never-ending new year’s

New Year’s Eve seems like a distant memory to many now, but the countdown has begun for many Eastern destinations. Here we look at some of our favourites:

Chinese New Year
February 16th

The biggest and most important celebration in China. Chinese New Year is said to be celebrated by a quarter of the world. February 16th marks the start of the year of the dog. Red, the Chinese colour of luck is the main colour of the festival and homes, offices and streets are adorned with red. Red envelopes are given as presents. Fireworks and firecrackers are released, Lion and dragon dances add to the carnival atmosphere.


What you need to know:
This year the public holiday is from 15th – 21st February, travel is exceptionally busy during this period with the exception of New Year’s day and the day after. Plan your journeys well in advance. International and domestic flights fill up quickly, train tickets are very hard to obtain if left to the last minute and buses are overcrowded.

Nyepi (Bali)
6am on March 17th – 6am on March 18th

Nyepi, or the day of silence is a day of reflection. It is the quietest day of the year, silent in fact. All of the islands inhabitants must abide by local customs (yes tourists and visitors this means you too). Ornate paper mache effigies are carefully crafted by villagers for the weeks/months preceding the day of silence. These are the centre pieces of the Ogoh-ogoh parades that make their way through villages on Nyepi eve. On Nyepi day islanders follow the four rules “Catur Brata Penyepian” no fire, no entertainment, no travel and no work. Total darkness befalls the island, vehicles are banned from roads and Nyepi police ensure that the rules are enforced.

What you need to know:
International flights cannot land or take off during Nyepi, but buyer beware many airlines schedule flights far in advance and allow you to book before cancelling, in some cases with limited notice to passengers. Prior to Nyepi roads become busy as people make their way to ceremonial events and Ogah-Ogah statues begin to  be transported to the parades. If navigating roads, particularly rural ones leave plenty of time for your journey. Services in hotels/ resorts can be limited, plan for this in advance.

Songkran (Thailand)
April 13th

Thailand’s New Year’s Day is the 13th April each year. Songkran is the Thai New Year’s Festival and means astrological passage. Songkran is marked by music, dancing, drinking and large scale water fights. Leave your suede shoes at home, you will get wet! Pots, pans, cups, bottles hoses and water guns become the weapons of choice as the whole country becomes one big water fight.

What you need to know:
Don’t use motorbikes during Songkran, try and stay off the roads all together if you can. Drink driving soars during the festivities and fatality rates rocket.

When travelling for business or pleasure it’s important to be aware of festivities and customs for the places you are visiting. Speak to one of our experienced team members to get the low down on your destination. With over 30 years’ experience sending crew around the world our team are just one call or click away!