Exclusive five-star Phuket hideaway Paresa is embracing the spirit of one of the Asia's most exciting and colourful events, with a package combining the island's annual Vegetarian Festival with a gourmet Vegetarian tasting menu and classes in Thai vegetarian street cooking. Paresa will also offer a guided tour of the festival in Phuket's 'Old Town' and a visit to a colourful local market accompanied by Paresa's chef to select ingredients for the cookery masterclass.

A carnival-like atmosphere takes over the island of Phuket during the festival, where processions and firework displays are held at the temples close the sea shore or river and devotees dressed in traditional white carry incense and candles awaiting the arrival of the Nine Emperor Gods. One of more gruesome aspects of the festival are however the various ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods. These sacred rituals are performed by entranced devotees, known as Ma Song, and involve walking barefoot over hot coals, bathing in hot oil and bizarre body piercing, in the belief that these rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe or partake.

Throughout this time all the local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for spiritual cleansing and merit-making and it is therefore a golden opportunity to savour Thai vegetarian and vegan cuisine at its finest.

At Paresa the resort's signature restaurant, Talung Thai, is lining up a delicious four course degustation menu where dishes such as 'Som Tum Jay' - a green papaya salad with yellow tofu, lime and chili, 'Tom Kha Hed Ruam' - a hot and sour coconut soup with jungle mushrooms, lemongrass and galangal and 'Massaman Taou' – a typical southern curry with local tofu, peanuts and potato, will be served.

The culinary masterclasses in 'vegetarian street food' will take place in the resort's Culinary Academy Recipe and will embrace two entire menus that guests can then re-create back at home. Dishes range from 'Poh Pia Pak Tord', deep-fried vegetarian spring rolls, to the traditional 'Pad Thai Pack', stir-fried noodles and bean sprouts in a tamarind dressing. 'Yum Mamuang', a spicy green mango salad is also offered, along with 'Gluay Tord', authentic crispy bananas, and 'Khao Nhiao Mamuang', a sweet mango with sticky rice.

Commenting on the festival General Manager Dawid Koegelenberg said “This unique festival is a can't-miss Thai experience, delivered as a bespoke adventure for our guests. I will never forget my first Vegetarian Festival in Phuket. Words cannot describe the atmosphere of exquisite food, music and dance. It's not for the faint-hearted with the exciting and sometimes gruesome ceremonies but this festival is not to be missed and your view of vegetarian food will be changed forever.”