Letting loose at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia. Image courtesy of the Nomadic Boys.
Go ahead, let your hair down: the parties in Southeast Asia give you the chance to let all your ya-yas out with great music, bottomless drinks and wonderful company.
Most times of the year, you can find an annual party event being held somewhere close to your location in the region – places like Phuket and Koh Phangan (both in Thailand) oblige party-hearty travelers with celebrations that take place several times a year!
These parties aren't for everyone, though: you need sociability and stamina to dance to the music till the wee hours, and make new friends among the local and foreign partiers who crowd the dance floor with you. The hangover and the exhaustion afterward? Definitely worth it!
Malasimbo Festival in the Philippines. Image courtesy of Jerny Destacamento.
Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival, Philippines: Art Explosion
Jerny Destacamento of the Jerny - Travel and Inspirations (Facebook|Instagram|Twitter) didn't have to go far from Manila to find a festival event. The town of Puerto Galera, on Mindoro Island some 180 km south of the capital, holds an annual music festival at a natural amphitheater at the foot of Mount Malasimbo.
“The Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival is an open-air music festival featuring bands and electronic acts,” Jerny tells us. “This music festival brings local and international artists into one festive event.
“No matter what the genre is – reggae, jazz, soul, rock, or dance music – the festival becomes a good staging for these musicians to let their music be heard by more people,” Jerny says.
Artists, too, get to strut their stuff at Malasimbo: art installations on the mountain slopes stand there year-round, with newer artworks by Denis Lagdameo and Agus Loedin joining those of Ling Quisumbing Ramilo and Wawi Navarroza. “This art turns the festival into something more than just music and dancing, but also eye candy for the community,” Jerny says.
The Malasimbo Festival takes place over three days in early March. (In 2018, that's on March 23 to 25.) For more details, visit their official Facebook page.
EpiZode art installation, Phú Quốc, Vietnam. Image courtesy of Love & Road.
EpiZode Festival, Phú Quốc, Vietnam: Techno from Dusk till Dawn
That's all due to the annual 10-day-long EpiZode Festival. “Imagine a pristine beach filled with good techno music from sunset to sunrise, people from all around the world and fresh coconuts,” Natalie says. “EpiZode puts together international DJs, arts and fun, the perfect mix for any traveler who is around or coming to Southeast Asia in January.”
The festivities hardly slow down even in full daylight: “the festival has day activities as body painting competition, water gun fights, fast marriage and many more,” Natalie explains.
This all unfolds in the perfect location in Vietnam: “Phú Quốc it's a budget friendly destination,” Natalie tells us. “Food is delicious and cheap, and a beer is about USD 1 in most of the bars. You can find accommodation from shared dorms at USD 10 per night or privates starting at USD 20.”
Natalie warns that getting a Vietnam visa isn't as easy compared to the rest of the region: “Just bear in mind that many nationalities need to apply online for the Vietnam Tourist Visa on Arrival,” she says.
To find out more about the EpiZode Festival, visit their official page.
Ladytron at Djakarta Warehouse Project. Image courtesy of emonemomen/Creative Commons
Warehouse Project, Jakarta, Indonesia: Positive Vibes
"Music festivals in Southeast Asia are significantly cheaper than those in the Western World but the experience is similar!” Nina says, pointing to her recent experience in Indonesia: “Jakarta’s Djakarta Warehouse Project party is a music festival that’s out of this world.”
The Djakarta Warehouse Project offers an ever-changing lineup of musical artists, allowing visitors to groove to the electronic music of the likes of Tiesto, Robin Schulz, David Gravell, and Rich Chigga (from 2017's lineup – this coming year's slate will probably be much different).
“The energy is unmatched, the positive vibes are contagious, and it’s day after day of life changing musical performances,” Nina tells us.
2017's Warehouse Project was held at Jakarta's Jiexpo Kemayoran expo hall on December 15 to 16; 2018's venue, schedule and lineup are yet to be announced. Follow their official site for updates.
Learning to dance from local artists at the Rainforest World Music Festival. Image courtesy of the Nomadic Boys.
Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia: Global Artists' Gathering
Stefan Arestis, one-half of the Nomadic Boys duo (Instagram|Facebook|Twitter) touts an out-of-the-way world music festival as their favorite: the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
“Each summer in July/August, the Rainforest World Music Festival unites artists from all around the world who come to perform and lead various workshops,” Stefan explains. “We saw twerking pygmies from Congo, danced with drummers from Reunion island and were blown away by a super talented throat singer from Mongolia.” (Watch their video to find out what they saw.)
Travelers like Stefan come from all over the world, joining Malaysians in one big three-day celebration of dance, art and music. “Each day had several performances taking place throughout the day and the day would culminate with a large evening performance on the main stage, which would turn into one big party atmosphere into the early hours of the next day,” Stefan tells us.
Beyond simply grooving to the tunes, guests can join hands-on workshops to learn a local art form: “Each artist would lead a session with a small group in an intimate environment to showcase their country’s instruments and cultural styles,” Stefan says. “It’s interactive, extremely interesting and a lot of fun.”
The next Rainforest World Music Festival takes place from July 13 to 15 in 2018. More details on their official website.
Image courtesy of Bernard Oh/Creative Commons
Zouk in Singapore: EDM to Hip-Hop
Southeast Asia Time Traveler Mike Aquino (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram) touts Singapore's hottest club, one that's managed to stay fresh despite its over 20-year history. “Zouk has definitely set the pace for Singapore's nightlife scene,” Mike says.
Credit Zouk's excellent taste in DJs, some of which come from across the world to spin to the crowds. “Paul Oakenfold, Avicii, Tiesto and Afrojack have all performed at Zouk at one time or another,” Mike explains. “They're backed up by the nightclub's top-of-the-line sound systems and lighting.”
A wine bar offers a more laid-back contrast to the cavernous main hall, which can accommodate over 1,500 revelers. “You can also branch out to other parts of Zouk that cater to different tastes,” Mike says. “There's Phuture for hip-hop-heads, and there's Velvet Underground, with an amazing LED-covered wall that accompanies the music.”
Welcome to Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand. Image courtesy of Jen Ruiz.
Phuket & Koh Phangan, Thailand: All Year Parties
There's a reason party-hearty travelers gravitate to Thailand: in places like Phuket and Koh Phangan, the party goes on and on and on…
Consider the Half Moon Festival, a biweekly counterpoint to the monthly Full Moon Festival that takes place a week before and a week after its more famous predecessor.
“For the incredibly hyped Full Moon party it is hard to live up to its expectations and therefore the Half Moon Party is becoming more and more popular,” explains Tom Grond of TravelTomTom (Twitter|Facebook|Instagram). “Yes you pay $20 entrance fee but you get a real festival, with international DJ’s, a laser show, quality sound, a main stage and a well-organized party in an absolutely awesome location.”
Tom promises a mind-blowing experience for Half Moon visitors: “Dancing in such a dark and mysterious setting has definitely something special, with lasers reflecting in the trees and in neon painted people dancing all around,” he says. “The vibe is incredible.”
If you can't wait even for the Half Moon Festival's twice-a-month schedule, head on over to Phuket, a place that's “synonymous with 'party' and usually filled with more tourists than locals,” explains Jen on a Jet Plane's Jen Ruiz (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram).
While the party goes on all year round in Phuket, Jen points out that the festivities hit a peak during New Year's Eve: “The beach closes for the holiday so the main street becomes pedestrian-only, allowing partygoers to stroll without fear of being hit by a tuk-tuk,” she says. “Head to Patong Beach to watch fireworks over the ocean. Send a paper lantern up into the sky along with dozens around you.