New Year’s Eve in Thailand and Southeast Asia: What to Expect

The end of the year falls during the dry season across much of Southeast Asia, which also happens to be the busiest time of year for tourists (with the exception of Bali and Singapore). This is why there are so many parties on New Year’s Eve; most of them are intended for visitors, unless you are familiar with a location that may take you to a more intimate event. Keeping in mind that for many regional customs, this date is not very significant — for example, in Thailand, the “new year” is Songkran, which is celebrated in the month of April.

You can very much travel anyplace, and you’ll find that there’s always something going on there. Even while we are aware that the same location (particularly capital cities such as Bangkok) might have a mix of all of these varied vibes, we have included a summary of what to anticipate in each of the many destinations below.

Tip: You shouldn’t build your schedule around New Year’s Eve since the celebration often falls short of expectations and shouldn’t be the focal point of your vacation. Consider the dates of the vacation, look for a destination that falls on December 31st, and then do some research on the specific activities that are available at that location.

New Year’s Eve in Thailand and Southeast Asia: What to Expect

New Year's Eve in Thailand and Southeast Asia: What to Expect

IN LARGE HOTELS, especially those that are part of worldwide chains, there is almost always an event taking place. These events can range from intimate dinners to lavish parties, depending on how hip and opulent the hotel is. In many locations, particularly on beaches, the celebrations extend beyond the hotels’ boundaries and excite the surrounding region.

Festivities occur in the streets, clubs, and bars of the nation’s capital and the larger cities. These celebrations can be trashier or nicer, depending on how much money you are willing to spend. There are a thousand things going on in Bangkok on New Year’s Eve, from the fireworks around the Chao Phraya River (there are dinner cruises on boats like the Loy Nava Dinner Cruises, interesting for couples, and also a party at the Asiatique The Riverfront market, the one with the Ferris wheel) to the crazed backpackers getting drunk on Khao San Road to the chic parties on the rooftops of trendy hotels like Lebua, Three Sixty, and Above Eleven.

In addition to the festivities that take place in hotels and restaurants across Chiang Mai, a large number of people can be seen out on the streets enjoying the festival of paper lanterns as the city is lighted. There are places to continue the celebration, such as pubs and clubs, particularly close to the North Gate.


New Year's Eve in Thailand and Southeast Asia: What to Expect

Phuket’s Surin Beach, the rooftops in Bangkok that were mentioned earlier, the beach clubs in Bali such as Desa Potato Head and KU DE TA, and luxury hotels from brands such as W, Banyan Tree, and Four Seasons are just some of the destinations in Southeast Asia that are particularly well-known for their lively party scenes.

There are a lot of parties for people who want to backpack and party, so if that describes you, look for those. On the same date, Koh Phangan has an installment of the massive Full Moon Party, while Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, and Koh Samui have parties all over the beaches and bars of their own islands. In Cambodia, the island of Koh Rong and the row of pubs known as Pub Street in Siem Reap are popular destinations for those seeking excitement.

Liam Lee

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