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The Best Festivals in Africa & Asia

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Africa and Asia feel like they're made for festivals. Some are spiritual, others uniquely local, and nearly all involve some kind of music and dance. From Singapore to Thailand and from Morocco to South Africa, here are our picks for the top festivals to check out in Asia and Africa this year.
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17/1 ถนน คชสาร ตำบล ช้างคลาน อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่ เชียงใหม่ 50100, Thailand
The great thing about visiting Chiang Mai during the Loi Krathong Festival is that there are things going on all over the city at all hours of the day - activities are not just confined to the lantern release near the river. Plenty of activity...
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Kampung Selayang Permai, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Landing in heat-soaked Kuala Lumpur after being on the road for 24 hours can be disorienting. Incessant chanting (“vei vel shakti vel”), monkeys screeching, wafting incense, a glorious moon, and a million people. Thaipusam falls on a full moon and...
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One of the most important celebrations in Bali is Galungan. Beginning in or around late March, the festival symbolizes the victory of virtue (dharma) over evil (adharma). Hear the mysterious clangs of gamelan music; see women and girls in...
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Shiwar, Rajasthan 322704, India
The Holi Festival is also known as the festival of colors and is celebrated on a full moon at the end of February or beginning of March, which marks the end of winter. On the morning of the full moon people take to the streets ‘throwing paint’,...
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River Valley Rd, Singapore 179037
The Thimithi Festival, or Fire Walking Festival, in Singapore is a major Hindu festival celebrated during the month of October. It's purpose is to venerate and honor goddess Draupadi. Legend holds that Draupadi was made to walk on burning coals...
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Each Spring the Paro Festival or Tsechu takes place in Paro, Bhutan. The festival is a wonderful event to witness. Masked, barefoot dancers jump and twirl, while trying to subdue evil spirits and celebrate the teachings of Buddha. The event takes...
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5 Derb Zerbtana, Fès 30110, Morocco
When I told people I was traveling to Fes for north Africa’s most celebrated music festival, I heard, “Will you feel safe there?” or “You’re traveling halfway around the world to listen to church music?” Ironically, at the primary concerts,...
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Seoul, South Korea
A massive fall hit occurring each October is the Seoul International Fireworks Festival. This explosive evening boasts a carnival atmosphere, with concerts and games to distract visitors between fireworks sets. Teams of pyrotechnicians from Italy,...
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Gueliz, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
A royal-sponsored showcase of sorts for Morocco at its worldly, movie-friendly best, this longstanding annual event brings actors and directors from around the globe to Marrakesh. The festivities include screenings and public Q&A sessions; they...
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Abalak, Niger
In spring, around April, the commune of Akoubounou hosts the Shiriken Festival - a celebration of Tuareg culture and the camels that are integral to their traditional way of life. During the day, spectators watch a number of demonstrations...
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R310 Baden Powell Drive, Stellenbosch, 7603, South Africa
Around since 1692, Spier is one of the oldest and most well-known wineries in Stellenbosch. Not only does this historic estate continue to receive accolades for its wine, it’s also become a hotspot for travelers thanks to its family-friendly...
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Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Five stages of music. Thousands of jazz aficionados. AWESOME! The Mahotella Queens celebrate their 50th anniversary this year and kept the rowdy crowd on their feet. Basia, Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, Hugh Masekela, Al Jarreau, Prophets of da City,...