From humble beginnings of friends starting their own music events for their crews. To becoming some of the best boutique music festivals in Asia. The scene has been organically developed in the East through a beautiful cultural mash-up and cross-pollination of ideas.
Here are eight unique and exciting festival events that happen in Asia. From interactive art installations to exclusive festival islands and progressive eco-awareness campaigns.
If you were wondering about travelling to Asia and you like festivals, these are definitely worth making the journey for.
Nestled in northern Thailand, you’re in for a musical, scenery and sensory treat. This offering is art-driven with installments, interactive murals and various workshops you can attend, and music. There’s lots to be explored and places to get lost deep in the Lanna countryside.
It’s family-friendly and embraces the community feel, so this boutique Asian festival will want you coming back year after year. You can expect this to be different from European festivals as Thailand is called the land of smiles, so let that city-stress and pent-up energy melt away as you say Kop Khun Kha!
The three-day-long festival should be bookended to explore Chiang Mai as it’s one of the best spots to visit while in Thailand.
A green and values-led festival that follows the mantra of leaving your ego at the door and “reduce, reuse, refill”. Notice how they don’t say recycle? That’s when you know their initiatives for sustainability have meaning! They want people to have a good time, be conscious and considerate of others and contribute to the experience.
It’s a family-friendly affair, so you can expect lots of interactive and fun art installations to indulge your inner child. Wonderfruit is easily accessible and a great place to continue or finish your journey through Thailand with its close proximity to Bangkok.
Fly To The Moon
Want your own island for New Year’s Eve (that’s Thai new year)? Then this is the festival for you. Hosted over Songkran festival weekend, this epic boutique Asian festival happens on an idyllic island off the coast of the mainland. Koh Mak is easily accessed from Bangkok, and there are lots of options for any budget.
Known as the ‘eco island’ because of its low carbon footprint, this green festival wants guests to think globally, act locally. So you’re encouraged to take part in the hero trash clean-up on the beach, leave no trace, and swap single-use plastics for sustainable alternatives. This island is unique to the rest of Thailand as there are no convenience stores, no cars, and no jet skis or banana boats or other things that mess with the environment.
Koh Mak is a celebration of life, and being over Songkran, you’ll be getting an authentic Thai experience. You can expect epic food and a boat party to enjoy beats on the Gulf of Thailand.
There is a 12-day (yes, 12 days!) music festival off the southern coast of Vietnam that takes over not just your New Years Eve but also before and after. So you know people are coming for the music. Names like Carl Cox and Peggy Gou have played at this festival, and it draws in a substantial international crowd from Australia to South Korea to the UK.
Not far from Koh Mak, this festival is also in the Gulf of Thailand on the laid-back island of Phú Quốc. It’s a unique experience for the Vietnam scene, primarily dominated by EDM and the most prominent names coming from that realm.
This fifth edition brings together DJs from Disco, Techno and House. In between the music you can enjoy relaxed beaches lapped by tropical waters.
Now, this is a venue to write home about. One word: opulence. Imagine enjoying great music and art in scenery only seen in a Wes Anderson film? Then you have the Magnetic Fields festival. With close proximity to Ranthambore National Park, you can rest assured you’re in a beautiful part of the world. You can enjoy a tour of the jungle if you’re feeling adventurous as the National Park is home to tigers and is rich in biodiversity.
Nature is an integral part of the experience, and therefore, this festival too cares about sustainable practices. Much like India as a destination, you can expect to be taken in by all senses during your experience at Magnetic Fields. It can be likened to a musical carnival but is attended by urbanites, so you can expect a few surprises. It’s the perfect mix of contemporary culture with India’s rich history. You can fly kites, dance on the rooftop of the Alsisar Mahal to an indulgent backdrop and enjoy the excitement this venue is likely to bring.
As the last boutique festival from Thailand making this particular list, you might be intrigued by this Spanish-style villa. It certainly brings a European feel to Asia, and Karma Kastle 3 will take place at Mirasierra later this year.
This festival certainly has a lot of soul, and festival organisers help support the Klong They community. This festival is driven to make social change by hosting something special for festival-goers and helping those less fortunate.
Karma Klique was established by a close-knit group of friends in Bangkok who wanted to bring their love of music to events in Thailand. With Karma Kastle set to go ahead in November, it seems that Thailand is a must-visit music festival destination.
Vietnam is undoubtedly making its way onto the music festival offerings in Asia. What humbly started as Coco Beach transformed into Vibe Nation Festival. Right on the gorgeous coastline of Vietnam in Vung Tau, this festival is accessible from Ho Chi Minh City.
There are art installations, kites, and lots of interactive elements to this festival. DJs and musicians from around Vietnam travel to this beautiful beach to put on a great show. There are loads of on and off-site accommodation options for any budget, including camping.
The festival organises transfers from Ho Chi Minh City to the festival and back, so all you need to do is bring that festival spirit. A location change in 2019 closer to the city now means more reason to explore Ho Chi Minh before or after the festival.
Shi Fu Miz Festival
Hong Kong is one island in the archipelago of the South China Sea, and a ferry from the harbour will take you to a public-transport-free island called Cheng Chau.
This is where Shi Fu Miz festival takes place, and it’s a gorgeous tiny island that showcases a more chilled lifestyle than that of bustling Hong Kong. The festival’s venue has been with the same family for generations, and the organisers stay true to Cheng Chau’s chilled pace by keeping this festival small.
Being a small island, there aren’t massive power supplies, so owners make this festival sustainable by using as much of the natural resources that they can. Hong Kong has been on the map for a while, with events like Rewind and Anjunadeep. Boiler Room is another brand with involvement Shi Fu Miz, so you can be sure there’ll be world-class line-ups.
This festival is focused on sustainability and has partnered with One Tree Planted, where each festival ticket sold plants 1 tree.