Harbin Ice Festival, Harbin, China. This festival happens during January. The residents of Harbin resist the bitter Siberian winter by building a city made exclusively of ice instead of staying in front of the fire indoors. Laser technology and traditional sculpting techniques are used to build the chilly metropolis, which then melts into the history books with the arrival of spring.
Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, Saidaiji-naka, Japan. This festival happens during the third Saturday of February. You’d be surprised and not much can prepare you with seeing 9,000 near naked men fight over a 20cm-long stick. This is one crazy festival for foreigners, but that’s the aim at Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri. A priest tosses two sacred shingi sticks into the heaving mass at midnight and whoever catches, snatches and, ultimately, stuffs the sticks into a box of heaped rice will be blessed with a year of happiness. But the warning is, an aching muscles and limbs the next day.
Songkran, Thailand happens every 13-15 April. Never mind the crowded pubs and expensive eateries because here they really splash out during the New Year. Be prepared for a three-day of oversized water guns and buckets of the blue stuff as Songkran hoses down the hottest month of the year with country-wide water fights. According to tradition, the water symbolizes cleansing, however, these days it looks like it’s more of an excuse to get elephants to spray unsuspecting onlookers.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Phuket, Thailand happens during September. Organizers of this event took to self-mortification to liven things up when they realized how boring a vegetarian festival was. There is no truth in it, because this yearly veggie fest features some really shocking displays of body piercing. It’s barely a ringing endorsement for going veggie, however very fun.
Monkey Buffet Festival, Lopburi, Thailand the festival is celebrated every 25th of November. The 3,000 crab-eating macaques found at Lopburi in Thailand gorge on much more than just crustaceans, especially as locals leave out 4,000 kilos of fruit, cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks for the Monkey Buffet Festival. Watch them stuff their faces, steal cameras, ruffle hair and clamber over anything that moves during the event or join in with sideshows of music, dance and, rather predictably, monkey fancy dress.
Baliem Valley Festival, Papua, Indonesia
August – aside from all the city of Jakarta has to offer, this unique Papuan festival is worth a visit as well. This traces its root in the belief held by the various local tribe that war is not only a conflict of power and interest, but also a symbol of fertility and prosperity. A rich celebration of the Baliem Valley’s diverse indigenous cultures.
Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore hopes that the above information is helpful. May we encourage you to try visit Southeast Asia and experience the craziest festivals you will certainly enjoy.