This week there has been a lot of publicity about the tragic events at the Water Festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where over 370 people were trampled to death in a stampede as the crowd became panicked. It was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with all those affected by the event. Thankfully we can confirm that none of our travellers and staff or their friends and families were involved.
Intrepid’s Graham Stanley was in Siem Reap to visit our Cambodian office at the same time as the Water Festival…”The festivities here in Siem Reap were a lot less news-worthy and it was actually a fantastic occasion. The Water Festival is one of the largest festivals in Cambodia. The town was full of foreign visitors, as well as Cambodian tourists from other cities or the countryside wanting to be a part of the event.
Diwali falls on the 15th day of the Indian lunar month of Kartika. The Festival of Lights is a time for positivity and joy and as Intrepid Express reader Carli Darbyshire discovered, it’s a wonderful time to be in India…
“Arriving in Delhi during Diwali festival I felt like I had entered another world. Despite the constant problems with electricity, every house was lit up like crazy with each house trying to out do their neighbours efforts. The sky was illuminated every split second with flares, Chinese fire crackers and fireworks until late in the night. The sounds ricocheted off buildings and if you closed your eyes you could believe you were right in the middle of a war zone, but open your eyes and it looks like a fairy tale!
National Day on October 1st is one of China’s seven official public holidays. It’s a fabulous time to take part in the cultural celebrations and dramatic displays of national pride, but as Intrepid traveller Laura Carroll discovered, it can also be a time when getting around Beijing can be a bit tricky…
“Sometimes the best nights out are the ones that are completely unplanned. One fateful night in Beijing, a friend and I went out for dinner and a few drinks, then decided to head back to our hotel for a relatively early night. We knew, of course, that rehearsals for China’s National Day celebration were underway and that a few streets would be closed, but we didn’t think that it would affect us that much. We couldn’t have been more wrong.
Ready for A Taste of Russia at a time when locals celebrate Christmas, New Year, another Christmas, Old New Year and an Epiphany? Intrepid’s Anna Mikhailova explains why you should take this top trip in winter…
“In his novel The real life of Sebastian Knight, Nabokov, one of Russia’s finest authors, gave this description of a winter’s day in his home city:
“…the morning of 31st December was a fine windless one, with twelve degrees below zero. This dry account cannot convey to the untravelled reader the implied delights of a winter day such as this in St Petersburg; the pure luxury of a cloudless sky designed not to warm the flesh, but solely to please the eye, the soft curve of a cupola, its gold dimmed by the bloom of powdery frost; the birch trees in the public gardens, every tiniest twig outlined in white; the rasp and tinkle of winter traffic.”
In Nepal you can take your pick of three New Year celebrations. Lhosar is the New Year of the Sherpas and Tibetans celebrated on 5 March next year, Navavarsha is observed as the official Nepali New Year, which falls on 4 April in 2011, and as Intrepid Express reader Christine Ireland discovered, 31 December is also a wonderful time to be in Nepal…
“The New Year’s Eve street festival held lakeside in Pokhara is a time I will always remember. The street is alive with coloured lights, crisscrossing amid the tangle of electricity wires. Smells of hot curry, momos and sweet spices waft and mingle through the evening air, tempting one to sit and watch and drink in the festive atmosphere.
What better way to beat the blues than join in a celebration where you wash away your woes and watch them sail into the night? On 21 November this year Thailand will light up for Loy Krathong, the festival that pays respect to Mae Khongkha (Mother of Waters) by floating candles and incense sticks in banana leaf boats, or in some regions makes an offering to Lord Buddha by sending lanterns into the sky.
Whether it’s religious beliefs or the want to start afresh with renewed good luck that draws people to the events around the country, as Intrepid Express reader Molly Skoog discovered, it’s one of Thailand’s most magical nights…
What a thrill it is to arrive in the right place at the right time. It feels like a travel gift when on that very day a colourful Semana Santa street procession is starting up in Seville, or Aussie locals are licking their lips at the Broome Mango Festival and camel caravans are pulling into Pushkar for one of India’s most amazing fairs. Rather than leaving these incredible real life experiences to chance, planning your trip around a festival can be part of the fun.
It’s not easy to narrow it down, but here are our 5 best festivals for October and November…
For three days around the March full moon you can experience the welcoming of spring in northern India and Nepal. This exuberant and rowdy festival is awash with all colours of the rainbow and Intrepid Express reader Mellita Ilich found herself covered in the celebrations…
“My husband and I arrived in Nepal for a four week holiday. We were rather naive travellers back then and had read up on customs, food and drink, dangers, highlights etc, but had not thought about special events or festivals.
There are few festivals in Italy that don’t feature delicious local cuisine in their celebrations, and where there is food alongside fun, you can expect to find Intrepid’s Tamara Palinkas…
“I was really lucky, when in the small town of Maiori on the Amalfi Coast I got to celebrate Ferragosto with an Italian family. This is one of the most important Italian holidays, when on 15 August the country shuts down for a mid-summer feast celebrated with music and fireworks.