PHUKET: Today marks the final day of the 2011 Phuket Vegetarian Festival, with the final farewells to the Nine Warrior Gods scheduled to take place amid a deafening street procession along Phuket Road this evening.
This year’s festival has been one of the rainiest ever, with over 173mm of rain recorded over the first eight days of the festival at the Thai Meteorological Department monitoring station on Thalang Road in Phuket Town
This accounts for almost 10 per cent of the 1,827.4mm of rainfall recorded at the station so far this year.
Heavy rains continued across the island this morning and are expected to continue throughout the day and this evening.
The TMD 24-hour forecast for the period starting at 4am today calls for “widespread thundershowers covering more than 80% of the area and isolated heavy to very heavy rain with wind gusts”.
Tourists willing to brave the conditions to witness the spectacular farewell procession to Saphan Hin public park are advised to wear earplugs and eye protection. Scores of fireworks will be detonated by devotees as the procession passes devotees – if they can keep their wicks dry.
The celestial send-off is traditionally followed after midnight by revelry and indulgence in meat and alcohol at Saphan Hin. This rite is expected to continue tonight, weather permitting.
As in years past, the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization and other local authorities have set up a stage at the Surin Clocktower Circle in front of The Metropole hotel, which is another prime viewing area.
More pictures from the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2011 as pop-ups are below (WARNING: some of these images are graphic in nature – parental supervision is advised).
Phuket Vegetarian Festival by Rainier Vigneau
— News Editor
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