October 2021

Traditional Celebrations

Golden Week (1 – 7 October) in China is one of the peak periods for domestic travel in the country and best avoided if possible.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival (5 – 15 October) is a time when people of Chinese descent will, for nine days, adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and suspend numerous activities. This ceremony is not so much about vegetarianism as it is about welcoming good spirits and warding off bad ones with facial piercings.

Takayama Matsuri (6 – 13 October) is the annual festival of the Hachiman Shrine in the northern half of Takayama Old Town. The festival is also known as Hachiman Festival or Autumn Festival.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (6 – 23 October) is the most well-known festival held at Inle Lake and is marked by a procession of leg-rowed boats ceremoniously tugging four Buddha statues situated on a royal barge clockwise around the lake. Throughout the event, leg-rowed boat races are being held and hundreds of other vessels arrive to create a jubilant festive atmosphere.

The Chongyang Festival is also known as the 'Double Ninth Festival' (14 October). ‘Chong’ in Chinese means double which is how the name Chongyang came to be. It’s a day of eating Chongyang cake, drinking chrysanthemum wine, climbing mountains, and paying homage to chrysanthemums.

Indein Pagoda Festival (16 – 20 October) is a Buddhist ceremony held at the shrine complex of Indein, a small village located along Inle Lake. A Buddha image is enshrined at a stupa that sits on the summit of a hill with hundreds of ancient stupas located below.

Cambodia’s Water Festival is known as Bon Om Thouk (18 – 20 October) 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 along the riverside.

The Dancing Elephant Festival (19 – 21 October) in Kyauk Se near Mandalay is a performance from two men together inside an elephant figure dancing in rhythm. The huge elephants are made from bamboo and paper and move through the town to the accompaniment of dobat and drums.

Thandingyut Light Festival (19 – 21 October) is celebrated across Myanmar. It begins one day before the full moon and ends after three days. Houses and streets are beautifully illuminated. The nation’s pagodas are very crowded. It is not only a festival of joy but also a time to give thanks to parents and teachers and to ask those who you wronged during the year for forgiveness.

Boun Ok Pansa (20 October) in Laos is the 'End of Buddhist Lent Festival', marking the end of the monks' three-month fast. Donations and offerings are made at various temples with hundreds of ornately decorated candle-lit floats made from paper set adrift.

The Boat Racing Festival (21 October) in Laos sees Luang Prabang and the Mekong River come to life with flamboyant candle-lit boats made from strips of bamboo, tissue paper and candles.

Jidai Matsuri (22 October), or Festival of Ages, is the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. At this time a pageant is ferried through the city followed by 2000 people dressed in attire representing various eras of Kyoto's history. This is a great opportunity to see traditional Japanese customs and costumes.

Bang Fai Phaya, also known as the 'Naga Fireballs Festival', takes place every year in October around the full moon, when mysterious balls of fire rise into the sky from the Mekong River around Nong Khai, with no scientific explanation as to how. The unexplained phenomenon draws crowds of tourists to witness this magical sight, creating a festival atmosphere.

International Events

The Formula 1 Grand Prix (1 - 3 October) is one of Singapore’s most highly anticipated events each year.

Historically, the Japanese F1 Grand Prix (8 – 11 October) has been one of the last races of the season, and as such the Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue for many title-deciding races, with 13 World Champions being crowned over the 34 World Championship Japanese Grands Prix that have been hosted.

The Cross Harbour Race (11 October) sees about 1,000 contestants swim 1.8 km across iconic Victoria Harbour. The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival also takes place this month and brings together world-class food, drinks and entertainment right next to the stunning Victoria Harbour skyline.

Keep in good shape at the Tokyo Marathon (17 October) held in Tokyo, Japan, or get your heart pumping with the Luang Prabang Half Marathon through the UNESCO Heritage City of Luang Prabang in Laos.

Held at Singapore’s National Stadium in the heart of the city, the Singapore Sevens (29 – 30 October) showcases the game’s exciting seven-a-side format and featuring the 15 best-ranked nations in the sport.

The Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival has been held annually in Century Park during October since 2000 and is one of the major cultural festivals of Shanghai.

The Zhengzhou International Shaolin Martial Arts Festival aims to not only promote the popularization of the traditional martial arts and raise awareness of Zhengzhou City but also promote and strengthen the cooperation and communication of martial arts among the various countries and regions in the world.

The legendary Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is a spectacular event where artists, performers and musicians from across the globe share their knowledge and creative talents over a period of five days in Ubud on the island of Bali, Indonesia.