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 coincides with the full moon, known as Uposatha day, generally taking place in the 5th or 6th lunar month. It’s celebrated at different dates during the month in Hong-Kong, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a celebration where thousands of competitors take part in races as well as parades and other colorful activities. The annual occasion takes place in China, Hong-Kong, Malaysia (Penang) and Singapore and is usually held in June. It’s a colorful cultural festival with three distinct activities taking place; eating, drinking and racing dragon boats.
Golden week in China follows Labor Day that falls on May 1 and is an extremely popular time for domestic travel. In Japan, Golden week runs from April 29 (Showa Day) which honors the memory of the previous Emperor, to May 5 (Children’s day) and includes the adjacent weekends.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival 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 many buns and build a large bamboo tower for the ‘bun snatching’ competition. Bun snatching involves constructing three giant bamboo towers covered in buns, the higher the buns snatched - the more good fortune!
Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo is a spectacular street parade full of elaborate floats that carry performers on a journey from Yanagi-dori to Asakusa Shrine.
Ramadan starts towards the end of May (mostly celebrated in Malaysia and Indonesia) and continues until the end of June.
In Cambodia the Royal Ploughing Ceremony consists of a colorful parade outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Great focus is placed upon the humble oxen, a creature believed to be spiritually connected to the Earth and farming. Oxen racing and parades take place in villages around the country with locals sporting vibrant traditional dress.
Head to Malaysia where the spotlight is on Miri in Sarawak – in 2017 the Borneo Jazz Festival celebrates its 12th year and is scheduled to take place from 12-13 May.
Also in Malaysia, those strange people who like running up and down stairwells will be thrilled to know that the KL Tower International Challenge 2017 is set to take place on 14 May - with 2,058 steps to climb.
May is the hottest month of the year in Burma, 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.