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Five Must-see Asian Festivals for 2011

Asian festivals are traditionally amongst some of the most explosive and exciting to be found anywhere in the world, and they are steadily gaining a big following from overseas travelers looking to join in the fun. Today we highlight five of the most popular, not-to-be-missed festivals set to take place this year.

Takayama Festival, April 14th to 16th, Japan –

Regarded as one of the country’s most beautiful festivals, this four centuries-old Shinto festival is also one of the most impressive. Majestic 17th century floats parade through the streets amazing visitors, while life-sized marionettes sing and dance around the parade – endless fun for all.

Tumbuna Sing Sing, May 18th to May 20th, Papua New Guinea –

A truly surreal experience is to be had at the remote Sing Sing village in Papua New Guinea, where hundreds of locals dress to impress in flamboyant costumes and plaster themselves in make-up, all competing for prestige in this unreal celebration of Papuan culture. Visitors are positively encouraged to join in with the singing and dancing, laughing and chanting in what is a most memorable occasion.

Kandy Esala Perahera, August 11th to August 14th, Sri Lanka –

A spectacular medieval festival that is regarded as one of the greatest in all Asia, the Kandy Esala Perahera is a dazzling blur of colors, traditional costumes and fireworks. Enjoy a wonderful procession of Kandyan drummers and dancers parading through the streets together with decorated elephants, fire dancers and whip dancers – we promise you it’s one of the most exotic celebrations you’ll ever get to witness.

Jakar Tsechu, November 2nd to November 4th, Bhutan –

Anyone who gets to witness this magical festival is experiencing a true, rare gem of an experience. With Bhutan still limiting the number of tourists in the country each year, you’ll need to get your name down early to delight in the wonder of masked dancers trailing around in their exquisite costumes, telling the magical story of compassionate and angry deities of Bhutanese legend.

Pushkar Camel Fair, November 6th to November 7th, India

A captivating annual festival that blurs into a sea of color and activity as thousands of stoned mystics, merry musicians, and eager livestock traders descend on this chaotic but fun event. Enjoy great music and delicious food, and take part in all manner of contests ranging from the ‘longest moustache competition’ (Good luck if you think you can take on some of the locals!) and even a friendly cricket match between random tourists and the local club.