With a quarter of the year done and dusted, April is a favourite time for travellers to visit new places and go on new adventures. Fortunately for eager travellers, there are plenty of amazing events around the world that occur in this month. Whether it’s a popular music festival or a traditional event hundreds of years old, you’ll have plenty of experiences to choose from for your April escapades.
Here are five exciting options from around the world:
Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
When: April 13th – 15th
The Songkran Water Festival in Thailand is an annual celebration of the country’s traditional Lunar New Year’s Day. It’s held from the 13th to 15th of April every year and is widely celebrated across the country. During this time, people across the country visit local temples and pour water over Buddha statues as a symbol of purification and the cleansing of sins and bad luck. It’s also a tradition for the younger generations to pay their respects to elders by pouring water over their elders’ hands.
More recently, however, the water festival has become famous for the wild water frenzies that leave everyone – including spectators – wet and thoroughly soaked. Whether it’s being splashed by water balloons, drenched by a water hose, or getting soaked by people with water guns, it’s practically impossible to stay dry throughout the festival celebrations.
Tip: With its wild and frenetic celebrations, Chiang Mai is often regarded as the best places to enjoy this festival.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (USA)
When: Last week of April, first few days of May
Next to Mardi Gras, perhaps no other festival is as revered and enjoyed in New Orleans as its iconic Jazz & Heritage Festival. The festival is traditionally held during the last week of April up until the first few days of May. Its origins can be traced back to April 1970 when gospel music great Mahalia Jackson and jazz legend Duke Ellington collaborated for an impromptu performance during the 1970 Louisiana Heritage Fair.
Since then, it’s become one of the country’s most significant cultural events, seamlessly showcasing New Orleans’ rich heritage as a cultural landmark and the birthplace of jazz. Famous artists who have played at the festival include Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, and many more. Aside from music, you can also enjoy a wide variety of crafts, food, and historical exhibits throughout the festival.
Tip: Dress in light, cool clothing to enjoy the festival as typical New Orleans weather during this period can range from warm to hot.
When: April 30th
Koningsdag, also known as “King’s Day” is a national holiday in Netherlands that commemorates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. It was previously known as Koninginnedag (“Queen’s Day”) and celebrated on April 30, which was the birthday of Queen Juliana, who served as the queen until 1980. Her successor, Queen Beatrix, retained this celebration date throughout her reign. When King Willem-Alexander took over the throne in 2014, the holiday was renamed Koningsdag and shifted to April 27 in honour of his birthday.
On this day, the country is bursting with celebration, filling the streets with music, food, fun, and of course, everything coloured orange. The holiday is most popularly celebrated in Amsterdam, where you’ll see hordes of orange-clothed people celebrating in the streets with music and all sorts of festivities. Things not to miss include dance events, music concerts, boat parties, and a variety of street markets.
Tip: Fly in a day or two early because celebrations and festivities often start the night before the actual holiday.
Feria Nacional de San Marcos (Mexico)
When: Mid-late April
Feria Nacional de San Marcos, or the San Marcos Fair, is the country’s largest annual fair, attracting millions of visitors each year. It typically starts from mid-to-late April (around the Feast Day of San Marcos on April 25) and often lasts for several weeks afterwards. The original fair dates back to 1828 when a small agricultural and livestock fair was held in the state of Aguascalientes, which remains the venue for the festival up to this day.
Major attractions at the festival include free concerts, exhibitions, beauty pageants, rodeos, games, and other cultural and community events. Bullfights and cockfights are also immensely popular activities, consistently drawing crowds and spectators whenever it’s on. For those with a penchant for gambling and gaming, the festival also offers one of the few occasions that people can openly enjoy games in a casino. Casino gaming outside of licenced casinos is banned throughout the country, but the festival gets a special license as part of the celebration.
Tip: Like other popular events, it’s always best to plan your trip here ahead of time and book your accommodations early. The festival attracts millions of visitors each year so book as early as possible to avoid peak prices.
Thrissur Pooram Elephant Festival (India)
When: Last April, early May
If you’re looking for something more exotic, try the Thrissur Pooram Elephant Festival in India. This hundreds-of-years-old Hindu festival in the state of Kerala is a standout event in a country full of extraordinary celebrations and festivities. It is the most famous Pooram (an annual celebration for the goddesses Durga or Kali) in the country and is typically held in late April or early May.
As its name suggests, this festival is highlighted by celebrations involving elephants, which are intricately decorated with headdresses, bells, and other ornaments. Aside from the momentous parade and spectacle of elephants, participants are also treated to folk dancing, traditional music, fireworks displays, and other activities that showcase India’s rich culture and traditions.
Tip: If you want to catch the fireworks celebration, get in early because the fireworks display starts at around three or four in the morning.
Wherever you choose to go for your April adventure, always consider getting some travel insurance to make sure you’re covered throughout your trip. Contact us to find out more.