December 22, 2015
Details on the best locations across Thailand to spend New Year
Around the world as the clock ticks down to midnight, people celebrate the passing of one year to the next in similar ways: fireworks, street parties, dancing, and generous helpings of food and drinks. Still, each destination has its own cultural twists and distinctive setting, here in the Kingdom of Thailand we like to do it our way with a mix of bags of fun and on the 1st Day of 2016 (those sober enough to do so) in quiet prayer at temples across the country.
While the Gregorian New Year is celebrated in Thailand it is not the Buddhist New Year, in those countries that follow Theravadin Buddhism, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April (In Thailand it is known as Songkran). That said the 1st January is a day when many Thai’s will make merit and pray for prosperity for the coming year. That’s not to say the people of Thailand do not celebrate this time of year as they certainly do, its a time for families to share time together and celebrate the coming of a new year.
Bangkok Wat Arun: From 29th December to 1st January, 2016. Taking place on the banks of the majestic Chao Phraya River, this is the first time the celebrations take place at Wat Arun, one of the capitals most iconic venues. Its distinctive spires are set to shine as they have never before with a 9-minute pyrotechnic display featuring literally tones of fireworks. (You can see the rehearsals of performances on 29 – 30 December, 2015, at 21.00 – 22.00 at the Nagaraphirom Park while people nationwide can watch the live broadcasted countdown celebration via various TV channels on 31 December, 2015). Following the fireworks extravaganza, there will be 45-minute display on the ‘Chronicle of the Land’ presented by a multi-media performance of lighting and projection mapping on the stupa of Wat Arun together with music by the Mahanakhorn Philharmonic Orchestra and Usa Asil, the first multi-cultural ASEAN music ensemble.
Across the river, the 300-metre stretch from Maharaj Road – at the section where the Nagaraphirom Park is located – to Chetuphon Road will be turned into a walking street with the theme of an ancient Thai-style market, selling products from across the country. The special three-day market is open 17.00 -22.00 and to midnight on New Year’s Eve. There will also be a stage for contemporary and cultural performances.
Bangkok: From 31st December to 1st January, 2016. “Asiatique Festival Countdown 2016” held at the riverside Asiatique market Activities will include concerts by well-known singers, actors and actresses, an international food fair, a fireworks display, plus the countdown, which will be broadcast on television, so you are assured of a glitzy show business affair, filled with all manner of Thai celebrities. Many of the restaurants will be offering special menus at reduced prices and based on previous years they are likely to be very busy, not to worry the a night bazaar and a mall is full of stalls and shops to keep you interested fed and watered. Dailey Opening Hours: 17:00-00:30
Chiang Mai – Northern Thailand: From 25th to 31st December and will take place at the historic Thapae Gate and down the entire stretch of Thapae Road. Activities will include mini-concerts by well-known Thai artists and bands, fun stage performances and displays of the local culture, leading to a massive fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Chiang Rai – Northern Thailand: Three Nation’s Countdown 2016 in Mae Sai district takes place on 31 December, 2015, and into the early hours of 1 January, 2016. There will be stage entertainment that showcases the culture of the three Golden Triangle countries – Thailand, Lao and Myanmar, designed to fascinate and entertain before midnight’s musical fireworks display.
Chiang Rai Why not add a bit of horticulture to your celebrations and witness the New Year surrounded by natures colours at the Chiang Rai Flower Festival which runs from 23 December 2015 to 31 January 2016. While not on the scale of its bigger brother event in Chiang Mai, this annual event is a tidy reminder of what people are missing in the less travelled part of northeast Thailand. The event is not only about the wide range of flowers to be found in the local area it is also in part a music festival. The event includes a flower exhibition, the Miss Thinn Thai Ngarm beauty contest, agricultural exhibitions and contest along with a local product fair.
Hat Yai – Southern Thailand: From 30 to 31 December, 2016, will take place on Niphat Uthit 3, Sanehanusorn, Thammanoonvithi, Central Festival Hat Yai and Chee Uthit Roads in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district. Highlights include concerts by big name Thai artists and musicians including the likes of Palmy, Zeal, Restrospect and the Yers and the B-Boy Championships (breakdancing to those of us that were not aware that a practitioner of this art is called a b-boy, b-girl, or breaker). There will also be displays of Ramwong the traditional Thai circle dance, as well as a massive fireworks display as the clocks strike midnight.
Khon Kaen – Eastern Thailand: From 25th to 31st December, 2016. Family-friendly activities are being held on Srichan Road by the ancient Khon Kaen Gate and there will be lots to see and do including live music from leading Thai performers and bands featuring; TATTOO COLOUR, lion and Musketeers along with an abundance of cultural shows. On the night of the 31st the countdown is immediately followed by a spectacular fireworks extravaganza. January 1st, 2559, is all about making merit for the New Year, with the biggest assembly expected at Khon Kaen City Pillar from 06.30 on-wards.
Koh Samui & Ko Phangan- Southern Thailand: Chaweng Beach New Years Eve. if you like your New Years Eve to go on all night then this is the place for you, while there is little in the way of culture there is bags of noise and music everywhere, I have added it the list simply because its manic, raw and unlike all the others here it is pretty spontaneous with very little in the way of planning. The same goes for the near by island of Ko Phangan, which is famous for its Full Moon Parties which incidentally falls on the Christmas day this year (the last to do so was in 1977 and the next is not due until 2034). The only down side to these two locations is getting accommodation, which tends to be booked out months in advance. Picture from Gabriel ng recording, aerial views of Chaweng beach
Loei – Northern Thailand: From 1st December 2015 – 31st January 2016 If the thought of all those crowds and noise is putting you off the New Year why not celebrate the day and night at one of the provinces smaller festivals and surround yourself in The Sea of Fog and Beautiful Flower Blossom held on the grounds in front of Phu Ruea District Office. Activities in the festival comprise of a temperate plant fair, floral float parade, decorative plants contests, traditional dancers and agricultural produce for sale and on the 31st December an additional fireworks display and countdown
Nakhon Phanom – Eastern Thailand: From 31 December to 1st January held at Muang Nakhon Phanom district. Including cultural performances, a food fair, lantern decorating contest and the New Year’s Eve countdown and fireworks show. On the following day there is a mass prayer ceremony and merit making, to pay respects to seven pagodas.
Pattaya – Central Thailand: From 25th to 31st December, at Bali Hai Pier on the southernmost part of Pattaya Beach. The evening of the 31st will be the highlight of a weeklong celebration that includes concerts by famous Thai and international musicians and a wide range of entertainment including cultural and culinary fun. The countdown will be marked with huge fireworks spectacular.
Phuket – Southern Thailand: From 29th to 31 December, 2016 to be held at Sanam Chai, opposite the Phuket Provincial Hall, promises a range of concerts, stage entertainment and a “Light Wonderland” exhibit, before the island’s skies burst into life with this year’s countdown fireworks display. Music lovers can attend the Phuket Electronic Music and Dance Festival 2016 from 30 to 31 December, 2016, on the island’s Karon Beach which is playing host to internationally-acclaimed DJs as well as several concerts that will climax in a countdown spectacular.
Samut Songkhram–Central Thailand: From 31st December – 1st January Amphawa floating market Countdown and New Year Celebration 2016, will take place on Dec 31 in front of Amphawa district office, featuring live traditional and modern Thai music, cultural dancing, and ending with a countdown and a traditional fire work display
Cha-am – Central Thailand: From 29 December 2015 to 2 January 2016 held on the white sands of Cha-am Beach. This annual 5 day and night festival features a variety of entertainment held every day along with a host of live performances from the from the following famous Thai artists and of course a spectacular fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
29 December 2015 – Earnkhwan Waranya (เอิ้นขวัญ วรัญญา)
Details of events curtsy of TAT