Turn your next holiday into a festive carnival. Keep reading to dive into the best festivals in January that will keep your spirit high.

As we look forward to 2024, there is an epic dose of fun and adventure that awaits all of us. The first month of the year is definitely full of excitement, zest, and thrill. Everyone plans big. While some destinations are hibernating and wrapping themselves in blankets, some places live their best times in January. If you are someone who is gearing up for festival hopping and culture-soaking, you are in luck.

Here is the festival bucket list for January 2024 that will keep up the glitz and glamour of the season. Some are unheard of, while others are crammed with crowds, but they all open the window to incredible experiences.

Best Festivals to Bookmark for January Tour

1. Bagan Ananda Pagoda Festival, Myanmar

Bagan Ananda Pagoda Myanmar

When: January 25 to February 9, 2024

Where: Bagan, Myanmar

Winter is magical when snow dusts the castles and temples, but Myanmar remains sunny and cozy. The ancient city of Bagan swells with visitors during this time of the year. Thanks to the vibrant cultural festival held at Ananda Pagoda. While Bagan is famed for its hot air balloons, its vast collection of temples will stun your eyes. Out of the 2,000 pagodas, this Ananda Pagoda remains the largest and most well-preserved temple. Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and monks from far and wide spend the next few days in the grace of divinity. People chant prayers, perform rituals, and raise funds for the local community.

Interesting Fact: This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the Buddhist month. There is a striking visual of villagers arriving at the festival on bullock carts.

2. Dubai Shopping Festival

Dubai Shopping Festival

When: December 8, 2023 to January 14, 2024

Where: Dubai, UAE

Are you a die-hard shopaholic? Visit Dubai during this month-long extravaganza. Although January is one of the best times to visit Dubai, this mega shopping festival accelerates the fun. It’s raining deals and discounts here. The emirate is awash with exuberance and excitement, with live raffles, unbelievable prizes worth millions of dirhams, flash mobs, and mind-boggling discounts on the most coveted brands. Famous retailing locations like Dubai Mall, Gold Souk, and Mall of the Emirates come alive, offering irresistible price cuts on clothes, watches, perfumes, decor, electronics, and more. Take your entire family and friends to this luxurious city and celebrate the season of discounts.

Interesting Fact: The discounts range from 25 to 75 percent on international brands, sometimes crossing the roof with a whopping 95% slash on the price tag. The prizes are so unexpected that visitors can expect to win several kilos of gold during the festival.

3. Amsterdam Light Festival


When: November 30, 2023, to January 21, 2024

Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands

The legendary canals, exceptional museums, and historic structures (Anne Frank House) comprise the list of top best places to visit in Amsterdam. Witness them all, especially the canals, at their best. This magical light festival ends in January. It lets you see the entire city transformed into an astonishing spectacle, thanks to the brilliant light artworks by local and international artists. You can be part of several exciting programs and experiences during the festival.

Interesting Fact: The 2023-2024 season marks the 12th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival and will last about two months. Refer to our exclusive guide if you are looking for inspiration or the best time to visit Amsterdam.

4. Uttarayan, India

Uttarayan India

When: January 15, 2024

Where: Gujarat, India

Ever attended the biggest kite-flying festival in the world? It’s held in India, notably in Gujarat. Uttarayan is a popular Hindu festival where a mass of people flock to their terraces to fly kites and have a fun competition to see whose kite keeps soaring in the sky the longest. As per its religious significance, the festival welcomes the summer after the chilly winters. People visit temples, pray to the Lord Sun, and relish sweets. It also marks the onset of the harvest season and prosperity. Everyone comes together in the New Year with love and hope. So, get ready to scream “Kai Po Che.”

Interesting Fact: Uttarayan (meaning northern movement) also holds astronomical importance as it begins on the day when the sun reaches the southern apex and starts its journey northwards. The daylight keeps on increasing now. India is the land of the most fascinating attractions and experiences; read our dedicated post on the top lesser known Indian destinations to learn more about them.

5. London Art Fair

When: January 17 to 21, 2024

Where: Business Design Centre, Islington, London

The best time to visit London for art lovers is during this fair that unites artists from around the world. With over 100 exceptional art galleries at Islington’s Business Design Centre, visitors can explore inspiring modern and contemporary art in an elegant setting.

Interesting Fact: 2024 will see the 36th edition of London Art Fair, which will feature enlightening programs, such as Adam Dant’s Heritage’s 900.

6. Tet Festival, Vietnam


When: February 10, 2024

Where: Vietnam

Also called the Lunar New Year, Tết Nguyên Đán is Vietnam’s most important celebration and one of the best festivals to attend in January. It translates into “the first morning of the first day of the New Year.” The country ushers in the spring with great enthusiasm and sees a million footfalls from all over the world. The festival of conviviality, Tet, celebrates the good times as the locals declutter, clean, and spruce up their homes and surroundings. It is a three-day long festival where people reminisce about their ancestors, visit temples, and cook a special holiday meal.

Interesting fact: Vietnamese do not prefer sweeping their houses during Tet, as they consider it inauspicious. It is believed they might sweep away good luck. On the same belief, they also avoid cutting their nails or hair.

7. Harbin Ice Festival, China

Harbin Ice Festival China

When: January 5, 2024

Where: Harbin, China

Running from early January to the end of February, this is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. During the winter months, Harbin comes up with dramatic and colossal sculptures made out of the snow. You would be walking past the icy train sculpture, rainbow-hued towers, dreaming snow maiden and much more. Some of the major exhibits (or venues) are: Sun Island, tucked on the other side of the Songhua River; Ice and Snow World with  vibrant and illuminated effigies; and Zhaolin Park which includes miniature ice lanterns. This season will have the magnanimous Snowflake Ferris Wheel, amplifying the whole experience for millions of visitors.

Interesting Fact: During this time of the year, the country is hit with the nail-biting winter wind from Siberia creating a sub-zero climate. Then the snow from the Songhua River is used to craft these masterpieces.

8. Thaipusam


When: January 25, 2024

Where: India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, etc.

It is one of the most revered Indian festivals. Dedicated to Lord Muruga’s victory over Sooran (a demon), it is also celebrated with great enthusiasm and vigor outside India, especially in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. Moreover, Malaysia’s Batu Caves are thronged by devotees during the festival, making it one of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur in January. You can also check out our guide to Batu Caves.

Interesting Fact: This predominantly Tamil festival falls on the full moon day of the lunar month, Thai. A distinctive yet excruciating segment of this festival is the devotees piercing their tongues or cheeks with vel spears while bearing kavadis, a steel or wood structure adorned with flowers and peacock feathers, on their shoulders as an act of humility and devotion to Lord Muruga.

9. Hogmanay Festival, Scotland

Hogmanay Festival

When: December 29, 2023, to January 1, 2024

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

January is all about the New Year. Edinburgh takes it a level up with this authentic Scottish celebration. This is a wholesome experience with a cacophony of fireworks, live parades, torchlight processions, and rock concerts. Locals and travelers alike will have a whale of a time at this four-day festival.

Interesting Fact: As the clock strikes midnight, raise your hands and cheer together to the world’s biggest rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

10. Ocaso Festival, Costa Rica

Ocaso Festival Costa RicaImage Credit: ocaso-music.prezly.com

When: January 4 to 8, 2024

Where: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

One of the most popular music festivals in the world, Ocaso Festival, will let your hair down like a real music lover. Tap your toes to the biggest soundtracks in the three open-air stages, set against the lush mountains or on the blissful beach. Locking in the most illustrious names like Michael Bibi, Solomun, and Adriatique, the festival is set to rock your soul. The four-day gala will be packed with entertainment, food, and frenzy. Costa Rica is absolutely breathtaking, and this almost week-long cultural and musical holiday will make the trip even more memorable.

Interesting Fact: This underground music festival introduces new and extraordinary forms of electronic music.

11. Sundance Film Festival, Utah

Sundance Film Festival Utah

When: January 18 to 28, 2024

Where: Park City, Utah

This festival is a mega fete where the audience experiences unique and unheard storytelling live. The venue brims with innovative, head-hitting, and dramatic stories from fresh and new voices. The creativity continues with documentaries, short films, series, and episodic content. You can truly have an eye-opening experience with all these tales, especially if you are a movie buff.

Interesting Fact: Sundance was created to evoke and inspire change in the film industry. Anyone can submit their original works to this film festival.

12. Sydney Festival

SydneyImage Credit: timeout.com

When: January 5 to 28, 2024

Where: Sydney, Australia

There is no doubt that January is the best time to visit Sydney for art enthusiasts, as it runs for about 24 days and is packed with a vast spectrum of events and programs. You can enjoy over 100 amazing performances in almost all categories, from music and dance to theater performances and circus.

Interesting Fact: More than 500,000 visitors attend this festival, which has been a significant part of Sydney’s art and scene for over four decades.

You might be interested – Best Time to Visit Australia


1. What are some of the most striking festivals to attend in January?

January is mostly rife with exciting events and festivals, and some of the must-attends among them are Harbin Ice Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and Dubai Shopping Festival.

2. Are there any musical festivals in January?

The Ocaso Festival is one of the top music festivals in January.

3. Does January see religious festivals?

Most religious festivals, including the Bagan Ananda Pagoda Festival, Thaipusam, and Uttarayan, fall in January.

4. Is it ideal to attend the popular festivals with family and little ones?

It largely depends on the type of festival. For instance, festivals like Amsterdam Light Festival and Harbin Ice Festival are some of the fantastic options to enjoy with family and kids.


This guide has rounded up the best festivals around the world to enjoy in January, whether you look for age-old rituals, music festivals, or literature events. So, grab your visa and fly to these destinations for a wonderful start to the year. Contact Rayna Tours to help you plan the best holiday package.

Rezmin is passionate about traveling and curating content about history, traditions and other intriguing aspects that make a place attractive. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fictional books sprinkled with inspiration, humor and enthusiasm.

  • 9 thoughts on “Most Popular January Festivals to Attend for a Fun Holiday
    1. Avatar for Rezmin

      The Harbin Ice Festival in China is such an underrated festival. The ice sculptures are so detailed and beautiful. The whole place becomes a winter wonderland.

    2. Avatar for Rezmin

      The DSF is brilliant! Ever since I won a prize in a raffle, I visit often. The offers are too good here, so I wait a whole year to shop at DSF.

    3. Avatar for Rezmin

      I highly recommend people to check out the Uttarayan Festival in Gujarat, India. The whole sky is covered with colourful kites and the kit fights are very exciting!

    4. Avatar for Rezmin

      The Dubai Shopping Festival is awesome! I make it a point to come every year. The deals and offers are just too irresistible and Dubai looks so festive during DSF.

    5. Avatar for Rezmin

      Being a Cinephile, I eagerly wait for the Sundance Film Festival, especially now that it’s starting again after 2 years. Seeing films from other countries is the best experience.

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