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10 Best Cultural Festivals in Southeast Asia in 2023

A list with Southeast Asia best festival to attend in2023!

SOUTHEAST ASIA CULTURAL FESTIVALS

Five years ago I’ve visited for the first time Bangkok, Thailand and since then I returned every year to taste and experience more of Southeast Asia.

I have to admit I love this side of the world and I appreciate not only the food, their people, the landscape, beaches, and the wild parties, but their traditions and culture as well.

Based on the cultural events I’ve attended so far and the impressions I’ve made during my trips, I made the 10 best cultural festivals in Southeast Asia.

Also read: Best Travel Guides and Books for Southeast Asia Destinations

10Vesak Festival – Indonesia – May 16th, 2023

Vesak Festival

9Sinulog Festival – Philippines – January 16th, 2023

Sinulog Festival, cebu, philippines

8Thaipusam Festival – Malaysia – January 18th, 2023

Thaipusam Festival

7Lunar New Year Festival – Singapore – 1st & 2nd February 2023

Lunar New Year Festival singapore

6Hue Festival – Vietnam – 1-6th April 2023

hue festival vietnam
Picture by Bex Walton

Vietnam is incredibly rich when it comes to culture and history, and that’s what the Hue Festival is all about.

If you want to learn more about this magnificent country, you must know this is a popular cultural event that takes place every two years in April, May, or June. It aims to strengthen relations between the Vietnamese cultures and other international cultures.

Among the many activities, you can be part of impressive firework shows, poetry workshops, art expositions, street art, performances, concerts, plays, and a week dedicated to Vietnam’s historical cinematography. 

What I love about this festival is that is only a few kilometers away from the beach and you can always go for a day trip or even stay overnight in one of the beach resorts from there.

Where to stay during the Hue Festival: Mondial Hotel

See also: When is the Best Time to Visit Vietnam

5Nyepi Festival – Indonesia – 3 March, 2023

Nyepi Festival indonesia

4Panagbenga Festival – Philippines – 1st February every year

Panagbenga Festival
picture by susancorpuz90

The Panagbenga Festival or the Festival of Flowers is not just one of the colorful festivals in the Philippines, but will also enchant (those without allergies) with the smells.

It’s held every February to mark the beginning of the bloom season with parades and floats made of flowers. The two parades are the highlight of the festival, and they’re held at the end of the month.

The festival always ends with massive firework displays, but until then visitors can enjoy workshops, great food, contests, horse rides, and bazaars with everything you can think of.

Where to stay during the Panagbenga Festival: The Manor at Camp John Hay

See also: Discover the Best Places to Visit in the Philippines

3SIFA Festival – Singapore – 20th May, 2023

Singapore International Festival of the Arts
picture by Choo Yut Shing

Singapore International Festival of the Arts, or SIFA, is the peak of everything related to arts and culture and turns Singapore into a massive stage, receiving hundreds of artists from many fields.

If you thought most human imagination has already been visualized, SIFA will show you our creativity is limitless.

Tourists flock to take part in it and there is something for everyone: cinematography, fine arts, performing arts, music, digital art, etc. If this sparked your interest make sure you head over to Singapore between May and June.

Where to stay during the SIFA Festival: Novotel Singapore On Stevens

See also: Where to Stay in Singapore: Best Hotels and Hostels

2The Hungry Ghost Festival – Singapore – 12nd August, 2023

singapore hungry ghost festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival, aka Ghost Festival, is an international festival in Southeast Asia, which takes place in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and others.

Singapore celebrates it for the whole month, which is also known as the “ghost month”. It’s said hungry ghosts can cross the border between life and death and come back to earth in search of food.

Practicing Buddhists and Taoists make offerings to these tormented souls, so they can return to the land of death. Aside from these, the festival holds various events such as performances, traditional concerts, and culinary events.

Where to stay during the Ghost Festival: Oasia Hotel Downtown

1Phuket Vegetarian Festival – Thailand – TBA October, 2023

Phuket Vegetarian Festival
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Catalin Geangos is the founder and previous owner of TravelTrained. He has been to more than 35 countries and lived in a few more before. He was a digital nomad travelling and backpacking extensively in Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and others parts of South East Asia from 2020 to 2023. He wrote about many articles about his first hand backpacking and partying experiences in these countries. He stayed in many hostels and hotels, met many other backpackers, travelers and locals whom he partied and shared his story with. His articles have inspired travelers, mostly single backpackers, around to world to take the leap to explore South East Asian countries from grassroots and not just the tourist attractions but also the real and happening life on the streets after the sun sets down! He now writes about outdoor gear and hiking.