November 2018

Celebration Time

A major event in Asia in November is Deepavali (also known as Diwali). It’s an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year in Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over despair. Fairs take place in many towns and villages with numerous performances.

It’s Loy Kratong in Thailand – a festival also celebrated in some neighboring parts of Laos. Loy Kratong is one of the most picturesque festivals to take place in Asia as people release lotus shaped rafts with candles onto the water.

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival in Myanmar celebrates with food stalls, shops selling local products, magic shows, puppet shows, theatrical shows, Zat pwe and Anyeints. Locals and foreigners join in the celebrations together on this auspicious occasion.

Celebrated in Tokyo since the latter part of the Edo era, the Asakusa Tori no Ichi Festival is a sure sign that winter is just around the corner. Observed in order to pray for wealth and good fortune for the year ahead, it is held every November on the days of the rooster.

Cambodia’s water festival is known as Bon Om Thouk and marks the end of the monsoon - and the reversal of the flow of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, a natural phenomenon unique to Cambodia. Hundreds of thousands descend on the capital for three days of partying and festivities on the riverside.

Oc Bom Boc Festival is a celebration of cultural pastimes in Soc Trang, Vietnam. Once a year the Khmer community from all over Vietnam and even Cambodia turns out for this festival, with longboat races taking place on the Soc Trang River. Races are held according to the lunar calendar 14 - 15 November (10th lunar month). The races start at noon but things get jumping in Soc Trang the evening before.

Bun Pha That Luang Festival is the largest temple fair to take place in Laos, featuring shows and carnival-type games. Temples are illuminated at night and the festival culminates on the morning of the full moon when several thousand monks receive alms at the 'dak baht' ceremony.

International events

The Singapore International Film Festival is a time to celebrate the stories of Asia, Southeast Asia, and the world as told through the art of film and the experience of cinema.

In Malaysia literature and music are the center of attention at the George Town Literary Festival & Penang Island Jazz Festival. The Penang Island Jazz Festival features local and international performers. Or really put yourself through the paces with an Ironman event on November 17 in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Yi Peng Festival takes place in Thailand and is a traditional performance in Lanna style when floating lanterns are released into the night sky – which is a spectacular sight to behold. Join in a demonstration of how to make Yi Peng lanterns.

Weather Patterns

As the dry season takes hold in Southeast Asia, the clear weather and sunny days make it one of the best periods to travel here (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar). Now is the best time to enjoy a cruise between Mandalay and Bagan.

Take advantage of the great weather with trekking in Myanmar (Shan state around Inle Lake, Hsipaw, Kyaing Tong, Putao, Chin State). It’s also a great month to explore Hong Kong and Japan. Northern China is getting cold but the weather in the south is ideal (perfect time to visit Guilin). Outstanding autumnal colors in Japan and parts of China (national parks in Sichuan).