May 2019

Traditional Celebrations

Cheung Chau Bun Festival (9-13 May) in Hong Kong is celebrated every year on the fifth to ninth days of the fourth lunar month. During this time people make papier-mache effigies of deities, wear costumes, bake buns and build a large bamboo tower for the ‘bun snatching’ competition.

Sanja Matsuri (17-19 May) in Tokyo is a spectacular street parade full of elaborate floats that carry performers on a journey from Yanagi-dori to Asakusa Shrine. Over the course of three days the festival attracts 1.5 to 2 million locals and tourists every year.

Aoi Matsuri (15 May) is one of Kyoto's three most famous festivals. The festival's main attraction is a large parade in Kyoto in which over 500 people dressed in the aristocratic style of the Heian Period (794-1185) walk from the Imperial Palace to the Kamo Shrines.

Ramadan (5 May – 4 June) starts towards the end of May (mainly celebrated in Malaysia and Indonesia).

In Cambodia, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony (22 May) consists of a colorful parade outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Oxen racing and parades take place in villages around the country with locals sporting vibrant traditional dress.

Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival) in Laos and Thailand has its origins in pre-Buddhist, rain-invoking ceremonies. Parades, singing and dancing all lead to an explosive climax as huge, ornate, homemade bamboo rockets are blessed and fired into the skies to invite the rains.

The Sand Pagoda Festival (13-18 May) consists of three different districts in Mandalay that hold a festival to build stupas made of sand. The stupas are built over the course of a single night and consist of five parts which are positioned above one another, supported by bamboo mats and posts.

Vesak Day / Visakha Bucha Day (Buddha's Birthday) is a Buddhist holiday and one of the most important as Visakha Bucha commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. It’s celebrated at different dates during the month in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

International events

Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon (18 May) includes a quarter race actually run on the wall and incorporates 3,700 steps – not a race for the faint-hearted.

Singapore International Festival of Arts is spread over an entire month from 17 May to 2 June, celebrating the arts with a smorgasbord of theatre, dance and music performances in the Lion City.

The Grand Sumo Tournament takes place in Tokyo (12-26 May).

Pattaya Triathlon 2019 (25-26 May) is a legendary event taking place in Pattaya City. The perfect time to combine a test of muscle strength with world-class resort facilities on your doorstep.

Danang International Fireworks Competition (dates TBC) is a time when the city showcases an array of spectacular and innovative fireworks, filling the sky with a kaleidoscope of lights, sounds and colors.

Weather Patterns

May is the hottest month of the year in Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. Plenty of good deals are available during this period and it’s the perfect time to hit the beach. In Myanmar we suggest heading to Ngapali; or try Koh Phangan in Thailand and Koh Rong in Cambodia. Now is also a prime time to explore Indonesia, Malaysia (dry and sunny), China and Japan.