Everyone knows that Thai people love festivals. New Year is a special occasion to have a big celebration. Thailand is the only country in the world where the New Year is officially celebrated three times a year. In February, accompanied by the overwhelming sounds of fireworks, the Thais celebrate the New Year according to the eastern calendar. In the middle of April, when the heat falls upon the country, begins the celebration of Songkran, the Thai New Year. Everyone throws cold water at each other in the streets. This is a very amusing, funny and big event.
And, of course, on the 31st of December the Thais celebrate the traditional European New Year holiday. This is a very important period of time for the country because during the New Year holidays Thailand receives the biggest number of tourists. The preparations start beforehand. Two weeks before the New Year night the streets are decorated with the garlands and bright holiday symbols. Christmas trees are installed in the squares. This is the time of big sales in shops. There are many concerts and festive events which attract tourists who come from all over the world to enjoy the sun, the beach and the sea.
One of the most attractive places for the tourists who want to take part in the New Year activities is Pattaya, the city which never sleeps. The holiday atmosphere prevails here during the usual days, and it reaches its climax at the New Year night.
If the New Year celebration in Pattaya has been in your plans for a long time, it is high time you decide where exactly you want to be in the sin city during the holiday. The number of variants is big, however, there are three basic scenarios:
Have you chosen to have the New Year party at the hotel? Then get ready for a big table full of meals. Every nice hotel offers a buffet dinner with Thai and European dishes and alcohol drinks. The cooks usually try to impress the guests with delicious snacks and appetizers, and actors of different genres - with songs, dancing and theatre performances. For example, the Hard Rock - one of the most popular hotels in Pattaya - offers its visitors to have the New Year party at the Elf Garden. The organizers have prepared a unique dancing show which will immerse you into the world of ancient myths. The holiday program also includes concerts of popular Thai bands and singers, prize lottery and colorful fireworks. The prices for a ticket for 1 person start from 3 800 THB. The child ticket costs 1945 THB. The party begins at 18:00.
After the end of the New Year party at the hotel you can go to the city center and continue the celebration. Many bars and nightclubs are open until morning. Just make sure you do not overeat at dinner to be able to dance at discos. It is usually very difficult to book a taxi at this time, so you’d better choose places in a walking distance from your hotel.
If you have decided to spend the New Year night in the sea, you can go on a night cruise on a catamaran along the brightly decorated city of Pattaya. From 21:00 to 02:00 a.m. you will enjoy meals, dancing and various funny contests. What is the most important here - you will have the best spot to watch the big New Year fireworks. However, please mind that this idea of celebration is good for the “crazy romantics” with “impeccable” vestibular apparatus as the strong December north wind in the Gulf of Siam and big waves can spoil your happy holiday mood.
If you are willing to share your New Year party with a large number of incredibly happy strangers, you have got two choices. At the square beside the Central Festival by the Christmas tree, Chang Sensory Trails beer festival takes place every day starting from 15 December. From 18:00 to midnight. Everyone here enjoys live music, delicious seafood and draft beer.
The second popular Christmas and New Year spot in Pattaya is renovated square by Bali Hai pier (Bali Hai Plaza). Starting from 29 December a great music festival will take place here. The stars of Thai show business will take part in the performance. On the 31st December there will be a public countdown. At midnight the sky will be lightened up by hundreds of fireworks.
The main advantage of celebrating the New Year night in the city center is that all the entertainments and performances are free. It is possible to get some drinks and snacks in 7-11 shops which are open 24/7. However, if you have decided to be in the epicenter of the holiday activities at the night of 31st December, it is definitely better to go there a little earlier as the streets will be crowded and you risk to get stuck at the entrance to the square.
And the last thing to mention: if you wake up in Thailand on the 1st of January and look at the calendar, don’t be surprised to see that it is year 2561 now. Thai people have got a different chronology. 2561 minus 543 equals 2018 - the year which has arrived. Happy New Year!