Although Thailand holds its own special New Year celebrations in the middle of April, Western New Year is widely celebrated in the Land of Smiles. Thai people usually refer to Western New Year’s Eve as ‘countdown’ and it is celebrated in many different ways in different parts of the country.

Partying the night away!

Most of the bars and clubs in Bangkok hold vibrant parties of New Year’s Eve and many of the biggest clubs feature sets from some of the biggest DJs from around the world. This hedonistic city is the perfect place to party in style and most venues will attract huge crowds of people who want to dance the night away. Bangkok is also known as being a food lover’s paradise, and before hitting the club people can celebrate New Year’s Eve with their closest friends by enjoying a special meal. While most large restaurants offer special festive meals at this time of year, there are also some unusual dining experiences just waiting to be enjoyed on New Year’s Eve. The Loy Nava New Year Dinner Cruise treats people to a large selection of tasty dishes while they take a scenic trip along the Chao Phraya River, while the restaurant at the top of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel provides stunning panoramic views of the entire city in addition to an impressive international buffet.

All around Thailand

There are also plenty of great ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Many of the city’s leading hotels offer their guests a complimentary gala dinner on December 31st, while there are also plenty of great restaurants to choose from in all areas of Chiang Mai. Special celebrations also take place around Tha Pae Gate and Tha Pae Road and include live music and dance performances, a fireworks display and stalls selling food and drinks.

People who like the idea of partying on the beach on New Year’s Eve should head to one of Thailand’s picturesque islands. Perhaps the wildest parties at this time of year are held on Haad Rin beach on Koh Phangan, while beach parties are also held on popular touristy islands such as Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Tao and Samui. Smaller islands such as Koh Samed and Koh Change also provide plenty of places to party while offering a slightly more chilled out atmosphere. People who are planning to see in the New Year on one of these islands should be prepared to book accommodation around a month in advance, as demand is high at this time of year.

There are also plenty of scenic spots in Thailand where people can chill out on New Year’s Eve and avoid the crowds. The picturesque town of Pai is located in the mountains of northern Thailand. While the town itself usually features bustling street markets and colourful parties at this time of year, the resorts situated just outside the town are great places to relax with a drink or two and simply soak up the scenery. The riverside town of Kanchanaburi also offers a relaxing atmosphere as well as a good selection of bars for people who want to celebrate with a few drinks while watching the world go by.

Happy New Year!

No matter where you go in Thailand, the New Year’s will usually be marked with a fireworks display at midnight. So take this time to gather your nearest and dearest close to you or join a group of party people if you are just passing through and make sure you celebrate New Year’s Eve in style.

By Kirsty Turner