Galungan is the most important feast for Balinese Hindus, a ceremony known as Ngelawang is performed in the villages. An exorcism ceremony performed by a "barong" - a divine protector in the form of a mythical beast. The whole island sprouts tall bamboo poles "penjor". Decorated with fruit, coconut leaves, and flowers and set up on the right of every residence entrance. While the actual festivities are open to Balinese only, tourists get an eyeful of the local colour. Bali also offers a mix of cultures, people, animals and delicious cuisine. It is very diverse from the stunning beach resorts of Seminyak and Nusa Dua to the cultural heart of the island in the lush resort of Ubud.
Another colourful festival in May is Phat Dan in Vietnam. Lanterns are hung outside the pagodas and Buddhist homes to commemorate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and the attainment of Nirvana. Huế is a Unesco World Heritage site, and comes alive with a mix of pagodas, palaces, tombs, temples, culture and cuisine. One of the must see attractions in Huế is Thien Mu Pagoda. Built on a hill overlooking the Perfume River, this pagoda is an icon of Vietnam and acts as a potent symbol of Huế as the Citadel.
May is a good time to head to the Middle East. Relax and float upon the Dead Sea or be awe-struck by the two thousand-year-old Nabataean city of Petra in the ancient heart of Jordan. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture. The Dead Sea is a salt lake lying on the border between the nations of Israel and Jordan. Commonly known as the Earth's lowest point, it is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world, at 1,083 feet (330 m) deep.
An exotic collection of islands - 18,000 in total scattered around the equator; although the most visited are Java, Bali and Lombok - Indonesia spreads itself along the South China Sea. Throughout the centuries it has been influenced by traders and travellers from near and far as wide apart as China and Northern Europe, and it still bears the influences each has brought, as well as those of the three main Asian cultures and religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
A country steeped in drama and excitement from its craggy coastline to lush interior, a country that has survived wars, invasions and colonisation with grace, grit and good humour; a country which embraces the future and yet never forgets its past. It is a nation of colours, from the vivid green of the rice terraces to the white sand of the beaches and the deep turquoise of the sea which edges it. It has much to flaunt from temples and pagodas to scenery.
For a small country, Jordan packs an impressive punch in terms of history, culture and scenery, and the proximity of its key sights makes a holiday to Jordan ideal for the time-pressed traveller. Foremost among these sights are Petra, the fabled ‘rose-red city', half as old as time and the inspiring desert landscapes of Wadi Rum.