We’ve all been there. Heard about an amazing arts festival or big name concert that was only a one-hour flight away, immediately after it happened. Missed out on seeing our favorite band, because we didn’t realize they were playing just across the border. Seen Facebook photos of debauchery on a foreign field and cursed ourselves for not having booked flights in time. No more. We’ve rounded up some of the best events taking place across Asia between now and the end of January. It’s time to start planning.
Paradise in Bali. Nov 14-15.
A$165 (B4,830). www.paradisefestival.com.au
The world’s best d’n’b artists will descend on Bali’s Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park for this massive two-day music festival. In the shadow of Garuda and surrounded by towering limestone pillars, it certainly promises to be a dramatic open-air venue. More than 7,000 music lovers from all over the world will gather to celebrate d’n’b. Headlined by acts include Black Sun Empire, Upbeats, Krust and Netsky. Three and five night accommodation packages are available.
Macau Grand Prix. Nov 18-21.
US$6.25-112.5 (B188-3,374). http://gp.macau.grandprix.gov.mo
One of the world’s most comprehensive festivals of motorsport, now enters its 57th year. Among the highlights is the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, a street race which has been won by the likes of Ayrton Senna (1983) and Michael Schumacher (1990). Other events over the weekend include the FIA World Touring Car Championship’s Guia Race of Macau, the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix and the Macau GT Cup.
The 16th Asian Games, Guangzhou, China. Nov 12-27.
Various prices. www.gz2010.cn
The games of the XVI Asiad will bring together more than 10,000 athletes from 45 countries around Asia to compete in 42 different sports. After the extravaganza that was the 2008 Beijing Olympics, look forward to the kind of feast of sport and entertainment that only China can pull off. Athletics, aquatics, football, basketball, rugby union, baseball and cricket will be among the sports contested, along with those with more Asian roots like wushu, dragonboating, kabaddi and sepak takraw.
ZoukOut, Singapore. Dec 11. S$78 (B1,800; advance) or
S$88 (B2,030; event day). www.zoukout.com
Marking 10 thumping years this time around, more than 25,000 partygoers will head to Sentosa’s beaches for Singapore’s largest outdoor dance music festival. ZoukOut is the signature party of Zouk, the biggest name in the Singapore nightlife scene, and is one of the highlights of the party calendar in Asia. ZoukOut 2010 will be headlined by electro house master David Guetta and the king of trance Tiësto. World class DJs, indie bands and other fringe performers will keep you moving till the sun comes up.
Penang Island Jazz Festival, Malaysia. Dec 2-5.
Free for Dec 2-3, RM60 (B577) for Dec 4-5.
There’s nothing quite like waving your jazz hands to a big band, especially on a Malaysian beach. Now in its seventh year, the festival showcases a worldwide cast of talented musicians on Penang’s Batu Ferringhi beach. The main Jazz By The Beach stage and four other fringe stages will play host to the likes of the 35 piece Penang Philharmonic, world renowned solo guitar players, jazz quartets and trios, a capella groups and funk outfits.
Thailand International Balloon & Adventure Sports Festival
Dec 2-6. Various prices. www.thailandadventuresports.com
Set on a 350 acre venue which can accommodate 300,000 visitors, this is Thailand’s largest outdoor event. Originally a hot air ballooning extravaganza, the fourth edition of the festival will also feature many other alternative sports including paragliding, paintball and whitewater rafting, all taking place in the picturesque province of Nakhon Nayok, a couple of hours by road from Bangkok.
Seoul Independent Film Festival, Korea. Dec 10-18.
Various prices. www.siff.or.kr
Is there anyone who’s not a fan of Korean film these days? Dedicated to highlighting alternatives to the mainstream, the SIFF has been representing independent cinema in Korea since 1975. The festival gathers the country’s best independent films for public screening with awards not restricted by pesky things like genre.
Cebu Marathon, Philipines. Jan 9.
Registration P500-800 (B348-557). www.cebumarathon.com
Test yourself on the streets of the Phillipines’ friendliest island in the Cebu Marathon 2011, then take yourself off to the nearest beach to recover. Runners can choose from three distances; 5km, 21km or the 42km full marathon. All three distances will take runners around the colorful streets of Cebu. Registration closes Dec 22.
Grand Sumo Tournament, Tokyo. Jan 9-23.
¥2,100-14,300 (B780-5,315). www.sumo.or.jp
Witness the tradition and raw power of Japan’s legendary sport at the first of six annual Grand Tournaments. No sport comes with more ceremony and history than sumo and it plays an integral role in the culture of Japan. This tournament is traditionally held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo’s Sumida ward, a 13,000 seat arena which also houses a museum dedicated to sumo.
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Jan 5-16.
Various prices. www.singaporefringe.com
The annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival is a celebration of the arts encompassing theatre, dance, music and visual art. With free and ticketed performances, interactive events and artistic exchanges, the theme for the festival in 2011 is Art & Education. Artistes from Singapore and around the world will present contemporary and engaging works which will question, challenge and change the way we perceive education.
Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival, China. Jan 5-Feb 5.
Various prices. http://en.cnta.gov.cn
Way up in China’s northeast, close to the border with Russia, Heilongjiang Province becomes a winter wonderland during the annual Harbin Ice Festival. Spectacular snow sculptures, sparkling light displays and dazzling fireworks are among the festival’s highlights, and visitors can ski, sled, snowboard or even attempt a swim in the icy Songhua River.