The Phuket Water Festival Celebration – Kicking Off the New Year with a Splash!

Thailand’s Songkran celebrations have become famous throughout the world, especially since the nation breaks into a massive water fight with people of all ages taking part in the festivities.


This is the name for the traditional New Year that is celebrated in many countries across South Asia, which includes Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

The Festivities

Songkran is associated with purity and the washing away of past misdeeds, which is where the water aspect comes in. Many would visit temples, pour water on Buddhist statues, as well as loved ones are common practices.

The Water Fights

The ‘water festival’ is mostly celebrated by young people, and entire streets tend to get closed off to cater to this massive celebration that has become world-renowned, to the point that even luxury hotels in Phuket the likes of Anantara Layan Phuket Resort would experience a rise in bookings when the festival comes around.

Points to Note

Although the festival has become popular with tourists just as much as it is with the locals, it is still a religious celebration so one must always be sure to keep that in mind. There are also some dangers associated with this festival so indulge in the fun of Songkran while practicing vigilance.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

The Songkran Festival in Celebrations – The Biggest Festivals During the Traditional Eastern New Year

Malaysia is one of the most colourful nations in the world where culture is concerned, and the nation is at it’s most beautiful around the time of the traditional new year, known as Songkran.

The Songkran Festival| Img by: JJ Harrison via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

What is Songkran?
Songkran is the traditional new year that is celebrated through most of Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, North-East India, Sri Lanka, and parts of China. This period commences when the sun moves through the Aries constellation.

This state is situated towards the northwestern coast of the Malaysian Peninsular and consists of parts. It’s one of the best places to be during this time because of two particular festivals.

Penang International Food Festival
The food culture of this state is quite famous, and this is why the Penang International Food Festival attracts hordes of devoted attendees. This festival brings together the finest street food Penang has to offer, along with the cuisine of the most elite fine-dining establishments.

Penang Songkran Water Festival
This is one of the most widely recognised festivals in the world, where everyone takes to the streets to engage in a nation-wide water fight. All kinds of travel entities, such as tour agents In Sri Lanka along the likes of My Prime Trip Powered by Hemas Travels would experience an influx of Thai travel during this time.



Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+


The Hungry Ghost Festival In Phuket – Remembering the Ancestors

The Hungry Ghost Festival, locally known as Por Tor is an event of merit-making for the Chinese community, where flowers, special food and candles are offered to their ancestors.

Where to go to?

If you’re staying at a Phuket luxury hotel, check how far Por Tor Kong Shrine is and the fresh market on Ranong Road is to witness the biggest celebrations for the festival. Properties such as Anantara Layan Phuket Resort are located in close proximity.

Don’t miss

Por Tok Kong Shrine is the main shrine that hosts the annual 7 day and 7 night’s event. The Fresh Market is decorated during the festival and hosts a range of activities begin at noon and last until midnight which include lion dances, live concerts, magic shows and cabaret shows to name a few.

The Red Turtle

Red turtle cakes, made of sugar and flour are offered to the ancestors. Turtles are a symbol of longevity and strength in Chinese culture whereas red is a colour for good luck.

When is it?

The festival usually occurs around late August to the first week of September.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.


Souq Waqif Date Festival – A Celebration of a Natural & Delectable Goodness

Via pixabay,CC0

Including many events such as date auctions, competitions and lectures that spread awareness about the significance of the palm tree, the Date Festival is held annually at Souq Waqif amidst the enchanting Emirati landscape.

What is the Date Festival?
Offering delectable dates of a multitude of varieties to many enthusiastic buyers, the second edition of the annual Souq Waqif Date Festival kicked off in July 2017. Showcasing dates from over 57 local date palm farms, the festival featured popular date varieties including Khalas, Khanizi, Shishi and Barhi.

What is the purpose of the Dates Festival?
The festival aims to inform people about different varieties of dates and motivate stakeholders to invest in this sector to increase the demand for the local products. Be it dining at a local or Moroccan restaurant in Doha, trying some of these date varieties is a must for foodies.

The overwhelming success
Welcoming over 2500 visitors, the Date Festival sold about 7,000kg worth of fresh dates. Organized by the agricultural sector at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), the festival was easily accessible to those staying at nearby properties the likes of Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels and will no doubt draw more visitors in the future.

The benefits of dates
An exceptional source of minerals and vitamins, dates are also a wonderful source of energy. Inclusive of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and zinc, these exotic fruits are delectable pieces of heavenly goodness!

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Cultural Centre of the Philippines – 20 Years of Preserving and Promoting the Arts and Culture of the Philippines

All countries strive to protect its own individual culture and lifestyle for it carries with it the unique identity of its citizens. The state of Philippines is no different. Having recognised the importance of preserving the arts, crafts and culture of the Philippines, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Government of the country established the Cultural Centre of Philippines in 1996. As it is located in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the cultural centre can be visited by tourists residing in any Manila Hotel in Makati, and is easily accessible from a number of hotels, including the Berjaya Makati Hotel in Manila.

While the headquarters in Manila was designed by the National Artist for Architecture, it was established with the express purpose of preserving, developing and promoting the culture and the arts of the Philippines. Therefore, the cultural centre conducts a number of artistic programmes that includes the publication and distribution of print material with information on arts and culture, the production of various performances, carrying out of cultural research and conducting festivals and exhibitions relating to the arts and crafts.
The Cultural Centre provides support to the Philippine High School for the Arts as well as the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and hosts a number of resident companies including the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ballet Theatre, the National Music Competitions for Young Artists Foundation and many more. As a result of its widespread influence, the cultural centre offers facilities and performance venues and the National Theatre, i.e. The Theatre of the Performing Arts, is their flagship venue. Other satellite venues include the Angelo King Center for the Performing Arts which was established in 2000, and the Assumpta Theatre on the campus of Assumption Antipolo.

As a government owned and government controlled corporation, the Cultural Centre maintains a strong focus on preserving the arts, crafts and culture of the Philippines.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Nusa Dua Fiesta – A vibrant display of Bali’s true colours

Every year the beaches of Bali grow in popularity. The crowds swell like the tides, millions of tourists from around the world flood Indonesia in search of the best waves for surfing, the aquamarine waters for paddling, the best dive sites for viewing colourful coral and exotic marine life and the most stunning beaches. While it caters to the upmarket traveler looking for a luxury hotel, Bali also offers homestay and backpacker options for the budget tourist. In recent years: the mushrooming of beachfront resorts, restaurants, shopping malls, and nightclubs has gained Bali the reputation of being Asia’s top party destination.

The Nusa Dua Fiesta is a festival that shows Bali has more to offer. The annual, weeklong event was started in 1996 by the Bali Tourism Development Corporation to show the world Bali’s culture and talent. A number of art competitions and exhibitions are held on opening day at private beaches of participating hotels that line the Peninsula. The InterContinental Bali Resort lies at the heart of the action. The following days delve into Balinese arts, culture, sports and music. Diving tours that show off the island’s natural beauty, cultural performances, musical shows and other displays are lined up on the itinerary. The festivities also include carnivals and other activities for younger visitors. A festival of such grandeur would not be complete without shining a spotlight on the fine local cuisine; special gala dinners with live entertainers and a charity component are also scheduled during the week.

The aim of the Nusa Dua Fiesta is to improve tourism. It has given rise to other annual events of a similar nature taking place on neighbouring beaches like the Kuta Karnival, Sanur Village Festival, Bali Ubud Festival and other festivals across the country. 2015 will mark the sixteenth installment of Nusa Dua Fiesta.

Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.


Tribal Culture & Mexican Sunflower Blossom Chiang Rai: A Celebration of Thai Culture in the Blooming Sunflower Fields

There are several reasons why Thailand is one of the world’s most frequently visited travel destinations. If you are living in Asia, it is one of the region’s most easily accessible countries with year round good weather allowing visitors to explore all that Thailand has to offer ranging from bustling streets and boutiques in Bangkok to the beautiful beaches of Phuket and the majestic rock formations in Phang Nga. Another addition to Thailand’s list of must-visit cities is Chiang Rai situated in North-Western Thailand.

Lying 860 kilometers to the north of Bangkok and just shy of the Thai-Myanmar border, Chiang Rai is the largest city in northern Thailand home to many Chiang Rai Hotels. Founded in the mid-13th century, Chiang Rai city is the heart of Thai culture and its surrounding limestone hills are home to the country’s hill tribes who guard a culture that is uniquely their own. If you are on a cultural tour across Thailand, make sure to visit Chiang Rai in the months of November and December when the city celebrates the Mexican Sunflower Festival in the fields some distance away from Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

The blooming Mexican Sunflowers in the fields surrounding Thailand’s Northern Province is a breathtaking sight that must not be missed with the large Mexican Sunflowers, known locally as bua-tong, colouring the hills near Chiang Rai with their characteristic yellow hue. A seasonal flower that blooms only for a month, the Mexican Sunflowers is a proud symbol of northern Thailand. To celebrate the highly anticipated Sunflower blossoming, Chiang Rai hosts the popular Sunflower Bloom Festival in the Sunflower field in Ban Pong Village. The festival includes tribal sports competitions and dance performances in addition to numerous cultural shows and competitions and as a tribute to the blossoming Sunflowers, a Sunflower painting contest. Here, food stalls sell a range of delectable traditional dishes and also a few tribal dishes. The Mexican Sunflower Festival is followed by the Chiang Rai Flower Festival that includes flower processions, Miss Thinn Thai Ngarm Contest and also an agricultural and flower fair.


Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.


The 36th Annual Bali Arts Festival – The Magic of Balinese culture comes to life

The month long36th Annual Bali Arts Festival took place in 2014 and showcased the island’s traditional music, dancing and other forms of artistic expressions. Bali’s capital, Denpasar took center stage and hosted over three hundred individual shows in which fifteen thousand students, performers and other members of the community displayed their creative side. The Bali resorts and hotels were brimming with enthusiastic tourists eager to be part of the celebrations. This year’s edition of the Festival will kick off on the 13th of June, book a stay at the Intercontinental Bali Resort to be close to the festivities while also getting to experience the best of Bali’s beaches.

Last year’s event was declared open by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with a colourful parade through downtown Denpasar. Several key political figureheads were also present honouring the occasion in traditional costume. Many of the shows were held at the Werdi Budaya Art Center in East Denpasar, while other shows were held in separate locations around Bali. The Theme for the year was “Kertamasa: Dynamics of the Agricultural Society towards Universal Happiness”. Each village upheld the theme with traditional performances and workshops that reflected their local trades and cuisines.

The Bali Arts Festival also shone the spotlight on other fascinating aspects of the local art scene like the Bali modern theater; Gong Kebyar Maestro, a genre of Balinese music; photography and the culinary arts. Competitions to select the best film documentaries, handicrafts, literary writing, painting and photography were also a part of the event. Parades and processions including the Parade of Flowers and the Culinary and Fashion Parade took place, among many others. The people of Bali started this festival nearly four decades ago to honour their history and culture and pass it on to future generations. Through the Festival they uphold a philosophy that “Tourism should be for Bali instead of Bali for tourism”. Proceeds from handicraft and food sales are directed to the welfare of each village.


Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.


Events in Koh Phangan – A party lover’s dream

The Thai island of Koh Phangan will always capture the interest of the fun-loving visitor. When considering accommodation Koh Phangan hotels an outstanding choice would be the Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort & Spa. This attractive accommodation provides appealingly designed rooms with a host of enjoyable amenities.

The attractive island of Koh Phangan is renowned for its vibrant parties and other fun events. There is no doubt that the lively Full Moon Party at Haad Rin Beach is the best-known festive event at the island. This hugely popular event resembles a huge open-air discotheque with a host of bars playing different kinds of music involved in the revelry. You will be able to enjoy reggae, classic rock, dance, techno, hardcore and more so there is sure to be something that will take your fancy. Many of the bars feature powerful modern sound systems and it is quite an experience to wander from bar to bar enjoying the variety of music being played. Needless to say, drinks, dancing and fun are plentiful at this laidback and carefree event.

However the fun doesn’t stop here as Koh Phangan offers other highlights at different dates of the month. Noteworthy is the Black Moon Party which occurs approximately two weeks after each Full Moon Party. This event is slightly different as there is only one sound system in operation, albeit a very powerful one. A succession of DJs takes their turn on the deck, providing exciting trance and techno music.

Also not to be missed is the enjoyable Half Moon Party which unlike the others is staged in the local jungle. The vibe may be slightly different but the experience is just as distinctive as the other parties.

Other noteworthy events at Koh Phangan Island include the colourful celebrations for the Chinese New Year. Another interesting occasion is the distinctive Songkran Festival which is also worth experiencing. With so much to do and experience, a visit to Koh Phangan will always be memorable.

Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Hung Shing Festival – Celebrating culture in festive comfort

Another bash of colour, the Hung Shing Festival is yet another festival that takes center stage in the well respected History of the Chinese people. Celebrating Hung Shing, a historical figure who prior to being deified was one man of skill and wisdom regarded to have been the guiding light of fishermen and merchants alike. Hung Shing Festival is celebrated on the 13th day of the second lunar month of every year. It is one festival of high regard which draws in a considerable number of tourists in witnessing this grand galore of cultural festivity.

This festival cannot simply be enjoyed without the companionship of the very best Hotel in town. Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong today is the proud patron of supreme hospitality within the city. Located within close proximity to the famous attractions of the city Cosmopolitan Hotel is not just any Hong Kong Hotel but it is the very Hotel you are looking for. With a wide range of suites to pick from you sure are going to be in very big trouble trying to choose from the best of luxury. With loads of promotions to avail, you are undoubtedly in the best of hands. Cosmopolitan also offers you the convenience of bringing with you your work where you still hold the opportunity of overlooking your responsibilities and that too with assured comfort. Guaranteeing you of memories to take back home and never want to cut short on the delightful indulges of Cosmo Hotel where you are made to feel free as bird sauntering through the fine delicacies on offer. What this magnificent Hotel offers to its valued visitors is truly beyond words; wait no more, pick up the phone and make your vacation to Hong Kong one to last.

Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.