Are you planning a New Year vacation or just looking for a different place for a New Year's Eve celebration? Come to Asia to experience a special and different celebration from your own country. Fantastic fireworks, exciting street countdown parties, friendly people and rich travel opportunities, not to mention warmer weather, make Asia a perfect place for a New Year holiday.
The following are the top 10 places to celebrate New Year in Asia. Links allow you to choose one and start planning your trip to Asia.
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Being rich in historical temples and modern bars and hotels, the amazing capital of Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in Asia for welcoming in the New Year. The fantastic and colorful fireworks on New Year's Eve and great parties in Bangkok give an unforgettable experience to people coming from all around the world.
The world-class countdown landmark of Thailand at Central World Square is a must-visit place for New Year celebration. There the 1,400-meter-wide (almost a mile wide!) eco-friendly multimedia fireworks will give you a spectacular light-and-sound display.
Or you can join the street party with your family or friends at the atmospheric bars and restaurants at Khao San Road. There are numerous places with events for New Year's Eve in Bangkok. For more, see Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Thailand.
Besides the New Year Celebrations, Bangkok offers rich travel opportunities. You can visit Wat Pho to see the Reclining Buddha and make your New Year wishes. The Grand Palace is a must visit in Bangkok. If you have more time, pay a visit to the National Museum, take a boat trip along the Chai Phraya River, or go shopping in Chatuchak Market. For more, see Things to Do in Bangkok.
2. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
If you are planning a trip for New Year in Vietnam, then spend your New Year's Eve in the largest city (Ho Chi Minh, previously Saigon). There you can take part in the biggest party in Vietnam. It is an unforgettable experience to spend New Year's Eve there.
Thousands of people celebrate this special time with their friends and families along the Saigon River. They are waiting for the midnight fireworks near the Bitexco Tower, which is the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City. If you don't want to join the crowds, then take a cruise on the Saigon River to admire the colorful fireworks displays. There are numerous nice restaurants or rooftop bars in the city where you can spend your whole afternoon while waiting for the countdown and midnight fireworks.
For a short trip, you could explore the oldest temple in Ho Chi Minh City (Giac Lam Pagoda) and visit the gardens around the temple. The War Remnants Museum is a good place to learn more about the Vietnam War. Another fantastic trip is the Bonsai River Cruise, on which you can take in the night views of the city along the river. See more on Planning a Trip to Vietnam.
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The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
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We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
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Guide - Chai
We travelled from Vietnam to Bangkok and were blessed to have a guide named Chai. He was a superb guide and it is a pity we couldn't bottle him and take him home. He was very knowledgeable and an absolute gentleman. He could not have done enough to facilitate us and imparted so much knowledge about the Temples, Buddism and the History of Thailand in general. Not only did he give us a great overview of the past and current ways of living in Thailand but I also feel I came away a much better person having interacting with him. I will carry many of his teachings with me for the rest of my life and know that having met him was a very special blessing in my life.More
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Our first stop so far was in Hanoi where our guide Trong was just so awesome! He shared about his culture and family life which showing us sites through a city tour. He was so funny making lots of jokes and always made sure we were having fun while learning about everything! He checked on us frequently even when we were no longer with him since we then went on a cruise in Halong Bay! Halong Bay and the cruise on Paradise Elegance went way above anything I expected. The scenery was breathtaking, the ship was so beautiful and clean with such fresh, good food! And I can’t sing enough praise for the staff who took care of us- especially Anna and Belle! They went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed every aspect from eating meals with Anna to every other detail with Belle! I highly recommend Asian Highlights to help plan these extraordinary trips! This already has been a trip of a lifetime and we still have so much more to see all thanks to Cathy!!More
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3. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Full of life and movement, with flea markets and many temples, Siem Reap is a great city to spend your New Year's Eve in Cambodia. Siem Reap has a bustling nightlife that you can enjoy for a whole night with your friends or loved ones.
Local celebrations can be seen in every restaurant, hotel, and bar at the streets with live music playing the whole night. Enjoy a delicious meal made specifically for the occasion while having a rest in a hotel or bar in Hap Guan Street. You can expect a magnificent New Year's Eve celebration in Siem Reap!
During your New Year holiday, you could spend a whole day to explore Angkor Wat — the largest Buddhist temple on earth. Or just walk around the 'Old Market' (the locals call it Psar Chaa) to experience the life of local people. Visit Cambodia Landmine Museum to learn more of the history and culture of Cambodia. Siem Reap has many more travel options to fill your holidays.
Suggested reading: 2-Week Southeast Asia Itineraries for Honeymoons, Families, and More
With its vibrant fusion of cultures, and friendly ethnic people, Singapore is a good choice for celebrating New Year's Eve. You will be amazed by the grand celebrations of the Lion City. There you can hop on the Singapore Flyer (world's tallest ferris wheel), to get a view of the festivities unfolding below. If you are traveling with kids, getting breathtaking views of Singapore from the sky is particularly recommended.
Top places to celebrate New Year's Eve in Singapore include Marina Bay, the Siloso beach party at Sentosa, and Wave House at Sentosa.
It is easy to find fun things to do in Singapore. A trip to the Gardens of the Bay can delight and increase your knowledge about Asian plants and flowers. You can also climb up the Marina Bay Sands Sky Park to get amazing sunset views of the whole city.
5. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
If you are looking for a quieter, romantic, and contemplative place to welcome in the New Year, then Bali should be on your list. Bali is not only well-known for its beautiful and quiet beaches, but also for its diverse culture. Head for the cultural center of Bali, Ubud, to experience its slow-paced life at the main street, which is decorated with fairy lights for Christmas. Enjoy low-key music and a relaxed dance party on New Year's Eve.
After the New Year's celebration, you could visit the Museum Puri Lukisan, where you will see a wide range of artworks. Spend some time to visit a little temple (Pura Taman Saraswati), where amazing carvings of the Goddess Saraswati are on show all over the building. Try to learn some story in the Ubud Royal Palace (Puri Saren Agung).
See more on Top 20 Things to Do in Bali — Best Activities Guide.
6. Goa, India
Long night parties, cheap beer, amazing beach-side fireworks, live music, and happy and friendly people make Goa a great destination to celebrate New Year's Eve. It is regarded as India's unofficial party capital. You can expect huge numbers of people gathering along the beaches to watch the colorful firework displays and enjoy traditional Hindi music and dancing parties.
Goa offers luxury hotels, wonderful resorts, and delicious food choices. It is a perfect city for youngsters to welcome New Year. During your New Year holiday, you can explore numerous spectacular forts in Goa, including Aguada, Chapora, Reis Magos, Corjuem, and so on. Spend some time to explore and learn more about the spiritual and architectural grandeur of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Goa.
7. Kyoto, Japan
With a magical, charming, and romantic atmosphere, Kyoto is a good place to celebrate the New Year in Japan. The city is well-known for its geothermal springs, where you can relax in a thermal spa in its resorts surrounded by snow-laden branches in winter.
While waiting for the midnight countdown, you can explore the numerous traditional buildings and temples. You won't see a fireworks display in this quiet and beautiful city, but hundreds of bright lanterns and candles are lit to make the whole city look amazing.
You can also join the locals celebrating an important annual custom held at the city's temples or shrines. There the local people gather to ring the temple bell for the first time of the New Year. They believe the bell ringing will cleanse the bad luck of the old year and welcome good luck for the New Year.
For more days of touring after New Year's Eve in Kyoto, pay a visit to the beautiful golden Kinkakuji Temple, which is covered by gold and red leaves in winter. Learn more about Japanese chado ('the way of tea') by joining a tea ceremony at Jotokuji Temple. You may ascend the Kyoto Tower — the tallest building in Kyoto — to get a panoramic view of the whole city. See more on How to Plan a Trip to Japan.
8. Vientiane, Laos
If you are looking for a beautiful and relaxing city to spend your New Year's Eve in Laos, Vientiane is a good choice. Famed for its charming gold temples and historical sites, Vientiane offers great choices for resort hotels, relaxing cafés, and good restaurants.
Make sure to join the Tiger Beer Event at Nam Phou Square on New Year's Eve. The countdown party goes on from afternoon to midnight with the music playing for the whole night. The streets are decorated with colorful lights during the holiday. Vendors sell their food and drink while playing loud music. Sit around a long table to enjoy the delicious street food as the locals do while waiting for the countdown at midnight.
For more days in Vientiane, make sure to visit the best-known landmarks in Vientiane… Patuxai Victory Monument resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Or learn more about Buddhist culture from the sculptures of reclining Buddhas in Xieng Khuan ('Buddha Park'). Visit the Lao National Museum if you are interested in the history and culture of Laos. For more, see How to Plan a Trip to Laos.
9. Hong Kong, China
From Christmas to Chinese New Year, Hong Kong offers a great party atmosphere for travelers from all over the world. You will be amazed by the colorful fireworks at the Victoria Harbor on the night of New Year's Eve. The best way to watch the fireworks is by taking a cruise ship to watch the colorful light and sound show as well as seeing the sparkling of skyline in Hong Kong.
Join the street parades and street parties organized by locals which last to the New Year countdown midnight. Or you can attend the live concerts and countdown parties in Tsim Sha Tsui where there are street markets, brand hotels, and high-class pubs and bars. Tsim Sha Tsui is also a great place to watch the new year fireworks.
For more tour activities in Hong Kong, you could pay a visit to The Peak, which is the highest point on Hong Kong Island. You can get a spectacular view of the city and Victoria Harbour from the Peak. Be prepared for crowds of people during the New Year Holiday and long queues for the tram.
You could spend a night to explore the traditional Chinese market at Temple Street Night Market and shop for souvenirs, electronics, and numerous street foods. Then have a cup of coffee or drink in the restaurants and bars of Lan Kwai Fong for a rest. See more on Christmas in Hong Kong.
10. Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is regarded as a hidden gem of Asia; it is a popular destination for many youngsters to spend their New Year's Eve and holiday. Compared with many places in Sri Lanka, Unawatuna is much quieter, more relaxed, and less crowded — a town which is perfect for couples to spend their romantic time during New Year's Eve. Unawatuna offers more reasonably priced boutique hotels than other places on the island of Sri Lanka during the New Year holiday.
To make full use of your holiday in Unawatuna, plan a short tour to Galle Fort, which is a about 10 minutes' drive from Unawatuna. Or take a snorkeling class at the main snorkeling spot: Jungle Beach. The beach is surrounded by jungle, and there is a coral reef located just a few meters out from the beach. For more, see How to Plan a Trip to Sri Lanka.
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