How to mix the old and new on a Japanese holiday

Japan is a juxtaposition of ancient and modern life. From zen gardens and Buddhist temples, to flashing neon signs and bullet trains. The culture in this magnificent country is truly unique as the old and new blend seamlessly into one another. If you’re travelling to Japan in the near future or you’re looking for inspiration for your next holiday destination, you’ll want to make the most of everything the country has to offer.

Below we’ll look at how you can get the perfect mix between ancient culture and modern living in some of Japan’s top destinations. This guide will discuss the must-see sites, best dining experiences and the perfect places to stay during your visit. Read on to learn more about this cultural, and equally futuristic nation.

Visit ancient historic sites

In order to get a feel for the culture of Japan, you absolutely must visit some of its best ancient and historical sites. Below are just some of the temples, landmarks and cities you should visit in order to experience traditional Japan.

  1. The Atsuta Shrine

The most important shrine in Japan, the Atsuta Shrine can be found in the city of Nagoya. Attracting more than five million visitors a year, this religious site dates back to the first century and is most famous for its preserved Imperial insignia.

  1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial

While technically classed as modern history, you’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t heard about the horrors of the Hiroshima bombing back in 1945. The city has since been rebuilt and there has been a memorial placed at the centre of where the bomb exploded, to commemorate all those who lost their life on that fateful day.

  1. Kyoto

The city of Kyoto was unspoiled by WWII and as a result has remained relatively unchanged over the last 1000 years. For this reason, it attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. You can really get a feel for Japanese culture here as you explore the old streets and traditional architecture of the Imperial family.

  1. Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace can be found in the nation’s capital, Tokyo, and is one of the most famous landmarks there. Dating back to the 17th century this beautiful palace is surrounded by parks, walls and even a moat.

  1. The Island of Miyajima

You’ll need to take a ferry from mainland Hiroshima, but Miyajima Island is well worth a visit. Known as the Shrine Island, it is home to the Itsukushima Shrine built for the princess daughters of the wind god Susanoo. Many of the buildings here are built up out of the water and the shrine itself dates back to the eighth century.

  1. Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle was built in 1586 by Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi. At this time the castle would have been the largest and most important fortress in the country. Though it has since been rebuilt, what you see today stays true to the original building.

Experience modern life in Japan

In contrast with the ancient and historical sites, you should also visit some of the modern wonders of Japan. Again, we’ll outline a few of the must-see spots and experiences below.

  1. Akihabara

Also known as ‘Electric Town’, Akihabara is a haven for electronics and second-hand gaming stores. When it’s all lit up at night you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that it resembles the giant billboards and big lights of Times Square.

  1. Shibuya Crossing

The busiest intersection in Japan can be found in Tokyo. With as many as one thousand people crossing at any one time, you can imagine just how bustling this area of the city truly is. This is the pinnacle of modern life in a busy Japanese city and you can watch in awe as the sheer number of people pass each other almost seamlessly going about their day. It’s also been featured in many movies, including Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift.

  1. Tokaido Shinkansen

This is the name given to the high-speed ‘bullet train’ which runs between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Travelling up to 200 kilometers per hour this is one of the most iconic feats of engineering in Japan. Despite its speed, it is famous for being extremely safe to ride.

  1. Naoshima Island

Naoshima Island is also known as ‘Art Island’ and is a remarkable hub for arts and architecture. Covered in sculptures, museums and installations you can experience the nation’s most creative forms of expression.

Experiment with cuisine

Whenever you visit a country that isn’t your own it’s always nice to try the traditional and local cuisine. It’s no secret that Japanese food is delicious, the growing popularity of sushi and other dishes across the world speaks for itself. But how you dine when in Japan can really give you a taste of the old and the new.

Of course, you should try traditional dishes such as sushi, yakitori, miso soup, tempura and ramen, but you can enjoy these in very different ways. If you don’t fancy anything too crazy, just a traditional Japanese restaurant will do. However, in true Japanese style you can also dine in some of the most eccentric and unique experiences the world has to offer. The country has everything from high-tech dining with iPads and conveyor belts, to robot run restaurants and railway themed eateries where your food arrives on a model train.

Mix up your accommodation

You can even mix the old with the new when it comes to choosing your accommodation. Why not spend a few days in an authentic Japanese inn called a Ryokans. There are plenty of these all over the country, so you won’t struggle to find one you love, but these are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture.

What’s more, as with the futuristic (and just plain crazy) dining experiences, there are some pretty unique places to stay in Japan too. You can stay at a Godzilla themed hotel, or a hotel in which you’re checked in solely by robots, and these are either female androids or a scary dinosaur. But if it’s relaxation you’re after there are also a number of eco-friendly hotels out there that offer quirky and tranquil stays.

Written by Sarah McCann, Blog Editor at MyBaggage.com a luggage delivery company who have helped many travelers make their trip to Japan stress-free.

4 Ideal Locations for a Family Vacation in Indonesia

Source: Unsplash | Christopher Alvarenga

Family vacations are great. Family vacations abroad are even better! Not only do you get to bond and create new moments to remember, you also get to explore new places.

That being said, one of the most popular destinations for Southeast Asian families going on vacations abroad is Indonesia. It has ancient monuments, natural wonders, exotic flora and fauna, and, of course, plenty of gorgeous beaches. It doesn’t matter if your family is laid-back or adventurous, or if the children in your group are younger or older. Indonesia is a country where every member of your family can enjoy.

Here are some suggestions for places to see on your next family vacation in Indonesia.

Ocean Park BSD Serpong

If you’re looking for a no-fuss, fun-filled day in the pool with your little kids, Ocean Park BSD Serpong in Tangerang City is the perfect destination. This water park (or waterboom, as they’re called in Indonesia) is more or less just 45 minutes away from Terminal 3 Soekarno Hatta Airport, so you can immediately jump in and have some fun! It’s a little smaller compared to similar attractions in Indonesia, but you’ll get more attentive service in return. What’s more, the place rarely gets crowded so you can enjoy the pools, slides, and rides better. There’s a wave pool, too, if you prefer bouncing with the water. Meanwhile, young children will have lots of fun in the huge splash area. Finally, to satisfy your hunger pangs, there’s a food court with personnel walking around and carrying copies of the menu. You can order directly from the staff, and they’ll “deliver” the food you ordered.

Borobudur Temple

Does your family love touring historical and cultural sites? Then Borobudur Temple is arguably the best place to visit in Indonesia for you. Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Indonesia’s most visited tourist destination. It’s also a popular pilgrimage site during Vesak, drawing thousands of Buddhists from all over Indonesia. Made of volcanic stone, it was built in the 9th century under the Shailendra dynasty. Borobudur has nine platforms and three tiers: the base, body, and superstructure. These three tiers match the spheres of the universe according to Buddhist cosmology: kamadhatu, rupadhatu, and arupadhatu.

On top of the temple is a central dome surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each with their own stupa. Other decorations include 2,672 bas relief panels, considered to be some of the most elegant in ancient Buddhism. These bas reliefs depicting mythical beings in the Buddhist tradition and various facets of daily life in 8th-century Java have all been used as references for research.

Pemuteran Beach

Bali is world-famous for its many beautiful beaches, which means the island can get a little too crowded with tourists at times. Don’t fret, though. There are parts of Bali that aren’t as “touristy” as other beaches. This includes Pemuteran Beach on the northern coast. This black-sand beach is home to the largest artificial Biorock reef project, which aims to help restore coral reefs, protect the seas against global warming, and prevent beach erosion, among others. On the western end, you can climb a small peak to catch a view of the coastal area. Other popular activities in Pemuteran include snorkeling, diving, and even hiking in the nearby hills.

There’s also a Monkey Temple just a couple of kilometres to the east of Pemuteran. The monkeys here are quite friendly and, if you want, you can try feeding them with fruits. Just be careful to hold your bags firmly since the monkeys can be quite naughty and are known to snatch people’s belongings to play with them! Your family may also want to participate in regular clean-ups of the beach, where tourists pick up trash left on the beach. This is a great activity to help instill in your children the value of taking care of nature.

Green Village

For a more educational vacation, you can visit Green Village. Located by the Ayung River in Bali and founded by Canadian artist John Hardy, Green Village is a compound with 13 bamboo houses and villas. All of these are hand-constructed by the IBUKU architectural team using black and white bamboo. Everything in these structures are made from these sustainable materials, from the floors and walls up to the ceilings and roofs. These houses and villas are also designed to withstand both sun and rain and have been treated with boron, a natural chemical element. This makes the bamboo inedible to insects.

While at the Green Village, you can also visit PT. Bamboo Pure or the Bamboo Factory, where you can see how bamboo is prepared to become strong materials for building sustainable houses and furniture. There’s also the John Hardy Jewelry Factory, an open-air workshop where artisans create beautiful jewelry.

As you can see, there’s something for everyone in Indonesia. It’s indeed an ideal location to treat your family to a fun and worthwhile vacation. So what are you waiting for? Book that trip now and have a blast with your family!

Top Things to see and do in Thailand

Renowned for its gracious royal palaces, tropical beaches, and baroque temples magnified with images of Buddha and ancient ruins, located in the Southeast of Asia, Thailand is indeed a beautiful country. The country hosted over 22 million visitors and holiday makers in 2018 alone which connotes that Thailand is a destination for everyone seeking fun, recreation and educational trips.  Below is a quick guide on top activities for everyone planning their next trip to this paradise.

1. Visit the Elephant Nature Park

Situated in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, the Elephant Nature Park is a rehabilitation centre where elephants and other animals are rescued and bred with the full support of volunteers and visitors. Being the largest and best managed sanctuary in Thailand, it is actually a place for every fun seeker to witness. Elephant riding is highly prohibited in the park unlike other sanctuaries that chain the innocent animals to be ridden on.

Some of the elephants have been subjected to cruel upbringings so the sanctuary protects them against any form of unkindness. Some of the memorable activities tourists could engage in include- walking side by side with elephants, feeding and bathing them, learning about their behavioral patterns, give them medicines.

2. Stopover at the Floating Markets

Ever seen a market that floats on water?, then make a quick stop at the floating market. The market is literally filled with ramshackle boats loaded with beautiful and colourful local produce such as yellow longan, pungent durian and custard apples. There are three famous floating markets in Thailand namely-

  • Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram
  • Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi
  • Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market, Bangkok

Visit any of them quite early before they get rowdy, also bring your camera along to take some pictures

3. Tour the Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw

Located in Bangkok, this magnificent famous palace was built in 1782 and had been home to Thai Kings for over 150 years. It is undoubtedly a glittering wonder every tourist must see before leaving Thailand. Don’t forget to keep your camera by your side for the best memories

4. Have a Cocktail at the Sky Bar

Call it the 8th wonder of the world and you wouldn’t be wrong. It stands high over all the swanky rooftop bars in Thailand and acclaimed to be the world’s highest open-air bar. Situated on the 63rd floor of State Tower, the sky bar has a perfect 360-degree panoramic view of the entire city of Bangkok. The 820 ft tower springs above countless number of skyscrapers and it’s an ideal spot for every tourist as it host live outdoor music

5. Jungle Fishing In Thailand

Your vacation in Thailand is basically incomplete if you fail to do jungle fishing in Thailand. Thailand has the biggest fish species in the world so be sure to carry one of those fishes in your arms, but this can be achievable through an experienced Thai fishing guide. Beyond every reasonable doubt, the River Monsters Thailand have proved over the years to be the best guide any tourist would need; their lake is filled with the biggest fishes such as 3 metres long Arapaima, 200lb Carp, Redtail and Chayo Praya Catfish etc. Comfortable accommodation spaces and professional services are also guaranteed.

Give Yourself A Chance To Explore Asian Places And Their Culture

Source: Wikipedia

Asia is one of the biggest and most populated continents of our globe. Also, the continent that has experienced a vast number of historical events.

Other than this, Asia is the continent that has a vast number of culture and places which a person will surely desire to experience. And I was one of those who really want to feel the Asian culture and learn about the history and mystery related to these places.

So, to satisfy my inner bugs, I made a list of places to visit and experience their culture. Then, I pack my bag, made my air Canada booking (you can also select other flights) as per your travel route. In case, you too traveling on the same flight then I advise you to first go through the air Canada baggage information, Flight information, and policies regarding your travel.

So here I share some of the places from my list you should visit once to experience the various cultures around the globe:

 

Songkran Festival, Thailand

 

There is a Songkran festival in the south of Thailand, called Maunnak, which is a big event taking place every five to six months, but it’s the southern part of Thailand, as it is called.

In the past, it was known as the Phuket Festival, but now it is called Songkran. It’s a big one! The songs sung around the day of the festival are the local culture, but they’re also the culture of the Chiang Mai island.

Songkran festival has a different atmosphere, and you will get to meet some lovely folk and visit some beautiful places. Don’t be surprised if you spend a lot of time just watching with your favorite person.

 

Terracotta Army Museum, China

 

The Terracotta Army Museum is one of Beijing’s oldest cultural institutions. Visit the Terracotta Warriors exhibit in the Chinese consulate. It holds some fascinating stuff. This is the only place in the world to see all of the Terracotta Warriors (from front to back side) in one place:

The Museum provides an incredible overview of the ancient world and is the best place to learn about the history of the Terracotta Warriors. This unique collection of ancient sculptures have been studied and researched since the mid-1970s and are still used in China today.

The Museum also maintains the largest and most complete knowledge base about the history of the Terracotta army. The Terracotta Warriors represent all of China’s glorious past that is hidden behind the facade of history.

Visiting the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors in CHINA will bring an unforgettable historical experience with world-renowned and spectacular pieces of ceramic making history. The Museum has a unique collection of historical artifacts which are the result of hundreds of thousands of years of preparation.

 

Holi, India

 

The festival Holi in India is a famous festival for all Indians, which celebrates both Hindus and Buddhists. In fact, one person can be considered the ultimate king of India.

This festival is also a spiritual and cultural landmark as some people can become gods of their respective states.

I started to look around to find a festival that was more than simple traditionalism. So I chose Holi in India and found this interesting festival with many different aspects. This festival will provide a warm welcome to all.

So, for one day and night, you will be able to celebrate the Holi tradition with friends, family members, and even strangers. Here is what you need to know.

 

Bali, Indonesia

 

Bali is beautiful. And when you’re there, you get to experience the entire Indonesian archipelago to its fullest potential. The beautiful Bali region is a beautiful and remote region of Southeast Asia that’s really the epitome of a country, of a culture and a place.

If you want to explore every culture and history on this island, you can. From the jungle of Papua to the caves of the North Island, Bali is home.

Bali might be the most photographed island in the world, but that doesn’t mean it offers the best experiences. If you’re looking for a quiet, beautiful island to spend some time for a week, then Bali is the home country.

If you’re looking for an easy way to visit Bali with your family or friends you shouldn’t have to spend a significant amount of time there. As the locals know, a simple visit can help everyone relax!

 

La Tomatina Festival

 

La Tomatina Festival. It’s free, it’s beautiful, and it’s got everything you could wish for! It’s La Tomatina Festival! And that’s great. But don’t let that lull you into your shell. This is truly an extraordinary festival for a reason: It’s fun.

Every year, thousands of people from around the world come to explore the island of La Tomatina, live music and festivals, food and cocktails, and the incredible beauty and nature all around it. If you’ve ever been to La Tomatina Festival, I sincerely suggest you try it out!

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival held by the Boryeong Province Tourism Administration (GRTA) and has about 30 attractions. The festival was launched in 2003, but there are still thousands of visitors during its three festival days.

It makes the Boryeong Mud Festival a wonderful and unique event for visitors of all ages and experiences and makes this will be the best chance to discover Boryeong’s unique tradition in a whole new light.

Last Words

Our globe is an amazing place that holds various histories to mysterious, mountains to beaches, different weathers, cultures. Traveling is a beauty that every person once experience and believe me guys; traveling will bring various cultures in front of you. So, pack your bags and explore the ASIA.

Enjoy your Journey!

Amazing Asian Destinations For First Timers

Travelling to far flung, exotic and unique places in Asia is often times high on the bucket lists of many people. Who wouldn’t want to traverse unknown places, explore bustling cities, try new and strange food, see beautiful sights and more? It’s one of the most time honoured traditions that has luckily become more accessible to the masses these days thanks to cheaper flights, more competition with hotels and great travel deals to be had all over the globe. Sound like something you can get behind? Here’s a list of our favourite destinations for the traveller who wants something exciting, challenging and unique – whether it’s their first for fiftieth time abroad.

Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in South East Asia, with stunning coastline that runs the length of the country, unique rock formations in Ha Long Bay and bustling cities brimming with tasty opportunities to try local cuisine either through food tours or cooking classes. Don’t miss out on some of the historical side of the country with many different ways to learn about the Vietnam war, either through visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels, countless museums or some of the battlefields themselves, such as those near Da Nang.

Japan

Easily one of the most desired destinations for travellers to Asia, Japan has it all, a bit of something for everyone. Visit in the springtime to experience the deeply loved tradition of ‘hanami’, the enjoyment of picnicking under the sakura blossoms or its night time equivalent, ‘yozakura’. Whether you like modern and futuristic vibes or traditional culture, you’ll find something to tickle your fancy in Japan. Dine at a robot restaurant or sing karaoke in a neon lit karaoke room before touring the bright lights and strange sights and sounds of both Shinjuku and Harajuku. If you want a real physical challenge, you can try climbing Mount Fuji, or for those who want relaxation, kicking back in some hot springs is just what the doctor ordered. Whether you want tradition or modernity, Japan has it all.

China

China is a vast country with a whole host of interesting landscapes, regions and things to see and do. Whether you want a nature based experience in the likes of Yunnan province with its green, lush mountains and lakes or you want to stroll through the bright neon districts of Shanghai or Hong Kong, China is a great mixture of East meets West. For the real adventurer, check out Western China and even further into Tibet – a place that few people seem to go.

Indonesia

Beaches, bikinis and boarding is a great way to sum up Indonesia. Parts of it anyway. On the island of Bali you can laze the days away on the beach just chilling out or you can hit up beach parties, swim with turtles or explore ancient temples. For some of the best beaches, check out Gili Trawnagan island. The best temple experiences are arguably on Java island near Yogyakarta. Whatever you decide, you’ll be in awe at the beauty, nature and adventure you can have in this nation made up of a string of islands.

Wherever you decide to head for your Asian adventure, one thing is for sure – you’ll be tempted back to the region time and again. Enjoy!

Manila: The Hub of Southeast Asian Life

The Philippines is an important part of South-East Asia and its capital, Manila is growing rapidly. The city is quite populated and holds the title of the most populated city in the world. This quality has created a lot of problems but they have also created a rich culture for themselves. Along with the modernity, there is a historical part of the city that tells us its Spanish origins. The city is just by the Manila Bay and the Pasing river flows through the city. It does have gone through drastic changes in the past and now the city has stabilized even after their rift on pollution and poverty.

Manila is connected to the rest of the world through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. You can get Dubai to Manila flights, Delhi to Manila flights, Qatar to Manila flights and much more. Bookings can be easily done through online websites.

When you are in Manila you will often be frustrated by the traffic. But we can assure you that the city has several places that you need to visit. So, here are some places that you should visit in Manila:

  • Binondo: If you love food and want to visit the oldest Chinatown in the world, then you have to visit Binondo. There are several fast food centers that provide you with the original experience. You can also visit Divisoria if you are good at bargaining and want to get your hands on some wholesale stuff. The Chinatown is in Old Manila so you wouldn’t have much trouble finding it. But do remember that it does get crowded.
  • Intramuros:This is the “walled city” and it forms the history of actual Manila. You can see the Spanish architecture and it is an amazing place to know about the history of the city. The place does provide a guided tour for people who are interested in it. Another fun way to explore the place is by a Bambike, which is a bicycle made from bamboo.
  • Poblacion, Makati:The hub of culture is often seen in the places of socialization. Poblacion is the old downtown area which is a major business district of the city. You will get several dining and entertainment based places around this area. The best thing is that most of these places have an outside area so you can actually be a part of the jostling city.
  • Mall of Asia:If you want to experience the modern side of the city then you have to visit MoA. It is regarded as one of the biggest malls present in the whole of Asia. It is situated by the Manila Bay so you can actually enjoy that view while having a drink at a comfortable bar. You will get different brands and amenities in this mall and it actually speaks a lot about the emerging culture of the Philippines.

Manila is a great city even after the humongous population and the traffic jams. We should always look forward to its rich culture and hospitality when we are paying them a visit.

The Most Comfortable Night’s Sleep Money Can Buy In Singapore

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a president or a princess, a sultan or a king? While it’s unlikely most of us will reach these stations in life, that doesn’t mean we can’t live like a king or a queen – at least for a few nights.

Luxury hotels are designed to cater to their guests’ every whim, creating a space that is both lavishly opulent and endlessly comfortable. Whether offering butler service or massages on your private balcony, these testaments to exclusivity provide everything you could possibly want, day and night.

If you happen to be travelling to Singapore, and are searching for an exquisitely comfortable night’s rest, look no further. For anyone in need of some inspiration, this is what it’s like to stay in one of the finest luxury hotels in Singapore.

A Sense of Refinement

Looking out onto the dazzling Marina Bay waterfront, The Fullerton Bay Hotel enjoys prime positioning within Singapore’s vibrant heritage precinct. Paying heed to the elegance and culture of yesteryear, this is a hotel that embodies sophisticated refinement.

Honoured with a position within the top one per cent of hotels in Singapore by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017, The Fullerton Bay Hotel combines personalised service and exquisite facilities within a magnificent setting.

And what about that view? With its enviable waterfront location, this charming hotel provides perfectly picturesque views over Marina Bay from many of its rooms and suites, but perhaps none more so than the Presidential Suite.

Luxuriate the Senses

Guests staying in the luxurious Presidential Suite can enjoy a panoramic view of the Marina Bay waterfront and city skyline from both the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, and from the privacy of the suite’s exclusive balcony.

Imagine looking out onto the shimmering water at sunset, watching as reds, pinks and oranges soar across the sky. Observe as one-by-one, lights within Singapore’s towering buildings illuminate the cityscape – all from the tranquil retreat that is the Presidential Suite.

Sprawling across 152 square metres, the suite is spacious and perfectly laid out. Lavishly appointed, it is decked out in opulent golden acer, with rosewood wall panels, creamy marble and perfectly positioned embellishments of tasteful artworks.

Guests can relax in the generous living and dining area, unwind in the lounge and game room, or get some work done in the study. Come night time, they can shut out the world within the tranquil bedroom, sink into bed to luxuriate in Egyptian cotton quality linen, enfolded in a glorious goose down duvet and pillows.

There is just so much to love about living as a king or queen – or indeed, as a president. From helpful services such as express checkout and a shoe shine service, to customised Bottega Veneta collection room amenities and complimentary IDD calls to 15 selected countries, these are the little things that make a stay in the Presidential Suite an exceptional experience.

But really, whether staying in the opulent Presidential Suite, or any of the other beautifully appointed hotel suites and rooms, each stay at The Fullerton Bay Hotel is bound to be more than a little special.

Your Guide To ‘The Vegetarian Festival’ in Phuket, Thailand

One of the most eclectic, awe-inspiring and interesting festivals in Thailand is the vegetarian festival that takes place in Phuket each year. If you are interested in crazy festival and haven’t yet heard about or been to the vegetarian festival in Phuket, then read on and find out about this zany festival that is about far more than eating vegetarian food.

When The Festival Takes Place

Usually the festival takes place around October time, the dates change as the festival falls in line with the Chinese lunar calendar and hits on the 9th month within that calendar.

What is the Festival All About

The idea of the festival is that the Chinese believe that a 10-day diet of vegetarian food and scared rituals will cleanse the should and earn merits for the afterlife. The festival forms one of the parts of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival that takes place across Thailand.

Rituals and Traditions

During the festival, those practicing must where white during the 10 day period and undergo a strict vegetarian diet. The idea is to a complete cleanse of the body which also means no sex or alcohol. Some are exempt from the festival which includes those who are in mourning and women who are going through the process of menstruation or pregnancy.

Mediums will go into a trance-like state as the channel the deities and serve to rid those practicing of bad luck and bad fortune.

During the festival, people will aim to cleans their bodies by going to extraordinary lengths such as putting spikes through their faces, swelling swords and walking on fire.

Where the Festival is Held

Many of the traditions like fire-walking take place on the streets of Phukets but the majority of the rituals will take place a handful of the 40 Temples throughout the city. The Kathu Shrine is the holiest temple in Phuket and and this is where the origins of the vegetarian festival are. Thousands of practitioners will gather at the Kathu Shrine as they seek to rid themselves of bad luck and evil throughout the festivities.

The Closing of the Festival

At the end of the festival there is a huge fireworks display, this is also when the most ‘grotesque’ acts take place by those observing the festival and the final day of the festival is dedicated to prayer and worship as well as the ‘merit-making’ events. The end of the festival culminates in a party-like atmosphere with singing and dancing.

If you were to look online at this festival you will probably just see images of the gory merit-making that takes place but the festival is about far more than that. If you decide to head down to Phuket for the festival you will need to ensure that you remain respectful to the locals, this is an important festival for them and one which could dictate their future. By all means enjoy the festival, but look to keep your distance.