January 2020

Traditional Celebrations

Ananda Pagoda Festival (3 – 14 January) takes place in Bagan exactly one week preceding the full moon. Villagers from around Bagan attend and camp next to the pagoda in their bullock and horse carts.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival (8 January) occurs on the 14th day of each lunar month in the old-blocks of the ancient town. Bright lights are swapped with tea-light candles, as locals set colourful paper lanterns into the river to reflect on life and honour deceased relatives and ancestors.

The Kachin Manaw Festival (9 – 10 January) is held annually in Myitkyina and sees the Kachin people come together to celebrate past victories in battle. Various tribes come together to dance around traditional Manaw poles decorated in colourful motifs.

The Naga New Year (13 – 16 January) is the Naga's biggest festival and sees various Naga tribes in northeast Myanmar join to celebrate, making it the perfect opportunity to see a variety of different Naga communities come together.

River HongBao (23 January – 1 February) is an annual Lunar Chinese New Year event held in Marina Bay, Singapore. Visitors can immerse in a special Chinese cultural experience through this lively festival.

Vietnamese New Year (24 – 27 January) is known as TET and is the most important event in Vietnamese culture. It is usually celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year. We would advise booking well in advance if you do want to travel in Vietnam at this time.

Chinese New Year (24 – 30 January), or as it is known in China - the Spring Festival, is the main event of the month. This takes place not only in China, but in all Chinese communities around Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. It’s the most important celebration in the calendar for Chinese people, with family members traveling back to their hometown to join loved ones. Bright colours and non-stop celebrations mark this auspicious, energy-fuelled event. Travellers can join joyous processions, explore seasonal markets, watch riveting lion dances and share in the jubilant atmosphere.

The Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (25 January – 8 February) in Mandalay is a special occasion when hundreds of pilgrims from all over the country travel to the most important Buddhist monument in their city.

The joyous and always spectacular Chingay Parades (31 January – 1 February) features an annual street parade held both in Singapore and Malaysia (though in Malaysia it occurs in December). Expect acrobat artists, giant artistic puppets and dramatic shows.

International Events

The world's largest ice festival, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (5 January – 20 February), takes place every year in China’s Harbin City. This annual event attracts artists and ice sculpting experts from all over the world.

The Ho Chi Minh Marathon (5 January) presents a fun and challenging opportunity for runners of all levels come together in Vietnam’s dynamic southern. Four race lengths, including a half marathon and full marathon, showcase historic and modern areas of Ho Chi Minh City. Before the race there will be a warm-day full of activities, as well as a Kids Dash for children ages 6 to 12.

The 18th Royal Langkawi International Regatta (6 – 11 January) held at Langkawi Island, Malaysia, is an international sailing competition featuring 50 sailing boats from around the world and top teams from the Asia Pacific.

Singapore Art Week (11 – 19 January) is a nine-day celebration of the visual arts will take place in venues across Singapore; from galleries and museums to art precincts and independent art spaces.

Throughout January visit Thailand’s Red Lotus Sea Festival in Udon Thani, Borsang Umbrella & Sankamphaeng Craft Festival (17 – 19 January) in Chiang Mai, and the Colours of Doi Tung and Chiang Rai ASEAN Flowers Fair (25 December – 12 January) in Chiang Rai.

Watch the heavyweights in action at one of Japan's most prestigious sumo events, the Grand Sumo Tournament (12 – 26 January), in Tokyo. Held every January, this is the first of Japan's six annual Sumo Tournaments, known as honbasho.