Vesak Day / Visakha Bucha Day (Buddha's Birthday) is a Buddhist holiday and one of the most important as Visakha Bucha commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. It coincides with the full moon, known as Uposatha day, generally taking place in the 5th or 6th lunar month. It’s celebrated at different dates during the month in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival (May 19-23) in Hong Kong is celebrated every year on the fifth to ninth days of the fourth lunar month. During this time people make papier-mache effigies of deities, wear costumes, bake many buns and build a large bamboo tower for the ‘bun snatching’ competition.
Sanja Matsuri (May 20) in Tokyo is a spectacular street parade full of elaborate floats that carry performers on a journey from Yanagi-dori to Asakusa Shrine.
Ramadan (May 15 – June 14) starts towards the end of May (mostly celebrated in Malaysia and Indonesia) and continues until the end of June.
In Cambodia the Royal Ploughing Ceremony (May 3) consists of a colorful parade outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Oxen racing and parades take place in villages around the country with locals sporting vibrant traditional dress.
Galungan (May 30) is a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. It marks the time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. It takes place in the familial temples where, according to the Balinese, the gods come down to earth and the ancestors’ souls pay a visit to their family.
Head to Malaysia where the spotlight is on Miri in Sarawak – in 2018 the Borneo Jazz Festival celebrates its 13th year and is scheduled to take place from 11-12 May, 2018.
Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon (May 19) includes a quarter of the 42.2 kilometer race run on the wall. Runners have to climb 3,700 steps in a course known to be unusually difficult and brutal.
May is the hottest month of the year in Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. Plenty of good deals are available during this period and it’s the perfect time to hit the beach. In Myanmar we suggest heading to Ngapali; or try Koh Phangan in Thailand and Koh Rong in Cambodia. Now is also a prime time to explore Indonesia, Malaysia (dry and sunny), China and Japan.