40th Hong Kong Arts Festival
An extravaganza featuring 44 main events, from opera to dance, music and theater, spread over 41 days. The festival features workshops, masterclasses, talks, screenings and behind the scenes tours. Highlights from this year’s festival include Grzegorz Jarzyna’s production of the late Sarah Kane’s final play 4.48 Psychosis (Feb 22-25), Poon Wai-sum’s look into the Hong Kong property market Show Flat (Feb 16-28) and an all-Handel concert from The Sixteen and Harry Christophers (Feb 24-25).
January 28-March 8. Hong Kong. HK$60-680. www.hk.artsfestival.org
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Whenever the Asia Pacific region’s biggest gay festival comes around, you know it’s going to be nothing short of fabulous. Mardi Gras is a celebration of all aspects of LGBT culture from theater productions, to concerts, a film festival, academic talks and discussions as well as that legendary parade.
Feb 12-Mar 4. Sydney. Free and ticketed events. www.mardigras.org.au
Java Jazz Festival
It might be sponsored by a cigarette company, but that takes nothing away from the quality of the performers on show at this weekend of jazz. The Al Jarreau & George Duke Trio, Bobby McFerrin, The Manhattan Transfer, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Erykah Badu and Laura Fygi are just some of the names who’ll take to the stage at the Jakarta International Expo.
Mar 2-4. Jakarta. Daily passes available from Rp385,000, single show tickets from Rp110,000. www.javajazzfestival.com
Fashion Week Tokyo 2012-13 A/W
After its cancellation in 2011 following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japan Fashion Week returned with its Spring 2012 edition in October 2012. The line-up for the Autumn/Winter week in March hasn’t been announced yet, but you can expect to see the likes of Araisara, Fur Fur, Yukiko Hansai, Motonari Ono, SOMARTA and Johan Ku.
March 18-23. Tokyo. Price TBC. www.jfw.jp
36th Hong Kong International Film Festival
This year’s HKIFF will feature 330 films from 50 countries screened to a combined audience of around 600,000 with a focus on Asian (and in particular, Chinese) cinema and talent. The full line-up will be announced at a later date and you can keep tabs on the event via its Facebook page.
March 21-April 5. Hong Kong. Price TBC. www.hkiff.org.hk
Malaysian Grand Prix
Can anyone catch Sebastian Vettel in 2012? The young German has already established himself as this generation’s Michael Schumacher, winning his second consecutive World Championship hands down in 2011. Malaysia gets front row seats with one of the first few races of the season.
March 23-25. Kuala Lumpur. RM63-1,763. www.malaysiangp.com.my
Hong Kong Sevens
While famed for the bonecrushing tackles and fleet-footed runs on the pitch, the carnival atmosphere it brings is the real reason to go. Start planning your costume now.
March 23-25. Hong Kong. HK$1,500 for a three-day pass. www.hksevens.com
Attending Songkran, the week-long water war that rings in Thai New Year, is definitely one of the things to add to your bucket list. In Bangkok, the action is concentrated around Khaosan (for backpackers) and Silom (for locals) but Chiang Mai is where the insanity reaches its peak, particularly along the northern capital’s main canal. If you’ve seen it all, try Khon Kaen’s Khao Niaw road for a change. If you just can’t get enough, the action tends to travel east of Bangkok after Apr 15, towards Bang Saen and Pattaya.
April 13-16. Thailand. Free. www.songkran.net