The beginning of November often signals the end of a year, and the time for a holiday. In Southeast Asia, November marks the exit of the monsoon season, bringing not just dry weather to most of the region, but festivals that coincide with the full moon. Let’s take a look at five festivals in the region that are worth checking out.
Loi Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand
You might have seen more than a few pictures of the famous Loi Krathong festival of lanterns. Well, it’s one of Thailand’s most popular and picturesque events that is celebrated right at the end of the rainy season when the full-moon appears.
That’s a cue for people from all over the country to gather around lakes, canals and rivers to release lanterns, rafts and flowers. The vast candle-lit sights are wonderful to witness against the evening sky, and a form of respect to the goddess of water.
Not just limited to the locals, many from around the world also come to Chiang Mai, where the festival is held.
The Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan, India
After the burning summer heat, November is considered the perfect month to visit Rajasthan’s historical forts and palaces.
But there’s something else to see – a huge, exciting, camel fair.
Initially, the Pushkar Fair was created as a trading ground for local camel traders to do business. Over the years, over 400,000 people have visited the major tourist attraction that’s been rated as one of India’s most highly-anicipated travel experiences.
The camels are dressed up, paraded and entered into beauty contests. They also take part in races that pundits make a tidy profit from.
Another popular way to witness the carnival-like atmosphere is from above, in a hot air balloon, especially in the early mornings and evenings.
Bon Om Touk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Bon Om Touk, or the Cambodian Water Festival, is a three-day festival marking the end of the rainy season, usually held in the third week of November.
It takes place primarly in the capital of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but many from all over Cambodia take part in the activities including concerts, traditional dancing, and feasting.
The main showstoppers are racing boats. Regattas often include as many as 400 boats, decked in bright colours and rowed by monks.
Bun Pha That Luang in Vientiane, Laos
The largest temple fair in Laos, the week-long festival usually held in early November to coincide with the full moon.
The statue is considered as Lao’s national symbol.
At sunrise, devotees circle the area three times in an anti-clockwise direction, followed by a procession to Pha That Luang, which is illuminated all night for a week.
Tourists can expect to see thousands of monks from across Laos gather with miniature temple statues and flower offerings.
Seoul Lantern Festival in Seoul, South Korea
Almost two million people flock to Seoul each November to participate in the annual two-week festival lantern festival. It’s one of the country’s most popular cultural celebrations, held in downtown Seoul at the Cheonggycheon Stream.
The two-week event that started in 2008 is a brilliant display of local lanterns – both traditional and modern.
You’ll be able to see hundreds of intricately made lanterns, some of them life-sized, created by locals as well as artists worldwide. Many programs take place, such as sending up sky lanterns and crafting traditional Korean ones.
So, are you booking a flight out to one of these four festivals yet? Or is there a place we don’t know about? Tell us below!