From whale watching in South Africa to Phuket's famous vegetarian festival, strike while the time is right with these upcoming fiestas
Four festivals worth travelling for this autumn
Here are four festivals to visit at the weather cools down...
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, USA
Over 500 hot air balloons rise into the skies at the world’s largest festival of its kind, which runs from October 6-14.
A range of events over the nine days include balloons being illuminated during the night and a long-distance gas balloon race, which extends from Canada to the USA. For more information visit www.balloonfiesta.com.
Hermanus Whale Festival, South Africa
Now is peak whale-watching season in the coastal village of Hermanus near Cape Town, and it is a prime place from which to see southern right whales because they can be viewed from land. Running until September 30, the Hermanus Whale Festival is the oldest and largest festival on the “Cape Whale Coast”. There is also family entertainment, music and a series of talks. See www.hermanuswhalefestival.co.za for more information.
Golden Eagle Festival, Mongolia
In the Bayan-Ulgii province, located in the peaks of the Altai Mountains, Kazakhs and their golden eagles (berkut) stage an annual competition to test speed, agility and accuracy. Mongolia’s Nomadic Trails company offers an organised tour to the festival, which runs from October 6 to 7. See www.nomadictrails.com for more details.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Thailand
This festival is not for the faint-hearted. A 10-day-long celebration of the meat-free world, from October 8 to 17, features not just some of the most realistic and tasty meat substitutes found anywhere, but street processions featuring extreme bodily impalements, firewalking and holy rituals. Though its origins are unclear, it is believed it was brought to Phuket by a wandering Chinese opera group, which fell ill with malaria while on the island. See www.phuket.com/festival/vegetarian for more information.