August 2019

Traditional Celebrations

Baliem Valley Festival in Indonesia (8-10 August) sees the Dani, Yali and Lani tribes gather at this annual festival, dressed in their traditional attire to stage mock battles, perform traditional music and dance. This festival is the oldest festival in Papua, where hundreds of tribes spread across the island will showcase their culture.

Taung Pyone Festival (10-15 August) is an impressive Nat festival held annually in Myanmar. Offerings and dances accompany the inflow of merchants and constant arrival of pilgrims while the intensive use of loudspeakers continues day and night.

The Hungry Ghost Festival is one of several traditional festivals held amongst Chinese communities (especially in Hong-Kong and Singapore) to worship ancestors. Special ceremonies are performed to avoid the wrath of the ghosts such as putting the family’s ancestral tablets on a table, burning incense and preparing food three times on the day to feed the hungry ghosts. The festival is known as ‘Wandering soul day’ in Vietnam (the second most important festival in the country after Tet). The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated in Malaysia with staged opera performances and puppet shows at roadsides.

Indonesia Independence Day is a nationwide celebration of independence and national holiday featuring processions, traditional music and dancing.

O-bon or the Festival of Souls (13-15 August) in Japan is a traditional festival when lanterns are hung out the front of houses to guide the ancestors' spirits. O-bon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples.

Yamaga Lantern festival in Kumamoto, Japan, takes place from 14-15 August. The city of Yamaga is literally lit up with thousands of lanterns for a beautiful festival. In a lively atmosphere, visitors can watch performers pass by in traditional 'yukata' as they dance gracefully to 'yoheho' music.

Shoton, also known as the Tibetan Yogurt festival, is one of the most popular Tibetan festivals and celebrates the eating of yogurt. During the festival there are celebrations taking place in the streets, squares and monasteries in Lhasa. The residents of Lhasa will gather in the park and celebrate by eating yoghurt and watching operas. Or visit Ziyuan Water Lantern and Song Festival while in Guilin, it’s one of the popular festivals for a local day tour, held in Ziyuan County.

International events

Singapore Night Festival provides heaps to see and do, including musical performances, improvisational theatre, film screenings, roving street performers, colourful building-sized light installations and cultural exhibitions.

Weather Patterns

Similar to June and July, it is peak season in Indonesia (we therefore recommend booking your trip months in advance). Expect favorable weather in Malaysia, Central Vietnam and Tibet.

The Gulf of Thailand (especially Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan) still welcomes arrivals with excellent weather.

Southeast Asia and specific areas such as Sapa in Vietnam continue to grow lush green vegetation. Waterfalls throughout Asia (especially 4000 Islands in Laos and the mountainous regions of Thailand) are at their most prolific. The rise in water levels also benefits adventure seekers looking for rafting. Try an 8 km stretch of river rapids in Thailand’s Phitsanulok where a rafting festival takes place every year. Now is the best time to embark on a cruise between Mandalay and Bagan. It is also the only period when you can sail up the Chindwin River to the northern tip of the Irrawaddy River to see villages lost in time from the teak trade era.

The weather also permits for an excellent beach break in Japan – try Okinawa for an enticing blend of beach and culture.