Phuket Vegetarian Festival: This is a Stick Up

PHUKET: Organisers of this year's Phuket Vegetarian Festival are worried that the price of veggies may be pushed too high by profit-takers and consumer demand.

Unscrupulous vendors sometimes tried to sell lower-quality foodstuffs because so many people on Phuket eat vegetarian during the festival, a planning meeting heard.

Home made crackers are banned along with large firecracker ''bombs,'' said Lieutenant Pisit Khunsong at the Phuket Provincial Hall meeting in Phuket City.

The nine-day festival this year runs from October 15 to October 23, with daily street parades of enchanted warriors who are invaded by spirits.

Although the crackers inevitably make proceedings noisy and the cheek-piercing looks grisly, philosophically the street warriors absorb the pain and suffering on behalf of humankind.

All of Phuket's chinese temples become centres for activities as Phuket's streets are filled with people wearing white.

Believers give up alcohol, meat, sex and cigarettes for as long as they can.

Yellow flags will soon be going out on main thoroughfares, especially in Phuket City, with police warning organisers yesterday to try to make sure the flags don't interfere with the vision of motorists.

Of all Phuket's many festivals, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is the most visually exciting and a must for photographers.

The closing night is a must-see. All of the warriors from all of the the temples converge on Phuket City in a riot of color and noise. Earplugs are essential.