Multi-award winning luxury boutique hotel, The Sarojin, is celebrating Thailand's ancient Vegetarian Festival by launching a special “Old Town Purification Package” which will immerse guests in the ancient customs of Takuapa Old Town; in honour of one of the country's most fascinating traditions. The package will take guests on a six-night journey of discovery through first-hand festival experiences, joining the locals as they follow a strict vegetarian diet to purify mind, body and soul.

The Old Town Takuapa Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, in celebration of the belief that abstinence from meat will promote good health and peace of mind for all who religiously observe this rite. Dedicating themselves to a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, local residents of Chinese ancestry commit to this diet for the duration of the festival, praying to the Nine Emperor Gods to ensure purification of the mind and body.

Embracing this ancient tradition, The Sarojin's authentic “Old Town Purification Package” includes two guided excursions where guests will be escorted, in a luxury private car, into Takuapa Old Town to experience the Vegetarian Festival's colourful day-time procession and to watch a mesmerising array of events unfold, including flamboyant religious parades; traditional Thai ceremonies; magnificent lantern displays; and – not for the faint-hearted – the rare opportunity to watch devoted locals commit tests of intense pain including fire-walking and extreme body piercing. These “soldiers of God” believe that such acts of self-mortification have renewal and purification powers; a notion that inherits from the past, brings to the present and passes on to the future.

In keeping with the Vegetarian Festival and local way of life, guests will also embark on a half day excursion, travelling by traditional pleat boat to discover Khao Lak's surrounding rainforests. Manoeuvring through the mangrove waterways of the “Little Amazon” – the 135-mile Takuapa river system that is home to a rich variety of wildlife including wild river snakes and crab-eating monkeys of the estuary – guests will enjoy a private vegetarian-themed Thai cooking class at the Takuapa riverbank. Once back at their luxury base in Khao Lak, guests can continue to adopt the local “meat free” lifestyle at The Sarojin's on-site gourmet restaurants Ficus and The Edge; both of which can offer a full vegetarian menu, serving award-winning cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients.