Phoowadon Duangmee, The Nation
As the clocks strike midnight all over Thailand next Monday night and we raise our glasses in the air while demanding New Year kisses, folks over in the South Pacific Ocean will probably be fast asleep, passed out from a surfeit of palm toddy. Samoa is the first country to enter into the year 2013. Thailand will be the 13th along with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Java in Indonesia and Novosibirsk in Russia.
Wherever we intend to be over the next five days, there’s certain to be a countdown bash in our neighbourhood. As the saying goes, a New Year’s party, is everyone’s birthday party, so we take a look at the ones in Thailand’s biggest centres.
The capital can be expected to roar the loudest when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. The biggest party will once again be at the Rajprasong Intersection, with a huge stage set up in front of CentralWorld Plaza. The whole area – stretching from Four Seasons Bangkok to Gaysorn Plaza to CentralWorld – is already aglow with festive lighting that will remain in place until January 15.
The party on Monday night, which is expected to draw about 500,000 people, has as its theme “Big Hug, Big Fun” and gets underway around 6pm as top entertainers take turns to welcome 2013. The party culminates in a dazzling fireworks display, making sure, at least, that the new year starts with brightness and big bangs.
Khao San Road, the backpacker ghetto and unofficial gateway to Southeast Asia, is a good alternative to Rajaprasong, not least because it won’t be quite so crowded. There’ll be concerts by independent artists, among them Wing & Sing, and street performers will take turns to entertain.
At midnight fireworks will go off on both sides of the Chao Phraya River. Taksin and Rama VIII bridges are the places to go for an inspiring and illuminated New Year’s kiss.
Phuket goes for the beat with the southern island choosing to enter 2013 by hosing the Phuket Electronic Music and Dance Festival at Surin Beach. Pricey at Bt2,500 and Bt4,000 for tickets but promising plenty of fun over two nights, the party is set to be one of the world’s grandest beachside events. Sky Blu of LMFAO, Alex Gaudino, JFK MSTRKRFT, Pendulum, Basement Jaxx and other world-class DJs will take turns at the deck with techno and dance music on both Sunday and Monday nights.
The “Colourful Phuket Countdown 2013”, off-the-beach party in downtown Phuket offers a free alternative. It takes place at Sanam Chai opposite Phuket City Hall on the theme “The Light Wonderland” and all three days feature concerts, singing contests plus plenty to eat and drink.
Often decried for debauchery, the Pattaya of today is now very family-oriented and is offering a weeklong celebration from Christmas to New Year that aims to please everyone from the smallest child to elderly grandparents. The promenade of Bali Hai Pier in South Pattaya is adorned with a snowman, Christmas tree and reindeer. The Countdown Party will offer stage entertainment all night long and ends with a massive pyrotechnic display with 20,000 fireworks lighting up the night sky at the stroke of midnight.
The people of Songkhla province and their guests will be gathering in Hai Yai, where the countdown again takes place on Sanehanusorn Road and other main streets downtown. Among the festivities planned are a street carnival, stage performances, midnight marathon, midnight cycling and more.
Topping the A-list of Thailand’s resorts, Hua Hin is throwing its party at Centennial Park. The theme is “Hua Hin Music Countdown to the Year 2013” and Slot Machine, Musketeers, Singular and other Thai pop favourites will be entertaining partygoers.
The Rose of the North never misses an occasion to throw a party. Tha Pae Gate will again be the venue for the biggest New Year’s festival in the upper latitudes. The popular Entertainment Plaza will have its own traditional music and dance and even contemporary Lanna songs. And it’s all capped off with the countdown at midnight and fireworks.
With the “Khon Kaen Dances Totally” campaign, the northeastern province makes sure it’s organising Isaan’s biggest and best 2013 Countdown Party. There will be fun and fireworks at the City Gate on Srichan Road. Check it out for the party of different beats, as sensational Isaan music rules and will keep you shaking your stuff till well after midnight.
Also in the North, the festivities begin with Lanna Drum Dance, followed by a costume parade and cultural shows at Chiang Rai’s Clock Tower. The border district of Mae Sai promises to be rowdier at it celebrates the “Countdown Party of the Three Countries” for most of the night.
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