Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve: 10 Epic Destinations in Southeast Asia
Despite Thailand’s new year actually being celebrated in April, they still pull out all the stops to party on December 31st. A great place to be in Bangkok on this date is by the Chao Phraya river, where you’ll have a great view of a firework show that’s so creative and grandiose that it could be considered a work of art. If you’d rather have a bird’s eye view, there are plenty of great rooftop bars to enjoy the displays from, or if you’d rather drink than see the fireworks then the backpacker haven of Khao San Road is also a great choice.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Head to the city square near the Tha Pae Gate where the New Year celebrations will be taking place and the roads will be closed from 6pm. Explore the food stalls, pop up bars, and enjoy the dance performances. In Chiang Mai it’s a tradition to release lanterns into the sky and into the river to bring luck for the new year – it’s a pretty spectacular sight to see! If you’re looking for a place to dance the night away, close to the Tha Pae Gate you’ll find long-time backpacker favourite bar Zoe in Yellow. Monkey Club, Fabrique and Spicy are also popular bars and clubs to get your boogie on.
Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand
Although it’s not even officially a ‘full moon’ on 31st December, Haad Rin Beach, home to the famous monthly Full Moon Parties will still be one of the biggest New Year celebrations in Asia, with thousands of people decked out in neon glow paint, slurping cocktails out of buckets, and dancing on the beach at the Koh Phangan Countdown Party. It’s a New Year’s party on steroids! Don’t miss our blog for surviving the Full Moon Party.
For a different New Year’s experience on Koh Phangan, those in the know grab a water taxi off the beach at Haad Rin and leave the neon-clad party goers behind for a ‘secret’ garden party. Eden Garden Party is only accessible by water taxi or four wheel drive. From the beach, make your way over a rickety rope bridge and you’ll find Eden, perched on the cliff overlooking the gorgeous bay of Haad Yuan. We recommend heading over while it’s still light to enjoy the views over some quiet cocktails before getting the party started. You can always get a water taxi back to Haad Rin Beach and join the crowds later in the night.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is undoubtedly the place to be for New Year’s Eve in Cambodia. The famous Pub Street sees all the surrounding bars and alleyways merge into one big open-air nightclub, full of happy revellers dancing the night away and awaiting the countdown. With travellers and locals alike joining in the festivities, there’s no better place to be in Cambodia at this time of year.
Siem Reap is undoubtedly the place to be for New Year’s Eve in Cambodia. The famous Pub Street sees all the surrounding bars and alleyways merge into one big open air nightclub, full of happy revellers dancing the night away and awaiting the countdown. With travellers and locals alike joining in the festivities, there’s not better place to be in Cambodia at this time of year.
For a breathtaking fireworks display, be sure you head down towards Singapore's iconic Marina Bay. Here you can enjoy the views of the city's iconic landmarks, which include the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, Supertree Grove and Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel lit up by the dazzling display - all for free. It will be extremely busy the closer you get, so to enjoy the show without having your personal space too violated make sure to head to the Bay East Garden for a panoramic view that’s simply out of this world.
If you are truly looking to party like there is no tomorrow, then you cannot find a better place than the tropical island of Bali. You can escape the December cold and head to this paradise, where the weather is relatively warm and the place is buzzing with tourists and backpackers alike.
In Bali, Legian, Seminyak and Kuta are three of the most popular regions. They are marked by never ending beaches, each with an equally magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. The NYE celebrations start in the afternoon itself, with plenty of beach and street parties taking place throughout the island.
In case you find yourself with a demented hangover after a night of heavy partying, you cannot find a better cure than the heavenly beaches that Bali has to offer. Make sure you have your travel insurance papers in order, in case anything goes wrong.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is regarded as one of the best cities in Asia for an electrifying New Year's Eve experience. The city is marked by plenty of high-rise buildings, the most notable which are the Petronas Twin Towers.
To enjoy New Year's fireworks, head to one of the many rooftop restaurants which offer a fascinating view of the entire city. You can also make reservations at the revolving restaurant on top of the KL Tower, which offers a 360-degree view of the entire city.
You can also consider visiting the KLCC Park, which is transformed into a party venue for the NYE. The midnight is marked by a grand fireworks set, and is truly among the best places to be in Asia for the New Year's Eve.
Vang Vieng, Laos
It doesn’t need to be a special occasion to have a wild party in Vang Vieng. Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the Irish Pub, then head to the tube hire shop and spend the afternoon partying like it’s 1999 as you tube down the river, stopping at each of the river bars. When you get back into town, make sure you drop your tube off before heading out to the bars. Hit up the famous Sakura Bar, which often does a happy hour of free drinks! Good luck making it to midnight!
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Vietnam’s New Year, or Tet, doesn’t start until February but you can still count on a big party to be found on the streets of Saigon at the end of December. District 1 is a popular location as it’s home to some great nightclubs, but for a more sophisticated way to toast to a “new year, new you”, you might want to head to one of Ho Chi Minh’s many rooftop bars. Chill Skybar has great views of the city and of any fireworks, as well as tasty drinks and talented DJs to keep you going long into the night.
Hoi An, Vietnam
The streets of the Old Town of Hoi An will be closed to traffic, so head down to the riverside to mingle with the locals, drink cold fresh beer and watch lanterns float down the river. Feast on street food and watch the fireworks at midnight. If you’re keen on hitting the bars, the music and the cocktails are excellent at Q Bar (it is a little pricier than most but it’s worth it) and Dive bar is popular too. If you’re after the backpacker party scene head across the river to An Hoi where there are a few backpacker bars to choose from.
2019 is right around the corner and people have already started planning on how to welcome the New Year with great style. No matter where you are in the world, the atmosphere is bound to be full of joy and revelry. However, with some careful planning, you can end up celebrating the New Year's Eve in some of these most exciting places in Southeast Asia.