PHUKET: The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival started at sunset last night after area shrines raised go teng poles to allow the Jade Emperor and the Nine Emperor Gods to descend to our earthly realm.

The nine-day festival, which ends on October 13, attracts thousands of visitors to Phuket to witness the festivities, which include fire walking, bladed-ladder climbing, specialty foods and processions at locations across the island.

On the last day of the festival, October 13, all participating shrines stage street processions to Saphan Hin to take part in the “Grand Farewell” bonfire to send the gods heavenward.