Inspired by the legend of a travelling opera company who fell ill whilst visiting Phuket to perform for the Chinese laborers during the tin-mining boom, the whole company followed a strict vegetarian diet and were miraculously healed from their maladies. The abstinence was to honour two of the emperor Gods, Kiew Ong Tai Teh and Yok Ong Sone Teh.

During the festival each year, the streets of Phuket erupt into gruesome displays of self-mutilation that are said to bring good luck to the community. Spiritual ceremonies accompany, as well as street processions honoring the Gods. The vegetarian festival is a historical tradition, and a major event for the Chinese-Thai community, which makes up approximately 30% of the population of Phuket. Although celebrated in other parts of Thailand, the infamous tradition was started in Phuket in 1825.

Even if the spiritual aspect or the grotesque spectacles is too much for you, Phuket comes alive with vegetarian markets paying homage to plant based cuisine, offering up a myriad of vegetarian delicacies – even competing for the best dish. Some expats also take part in the festival, and practice the same abstinence. The health benefits of this are countless, they give the liver and digestive system a much deserved break from the temptations of island life.

Vegetarian restaurants all over Phuket celebrate with special events to pay homage to a wonderful celebration of purity and vibrant health, and Santosa is no exception. The most esteemed fine dining vegetarian restaurant in Phuket will be holding a very special vegetarian buffet to mark the arrival of this wonderful festival.

On Saturday 27th September, the restaurant will be open from 6pm with a selection of Santosa signature dishes, and of course, traditional Thai cuisine in honour of the traditions of the festival. The cost will be a very special 350THB++ per person, and we welcome bookings on +66 76 330 600.