Asia travel bucket list

Tour op­er­a­tor Ex­otic Voy­ages lists places to visit in Asia over the next five months

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

FROM fly­ing above an­cient ru­ins in Myanmar to bless­ings by monks in Cam­bo­dia, An­drew Car­roll, global head of sales and mar­ket­ing for be­spoke tour op­er­a­tor Ex­otic Voy­ages (www.ex­oticvoy­ages.com), has put to­gether a bucket list travel guide on where to be in Asia over the next five months.

OC­TO­BER — HON­OUR A

GURU IN BHUTAN

Crisp clear days and the cel­e­bra­tion of Thim­phu Tshechu, one of Bhutan’s most ma­jes­tic fes­ti­vals, make a trip to the coun­try’s cap­i­tal a must in Oc­to­ber.

Monks don­ning elab­o­rate masks and vivid, colour­ful garb per­form tra­di­tional dances in hon­our of Guru Rin­poche, a Bud­dhist master who brought the re­li­gion to Bhutan in the eighth cen­tury.

From Sept 30 to Oct 2, throngs of lo­cals and trav­ellers de­scend on the city’s nu­mer­ous dzong (fortresses) to watch the cap­ti­vat­ing per­for­mances.

AU­GUST — GEISHAS AND BONFIRES IN KY­OTO

Glimps­ing a trainee geisha as she shuf­fles along the clas­sic al­leys of Gion feels a bit like ex­pe­ri­enc­ing time travel. Ac­tu­ally meet­ing with one brings the ex­pe­ri­ence to an en­tirely dif­fer­ent level.

Head there in mid-Au­gust to see one of th­ese en­ter­tain­ers along with an­other cul­tural phe­nom­e­non, Dai­monji, where five huge fires shaped in kanji are lit on moun­tain­sides en­cir­cling the city.

The mas­sive bonfires mark the end of Obon, a three-day fes­ti­val where it is said the spir­its of an­ces­tors re­turn to earth.

SEPTEM­BER — LIGHT A LANTERN IN HOI AN

Much rit­ual re­volves around the full moon in Asia. Each month in Hoi An, when the moon reaches this piv­otal phase, the Old Town trans­forms un­der the glow of thou­sands of lan­terns.

The main river that snakes through the Unesco World Her­itage site be­comes awash with flick­er­ing lights and sam­pan that ferry tourists and lo­cals along­side the lights.

In Septem­ber, the event is set for the 4th and starts at dusk.

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