Phuket Peranakan festival dazzles, promotes sustainable tourism and local culture

PHOTO: Facebook/TAT Phuket : Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket Office.

In a resounding celebration of heritage and culture, over 1,000 people gathered for the Phuket Peranakan Festival‘s ‘Extravaganza Carnival’ grand parade. The sparkling event unfolded in the vintage vicinity of Phuket Old Town on a joyous Saturday evening.

The iconoclastic carnival, the crown jewel of the three-day extravaganza, resulted in the closure of roads, culminating in a tremendous spectacle. The festival wrapped up yesterday.

The inhabitants of Phuket Town have been acknowledging their Baba-Nyonya background through state-backed initiatives for years. However, the ‘Phuket Peranakan Festival’ was championed as the inaugural gathering of its kind. It emerged as a “prototype” event devised to boost sustainable tourism by spotlighting local culture, The Phuket News reported.

The dynamic 2023 Phuket Peranakan Festival was a product of a synergistic involvement of over 20 entities. These include the Phuket Provincial Office, the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO), Phuket City Municipality, Thailand’s Peranakan Association, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Thailand International Events & Festivals Trade Association (TIEFA), and the Phuket Old Town Community association, as confirmed by the Phuket branch of Public Relations Department (PR Phuket). The specifics of the government budget allocated to the event remain undisclosed.

The festival’s opening ceremony was presided by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, accompanied by the PPAO President Rewat Areerob, ex-Phuket MP Anchalee Vanich Thepabutr and the Deputy Mayor of Phuket Town, Prasit Sinsaowapak.

In a statement, PR Phuket expressed that the festival acted as “a magnet for sustainable tourism, with emphasis on inviting local Phuket residents and Thai and foreign tourists to participate in traditional costumes to participate in the event, raising the level of soft power to become an annual international arts and culture festival.”

Hundreds of stories have been passed down through generations, introducing aspects like preserving Baba-Nyonya wedding traditions, international Peranakan style and application of contemporary art and culture, the report elaborated. It created a unity of Phuket with strong roots and full of Peranakan culture, based on the Malay Peninsula.

The festival also aspires to stimulate tourists into engaging with Peranakan culture, a major attraction for Phuket Town tourism for several years.

Various businesses in Phuket Old Town and nearby areas are hoping to capitalise on the increase in tourists brought about by the festival. The festival was initiated on Friday by Woo Gallery & Boutique Hotel celebrating the ‘Phuket Peranakan Festival 2023’. The event showcased traditional wedding dresses and costumes in the Baba-Nyonya style.

Cedric Tan from Malaysia led the ‘Workshop & Showcase,’ explaining 150 years of Peranakan style in Malaysia. The opening celebration continued with performances by the Khun Jom Yamaha band with traditional Malay songs and dancers from Indonesia. The Thai Women’s Social Creation Association, the Peranakan Association of Phuket, and the PPAO additionally hosted a reception at The Carb House.

Music and dance renditions continued throughout the weekend at the Standard Chartered intersection in the heart of Phuket Town.

Discover the latest news and updates from Thailand’s most famous and beautiful island, Phuket, HERE.

Phuket NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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