2020's top new festival trips: Papua New Guinea, Tibet and beyond

If you’re looking to party or get swept up in celebrations, 2020 is your year. Chase demons during Tibet's annual Buddhist festival, or trek further afield for a glimpse at PNG's fiery culture...

3 mins

1. Celebrate Harbin Ice Festival in China

Harbin Ice Festival, China (Shutterstock)

Harbin Ice Festival, China (Shutterstock)

Christmas doesn’t just have to be for a day (or 12). In northern China, they’ve stretched the festivities until February and Regent Holidays’ Harbin Ice Festival Small Group Tour thrusts you into this real-life Narnia.

In its 36th year, the festival in Harbin has evolved into a fantasia of neon-lit snow and ice sculptures. Spend your evenings mesmerised by this winter wonderland and by day, visit the Jinyuan Tourist Area for a deep dive into Jin dynasty culture.

Wander the elegant Harbin Volga Manor and pay a sobering visit to the Unit 731 Museum, which unpicks the Japanese army’s Scond World War crimes on the local population.

Who? Regent Holidays (020 7666 1244)

When? 2 Feb 2020

How long? Five nights

How much? From £1,285 (excluding int’l flights)

2. Chase demons at the Buddhist Tiji Festival in Tibet

A masked festival performer in Lo Manthang, Tibet (Shutterstock)

A masked festival performer in Lo Manthang, Tibet (Shutterstock)

Known as the ‘Chasing of the Demons’, the Tibetan Buddhist Tiji Festival is a vibrant three-day celebration of good triumphing over evil, in the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang.

The streets are filled with prayer flags, monks wear colourful, elaborate costumes and masks, and traditional dances are performed to ward off evil spirits. The Road to Mustang & Tiji Festival has been designed by World Expeditions to coincide with the celebrations. If you’re looking for a cultural Himalayan experience without the long hikes, this is the trip for you.

Discover the hidden Kingdom of Mustang and its rugged mountain landscapes by Jeep, stroll through quaint Nepali villages and take in the Tibetan and Buddhist culture.

Who? World Expeditions (0800 0744 135)

When? 13 May 2020

How long? 13 nights

How much? £2,550 (excluding int’l flights)

3. Experience a fire dance in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea's Firedance Festival (Intrepid Travel)

Papua New Guinea's Firedance Festival (Intrepid Travel)

Intrepid Travel’s brand new Firedance Festival trip offers visitors a unique way to experience the dense jungles, bright coral reefs and the history and traditions of Papua New Guinea.

Immerse yourself in local culture as you’re welcomed into a homestay in Vunga village and experience the spectacular Baining Firedance Festival, where traditional dance is performed around a fire. During your adventure you’ll also get to visit the Duke of York Islands, meet spinner dolphins and take a historical tour of Rabaul.

Who? Intrepid Travel (0330 808 7328)

When? Selected dates June and October 2020

How long? Eight nights

How much? From £2,405 (excluding int’l flights)

4. Get in the Olympic spirit in Japan

Tokyo's 2020 Olympic rings and stadium (Shutterstock)

Tokyo's 2020 Olympic rings and stadium (Shutterstock)

The Olympic Games in 2020 means the world’s eyes are firmly on Japan and Team GB Live’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Trip offers you the unique opportunity to cheer on sporting heroes while exploring one of the planet’s most intriguing cities.

By day, you can soak up Tokyo’s past-meets-future skyline, with ancient shrines and temples rubbing shoulders with futuristic inventions.

Come the evening, you get behind Team GB via your choice of a selection of sports, from swimming to equestrian and athletics – all under the watchful gaze of Mount Fuji.

Who? Team GB Live (0344 788 4002)

When? 28 July 2020

How long? Six nights

How much? From £7,305 (including int’l flights)

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