Singapore 20.05.2015 Transindus
If you want to make your New Year's Eve celebrations a little more special this year, then it's well-worth jetting off on holiday to Asia to enjoy something a bit different.
From fireworks exploding above some of the world’s most exotic skylines to intimate bonfire parties on remote beaches, the choice of where and how to spend the celebrations is limitless.
So without further ado, below are our top ten places for New Year's Eve celebrations in Asia.
Bali’s not all about raves on the beach. For a more soulful, contemplative atmosphere, skip the fleshpots of Kuta and head for the island’s culture capital, whose main street is a feast of fairy lights and low-key music and dance recitals on New Year’s Eve. Or sidestep the crowds altogether at the postcard-pretty waterfalls, rice terraces and ridge walks around the town, which tend to be deserted on party nights.
One of our favourite places to celebrate New Year in Asia, Goa is ‘the’ place to be at New Year’s in India. Think Retro-Psychedelic Trance parties under flouro-painted palm trees, and chest-thumping sound systems. Not tempted? Nor us! Which is why we recommend a blissfully far flung beach house on the quietest stretch of the north Goa coast as an escape from the seasonal madness. Large enough to accommodate a group of friends or extended family while offering oodles of privacy, the restored Portuguese-era houses at ‘Elsewhere’ all have uninterrupted ocean views. New Year is also prime nesting season for Olive Ridley marine turtles, who nest in prodigious numbers on Aswem’s gloriously golden sand beach.
If you're keen to have a lot of choice in terms of what you do and where you go, Singapore is a destination that really delivers. This city-state hosts spectacular annual celebrations at Esplanade Bridge and the Padang at City Hall, to name but a few. If you can, try to hop on the world's tallest ferris wheel - the Singapore Flyer, to get a view of the festivities unfolding below. Marina Bay Sands Hotel hosts the bulk of the celebrations, and so is the number one spot to be when the clock strikes midnight.
Bangkok is an intoxicating place to visit at any time of year, with its wonderful mix of historic temples and ultra-modern bars and hotels charming travellers from across the world. This is an option recommended for anyone wanting to feel at the heart of things. Revolving around the decadent, 15-minute firework display staged at Central World Plaza, at new year, the vibrant atmosphere increases, with fireworks visible at midnight all across the city. The top place to be, though, is the countdown at CentralWorld Square, where there will be live performances by local acts, as well as sound and light shows and large-scale projections.
Bangkok’s big New Year’s Eve bash is the largest and most extravagant hosted by any Asian capital, attracting tens of thousands of revellers from across the globe. Enjoy the build up at any number of atmospheric rooftop bars and restaurants in the city before assembling for the big countdown.
Find out more about Thailand Holidays.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
See in the New Year with a cruise on the Saigon River – the perfect way to admire the city’s famous fireworks display near the Bitexo Tower without having to mingle with the crowds downtown. Before setting off, enjoy a sundowner at one of the posher rooftop restaurants, such as the Chill Sky Bar or Air 360.
Find out more about holidays to Vietnam.
The Park Hyatt, Siem Reap
Khmer Apsara performances, ‘Bokotor’ martial arts demonstrations and live shows by the legendary Phare Circus make the Park Hyatt the place to be on New Year’s Eve in Siem Reap. A special menu is served in the hotel restaurant beforehand, featuring delicacies such as Mekong river prawns marinated in lemongrass, followed by fancy Belgian chocolate pastries. Afterwards, enjoy the party vibe that holds sway downtown, where the streets and markets are strung with canopies of pretty fairy lights and an big firework display explodes at midnight.
Find out more about the Park Hyatt in Siem Reap
Chiang Mai, northern Thailand
You’ve seen the amazing photographs. Now experience this entrancing spectacle for yourself, as thousands or tourists and locals gather on the banks of the Mae Ping River to light paper lanterns, symbolizing hope and renewal for the year to come. As the reflections shimmer in the water, the countdown begins, culminating on the stroke of midnight with a mass release of the lamps. Cheered on by the crowds below, they float serenely in a vast cloud into the night sky – a heart-warming experience.
Find out more about holidays to Thailand.
Midwinter is off-season in Japan, but the cold weather offers its own delights, from thermal ‘onsen’ spa sessions surrounded by snow-laden branches, to fragrant mugs of ‘togouchi’, the country’s warming equivalent of the hot toddy. For a truly traditional experience, join the locals celebrating ‘Hatsumode’, an important annual custom held at the city’s temples or shrines, where families gather to ring the temple bell for the first time of the year and pull ‘omukuji’ fortune papers to see what the coming months hold in store.
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You won’t find a more iconic spot in Asia to bring in the New Year than downtown Taipei. At midnight, the Municipality lights up the famous 101 building floor by floor, starting at the bottom and progressing upwards with the big countdown. When the witching hour is reached, the sky lights up with a massive firework display and one of the world’s biggest street parties kicks off. Alternatively, head up Elephant Mountain an hour before midnight, where you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate view over the city.
Find out more about holidays to Taiwan.
Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
When it comes to partying on the beach in Sri Lanka, you’ve basically a choice between Hikkaduwa, a half-hour’s drive up the coast from Galle, or Unawatuna, just across the bay. For its more laid-back atmosphere and lighter crowds, as well as its proximity to some of our favourite boutique hotels on the island, we always recommend the latter. The beach itself it gorgeous. Get your glad rags on, grab your glow sticks and bag a table on the sand for supper and front-row seat for the midnight fireworks.
Find out more about holidays to Sri Lanka.
Never one to be eclipsed and famous for its opulence, Dubai is the place to go if you have a luxurious new year in mind. Dubai has forged a reputation for being the top place to party in the Gulf, and no more so than New Year’s Eve, when its beachfront becomes one big, open-air celebration. Celebs and glitterati from across the world congregate at Zero Gravity for the club’s illustrious Beach Festival, where you can dance the night away with the floodlit Burj Khalifa as a backdrop and one of Asia’s most scintillating firework extravaganza’s at midnight.
And in true Dubai style, Atlantis the Palm delivers one of the world's most spectacular New Year's celebrations, with incredible fireworks displays, sumptuous feasts and live entertainment. While guests at the hotel's gala dinner enjoy front-row seats, the firework displays are visible across the city.