exciting events for you
Cultural and sporting events abound this issue, whether you want to sail in a bamboo boat — or fancy taking to the high seas in search of sailfish.
Chinese New Year
Although Chinese New Year across the whole of Asia is a big celebration, the festivities in Shanghai are a memorable whirl. Visit the lantern parade at the Yu Yuan Old Town Bazaar, culminating in the ringing in of the new year at midnight. Watch as a three tonne bell is struck over a hundred times to banish evil and ensure prosperity.
Throughout Thailand, the New Year's Eve festival is a boisterous affair. Today's modern day celebration is a raucous take on the tradition for Thai people to sprinkle water on family members for good fortune – and to pay their respects to Buddha. Also known as the Thailand Water Festival, Songkran is great fun to take part in – just prepare to get a little soaked!
Lotus Lantern Festival
Leading up to Buddha's birthday, hundreds of lotus shaped lanterns are hung across Seoul. The date changes each year as Buddha's birth date is defined by the lunar calendar. This illuminating festival officially starts when an enormous coloured lantern, the jangeumdang, is lit at Seoul Plaza and ends with a lantern parade, right in the heart of the capital.
Gnaoua World Music Festival
The 18th century fishing town of Essaouria plays host to this colourful event, drawing some 50,000 visitors to the four-day event each year. Hailing from West Africa, the traditional music makers use only three instruments: castanets, drums and lutes to make their distinctive sound, with dancing sometimes lasting until dawn.