Bangkok Vegetarian Festival

  • Posted onMarch 11th, 2013

vegggYou wouldn’t think the Bangkok Vegetarian Festival would be such a big deal, considering the amount of festivals and holidays on the Thai national calendar, not to mention the incredible number exhibitions, sports events, concerts, and other major celebrations that take place in Bangkok on a daily basis. However, the Bangkok Vegetarian Festival has grown to become one of the best loved and most anticipated city-wide celebrations of the year, with a cult like following of both veggie’s and non-veggies alike.

vegggggMore than just food

For 9 days during the month of October restaurants, food courts, and street stalls across the city fly yellow flags to show their participation in the festival. Some will do so by adding a few vegan and vegetarian spins on their usual dishes, while others going the whole hog (to pardon a poor pun), turning their entire menu veggie, with some extremely inventive and creative dishes to be found.

Food is only a part of the vegetarian festival, and like any Bangkok celebration there are plenty of opportunities to get spiritual and pay your respects to the gods. Many see the vegetarian festival as a time to ask for forgiveness for their sins, giving offerings to the nine gods who descend from heaven, while some will do this through 9 days of abstinence, abstaining from all physical contact, or simply abstaining from eating meat for the entire length of the festival.

vegWhere and how to get involved

Despite originating in Chinatown, today restaurants and street vendors participate all across the city, though the festival centres itself along Yaowarat Road. Here, around Chinatown, you will find just about every eatery getting involved, in what seems like a competition to come up with the most inventive and tasty vegetarian plate.

Such is the popularity of the festival that most parts of Chinatown will be even more crowded than normal, especially around lunch time as city dwellers and in-the-know tourist flock to yellow flags like a giant scavenger hunt. During this time Chinatown is as colourful as ever, and you are likely to witness an impromptu street show, or if you are lucky, a performance of a Chinese street opera. Even if you aren’t hungry for food it’s worth heading hera just to soak up the vibe and feel a part of the festival.

For a more enlightening experience head to one of the temples in the area, such as the Lengnoeiyi Temple on Charoen Krung, where you can witness religious ceremonies, and worshippers paying their respects to the gods.

 

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