January 2019

Traditional Celebrations

There are a number of Hindu celebrations to enjoy throughout the month of January. Thaipusam (21 January) is observed in Singapore and Malaysia as a highly symbolic Hindu festival celebrated in honor of Lord Murugan who represents virtue, youth and power to Hindus and is the destroyer of evil.

The Naga people’s largest festival is the Lunar New Year (13-16 January) when various Naga tribes in northwest Myanmar join together to celebrate, making it the perfect opportunity to see variety of different Naga people come together.

The Gunbing Festival (15 January) is a folk custom taking place in Harbin, China. On the night of Yuan Xiao people gather together on the frozen river and light candles, before rolling on the ground to rid themselves of bad luck and roll in the good luck. The festival stems from an old folk legend.

Ananda Pagoda Festival (13-20 January) takes place in Bagan exactly one week preceding the full moon. Villagers from around Bagan attend and camp next to their bullock & horse carts.

Funeral ceremonies in Toraja (within the month of January) are incredibly important to the Tarajans and are often held weeks, months, or even years after the death of a person to give the family of the deceased time to raise enough money for expenses – a body is not buried until the funds have been raised. The funerals are raucous affairs involving the whole village and traditionally last for days or even weeks.

International events

From 5 January to 28 February, travelers can experience the world's largest ice festival, “The 35th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival”, in China’s Harbin City with the theme of "Pearl on the Crown of Ice & Snow". This annual event attracts artists and ice sculpting experts from all over the world.

Get set for the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo (13-27 January).

The 17th Royal Langkawi International Regatta (7-12 January) is an international sailing competition featuring 50 sailing boats from round the world and top teams from the Asia Pacific.

Singapore Art Week (19-27 January) is a nine-day celebration of the visual arts taking place in venues across Singapore, from galleries and museums to art precincts and independent art spaces.

Visit Thailand’s Red Lotus Sea Festival in Udon Thani; the Color of Doi Tung and Chiang Rai ASEAN Flowers Fair in Chiang Rai from mid-January.

Weather Patterns

January is the perfect time for snow sports in Japan and China and one of the best periods to travel in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar) as the weather is mostly sunny and dry. Consider trekking in Myanmar’s Shan state (Inle Lake, Hsipaw and Kyaing Tong, Putao), or Central Thailand’s National Parks – taking advantage of the cooler air. This month Singapore and Malaysia experience their monsoon while in the stunning Raja Ampat National Park in Indonesia you will find perfect climatic conditions to enjoy some of the world’s most impressive marine life.