Spirit of Thailand

Spirit of Thailand

Culture, Relationships,
Thai Massage, Traveling

Vegetarian Festival in Thailand

Every year Thailand celebrates a nine day long vegetarian food festival. When I tell a Thai person that I am a vegetarian, the usual reaction is something like: ‘Very good, that’s great for your health, I admire that, but I could never do it”.

But during those nine days of the vegetarian festival many Thais actually switch to a non-meat diet. They consider it quite a sacrifice which is quite amusing for those of us who have been vegetarians for many years or even decades.

Thais are very proud of their cuisine, and eating is one their favorite pastimes. Thais don’t just eat 3 times a day, but have several small meals throughout the day.

A very typical question which you are frequently asked as a foreigner in Thailand is if you like Thai food. The follow-up question is often if you can eat spicy food (a lot of Thai food is very spicy).

If you answer ‘yes’ to both questions, then you ‘passed the test’ and will get an appreciative smile as a reward.

There is another aspect to this event. In some areas of Thailand members of the Chinese community practice quite weird and gruesome body piercing rituals while they are in a trance state.

This allows them to perform severe mutilations on their body without feeling the pain and without suffering any physical consequences. I wrote an article which shows pictures about those trance piercings.

There are quite a few videos on youtube that show the piercings in action, but I have to warn you – this is not for the faint hearted!

One year I made a video which shows the food festival in action in Chiang Mai. No piercings here, nothing to ruin your appetite. Just the opposite, you will wish you were there and could taste some of the great food.

image of the the author, Shama Kern

The author, Shama Kern, has been living in Thailand for two decades. When he is not traveling and exploring, he lives with his Thai wife in Chiang Mai. You can reach him at shama@shamakern.com

4 thoughts on “Vegetarian Festival in Thailand”

  1. Ahh, delighted to hear this as I am a veggie and moving to Thailand at the end of April to teach English for a year! When does this festival take place and is it convined to certain areas of Thailand?

    • Claire, the festival date is calculated by the Chinese lunar calendar, so the date changes every year, but it happens around late September/early October usually. It is happening all over Thailand, but it is a more important event in areas with a greater Thai-Chinese population. By the way, the same festival is also happening in Malaysia, at least among the Chinese community.

  2. Ahh, now I now what I have been missing!!!
    I am a veggie to and have never heard of such a great vegetarian food festival. I would love to go to Thailand and try the real world of their food.
    Thanks for your lovely videos
    Best Regards,

    • I don’t think I have ever heard of a vegetarian festival outside of Thailand either. I hope the trend will catch on elsewhere! 🙂


Leave a Comment