Have you ever felt the need to go on a holiday to recover from a hectic and calorie-laden year-end trip? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. January is known to be the month when last year’s holiday excitement is all but a memory that we try to cling to a bit longer. Also, we tend to feel rather grumpy as if we’ve gained weight from copious amounts of food and very little to no exercise. Our advice? Kick that lethargy to the curb by ringing in the brand New Year with an eye-opening travel experience!
Festivals are a great way to discover new destinations in a unique and meaningful way. With so many events taking place monthly worldwide - from stimulating cultural experiences to glamorous film festivals, and exciting music festivals, you just might find your travel bucket list getting longer.
Here are some of the top festivals you can check out come January:
Harbin Ice Festival
Where: Harbin, China
When: Entire month of January
Experience the magical winter wonderland in Asia with the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, gathering between 10 to 15 million visitors annually. Get ready to be bowled over by gigantic illuminated sculptures artfully carved from blocks of ice, beautiful firework displays, and neon lights at night. There, you will be able to take part in fair rides, shopping adventures, and local food sampling along Zhongyang Dajie or the Central Street of Harbin.
Sundance Film Festival
Where: Park City, Utah, USA
When: 18 to 28 January
If you love movies, especially independent ones, then you’ll certainly find the Sundance Film Festival a worthy destination. It was founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, and is touted as the largest and most renowned independent film festival in America. The Sundance showcases groundbreaking feature-length and short films alongside panels and music to thoroughly entertain you. Held in a small town in Utah, the films are played in old-fashioned theatres. And if you’re lucky, you might find yourself sitting next to an actor who’s on the verge of becoming a super-star.
Bikaner Camel Festival
Where: Bikaner, India
When: 14 to 15 January
Each year, the Rajasthani town of Bikaner plays host to the Bikaner Camel Festival, a two-day event dedicated as a tribute to beloved camels who thrive in the harsh desert conditions. The festival is organised by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture. The event mainly includes spectacular camel performances such as camel dances, camel races, neck shaking, camel rides, and so many more. During the two-day affair, locals and visitors are treated to a wide array of cultural performances comprising of folk dances, puppet shows, and musical displays. You also have the chance to try out unique camel milk, sweetmeats, and camel milk tea. If you’d like to bring home souvenirs for your loved ones, check out the stalls in the markets with exquisite handicrafts, jewelry, pottery, and rare delights on display.
Where: Nara, Japan
When: 27 January
Wakakusa Yamayaki literally translates to ‘The Mountain Roast’. Each year, on the 4th Saturday of January, dead grass which forms on the hillside of Mount Wakakusa, an extinct volcano is set on fire. There are a few theories of how this festival originated. Some claim that the burning of the mountainside began during boundary conflicts between Nara’s two great temples, while another theory suggests that the fires were used to drive away wild boars. The burning ceremony can last up to an hour and the flames can be seen throughout Nara, as the mountain is situated on high altitude.
Carnivale di Venezia
Where: Venice, Italy
When: 27 January to 13 February
Festival or not, Venice is an enchanting city to visit at any given day of the year. But during Carnivale di Venezia, the magic is intensified as the waterways are transformed into a real water stage with dance and music shows like you’ve never seen before! Other spectacular events and treats to watch out for are the water parade and sumptuous food stalls offering traditional carnival delicacies and Venetian specialties.
To help you plan your January travels, be sure to visit tripsavr and save up to 50% on hotels, resorts, car rentals, and fun activities.