March 2018

Celebration Time

Unlike most cultures across the world that celebrate New Year with parties and sparkling festivities, the new year in the Balinese Saka calendar is dedicated to complete silence. This is called Nyepi Day, the Balinese day of Silence, and it falls in 2018 on March 17 (the night of a new moon). Demon effigies or huge monsters with bulging eyes made of bamboo, papier-mâché and cloth and known as Ogoh-Ogoh are carried through the streets in torch-lit parades. No travel (domestic, international or local) or activities should be scheduled for Nyepi Day.

Buddhist celebrations provide the opportunity to see humbling ceremonies in Vietnam. The Perfume Pagoda Festival (March 2) in West Hanoi sees hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive at a sacred cave to pray.

International events

Art Basel (March 29 – 31) in Hong-Kong attracts the world's leading gallerists and collectors. This avant-garde exhibition always promises to push the boundaries of our expectations. The Hong Kong International Film Festival also takes place from March 19 – April 9.

This month, Singapore welcomes the HSBC Women’s Champions (March 1 – 4), with the best in women’s golf invited to grace the greens at Sentosa Golf Club. It’s also time for Ultra Singapore (March 23 – 25), the world's largest independent electronic music festival.

Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (March 10 – 11) is an extreme, outdoor ultra-trail marathon that will take runners through a combination of natural jungle settings and cultural landscapes via trails, dirt tracks and back-roads in the Kiulu Valley North of Kota Kinabalu.

The Grand Sumo Tournament takes place in Osaka from March 11 – 25.

Java Jazz is a well-respected festival amongst jazz fans. In the first 10 years the festival was running, names such as the late James Brown, Santana, Stevie Wonder and Jamie Cullum have graced the stage - with many more big names set to join their ranks.

Weather Patterns

Predominantly great weather for traveling in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore). Now is also the ideal time for cruising on Halong Bay in Vietnam (dry and cool). Spring is approaching in Japan and China with cherry blossom ready to burst open. The rapeseed flower fields are also nearing opening in Luoping (Yunnan province, China), while the peach blossom festival takes place in Shanghai, China.

With March arrives excellent weather for traveling in Malaysia with the exception of Borneo where rain is still expected.