While in the West most countries only celebrate one New Year per annum, Asian countries are a bit more passionate about partying and enjoy any excuse to cut loose! In fact, they like to party so much that they enjoy celebrating the turn of the New Year at least twice. Thailand, for example celebrates with three – the Gregorian calendar ‘Western’ New Year, Chinese New Year and Thai New Year, Songkran.
The ‘Western’ New Year is the next one coming up and we’ve compiled a shortlist of places you can visit to ring in the arrival of 2013:
If you fancy a more serene New Year, it may be worth considering the less frequented destination of Bagan, Myanmar. Why not spend your New Year’s Eve floating down the Irrawaddy River catching the last sunset of 2012, or with a hot-air balloon ride high above the temples and preserved villages below to ring in New Year’s Day?
If fireworks tickle your fancy, the riverside of the City of Angels is the place to be. Dotted along the Chao Phraya River are some of the most exclusive five-star hotels in Bangkok and on December 31st they battle to put on the best pyrotechnics show possible. And if you feel like you can’t celebrate properly with anything less than a few thousand people, natives and travelers alike gather en-masse outside CentralWorld for a ‘Times Square’ style countdown.
Recently voted as the 6th best city in Asia by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler, Ubud is an outstanding destination for those who seek an escape from the big cities and the chance to breathe in some fresh air. The perfect combination of Balinese culture, art and serenity, Ubud is the ideal place to avoid the crush of the crowds and enjoy a nature-filled New Year break. Why not ‘eat, pray and love’ your way into the New Year in Ubud?
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
‘Western’ New Year is celebrated in Vietnam on a large scale, with large areas of Saigon packed with pedestrians as revelers gather in droves. It’s fair to say the Vietnamese love a good party and the area by the intersection of Le Loi and Nguyen Hue is the epicenter of the celebrations. What feels like (and very may well be!) millions of people jam the streets under the dramatic fluorescent archways that illuminate the city in one of the most fun traffic jams you’ll ever experience.
Japan has its fair share of New Year traditions and visitors can partake of the various traditional treats like toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), which symbolize longevity. As its Japan, you can expect wild and wonderful scenes everywhere but none more grandiose than at The Tokyo Tower. This is the main point of celebration in the city and the crowds flock there to surround the iconic structure and enjoy the dramatic light show.