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.
10Vesak Festival – Indonesia – May 16th, 2023
9Sinulog Festival – Philippines – January 16th, 2023
8Thaipusam Festival – Malaysia – January 18th, 2023
7Lunar New Year Festival – Singapore – 1st & 2nd February 2023
6Hue Festival – Vietnam – 1-6th April 2023
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.
See also: When is the Best Time to Visit Vietnam
5Nyepi Festival – Indonesia – 3 March, 2023
4Panagbenga Festival – Philippines – 1st February every year
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.
3SIFA Festival – Singapore – 20th May, 2023
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.
2The Hungry Ghost Festival – Singapore – 12nd August, 2023
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.