Promthep Cape at the southernmost point of Phuket island seems to be an absolutely irresistible spot for a good old-fashioned sunset photo. This landmark has always been the meeting point for a good hundred tourists, mostly Thai, to line up on the west facing coastline with cameras ready. Huge colorful buses download a horde of daily tourists hungry for a picture and the place starts buzzing with flash all directions. It’s actually funny to see how many people take sunset photos with a flash!
With its elevated location and few small islands nearby, Promthep Cape is certainly a nice place to see a sunset, but it is not really amazing. Watching the crowd is almost more entertaining: most people are texting of playing facebook games while waiting for the six o’clock moment.
Promthep Cape cape is Phuket’s symbol and you will recognize its tall sugar palms on car plates having a special number. In case you didn’t know, you can buy a special ‘lucky’ number and your plate will be decorated with the symbol of the province.
If you feel courageous, and clearly not many do, walk all the way down to the end of the cape. It is quite easy to go there, but without training, on the way back you might wonder why did you have to inflict this to yourself.
What is around to see Promthep cape? Not much, the Lighthouse, which is also a mini museum, doesn’t display much to look at and even from the top doesn’t offer any particular view. The shrine surrounded by hundreds of elephants statues and carvings in all sizes and colors is a lot nicer. You can’t miss it.
Reference : http://www.phuket101.net/2011/03/promthep-cape.html
Best Time to Visit to Phuket – December to March
Coolest and supposedly best time to come to phuket is between December to March, with clear blue skies, turquoise calm seas and a nice permanent breeze. It’s also the high and peak season so expect to pay a lot more for your hotel, especially during Christmas and New Year time.
Rainy Season in Phuket
Tricky subject as it is supposed to occurs roughly at the same time each year, but is as unpredictable as any weather in any country. June to August is a mix of rain and sun, usually very enjoyable. Few months are considered wetter than others, September, October and November are definitely the wettest months, but some year it can drag all the way to December. Despite some unlucky series of really rainy days, there is still plenty of sun with occasional showers. On the good side, everything is much cheaper!
Hottest Months in Phuket – April and May
If you are traveling in Phuket this month, then you should enjoy driving rental cars to experience Phuket Vegetarian festival which is running from 12th October until 22nd. Over 9 days in Phuket will be awash with ceremony, celebration, and accompanying festivities.
About the ceremony
The festival is celebrated the Chinese belief that abstinence from meat and various other stimulants during the ninth lunar month helps obtain good health and peace of mind. The festival is famous because it is about so much more than vegetarianism. Also known as the Phuket Nine Emperor Gods Festival, a form of the festival which takes places to allow for purification dates back to as
early as 1825. In a time where black gold mines were flourishing, and with it a surge of incoming Chinese or Fujian migrants which caused epidemics, and after the first Opium War came dreams of religion and ritual for protection.
Chinese Opera Troupes were brought to Phuket to perform rituals, but after sickness kept coming, they led the locals to fat and pay homage to the Jade Emperor God (Yoke Hong Song Teh) and the Nine Emperor Gods (Kiu Hong Tai Teh). This happened during the first to the ninth Chinese lunar month, and somewhat miraculously cured ailments of the area. An emissary was later sent to China to
ritualise and invite to the gods to come to Phuket, the Opera Troupe brought back sacred artefacts that symbolised the ritual calling including a sacred ash urn, scripture, and a carved wooden plaque. Upon his return in the ninth month, locals greeted him with festivities and this was the start of the celebrations we see annually in Phuket today.
The ceremonies and rituals include a number of self-mortification elements by participants who are acting as mediums for the gods. Some of them make quite a spectacle which is what drawers in tourists and onlookers from right around the country. Men and women alike puncture their cheeks with a variety of household items on a path to purification and it is not always easy to watch. In 2011, there were around 74 injuries reported, and one death.
Purpose of the ceremony
The ‘pilgrimage’ still happens, and ashes are brought back to be added to the pot to symbolise infinity and continuity between generations. The urn is believed to be spiritualised by the presence of the gods and is a great focal point for the festival. The philosophies associated with the festival all have links to cosmology and cosmic symbolism which makes it even more magical. The festival is to cleanse the community and worshippers of their sins, it is a festival of renewal and purification which is where the vegetarian element comes in – cleansing the body. It is thought this process limits the chances of misfortunes in life and calls forth good fortune and is believed to help bring about success, prosperity, and longevity (Hok, Lok, Siu).
There are ritual cites and celebration areas right around the city. The festivities are normally concentrated around the six Chinese temples that are peppered across Phuket – the main one being the JuiTui Shrine which is close to the Fresh Market in Phuket Town (another popular tourist attraction). There are in total more than 40 Chinese shrines around the island, all of which participate, but the six biggest are the centrepieces of the festival. The five oldest are Put Jaw, JuiTui, Bang Niew, CherngTalay, and Kathu Shrine. Some others that are also worth visiting include:
- Baan ThaRua Shrine
- Sapam Shrine
- Yok KeKengShrine
- Samkong Shrine
- Kathu Shrine
- Sui Boon Tong Shrine(aka Lorong Shrine), Pattana Road, Phuket Town
- ThepRasi Shrine, Phuket Road, near Robinson Department Store, Phuket town
- Kiew Tien Keng Shrine, Sapanhin Park, Phuket Town
Vegetarian Festival Rituals
The major themes of the festival and its rituals are the strengthening of community solidarity and identity, enhancing the spiritual and physical wellbeing of attendees, and the promise of future good fortune.
The Preliminary Rituals take place on the last day of the eighth lunar month. These include a demarcation and consecration ritual which prepares the main festival compound for the festivities. There is particular focus here on the kitchen within the shrine, as this is where the vegetarian food will be prepared for locals to consume which in turn enables the cleansing process. The tall Lantern Pole Raising Ritual is also before the nine days of celebration in the preliminary stages. This pole contains nine wicks in oil symbolising the Nine Emperor Gods which are suspended throughout the festival.
There are a number of slightly less conventional rituals that take place too. The Heavenly Warrior-Releasing Ritual is where demons and orphan souls are released on an annual basis to protect the community and the festival. These beings are able to take the first step up the ladder of merit to redemption. This is then followed by a food offering which pays respect to the warriors and horses as mediums are possessed by their spirits as vegetarian food, Thai tea, and rice liquor are prepared for their consumption.
The most significant ritual of them all is the Nine Emperor Gods Invitation ritual. Prior to this The Jade Emperor God ritual symbolises the Emperor is at the head of the Taoist Pantheon. The Nine Emperor Gods Ritual is conducted near the water, and a pair of wooden blocks are thrown to see if the Gods have descended from heaven and arrived to the shrine. The incense urn containing their spirits are put in a secluded darkened room for the duration of the festival, into which only the censer master is allowed to enter.
The Seven Stars Propitiation Ritual takes place the evening before the main attraction; the street procession. This ritual is said to bring forth the power of ‘Tao Bo’ (Polaris) through the stars. There is also a fire-walking ritual which is said to help those who take part overcome impurity and repel evil influence. Locals believe that if you are clean souled then you are immune from burning. The Ceremonial Bridge Crossing Ritual sees those devoted to the festival cross a bridge which cleanses them of impurities and any future misfortune. Once across they receive a red stamp to signify their journey. Then there is the Bladed Ladder Climbing Ritual during which the mediums climb 36 rungs and descend down 72 (3 add 6 is 9, as is 7 add 2, 9 being the all-important number for this festival.
The street procession is the most iconic part of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. The processions ensure that the most possible people are included in celebrations as onlookers are blessed. Many locals set up alters in front of their houses, and elaborately decorate the fronts of their homes and garnish the streets with lit candles and incense.
As well as these series of rituals, chanting is commonplace throughout the festival. As with singing, the act of chanting provides a sensual pleasure and is thought to cleanse the psyche and calm the nerves.As well as chanting, firecrackers are common practice throughout the festival.It all closes with a Farewell Ritual and vegetarian feast, which sends the Gods on their way until the celebrations the following year. Much of the vegetarian food consumed throughout the festival could be mistaken for meat – with soybean and protein substitute products in use which look a lot like it. Yellow flags with red Chinese or Thai characters on them signify vegetarian dishes and food stalls of which there are plenty to sample around this time of year.
The practice during Vegetarian Festival
The whole festival which exists to cleanse the body, the mind, and the soul is governed by the five Buddhist Precepts. The first is by far the most important, and iconic. It is to abstain from killing, which is why the festival is vegetarian element is so key to the festival. It means that all living things are spared over the course of it, and that hands can remain clean both literally and metaphorically speaking. The second is to abstain from stealing to show respect in the presences of the Gods and for the festival and what it is trying to achieve. Third; abstain from sexual behaviour for reasons of purity and focus. The fourth is to abstain from lying – truthfulness is an important part of the cleansing process. Lastly is the abstention from alcohol, as this clouds the mind and often leads to other impure choices.
There are a number of other governing principles which are expected to be followed albeit not as strictly as the former five. These are abstention from gambling, adorning oneself with jewellery and leather goods (and anything made from animal hide), and avoiding wearing any colours other than white (a colour connoting purity and simplicity). It is also advised as best practice for anyone in mourning or any menstruating or pregnant women to take part in any of the rituals. As per usual vegetarian practice, all kitchen crockery and utensils are also supposed to kept solely for vegetarian cooking and dining within the festival.
It is a truly vibrant and interesting time to visit Phuket and enjoy your trip with Arun Phuket Car Rent.
Referance: simpsonyachtcharter.com, phuket.com
Photo Credit: phuketindex.com, phuketvegetarian.com
If you are a person who loves to travel in Thailand, then you should not miss to visit to Phuket. Phuket is a tropical paradise surrounded by beautiful nature consisting of white beaches, blue sea, bright sky and a lot of scuba diving points. Moreover, Phuket also offers many attractions like elephant trekking, adventure activities, island exploring and nightlife attractions which waiting for you to experience. In order to make your travels smoother and more comfortable, you shouldn’t avoid using the car rental. Phuket has many rental cars are available. Today Arun Phuket Car Rent present tips for choosing a car rental to give you consider the best car rental for your vacation.
- Rental prices should be a standard price for renting. Some customer will decide to rent a car with the cheapest price first, which we recommend that customers should consider the price with the quality of rental cars. Sometime a car renting was too cheap or too expensive, it does not meet your satisfaction every time. We suggest our customers to choose the moderate and reasonable price compare with quality of rental cars.
- Car conditions is the most important in choosing a car because customers have a need to use the car to every area. If the car has a problem occurs during the trip, they will lose more time, and they were not happy on the trip because it will cause trouble later. So that we recommend to choosing a rental car with great conditions and good maintenance for your safety trips.
- Car insurance is vital for the safety of the driver and passengers as well. Tips for choosing a car hire is to rent a car that has a fist class car insurance which should be coverage and responsibility for a vehicle outside and all further.
- Terms and conditions in the car renting, customers should read the terms and conditions to synchronize understanding in every issues and check the renting documents carefully with a car renting owner before signing contracts to prevent problems later.
- Services during and after a car renting is important. The good car rental company must quick response when customers has car problems and should give a great impression to customer all the time for their renting.
- Reliability of the car rental company is necessary for customer considerations. The great rental cars companies must respect and treat their customers well with providing a fair service and trustworthy. Customers can consider these things from the customer reviews on the provider website.
For Arun Phuket Car Rent, You can ensure that all of our rental cars are great condition and well maintained in a reasonable price. We are specializing in car rental more than 6 years which guaranteed by many customers come back for used our services. You will confident in using our rental car with safely and smoothly throughout traveling in Phuket.