Big Events in Malaysia this July & August

A public event in a foreign country can make for great travel memories. It’s a chance to rub shoulders with the locals, get under a country’s skin and see what makes it tick. If you are heading to Malaysia this northern summer, lots of events are on the calendar. Why not slot one in on your itinerary? Here is a pick of the best.

  • From July 1-31, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, only it won’t be coffee you’ll be smelling at the Penang Durian Fair. Durians are a large spiky melon-like fruit with an aroma that is – how do we put it kindly – a little challenging? Some say rotten onions, others say – well, try it for yourself. Get past the smell-test, though, and durians have a luscious flavour and custardy texture. Their creamy flesh is paired with savoury dishes and sweet, even with chocolate!  You can sample loads of clever recipes at this food-fest.

  •  Throughout all of July and August, you can get into the Malaysian rhythm at the KL Arts and Cultural Festival in Kuala Lumpur. There will be music, photography, painting and multi-media showcasing both Malaysian heritage, and where the country is at today.
  • If the 21st century is the Asian century, then it is no surprise that Mandarin pop music is huge. August is your chance to hear this brand of beat at the Spring Wave Music Festival. The Spring Wave has taken Taiwan and Greater China by storm. It comes to Malaysia for the first time on August 2. And not only is it a music festival, it’s a beach party! It takes place at the world’s largest man-made surf beach, the 1.6km beach at Sunway Lagoon entertainment complex, a 15-minute drive from KL. Backed by the golden lights of city buildings, you and thousands of other revellers will move to the rhythm alongside lapping waves, three islands and two-to-three metre man-made surf waves.
  • Indie music is exploding in Asia, too. The place to check it out is the Good Vibes Festival at the Sepang Go-kart Circuit on August 23. Ten home-grown acts and six international acts will perform, headlined by British indie-electro-pop vocalist, Ellie Goulding.
  • Intrigued by island culture? Malaysia is an island nation with a rich cultural past. You can delve deep into intriguing island traditions at the Borneo Cultural Festival 2014. On display will be performing arts, recitals, music, dance, visual arts and more at the Sibu Town Square on Borneo island, August 15-24.
  • If you want to mix with locals as they live today, go along to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House. This festival is a place to join the people as they celebrate Malaysian togetherness and cultural harmony. It’s taking place August 16  in the Pahang state capital of Kuantan.

  • A colonial past gives Malaysia a real east-meets-west feel. One of the best places to soak up that past is in George Town, the World Heritage-listed capital of the island state of Penang. Take one of the town’s signature tri-shaws, wander on foot, or join a tour to explore the gracious nineteenth-century architecture. George Town is a sweet spot for shoppers, too. The little laneways are full of family-run shops selling everything from carved Asiatic furniture to batiks, second-hand books or a shrine for your home. A great view over the bay is waiting for you at the end of a cable-car ride to Penang Hill. If you’re visiting in August, you’re in luck. Every day from August 1-31, over 90 acts in the George Town Festival will make the town even livelier than usual with performing and visual arts and fashion.
  • If you will be in KL August 8-10, you might want to catch the Asia Pacific Dance Explosion, a high-impact display of dance troupes from all around the world.  This festival is endorsed by the United Country Western Dance Council, but it’s not country and western as you know it. This promises to be glamour, colour and choreography on steroids!

  • Motorheads are spoilt for choice in August. From August 15-17, they should head to the city of Johor to watch drivers from Australia, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Japan compete in the Malaysian leg of the FIA Pacific Rally Championship.
  • Then from August 29 to September 1, the Australian-born Summernats auto festival brings its unique brand of car devotion beyond Aussie shores for the first time. Over four days, visitors can see performance car displays, races, burnouts and stunt shows, plus a Biggest and Loudest Bike Gathering. It takes place at Sepang International Circuit near KL International Airport.
  • If you are in Malaysia on the last day of August, it is Independence Day, or Hari Merdeka. This is a day when you can join with the locals to mark the end of British colonial rule over the new Federation of Malaya in 1957. It’s a chance to revisit the past and look into the coming century with the Malaysian people.

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