Asia has become one of the most popular places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, despite it not being an official holiday there. Each country offers a variety of different parties, traditions, and other forms of festivities that both locals and visitors can participate in together. From the Bosingak Bell-Ringing ceremony in South Korea to spectacular fireworks above the river in Thailand, there are many fun and exciting ways to celebrate. If you’re feeling extra adventurous this year, these are the eight best New Year’s celebrations in Asia to check out.
8 Best Things to Do for Chinese New Year in Asia
1. River Fireworks
If you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Bangkok, you’ll want to stay near the Chao Praya River in order to witness the extravagant fireworks show that takes place every year. As midnight nears, fireworks start exploding into the sky, and all of the luxury hotels along the river offer New Year’s celebrations with champagne. There are also numerous dinner cruises available as well, where you can party on the river while taking in the amazing fireworks display—some of the fireworks designs even feature moving dragons and other cool special effects.
Address: 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu Khwaeng Bang Rak, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
2. Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony
In South Korea, bell ringing on New Year’s Eve Day is meant to symbolize the end of a year and to wish good blessings, health and happiness to the citizens. Every year the Seoul Metropolitan Government holds its annual New Year’s Eve ceremony at the Bosingak Belfry—a 14th century tower—which involves ringing the Bosingak Bell 33 times at the stroke of midnight to usher in the New Year.
Address: 54 Jong-ro, Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
3. Hatsumode Tradition
A popular Japanese tradition in the New Year is “Hatsumode”, which is when the locals visit temples and shrines for the first time in the new year. After a temple bell rings 108 times at midnight, the crowds gather at the various shrines and temples located across the city to welcome in the New Year. One popular spot to congregate on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo is Zojoji Temple, a Buddhist temple located in the Shiba neighborhood.
Address: 4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
4. Beach Party
Party with your bare feet in the sand for Singapore’s Siloso Beach Party, which takes place on New Year’s Eve. This outdoor beach celebration includes a big dance floor, a big foam pool, and top DJs spinning the best tunes as you dance your way into the New Year. The party typically draws crowds of 10,000 or more and is for ages 18 and over only.
Address: 51 Imbiah Walk, Sentosa, Singapore 099538
5. New Year’s Eve Carnival
On the tropical island of Bali, thousands of people head to Puputan Badung Square for the NYE Bali carnival and parade, followed by an extravagant firework show after the countdown. The square is located in Bandung, which is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia and is quickly becoming one of the new popular destinations in South East Asia for New Years Eve celebrations.
Address: JI. Cokroaminoto, Ubung Kaja, Denpasar Utara, Kota Denpasar, Bali 80115, Indonesia
6. Midnight Meal
In the Philippines, people gather on New Year’s Eve to celebrate by partaking in a midnight meal known as Media Noche. This celebration takes place in people’s homes with their families, and in some restaurants as well. Many of the dishes served are in circular shapes to represent money. Most people try to stay awake to greet the coming New Year, and some light fireworks to drive away evil spirits.
7. Park Celebration
During New Year’s Eve, one of Kuala Lumpur’s most popular celebrations takes place in KLCC Park, which is one of the main parks in the city. It transforms into a major concert venue complete with live performances, ending with a final firework set. With a manmade lake, greenery, fountains, and patterned footpaths, this is one of the best places to celebrate the New Year in Malaysia.
Address: Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8. City of Fireworks
Every year, the Hong Kong skyline lights up dramatically with an impressive series of fireworks that concludes with its pyrotechnic dragon dancing across the sky. To start of the New Year’s celebrations, everyone gathers in Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall, where they drop a replica ball in honor of New York City’s celebration. Afterwards, people flock to various boats, rooftops, and the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Tsa Shui to catch the incredible fireworks display.
Address: 1 Matheson St. Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.