If you are someone who can’t get enough of the exhilarating festivities surrounding New Year, then Thailand – which celebrates three – is the perfect holiday destination for you. Renting a private villa as a base gives you the freedom to enjoy the festivities at your leisure.
If you are heading to Thailand this holiday season be sure to indulge in the spectacular New Year’s celebrations on offer throughout the Kingdom. Northern provinces like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are becoming increasingly popular destinations on December 31st
, while Bangkok and Thailand’s famous islands also put on some impressive New Year celebrations.
In Bangkok, visitors arriving in Thailand and stopping off en route to their winter beach break are also guaranteed an exciting evening. One of the biggest countdowns in the city, and indeed in Asia, takes place in front of the CentralWorld shopping mall, with a breathtaking light and sound show in addition to live performances by local artists. Visitors who want to enjoy the countdown there should aim to arrive at least two hours before midnight. Alternatively, you can take in the vivid colours of the city’s many New Year firework displays from a classy restaurant on the banks of the Chao Praya river.
If on the last day of the year you are lucky enough to find yourself in the stunning surroundings of a tropical island holiday villa, then sunset cocktails, followed by a seafood barbecue and fireworks by the beach is always a fabulous way to ring in the 12 months ahead. Islands like Phuket and Koh Samui also put on spectacular parties, where revellers can dance through to the small hours before beginning the year with a refreshing morning swim in the big blue.
Year of the Horse
For those who don’t make it to Thailand in time for the Western New Year celebrations at the end of December; just one month later, Chinese New Year takes place on 31 January and 1February 2014, and is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Thailand.
The festival provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to enjoy a magnificent cultural experience. Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowarat, is one of the best places to enjoy the festivities, with dragon dancers, parades, feasts and fireworks setting the streets alight with a sparkling atmosphere.
On Phuket, the Chinese New Year festivities will be combined with the Old Phuket Festival in 2014, the latter held from February 15-17. Visitors can enjoy dragon dances and street dance performances whilst exploring streets festooned with crimson decorations, local food and offerings to the ancestral spirits.
Traditionally, the main time for prayer takes place on New Year’s Eve, when Chinese families show respect to their ancestors. Adults give children small red envelopes filled with money, and people decorate the outside of their homes and businesses with red decorations and leave dishes of food on their doorsteps for good luck. Many families also set off firecrackers to base away bad spirits and sees in the lunar New Year with a bang.
Even if you’re planning a trip to Thailand later in the year; Songkran Festival marks the beginning of the solar calendar in April. Traditionally, this was the time of year when farmers waited for the rains to begin so they could plant their new crop of rice. Over the years, however, the event hasdeveloped into a nationwide water festival with the entire population taking to the streets to celebrate by throwing water at each other, all in the spirit of fun.
While the holiday only officially lasts for three days, most people throughout the Kingdom take a whole week off to celebrate. Some of the biggest celebrations include Bangkok’s Songkran Splendour’s Festival or Songkran on the Beach in Phuket.
by MAX VEE