Bangkok is far from one-size-fits-all when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve. You’ll find that there’s something for everybody, whether it’s sipping on fishbowls, dancing with the locals, or watching the fireworks go off at midnight.
Royal City Avenue – also known as RCA – serves up an unbeatable strip of nightclubs in the city. On New Year’s Eve, you’ll find live dance music, with international DJs, impressive sound systems and ginormous dancefloors. Plus, there’s a whole load of street food stalls – so you can swap your end of the night kebab with some delicious pad thai. Need we say more?
If a trendy rooftop bar sounds like your scene, pay a visit to Above Eleven. It’s located up on the 32nd floor of the Fraser Suites, so you’ll have spectacular vistas of Bangkok’s skyline. And on New Year’s Eve, you can expect DJs from 10pm until sunrise. There’s a long, open bar in the centre of the roof, and it’s surrounded by fake, green grass, creating a really cool picnic vibe. Foodies can try the Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine in between dancing and sipping on Champagne – FYI, you won’t find these tasty dishes anywhere else in the city.
Couples should look no further than the Loy Nava River Cruise. You can spend the last few hours of the year floating down the Chao Phraya River on a converted rice barge. And from here, you’ll get breathtaking views of the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Rama VIII bridges glowing in the moonlight. There’s also a dining option onboard, boasting a 10-course Thai dinner, as well as a bottle of bubbly. Plus you’ll catch a glimpse of the city’s official firework displays.
But it’s not all about partying here. There are family-friendly things to do, too, like CentralWorld Shopping Centre's annual street celebration. It’s Bangkok’s equivalent to New York’s Times Square – without the snow. Every year, over 100,000 people attend to watch the fireworks display. Kids can go ice-skating, or get their faces painted in neon colours on the first floor. Outside, you’ll find beer gardens, snack stalls and live entertainment, including live bands and DJs. And the best part? It’s free to attend.
If you want to swap the city streets for powdery-white sands on New Year’s Eve, Phuket is a great place to do it. The pristine, white beaches turn into huge party zones with live entertainment, firework displays and barbecues that last until the early hours of the morning. Plus, you’ll find stacks of bars and clubs to choose from in Phuket Town.
Elsewhere in Phuket Town, you can countdown to midnight at the Sanam Chai playing fields. Locals and holidaymakers join together here to ring in the New Year. Some of the festivities include concerts, singing contests, food stalls and fireworks at midnight. You can also release a colourful lantern into the sky for good luck.
In terms of beach parties, Paradise Beach offers up something for everyone. The beach is located in a small, sheltered bay, dusted with golden sands and surrounded by rocky cliffs. In the hours leading up to the New Year, you’ll find barbecues, fire-eating shows and huge firework displays. If you’re on a budget, Patong Beach offers a free party that’s just as lively. Or, make tracks for Bangla Road. Here, there are more than 100 bars. They’re reasonably priced, and they host live music, as well as karaoke and pool tournaments.
While you’re in Thailand celebrating the New Year, why not check out these top diving spots? Conditions are best during November to April, so it’s the ideal time to grab your snorkel and flippers, and jump into the crystal-clear waters.
Chiang Mai is also known as ‘the rose of the north’. You’ll find this age-old city in northern Thailand, surrounded by mountains and rolling green vistas. And while it’s more peaceful than Bangkok and Phuket, there are still loads of fun things to do here on New Year’s Eve, rivalling the other Thai favourites as your destination to celebrate.
The Night Bazaar is one of the top attractions in Chiang Mai. It’s approximately one kilometre in length, filled with colourful fairy lights, a variety of stalls and entertainment, including Thai dancing and singing contests. This place is great for foodies, too. You’ll find Burmese-inspired dishes, like Khao Soi, a yellow, egg and noodle curry – which you can gobble for around 70p. Plus, on New Year’s Eve, there are a whole load of lively bars around this area that stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Ping River is arguably one of the perfect places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai. Not only famous for its music scene, its gourmet restaurants serve some of the best Chinese and Thai dishes in the whole city. So, you can start the evening off by feasting on crab spring rolls and kung pao chicken, then follow it up with fishbowls and dancing with the locals at one – or five – of the live music venues.
If the midnight countdown is what you’re after, look no further than Tha Pae Gate. Every year, thousands of people crowd around a large stage, where trendy Thai bands rock out their tunes. Plus, there are tons of food and drinks stalls to choose from. And at midnight, not only is there a fantastic fireworks display, but around 10,000 candle-lit lanterns are released into the sky. If you want to escape the crowds, though, you can watch it all from Doi Suthep – one of northern Thailand’s most sacred temples.
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