Although New Year’s Eve is not an official holiday in Asia, the locals still think it’s a great excuse for a party and you’ll find plenty to do in each of the major cities on the Stray route. Plan your trip so that you end up in one of these party places on 31 December!
If you’re going to be spending New Year’s Eve 2017 in Bangkok you may be wondering if there will be celebrations this year. Since New Year falls within the 100 day mourning period, fireworks and public Countdown events will be more subdued however, New Years celebrations will go ahead as normal behind closed doors.
There will be plenty of New Year’s Eve parties at the bars along Khao San road but if you’re up for a more classy experience with great views and even better cocktails, head along to one of the city’s rooftop bars such as the Moon Bar at the Banyon Tree Hotel or the Sky Bar at the Lebua (best known for its role in the Hangover 2).
Chiang Mai, Thailand
The city square near the Tha Pae Gate is the centre of the celebrations. The roads close from 6pm and festivities take over with food vendors, pop up bars, and dance performances. In Chiang Mai it’s a tradition to release lanterns into the sky to bring luck for the new year – it’s a pretty spectacular sight to see. Activities and music may be toned down as Thailand is still officially in mourning after the death of its King.
Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand
One party that will be going ahead is the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. Soak up the sun on the beautiful Thai island of Koh Phangan by day, then party all night long at the famous Full Moon Party! The full moon party is one of the biggest new year parties on the planet. There is a huge range of music from international DJs, buckets of booze, fire skipping ropes and glow paint by the truck-load!
Luang Prabang, Laos
Start the celebrations early by hitting the pool party at the La Pistoche Swimming Pool and Bar and making the most of the two-for-one cocktails from 12pm – 7pm. Then head home to get changed before visiting the night markets for some delicious street food to line your belly for the night ahead. When you’ve had your fill head to Utopia for a few beers in the garden bar, or a game of volleyball with the locals. When it closes, get a taxi to the bowling alley just outside of town which is open until around 2am, trust us, this will be the most fun you’ve had ten pin bowling!
Vang Vieng, Laos
It doesn’t need to be a special occasion to have a wild party in Vang Vieng. Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the Irish Pub then head to the tube hire shop and spend the afternoon partying like it’s 1999 as you tube on the river stopping at each of the river bars. When you get back into town, make sure you drop your tube off before heading out to the bars. Good luck with making it to midnight!
Tiger Beer set up a tent in Nam Phou Square by the Vientiane fountain with live music, food vendors and of course Tiger Beer!
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The streets of Siem Reap will be decorated with lights and the bars and restaurants along and around Pub Street will be packed come New Year’s Eve. Secure a spot early where you can people watch, have something to eat and have a few drinks before the party spills out onto the street and Pub Street turns into one huge celebration.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Head down to the Tonle Sap riverside where there are lots of bars and restaurants overlooking the river. Some good options include Riverhouse/ The Lounge nightclub, and Le Moon Rooftop Bar, or take a cruise along the river to observe the festivities from a different perspective.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
District 1, also known as the ‘backpacking’ district will be the place to be on New Year’s Eve. Check out some of the main nightclubs and bars like Apocalypse, Gossips and Apollo. If you’re interested in a more fancy type of party where you can wear the one ‘nice’ dress you bought backpacking with you, head to the Rex Hotel’s rooftop bar or the Chill Skybar where you’ll have a great view and mix with Vietnam’s fashionable elite while you bring in the new year.
Nha Trang, Vietnam
If you’re travelling between Da Lat and Bai Xep, hop off to spend New Year’s Eve in Nha Trang. Nha Trang is a bustling resort town with lots of restaurants, bars and even a theme park on a private island that you can get to by cable car! The Sailing Club right on the beach is a great place to party, they’ve got international DJs and you can buy tickets at the door. The Louisiane Brew House also offers a fun atmosphere with live music and giant jugs of freshly brewed beer. If you choose to stay on the bus to Bai Xep you’ll be rewarded with a nice chilled New Year’s Eve where you can party on the beach at the beach bar with the Stray crew.
Hoi An, Vietnam
The streets of the Old Town of Hoi An will be closed to traffic and you’ll be able to party in the street, buy street food and drinks, watch lanterns float down the river and see the fireworks at midnight. If you’re keen on hitting the bars, the music and the cocktails are excellent at Q Bar (it is a little pricier than most but it’s worth it). If you’re after the backpacker party scene head to the Now and Then bar, it stays open late and just before closing you’ll be able to get a shuttle bus to Zero Sea Mile on Cua Dai Beach where you can party till the sun comes up.
The streets around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter will be where you’ll find other tourists and some locals celebrating the New Year. Head to Bia Hoi Corner to start the night then into one of the popular clubs like Funky Buddha, Dragonfly or Mao’s Red Lounge.