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5 best places to visit in Asia during early Spring

With the New Year bringing flowers and festivals all around the Asian neighbourhood, take this time for a short eye-opening experience around the region the beauty of spring in our continent.

1. Mathura, India

If there ever was an event that justified getting wet and techni-coloured, India’s incredible Holi Festival of Colours would be it. A joyous street celebration involving lots of coloured powder and water being thrown on everybody in the vicinity as well as plenty of singing, dancing and eating, The Festival of Colours is a time of unrestrained festive exuberance in the country.

Holi is a tradition that has lasted for centuries, believed to have been started as a practical joke played by Hindu deity Lord Krishna, who liked throwing coloured powder on girls. Partake in this festive exuberance in Mathura-Vrindavan, considered the birthplace of Lord Krishna, where Holi celebrations are so anticipated they continue for an entire week!

When: March 6
Where to go: Banke Bihari Temple, Mathura Vrindavan Temple, Dauji Temple

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2. Bali

If the hustle and bustle of humanity is not what you’re after, a trip to Bali for their annual Nyepi or ‘Day of Silence’ should suit you just fine. Unlike many other cities, the Balinese celebrate their New Year with self-reflection and peace rather than merry-making and rowdiness.

Falling on March 21 – the last day of the year according to the Balinese calendar – the Nyepi marks an almost complete stop to all activities in the city (including working, travelling, using electricity, talking and eating) so people can meditate, fast and do yoga. 

When: March 21
Where to go: islandwide

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3. Tokyo

Japan’s delicate cherry blossoms are the epitome of fleeting, poignant beauty: the Sakura are in bloom only once a year, and its entire cycle from the first blossom to falling petals takes only about a week. Its short-lived beauty is therefore highly anticipated and much sought-after, but predicting blooming period is difficult as they are heavily affected by weather conditions.

For 2019, Sakura season in Tokyo is predicted to take place between late March and early April. If you’re lucky enough to be there at the right time, head over to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for a picnic and an eyeful of Sakura trees covered in clouds of tiny blossoms in pastel shades of pink, purple, white, red and more.

When: Early April
Where to go: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

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4. Bangkok

Image credit: James Antrobus

Though water fights might sound like a thing of your adolescent past, you’d be surprised at how much fun it can be even as an adult when an entire country of people get together for the biggest water fight on the continent. Get your swimsuit, buckets and water guns ready for Thailand’s Songkran or Water Festival, and be prepared with numerous changes of clothes because the party-loving Thais make sure the watery celebrations go on long after the designated dates.

When: April 13 to April 15
Where to go: Citywide

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5. Sichuan, China

Image credit: Keith Yahl

In China, lantern festivals are an enduring tradition that have been dated thousands of years back to the time of Chinese dynasties. Though the official origin of the practice is uncertain – some say it started as a worship of a deity, whilst others claim that it is mankind’s repentance for having once killed a heavenly bird by accident – there’s no denying that the tradition is deep-rooted in Chinese culture.

Witness this centuries-old practice in the Lantern Town of the South Kingdom, Zigong city of Sichuan province, where the month-long Zigong Lantern Festival is an annual highlight for locals and internationals alike. Immerse yourself in a magical sea of coloured lights generated from hundreds of elaborate and intricately-crafted lanterns of silk, paper, bamboo, porcelain and more.

Do note that you will have to fly to Chengdu and take a three-hour ride to Zigong. 

When: February 1 to March 15
Where to go: Zigong Coloured Lantern Park

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