October is a good time to hit the road. Temperatures are comfortably pleasant. Mother Nature tosses a spectacular outdoor show in the northern hemisphere as foliage turns from green to red. It’s a time for people to give thanks and celebrate the season. An overview of the best places to visit in October:
October marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent, which is celebrated with the Awk Phansaa festival in which people release decorated boats made with banana leaves into bodies of water. Coinciding with this event are the Bun Nam (Water Festival) and Boat Racing Festival. In Vientiane, Laotians leave offerings in the city’s temples at dawn. In the evening, they set decorated floats adrift into the Mekong River to thank the spirits of the river. Boat races are held the next day.
Centuries ago, when New England was dominated by Puritans, Salem gained notoriety for its witchcraft trials. Nearly 400 years later, witches are still alive in Salem as this Massachusetts city throws a month-long Halloween party. Psychics, witches, warlocks, ghosts and goblins haunt the city for the annual event. There’s a Festival of the Dead at which people are encouraged to contact their dearly departed through psychic readings. Visitors can also tour haunted houses, take in a magic show, enjoy a carnival ride, listen to ghost stories or take in a spooky parade.
The MassKara Festival offers 20 days of making merry in Bacolod, the capital of the Philippines’ sugar-producing province. It originated as a way to show the hardships suffered by the people of Negros and continues today as a way to have fun and boost the local economy. Participants paint their faces or don masks and wear colorful headdresses and costumes. Beer-drinking and dancing in the streets are the most popular activities, but there are also pig-catching, mask-making and pole climbing contests. This a good place for travelers who collect folk art and handcrafts to shop.
Travelers to Florida can’t go wrong if they choose to visit the Sunshine State in October. Temperatures have cooled down to 70 degrees to 80 degrees since the hot days of summer, making it very comfortable to take in the state’s many attractions. Crowds are generally less since school is back in session and the annual flock of snowbirds is still to arrive. The coastal waters are still warm enough to swim in; along with bathing suits, travelers should toss in a rain poncho, since some rain is possible.
The atmosphere is noisy, festive and religious as the Bhutanese celebrate Thimphu Tsechu, a festival that date back to the 17th century. The most colorful part of this multi-day festival is the ethnic folk dancing that takes place in the courtyard of Tashichho Dzong in the capital of Bhutan. There, men, including monks, dress in elaborate, colorful traditional costumes to perform folk dances to the best of drums and cymbals. The dancers were traditional masks. The celebration also is a time for family and friends to visit in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. It is one of Bhutan’s biggest festivals.
Plitvice Lakes is a colorful place to visit any time of year, but this Croatian region goes all out when it comes to fall foliage. Considered one of Europe’s most scenic areas, the azure blue Plitvice Lakes is spectacularly enhanced during the fall, when trees show off their brilliant fall colors. This Croatian national park offers hiking trails for travelers who want to get up close and personal with Mother Nature. Photographers need to ensure they have lots of film or memory cards to capture the area’s fall beauty.
Home to the largest gathering of hot air balloons and ballooning enthusiasts in the world, Albuquerque is one of the best places to visit in October. During this autumn month, New Mexico’s largest city hosts the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which includes concerts and fireworks as well as mass balloon launches day and night. Many people attend the event simply to view the display from the ground, but the city allows authorized operators to offer hour-long rides to visitors during the festival as well.
October is a great time to go trekking in Nepal. It’s the beginning of the dry season, but not so dry yet that greenery from the rainy season has dried up. Temperatures are balmy, and most days offer spectacular views of the Himalayas. This makes it a great time to trek to Everest Base Camp; wait a couple of months and it may be too snowy to get there. The Nepalese also celebrate a number of Hindu festivals, including Dashain and Tihar, this month.
To visit New England in the fall is to see Mother Nature’s handiwork at its very best. The forests are alive with October’s vibrant foliage in glorious reds, oranges, golds and yellows as trees shed their leaves in preparation for winter. Just about any place in New England is a good place to become a leaf peeper, but Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are especially good. Take time to stop and smell the leaves – each has a different aroma. Advance accommodations arrangements are a must. It is bet to get around using the back roads as they may not be as clogged with tourists.
The Oktoberfest has been called the biggest beer party in the world, as it attracts more than six million visitors annually. Before it’s over, people will have drunk more than five million liters (1.3 million gallons) of beer. Oktoberfest more or less got its start as an informal wedding reception for Crown Prince Ludwig, who later because king, and Princess Therese who wed on October 12, 1810. Munich residents were invited to party in front of the city gates. While beer is the obvious draw, people also celebrate Oktoberfest with carnivals, a costume parade, concerts and a huge Catholic mass.