Top global festivals for spring
Bales Worldwide has crossed the globe to hunt out some of spring’s most colourful and culturally exciting festivals.
Choose from Kenya’s inaugural Rift Valley Music Festival on the shores of Lake Naivasha to traditional Holy Week festivities in Guatemala or a national waterfight in Laos.
What: The Rift Valley Music Festival - 26-28 March 2010
This is the first year of the Rift Valley Music Festival will take place and it is set to be a musical extravaganza in a breathtaking setting. Taking place on the shores of Lake Naivasha, the festival will be an intimate gathering of local and international artists, combining traditional African roots and global styles. The sight of Africa’s Great Rift Valley is the first taste of the awesome landscape that leads you to Fisherman’s Camp, which will provides the stunning location for the festival. The internationally renowned camping site is set under a canopy of acacia trees and surrounded by mountains, volcanoes and National Parks.
The festival will showcase a diverse and exciting mix of musical artists and performers from Kenya and abroad, as well as provide a platform for local arts, crafts and culture. UK artists in the line up include DJ Seb and Yam Yam. In addition to enjoying an awesome event in a unique setting, festival goers will also be raising money to aid environmental improvement and community regeneration in Kenya.
Masai Mara Safari Holiday:
Bales’ 8 day tour coincides with the festival, but also includes a range of other activities. As well as the music, this trip is all about the wildlife – from hoards of pink flamingos on Lake Naivasha, to black rhinos and rare giraffes. Kick off this animal extravaganza with a night at the unique tree-lodge of The Ark. Located on the shores of a flood-lit watering hole, its numerous windows and balconies offer unrivalled views of the animals. Moving on you will experience the Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha, whose alkaline waters are a haven for bird and animal life. The trip concludes in the gamelands of the Masai Mara – enjoy game drives across the park, spot Africa’s ‘Big Five’ and be wowed by traditional Masai dancers.
The price for travel in March is from £2,370 per person, based on two sharing. Price includes flights, transfers, accommodation, most meals, game drives, National Park fees, and airport taxes.
Easter in Guatemala
What: Semana Santa, Antigua - 31 March – 4 April 2010
There is no better place to see the magnificent pageantry of Semana Santa than charming Antigua. The Easter Holy Week celebration is larger and more elaborate in this Guatemalan city than anywhere else in the hemisphere. Citizens of all ages join together each day between Palm Sunday and Easter to carpet the streets with flower petals, pine needles and coloured saw dust, while thousands of purple-robed celebrants carry enormous statues of Christ, the apostles and the Virgin Mary along the streets from dawn to dusk. The fervour, emotion, colour and religiosity are intense – it’s a breathtaking event not to be missed.
Highlights of Guatemala:
Bales’ 10 day trip departing on 25 March includes 4 nights in Antigua, coinciding with Semana Santa. The itinerary also takes in other Guatemalan highlights, including Lake Atitlán and the incredible Mayan ruins at Tikal. Enjoy a full day discovering Lake Atitlán and its surrounding villages, peruse the wares at Chichicastenango Market, take a sunset archaeological tour of Yaxha and explore historic Antigua.
The trip costs from £3,590 per person, based on two sharing. This includes flights, transfers, first class accommodation on a B&B basis, 3 lunches and 6 private sightseeing excursions.
Happy New Year Laos Style
What: Pii Mai Festival, Laos – 13 – 16 April 2010
Pii Mai, or Lao New Year, is the biggest and most famous of the festivals in Laos. The festival, also known as the water festival, marks the end of one year and the start of the next. According to Chinese astrology, there are two days between the old and the new year when time stands still, and in this temporal limbo the Lao people stop ageing and wash away their sins. The festival is one large, unstoppable waterfight with buckets of the wet stuff thrown over everyone to symbolise the spiritual spring clean.
One of the best places to see the festival is Luang Prabang with its riotous carnival atmosphere. Highlights of the three day celebration include the cleansing of Buddha images in the temples, the procession of the Pa Bang - the golden statue of the Buddha which is carried from the Royal Palace through the town - the building of hundreds of sandcastle stupas on Moungkhoun Island, the releasing of birds and the dousing of everything and everyone with scented water!
Pii Mai Festival Journey:
Bales’ 8 day adventure is based around the cultural and historic hubs of Luang Prabang in Laos and Siem Reap in Cambodia. As well as taking in the festival in the World Heritage listed city of Luang Prabang, the itinerary includes many other highlights. Climb the 350 steps of Phou Sii Hill to enjoy commanding views for many miles in each direction, visit the stunning cascades and turquoise pools of Tad Khuang Sii waterfall, and explore the extraordinary caves of Pak Ou, with its hundreds of Buddha statues. In Siem Reap you will have the chance to discover the fabulous Khmer temples at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. Release your inner Indiana Jones as you discover this unique archaeological gem, visit the largest temple in the world, and wonder at the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom - the last capital of the Khmers.
The trip costs from £2,695 per person based on two sharing. This includes flights, accommodation on a B&B basis, sightseeing and all taxes.
For more information visit: balesworldwide.com