Summer in Asia hosts some of the best, brightest and most energetic cultural festivals of the year! Check out our lineup of the best festivals and events to see in summer 2016.
What’s on in Asia this summer? Like almost every year, there’s a lot to look forward to for the summer season in our destinations – and some are well-worth including in your next Asia getaway! From concerts to cultural festivals to a few quirky local events, we’ve got your guide to what’s on for summer 2016 in Asia.
Sanno Matsuri Festival
June 4 – 15
The Sanno Matsuri festival was once one of the largest festivals in Japan and a time in which the Shogun allowed people to enter the grounds of the Edo Castle. Now, the event is celebrated by a colourful procession of over 300 people walking through the centre of Tokyo, Japan. Shrines, drums and floats are carried on shoulders as people in ancient costumes march through the streets. Head to Hie-jinja Shrine the week before the procession to catch a collection of fascinating customs carried out here.
Bali Kite Festival
July & August
Once a seasonal festival to thank the heavens for good crops, the people of Bali now use the windy season to show off colourful and impressive kites. The festival is quite a competitive affair in which groups of kite-flyers compete for sponsorship and glory – so expect to see locals pulling out all the stops to clinch the Kite Festival title. This is also a great way to experience Bali’s rich culture of kite-making and flying – and a great chance to pick one up as a souvenir!
Taung Byone Nat Festival
Few would come to spiritual and alluring Myanmar in the expectation of a manic, energetic festival – but that’s exactly what they’ll get at Taung Byone Nat Festival held just outside of Mandalay every summer. The festival is a massive gathering of spirit mediums (hence the word “nat”, which means spirit in local language), and is based upon an ancient legend that will vary depending on the local you ask. Except a vibrant blend of offerings and dances, merchants and an enormous influx of pilgrims during this festival – plus a rarely-seen gathering of many of Myanmar’s LGBT community.
Singapore International Festival of Arts
August 11 – September 17
What better place to experience a truly international smorgasbord of art than Singapore, Asia’s famously multi-cultural destination. For an entire month, Singapore sparkles to life with street performers, theatrical productions, dance shows and musical concerts with a special focus on hip and boundary-pushing art. Most events are free, so this is a great time to head to Singapore if you’re hunting for some excitement on your Asia journey.
Hungry Ghost Festival
China Town, Malaysia
Despite its creepy name, Malaysia‘s Hungry Ghost Festival is most certainly not focused on horror or scares. Instead, the Hungry Ghost Festival has its roots in deeply spiritual traditions within the Chinatown community, and draws on the belief that ancestors return to earth in search of worldly extravagance. Locals will often put out particularly magnificent offerings on their ancestral shrines, and superstition will run rampant through the local community. The fun part comes with the no-holds-barred extravagance and celebrations to welcome returning ghosts – so prepare to eat!
Dragon Boat Festival
Colourful and competitive, Hong Kong‘s spectacular Dragon Boat Festival and Carnival is a feast for the senses, and promises enough excitement to warrant a dedicated trip to witness it. Dozens of dragon boat teams descend upon Victoria Harbour to compete for the race title – but even off of the water, the harbour erupts into a fabulous party during the festivities. Check out the San Miguel BeerFest and the Family Zone while you’re there!
Rainforest Music Festival
August 5-7, 2016
Bringing together musicians from around the world onto the mythical island of Borneo, Malaysia, the Rainforest World Music Festival is a gem on the Malaysian event calendar, and one of the most popular events in the country. The festival combines jamming sessions and mini concerts with workshops and ethno-musical lectures – with the main event being the evening performances on the main stage. Culture vultures should put this unique event on their travel list this summer.
Contact our travel team to create the perfect summer itinerary in Asia!