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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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April 2020

Songkran, Thailand Water Festival, 2020

April 13 - April 15
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. Unfortunatley the 2020 Songkran water fesitval has been…

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Khmer New Year 2020, Cambodia

April 14 - April 16
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.…

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Cheung Chau Bun Festival, 2020

April 27 - May 1
Pak Tai temple, Pak She StreetCheung ChauHong Kong + Google Map
Cheung Chau Bun Hong Kong

If you love eating Chinese buns, then the Cheung Chau Bun Festival could be right up your alley. Held annually on the island of Cheng Chau in Hong Kong, the…

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May 2020

Rocket Festival Thailand (Bun Bang Fai) 2020

May 8 - May 10
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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July 2020

Candle Festival Thailand, 2019

July 5 - July 7
Different locations across the country Thailand
Candle Festival Thailand

Marking the start of the green (or wet) season, the Candle Festival in July is amongst the most beautiful celebrations in Thailand. Extravagant, intricately-carved candle sculptures...

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