Best Dragon Boat Festivals in Asia

    If you plan to observe a holiday in 2011 that commemorates the ritual suicide of a pre-Qin Dynasty scholar and poet, make it Duanwu Jie. The Duanwu Festival a.k.a. Dragon Boat Festival a.k.a. Double Fifth, takes place on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar (June 6 this year) in China and, indeed, across the Chinese cultural diaspora. With that, check out ten terrific dragon boat festivals in Asia.

    Hong Kong Duanwu

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    The fountainhead of modern dragon boat culture and place where the International Dragon Boat Federation came to be in 1991 is a safe Duanwu play. The big dragon boat event in Hong Kong, however, occurs not on Double Fifth but on May 15, 2011, with the Lamma 500 on Tai Wan To Beach, Lamma Island.

    Hong Kong City Guide

    Where to stay: Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong

    Beijing Duanwu

    Beijing celebrates Double Fifth with a level of pomp and ceremony that you would expect from the colossal People’s Republic capital. Special events unfurl in and around Tiananmen, the Forbidden City and myriad temples.

    Beijing City Guide

    Where to stay: Capital Hotel Beijing

    Shanghai Duanwu

    Food plays a central, symbolic role in Duanwu. As Double Fifth lore has it, peasant farmers threw glutinous rice balls, or zongzi, into the Miluo River in Hunan to lure fish from Qu Yuan’s body, the martyr poet the day commemorates. Fast-forward to the Shanghai of today and the tasty rice snacks proliferate throughout the dragon boat festival.

    Shanghai City Guide

    Where to stay: Salvo Hotel Shanghai

    Taipei Dragon Boat Festival

    Taiwan is a major pulse point in the dragon boat world, with the annual Taipei Dragon Boat Festival a wildly popular event.

    Taipei City Guide

    Where to stay: Caesar Park Hotel Taipei

    Phuket International Dragon Boat Festival

    The Phuket International Dragon Boat Festival takes place ever year on Nai Harn Lake and Nai Harn Beach.

    Phuket City Guide

    Where to stay: Burasari Resort Phuket

    Macau International Dragon Boat Races

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    Like Hong Kong, Macau makes the most of Duanwu, with three days of parades, special events and dragon boat races.

    Macau City Guide

    Where to stay: The Venetian Resort Macau

    Malaysia International Dragon Boat Festival

    The official Malaysia International Dragon Boat Festival takes place in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya every October, which, obviously, has less to do with Duanwu and more to do with the sport itself. Still, a good reason to get yourself to KL.

    Kuala Lumpur City Guide

    Where to stay: Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel

    Penang International Dragon Boat Festival

    The world class Penang International Dragon Boat Festival will go down at Teluk Bahang Dam in Penang on June 11 and 12, 2011.

    Penang City Guide

    Where to stay: Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

    Singapore Duanwu Festival

    Singapore’s considerable Chinese community makes the city state’s Duanwu festival one of the best outside of mainland China. The Bedok Reservoir hosts the dragon boat races.

    Singapore City Guide

    Where to stay: Marina Bay Sands Singapore Hotel

    Thailand International Swan Boat and Long Boat Races

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    A section of the Chao Phraya River in Phra Nakhon, Si Ayutthaya hosts a form of Double Fifth-style competition, per se, every September. Though distinctly Thai, swan boats are unquestionable cousins of dragon boats and overall, the principle is the same. All in all, the Thailand International Swan Boat and Long Boat Races make up a multi-day event worthy of a Bangkok day trip.

    Bangkok City Guide

    Where to stay: Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok

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    5 comments on “Best Dragon Boat Festivals in Asia”

    1. Alam Yeksha Buana says on May 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm:

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    2. Lamma 500 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race says on May 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm:

      […] Duanwu Festival season is almost upon us and to jumpstart Double Fifth, Hong Kong serves up 500 metres of grueling dragon boat action. The Lamma 500 off of Tai Wan To Beach, Lamma Island, is a linchpin long boat event that lures serious competitors. It’s also a great excuse for spectators to party. In anticipation of this year’s Lamma 500 on May 15, check out a tasty clip from a couple years back. […]

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    4. […] Best Dragon Boat Festivals in Asia (hotelclub.com) […]

    5. Top 10 Art Museums in Asia | Park Central Hotel Miami Beach says on September 24, 2011 at 4:19 am:

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