What is Salon Festival?
At the end of the dry season the Sea Gypsies who live along Myanmar’s southern coastline leave the sea to weather the stormy monsoon season in temporary shelters built on the islands of the Myeik Archipelago. This annual migration is marked by the Salon Festival when this hidden culture shares their ancient traditions with the outside world.
The Sea Gypsies or Salon people live on simple boats for up to eight months of every year surviving on the bounty the coax from the sea. As the monsoon season ramps up causing choppy seas and bringing short but powerful storms to the coastline, the sea nomads gather in small groups on the hundreds of islands in the Myeik Archipelago. It’s the only time of the year that the Salon people, famous for their diving, fishing, and other maritime skills, inhabit dry land and perform agricultural practices.
For just a short few days, they invite outsiders into a village to learn about their unique culture. Their ancient customs and culture are infused with shamanism, and during the festival they perform animal sacrifices, ritual dances and songs to bring good fortune and hold evil spirits at bay.
When is Salon Festival?
The Salon Festival is usually held in April as the monsoon season is beginning. As the festival dates are determined by the Sea Gypsies’ annual migration to land from the ocean, it’s best to plan in advance with one of our Travel Specialists so they can make appropriate arrangements and confirm the dates of the Salon Festival well in advance of your luxury tour of Myanmar.
Salon Festival Highlights:
The Salon Festival is a rare treat for cultural enthusiasts. The Salon people rarely interact with even the people who inhabit mainland Myanmar, let alone foreigners.
Where is Salon Festival Celebrated?
The Salon festival is held in Majungalet Village on Bocho Island in the Myeik Archipelago. Bocho Island is reached by a private boat departing from the mainland.
Western-style clothing choices are fine to visit the island and attend the festival in, but you might want to wear something suitable to swim in.