditional Thai singing. As the fair is held for the locals it is a great opportunity to visit an authentic Thai event, rather than the more tourist – led arrangements!
The Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival is held between 1 Mar 2014 – 31 Mar 2014 and is a great time to invite guests to stay in your Phuket private villa!