Autumn is one of the best times of the year to visit Asia for food lovers, sports fans and cultural enthusiasts alike. Offering everything from the Grand Prix in Macau to the Taipei Jazz Festival, these nine cities promise an action-packed adventure filled with artsy events and authentic activities — not to mention gorgeous accommodations where you can rest up after all the action.
Consider spending October in Taiwan. Not only is it prime hot-spring season, but the city comes alive with cultural events, including the 20th annual Taipei Arts Festival — running through October 21 — and the Taipei Jazz Festival, which hosts a series of outdoor concerts at Daan Forest Park throughout the month.
Want to rest your head in the center of it all? Check in to Taipei Marriott Hotel, which sits in the cosmopolitan Neihu district. The sleek tower feels bright and modern, featuring art deco details, excellent skyline vistas and five bars and restaurants from which to choose. Don’t miss Inge’s on the 20th floor; the venue affords 270-degree views alongside excellent smoked and grilled barbecue bites.
Seoul, South Korea
Autumn is festival season in Seoul, which means there will be a slew of activities. The famous Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival (also known as the Lantern Festival) is among the city’s top experiences. Running from October 1 to 14, the two-week tradition takes place along the Namgang River, where residents and travelers alike can make wishes with glowing paper lanterns and send them downstream.
Soak up more local culture with a stay at centrally located The Westin Chosun Seoul. At this stylish Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property, look for beautiful design, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, a fantastic spa (kitted out with Korean-style baths) and a mix of international and local fare to indulge in between celebrations.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The days never really cool off in Vietnam, where the average annual temperature hovers around 82 degrees Fahrenheit, but the weather tends to be mildest come November and December. It’s also this time of year when day clubs across the city — including Saigon Soul — launch all-day pool parties accompanied by house music and cocktails. Be sure to plan ahead and book a VIP cabana to enjoy the champagne and sunshine in style.
When you need a break from the action, retreat to the luxurious Park Hyatt Saigon. The elegant hotel sports the stunning Xuan Spa, live music at 2 Lam Son martini bar, high tea at Park Lounge and sumptuous French colonial-style guest rooms when you need to unwind.
A melting pot of cultures, Singapore is home to a large Hindu community — evidenced by the colorful temples, restaurants and shops in Little India. In November, the neighborhood will transform into one huge Deepavali celebration (also known as the Festival of Lights) with lively bazaars, artwork, decorations, musical performances and traditional snacks that will spark your taste buds.
After the festivities, find a quiet refuge at Pan Pacific Singapore. Located on famous Marina Bay, the Four-Star hotel is a favorite for its spectacular skyline views. You’ll find plenty of places to recharge here, including the contemporary lobby with whimsical pod seating, an atmospheric club lounge and the inviting Atrium bar.
Fall means business in busy Guangzhou. Those looking to strike a deal may want to time their trip with the twice-annual Canton Fair, held October 15 to 31. As one of the largest import and export fairs in the world, the event hosts more than 20,000 vendors and 100,000 buyers across industries such as electronics, industrial products, groceries, gifts, furniture, clothing and accessories.
If you’re not here to work, check out the Yangjiang Kite Festival on October 17. With roots dating to the Song Dynasty (more than 1,400 years ago), this popular outdoor celebration brings together more than 10,000 kite enthusiasts from all corners of the world to show off their skills during various flying competitions.
After the fun, head to Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou to unwind. The luxurious urban oasis is known for its light-filled atrium, contemporary design, panoramic views and world-class restaurants. It’s one of the poshest pads in the city, so be sure to book well in advance.
A fall visit to the Las Vegas of the East will reward you with a mix of music, food and a shot of adrenaline. This October, book a trip to coincide with the 32nd Macao International Music Festival, which brings together live orchestral and solo performances from September 28 to October 28.
Then, from November 9 to 25, there’s the Macau Food Festival. The delicious annual gathering combines local bites with carnival-esque fun — think beer competitions, musical performances, dances and game booths.
Of course, the biggest international event on the Macau calendar is the Formula 3 Grand Prix. Taking place November 15 to 18, the white-knuckle motorsport races are certainly bucket list worthy — just be sure to book a room with a trackside view well ahead of time.
In the center of the action is Encore Macau at Wynn Macau. Easily one of the most luxurious addresses in the city, this Five-Star all-suite hotel leaves travelers wanting for nothing. Here, you can look forward to theatrical dining experiences, dazzling crystal chandeliers, sophisticated gaming venues, enormous rooms and, of course, the famous Performance Lake with dazzling LED light and water shows every 15 minutes.
October and November are two of the best months to visit Hong Kong — and not just for the amazing blue-sky weather. Every November, the city turns up the volume with Clockenflap — Hong Kong’s largest music and arts festival — at the Central Harbourfront, featuring international acts, interactive experiences, food stalls and larger-than-life installations. This year’s headliners include New York rockers Interpol and the legendary David Byrne.
Located in Central on the historic Queen’s Road, The Pottinger, Hong Kong boasts an ideal location for your Clockenflap exploits. You can walk to and from the festival in just 20 minutes, then relax later in the Chinoiserie-chic rooms at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended address.
Be sure to check out the property’s newly opened speakeasy Room 309. As the name suggests, this creative cocktail bar is hidden inside a hotel room for ultimate atmosphere points.
There’s no better time to scope out the mega-metropolis’ vibrant cultural scene than this autumn. Taking place in October and November, the Shanghai International Arts Festival puts on various concerts, plays and dance performances across the city. And kicking off on November 10, the city will host the 12th Shanghai Biennale, an exhibit showcasing avant-garde works by both local and international artists at the Shanghai Art Museum.
Choose an artsy address to pair with your cultured itinerary, such as Four-Star Wanda Reign on the Bund. Designed by British architectural firm Foster and Partners, the art-deco-style hotel overlooks Pudong from its prime real estate on Shanghai’s most famous promenade.
While you’re here, enjoy a decadent afternoon tea, admire 33 pieces on display from contemporary Chinese artists, devour Shanghai-style cuisine at River Drunk Huaiyang and unwind with late-night music at RuiKu Restaurant and Champagne Lounge.
Manila, the Philippines
Every autumn, the Philippine capital’s regional festival calendar fills up with an array of show-stopping events. This year’s lineup includes Manila FAME 2018 — the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle expo — from October 19 to 21 at World Trade Center and Masskara Festival, a huge masquerade parade with carnival-inspired music and costumes that takes place on the fourth Sunday of October.
If you’re looking to add a little extra edge to your escape, head just north of Manila to Bulacan to experience Guns N’ Roses live on November 11.
For a ritzy home base amid all of the revelry, we’d recommend checking into Nobu Hotel Manila at the City of Dreams. The Four-Star Japanese-inspired stay is a destination in itself with its namesake restaurant, relaxing spa and access to the resort’s massive casino.
And if you’ve got little ones in tow, be sure to stop by DreamPlay, an interactive DreamWorks-inspired play space for hours of entertainment.