December 2018

Celebration Time

Lovely December is an annual event held by the government of Tana Toraja, featuring a variety of works, artworks from the Tana Toraja culture.

Mount Popa Spirit Festival sees pilgrims gather from the countryside and nearby towns to enjoy this joyous festival to honor the nats, or local spirits in Myanmar.

The people enjoy local entertainment and a procession of the nats can be seen as part of the celebrations. Winter Solstice Festival (Hong Kong, China) takes place. The festival was traditionally the time when farmers and fishermen had to prepare for the coming colder months. In Hong Kong, most people finish work early on the festival and go home for lavish meals with their families.

Chichibu Yomatsuri is the festival of Chichibu Shrine just 90 minutes from central Tokyo. It is held every year on December 2 and 3, with the main action taking place on December 3. The festival's other attraction is its fireworks display, which lasts almost two and a half hours and gives you the rare opportunity to enjoy Japanese fireworks during winter.

Galungan (December 26) is a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. It marks the time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. It takes place in the familial temples where, according to the Balinese, the gods come down to earth and the ancestors’ souls pay a visit to their family.

International events

The Angkor Half Marathon takes runners past Angkor’s magnificent temples. Starting and finishing at Angkor Wat, the course is pleasantly flat and as expected, visually stunning. Luang Prabang Film Festival is another December event not to be missed, as is Christmas Wonderland in Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

Hong Kong Winterfest is a series of seasonal events over the Christmas and New Year period.

Light And Motion Putrajaya or LAMPU (Malaysia) will signify ingenious displays of lights, audio and motions at their best.

The Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair from 17 – 19 December) is an annual fair held at the end of the year near the Hondo or main hall of Senso-ji Temple. Some 50 open-air stalls selling hagoita (battledores), shuttlecocks, kites and other New Year decorations stand huddled together with people visiting from all over the country. This is a traditional fair dating back to the Edo Period.

Of course, New Year countdown is a big event in many of the larger Asian cities with celebrations and parties going on through the night.

Weather Patterns

It turns very cold in China and Japan (where the ski season starts), while in Southeast Asia the weather is reliably sunny and dry (great for Con Dao Island in Vietnam. Rain can be expected in parts of Indonesia though in Maluku and Raja Ampat, the weather is dry. Expect rain in Singapore and Malaysia.

Now is an excellent time to travel in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar) while the weather is sunny and dry.

Take advantage of the great weather with trekking in Myanmar (Shan state around Inle Lake, Hsipaw, Kyaing Tong, Putao, Chin State). Now is the ideal time to embark on a cruise between Mandalay and Bagan in Myanmar.