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Event Category: Festivals in Southeast Asia

As one of the most diverse regions in the world and home to hundreds of ethnicities and different religions, festivals in Southeast Asia are probably the best and most fun way to get up and close with its multitude of traditions and cultures.

Popular festivals in Southeast Asia

Festivals are often a prime reason for travellers when choosing their destination, and several of Southeast Asia’s festivals have grown into becoming some of the world’s most popular ones. Songkran festival (or water festival Thailand) has evolved into what must be the biggest water fight on the planet, but also previously lesser known events are getting increasingly popular such as the Phuket Vegetarian Festival Thailand or the Cambodia Water Festival.

Secular and religious festivals in Southeast Asia

Many of the region’s festivals have religious or spiritual origins, from the beautiful Buddhist Loy Krathong in Thailand and the Hindu Thaipusam body-piercing event in Malaysia, to Muslim Eid al-Fitr in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Muslim-populated countries, and Taoist-inspired Chinese New Year all over the region. But also secular events are growing in popularity year by year, whether they are music and art events such as Wonderfruit Festival in Thailand, Ultra Music Festival in Singapore and Rainforest Fringe Festival in Borneo, or literary events such as the Penang Georgetown Festival or the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali. And of course, as this is Asia, food always occupies a prominent spot during these festivities.

Dates of festivals in Southeast Asia

Most of the region’s events are held on a yearly basis, but since many of them are following a lunar calendar, the dates are slightly different every year. This doesn’t mean you cannot plan ahead – with a little bit of proper research you can always make sure your favourite festivals are included within your travel plans. Just don’t forget to bring your camera!

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October 2019

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2019

October 23 - October 27
Various venues in Ubud Ubud, Bali,Indonesia
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (often called the Ubud Writers Festival), one of the best literary festivals in the world, is held in the central Bali town of Ubud in October and will celebrate its 16th year as what has become Southeast Asia’s leading festival of words and ideas. A yearly pilgrimage for word lovers worldwide, the Ubud Writers Festival transcends cultural and physical borders, inviting both artists and audiences to enjoy and participate in public discussions, intimate literary…

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November 2019

Cambodia Water Festival 2019 Phnom Penh

November 10 - November 13
Phnom Penh Riverside, Sisowath Quay
Phnom Penh,Cambodia
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Free
Cambodia Water Festival

This year the Cambodia Water Festival, or Bon Om Touk to give its Khmer name, falls on 10 to 13 November. For three days watch as Phnom Penh’s riverside explodes into life with boat races and firework displays in what is one of the most dramatic festivals in the region. During the Cambodia Water Festival, Phnom Penh is flooded with people coming in from neighbouring villages and all over the country seeking to participate in the races and to join…

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Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals, 2019

November 11 - November 13
Various
Loy Krathong Yi Peng Thailand

Thailand’s most beautiful and beguiling festival, Loy Krathong is enormously popular with Thais and visitors alike. Thousands of little candle lights and flowers drift down waterways...

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White Temple Thailand (Wat Rong Khun) Light Fest 2019

November 22 - December 22
Wat Rong Khun, ตำบล ป่าอ้อดอนชัย อำเภอเ มืองเชียงราย
Chiang Rai,Chiang Rai57000Thailand
+ Google Map
White Temple Light Fest Thailand

Thailand is pulling out all the stops from 22 November to 22 December when the inaugural Wat Rong Khun Light Fest will light up northern Thailand’s already very bright White Temple with a world-class multimedia laser extravaganza.  Dubbed one of the kingdom's most recognised Thai temples, Wat Rong Khun will soon become even more recognisable. In an illuminating effort to attract more tourists to the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai, its famous landmark White Temple will be the subject…

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Monkey Buffet Festival, Lopburi, Thailand 2019

November 24
Phra Prang Sam Yot temple, Tha Hin, Mueang Lop Buri District
Lopburi,Lopburi15000Thailand
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Monkey Buffet Festival Thailand

Lopburi, in Northern Thailand, is already famous for its Khmer temple crowded with monkeys, but every year in November the whole town goes ape when visitors from Thailand and beyond come to watch 2,000 macaques feast on a lavish buffet laid out in their honour during the Monkey Buffet Festival. Origins of the Monkey Buffet Festival of Lopburi Long-tailed macaques are the most famous inhabitants of the Thai town of Lopburi where hundreds of them roam freely amongst locals and…

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Angkor Photo Festival 2019, Cambodia

November 28 - December 3
Siem Reap Siem Reap,Cambodia + Google Map
Angkor Photo Festival

Siem Reap, Cambodia, is set to be brought to life with powerful images from across Asia when the annual Angkor Photo Festival and Workshops...

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December 2019

Wonderfruit Festival 2019, Thailand

December 12 - December 16
The Fields, Siam Country Club
Pattaya,ChonburyThailand
+ Google Map
Wonderfruit Festival Thailand

Within just a few years, the Wonderfruit Festival has risen to become one of the most anticipated festivals in Thailand blending music and gastronomy with wellness...

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January 2020

Chinese New Year 2020

January 25, 2020 - January 30, 2020
Various
Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is undoubtedly China’s pre-eminent and most intense festive period characterised by sumptuous family meals, the colour red, paper lanterns and lots...

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February 2020

Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2020 in Thailand

February 7, 2020 - February 9, 2020
Nong Buak Hard Public Park, Arak Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat
Chiang Mai,Chiang Mai50200Thailand
+ Google Map
Free
Chiang Mai Flower Festival

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2020, now in its 43rd edition, is one of the most colourful events in Thailand attracting thousands of floral enthusiasts year on year. It’s not haphazard that Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second biggest city and located in the country’s north, is nicknamed the Rose of the North. While the Damask rose is found only here, a huge variety of flowers – from the kingdom's national yellow Ratchaphruek to white chrysanthemums and multi-coloured orchids – make Chiang…

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Thaipusam Festival Malaysia 2020

February 8, 2020 - February 10, 2020
Batu Caves, Batu Caves
Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia
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Thaipusam Festival

Every year the impressive Thaipusam Festival celebrations take place inside the Batu caves near Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. A million devotees and visitors gather from all over Asia for a frenetic event that sees extreme body piercings with needles, hooks and spears, and a procession where devotees in trance carry along a kavadi or physical burden as an offer to their god. What is the Thaipusam Festival? Thaipusam is a Hindu event dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Murugan, the…

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April 2020

Songkran, Thailand Water Festival, 2020

April 13, 2020 - April 15, 2020
thailand Thailand
songkran worldwide festivals

Songkran, or Thailand's water festival, is an occasion of great fun especially in the major cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The whole country grinds to a halt as people are sprayed with industrial water guns or whatever comes most easily to hand. Celebrated from 13 to 15 April, it's best to turn up in swimming gear and wrap your fun, money and credit cards up in plastic so as to fully participate in the festivities. Songkran Water Throwing…

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Khmer New Year 2020, Cambodia

April 14, 2020 - April 16, 2020
Cambodia Cambodia
Khmer New Year Trot Dance with Kangcha, photo: Lyheng

With Cambodia’s humidity peaking in April, the refreshing water fights that mark Khmer New Year are a welcome reprieve from the suffocating heat. Here’s how to celebrate Cambodian new year. Roads across the country are lined with groups of excited Cambodians armed with water pistols and buckets spilling over with water. Music blasts over crackling speakers and children squeal with laughter as passing motorbikes slow down to receive the ritual Cambodia new year soaking of water and talcum powder heading…

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May 2020

Rocket Festival Thailand (Bun Bang Fai) 2020

May 8, 2020 - May 10, 2020
Isaan region Thailand
Rocket Festival Thailand

Home-made rockets roaring into the skies, dirty humour, cross-dressing parades, mud fests and lots of rice wine – the centuries-old Rocket Festival Thailand, or Bun Bang Fai...

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