Festival Inspired Travel – in honour of Chinese New Year
Happy Chinese New Year!
Tomorrow marks Chinese New Year and the start of the Year of the Rooster! With celebrations kicking off all around the world and the spotlight now on South East Asia what better time to take a look some of the regions greatest tourist destinations.
Where is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Although titled Chinese New Year, the celebrations spread, with the flow of Buddhism and other cultural and agricultural practices, throughout South East Asia. As a hugely popular destination for Australians, and an exotic location for those in Europe and America, this region is a tourist hotspot. If watching or taking part in the festivities makes you want to explore more of South East Asia, here are 3 of my favourite destinations to get you started.
A destination as chaotic as it is beautiful. The home to Chinese New Year and it’s celebrations, China is a travellers delight.
City lovers will delight with Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai along the East Coast. These sprawling cities offer the finest in high-end shopping, roof top bars and all the mod-cons. Those who prefer being off-the-beaten-track should head inland. Do you want to hike cliff faces to find Buddhist or Tao temples, hunt for scorpions with a UV light-wielding village children or visit the aptly napped Heavenly Lake? It’s all on offer in China. What more could you want from a trip?
Singapore is a great option for a micro-holiday. With Singapore Airlines a member of One World partner airlines it is often a transit destination for many travellers. Why not extend that stopover and spend a few nights? With incredible shopping malls and markets, mouth-watering food and a cultural melting pot, Singapore is sure to delight anyone.
Singapores origins as a trading route and more recently as a business hotspot, mean it is now home to Chinese, Malaysians, Indians and many others. Wandering the various quarters and interacting with all the locals makes you feel as if you are everywhere at once – something distinctly Singaporean.
This country holds a soft spot in my heart. As my first overseas solo destination, I was so nervous when I stepped off the plane. After my first night, I was in love.
Malaysia as a country is mind blowing. The food is second to none, the scenery is spectacular, and the people are the most beautiful I’ve met. But the absolute highlight of this South East Asian nation is the wildlife! Orangutans, proboscis monkeys, hornbills, sea turtles and dolphins… the list is endless. If you do anything this year, I’d suggest a trip to this Asian gem.
What else is on?
National holidays and celebrations provide a great opportunity for countries to increase their advertising campaigns. Chinese New Year is a great excuse to showcase what’s on offer in South East Asia, just as Australia Day broadcasts the great Australian way of life (happy Australia Day for yesterday fellow Aussies!). So what else is on this year?
The annual events don’t change much, so keep an eye out for amazing travel opportunities like Holi Festival in India (March), ANZAC day in Turkey (April), the Cherry Blossom Festival is Japan (April-May) and Oktoberfest in Germany (October).
Tips for travel during Festivals
If you aren’t prepared, massive public gatherings and celebrations will disrupt your travel plans. However, they can also make for an incredibly memorable experience.
Booking early will snag you great deals as festivals will increase the price of tickets for travel and accommodation. Not only will you be competing with tourist seasons, but also domestic travellers. It pays to do your research on a destination to ensure you don’t inadvertently end up there in peak travel times – unless you want to 🙂
Not only does it help to find out when a festival is on, but also what it involves. Some events may involve the use of elephants, the slaughter of ceremonial animals or the creation of mass amounts of rubbish (hint: use fabric lanterns to celebrate your Chinese New Year). There may also be the requirement to dress more conservatively, for example Ramadan is a particularly strict time of year in Muslim countries.
新年快乐 / 新年快樂 /New Year happiness!
Whilst you watch all those Chinese New Year celebrations unfold, just remember that you too can visit these incredible places. South East Asia is a region that is affordable, well serviced by airlines and one that cannot be missed. So where to for you in 2017?
Wherever you end up, travel during a festive season will be an experience like no other. So why not use the festivities to inspire your next trip or bucket list?
If you have any advice on festival travel for me, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Please also remember to subscribe to my newsletter (at the bottom of this page) to have all my sustainable travel advice delivered to your inbox.