The National Day of Singapore is celebrated on August 9th, in commemoration of Singapore's independence from Malaysia. This holiday features a National Day Parade, an address by the Prime Minister, and fireworks celebrations. Singapore is a cultural melting pot, garden city and a blend of old-world and new architecture. Within a short distance you can experience classic Asia in Little India and Chinatown which contrasts with the cosmopolitan, westernised bars and restaurants in Clarke Quay.
Alternatively, venture to the heart of Indonesia to the island of Java. Java is an island of megacities, mesmerising natural beauty, and profound traditions in art, dance, spiritualism and learning. It boasts a dazzling array of scenic landscapes with iridescent rice paddies, smoking volcanoes, rainforest and savannah. Trek the lush rolling hills of Dieng Plateau, catch the breathtaking sunrise at Mount Bromo or be humbled by the serene and ancient Borobudur.
Travel to Central Vietnam in August. The Hon Chen Temple Festival takes place close to Hue and is organised on the 3rd and the 7th lunar months. It starts with a procession referred to as the God Welcoming ceremony, in the communal house various rituals are performed, including the procession in honour of Saint Mother Thien Y A Na. The procession involves a long line of boats bound together into bigger rafts. The Hon Chen Temple Festival includes a performance filled with imperial characters of the Nguyen dynasty. These shows take place in the natural settings of mountains, hills and rivers. The city represents the outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire, including a complex of monuments, tombs and pagodas.
A vibrant city state which has transformed itself into the commercial hub of south-east Asia. A former colonial outpost of the British Empire, it is a fusion of Chinese, Malay and Indian peoples and cultures all living on the main island and some of the surrounding 50 or so smaller islands. A showcase of modern architecture and a thriving port, it is the gateway for many visitors to south-east Asia.
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.