Exotic and exciting, Bangkok is a city that pulsates with activity during the day and reaches a vibrant crescendo after the sun goes down. Indeed, festive celebrations are a Thai tradition and New Year’s Eve is no exception, as this cosmopolitan city celebrates the arrival of a new year on a grand scale.
Spectacular fireworks displays, beautiful moonlight cruises, fine dining and trendy nightclubbing — all this and much more are part of the exuberance that is Bangkok on New Year’s Eve.
Therefore, whether counting down the New Year is a family affair, an intimate evening for two or a group celebration with friends, here are 10 tips on how to spend the best New Year’s Eve in Bangkok.
Central World Plaza
An enormous complex housing 500 shops and 100 restaurants as well as 15 movie theatres, is the site of an annual event that has come to symbolize New Year’s Eve in Bangkok. Located on Ratchadumri Street in Ratchaprasongh Square, this is a family-friendly affair in Central World’s outdoor square. Fabulous fireworks, live concerts and plenty of celebrities are the main ingredients in this huge countdown to the New Year that occurs precisely at midnight.
It holds another event suitable for the entire family, drawing crowds to its shopping complex with eye-catching decorations and sparkling lights. In addition to the more than 250 shops, a large IMAX Cineplex and Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium, numerous artists perform, adding to the merriment as the crowd counts down to the new year at this Rama I Road location.
The Mandarin Oriental
This is one of the “big three” riverside hotels — Shangri-La and The Peninsula are the other two — has an Oriental Street location where water makes a wonderful backdrop for the fireworks displays that many enjoy observing from this vantage point. Along with the magnificent tableau along the legendary River of Kings, the Chao Praya, the excellent international cuisine provides ample reason for this hotel’s five-star rating.
It is also known as PhuKhao Thong, offers a more spiritual experience in beautifully decorated surroundings. In keeping with the Thai tradition of “making merit” on New Year’s Eve, faithful Buddhists and interested members of the public gather for a candlelight ceremony at this most revered temple on a manmade hill within the WatSaket compound. Held at eight o’clock, the ceremony ensures health, wealth and happiness for the upcoming year and includes gifts brought by the faithful for the monks.
Loy Nava Dinner Cruises
It offers a lovely setting along the Chao Praya River in which dinner; light entertainment and an incomparable seat for watching midnight fireworks contribute to the unforgettable ambience. A popular choice for couples, these river cruises should be reserved well in advance.
Vertigo at Banyan Tree Bangkok
It is an al fresco restaurant on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel, offering a dazzling, panoramic view of the city along with a sumptuous dinner of steak or seafood. This rooftop location on South Sathon Road provides wonderful vistas at sunset as well as all the brilliance of the city’s lights at night, including those delightful fireworks.
Red Sky at Centara Grand
This is another rooftop restaurant, offers a breathtaking perspective of the Bangkok skyline along with delectable dinners and equally stellar cocktails. Cosy dining on the 55th floor at Central World belies the vast expanse of city life below, providing an intimate setting from which to view the fireworks and just to talk away the night.
Bed Supper Club
It is located on SukhumvitSoi, is a sophisticated atmosphere of curved white walls, tubular furniture and actual beds for lounging. With its ultra-contemporary decor of in low-slung chairs and silent movies projected onto the walls, as well as a continual array of Thai delicacies, Bed Supper Club counts down the new year in an environment at once retro and futuristic, unlike any other New Year’s Eve site in Bangkok.
Asiatique, the Riverfront
This is a trendy conglomeration of culture and commerce in a night bazaar along Charoenkrung Road, offering Thai culture in its two performing arts theatres, shops that carry authentic Thai handicrafts and international dining. An opportunity to be immersed in Thai lifestyles, ASIATIQUE, The Riverfront provides a unique New Year’s Eve experience.
Khao San Road
It is a boisterous melange of people, food stalls and a motley assortment of unusual shops. Priced right for the budget-conscious, this is the ideal location for counting down the New Year with an inexpensive meal and drink amid unabashed revelry.
As in any major city around the world, visitors to Bangkok would be wise to be alert amid the crowds and always aware of their surroundings. This ensures safety. However, beyond the usual city intelligence, the only other elements needed is a sense of adventure and the ability to enjoy the very best that Bangkok has to offer.
From large fireworks events in the street to intimate dinners overlooking the river to nightclubs reverberating with music, there are countless ways to spend the best New Year’s Eve in Bangkok.
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