If you’re going to be in Southeast Asia for New Year, you’re probably wondering what is on offer in terms of the celebrations. After all, in much of Southeast Asia, New Year is traditionally celebrated in April, when the sun enters the Aries constellation.
While this means a bit of pre-planning is needed to find the best New Year events in Southeast Asia, you shouldn’t worry. The region knows how to party – firecrackers and buckets will be but a stone’s throw away (which may come in handy when you need to crawl back to your accommodation the following day)! 🤪
That said, if you want a break from booze culture, there are still places you can escape to, from idyllic river cruises to off-grid yoga retreats. Just remember to book in advance to avoid disappointment!
The region offers a variety of ways to welcome January 1st so no matter your travel style, you’ll find somewhere to usher in the New Year!
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Top Destinations in Southeast Asia for New Year’s Eve 🎉🥳🎊
1. Koh Phangan, Thailand 🇹🇭
When it comes to New Year celebrations you’ll cherish forever, there is no experience more quintessentially ‘backpacker’ than a Full Moon Party. Paint your face with UV colours, order the dirtiest bucket you can find and get ready to dance the night away on Koh Phangan’s most famous beach, Haad Rin!
While Thailand’s Full Moon parties had humble origins, now as many as 30,000 backpackers pour onto the beach to rave it up to EDM, reggae and house tunes. The party is completely legendary and has become a rite of passage for hedonists around the world.
Although New Year’s Eve doesn’t always coincide with the full moon, never fear. December 31st is a special date in the full moon calendar and you will be guaranteed an awesome beach party in Koh Phangan nonetheless!
2. Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩
Believe in new beginnings but not hangovers? Opt out of the chaos and instead mark the upcoming year with a hearty dose of gratitude and self-reflection. Bali’s Ubud neighbourhood is the home of spirituality on the island and yoga retreats run year-round, offering a peaceful start to the year.
If a lengthy NYE meditation session is a bit low-key for you, the pumping party district of Kuta is the place to go. Home to countless beach clubs as well as nightclubs with international DJs, there is no shortage of good vibes here.
For something a little different, head to Denpasar instead. Presenting an opportunity to experience a more local side of Bali, the celebrations in Puputan Badung Square start with traditional parades and group prayers among the locals. The evening culminates with a big pyrotechnics display where attendees can wish each other a happy new year (selamat tahun baru). One thing is for sure – this is sure to be a NYE you’ll never forget.
3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 🇻🇳
Arguably one of the most frenetic cities in the entire world, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), also known as Saigon, is the place to go for a street party in Southeast Asia. Come December 31st, the roads fill with revellers, both international and local, who join together for the New Year celebrations.
Streetside bars offer table service and drinks deals, ensuring that your beer stays cold and fresh all night long. If you’ve been lucky enough to grab a seat, watch the mayhem unfold or join the outpouring of party animals onto the streets of District 1.
At midnight, there is an epic fireworks display which lights up the sky. If you’re on the street, get ready to hug your neighbour – there are no strangers on NYE in Ho Chi Minh City, only friends you haven’t met yet!
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4. Boracay, Philippines 🇵🇭
When it comes to seeing in the New Year right, what could be better than pitching up on white sands with the waves gently lapping at the shore? Introducing Boracay, the Philippine’s most popular resort island.
While the Philippines is generally a budget-friendly country, you can splurge during the holidays if you so desire. The island is home to countless swanky resorts but there are also backpacker digs for those on a shoestring.
Head to White Beach for countdown parties on the sand which culminate in the grand firework display. Many of the upscale resorts also host their own firework shows, though luckily, only their premises are exclusive, meaning the pyrotechnics can be enjoyed by anyone who looks up!
5. Bangkok, Thailand 🇹🇭
Thailand’s chaotic capital throbs with energy year-round and the New Year celebrations are off the scale! There are countless places to celebrate New Year in Bangkok, depending on the vibe you’re craving.
Head to the backpacker Mecca of Khao San Road for drinks and debauchery – the beats go on for hours and the buckets flow into the early morning! For a more sophisticated affair, there are a multitude of rooftop bars which offer incredible views of the glitzy skyline.
When the clock chimes 12, there is a spectacular fireworks display over the Chao Phraya River. If you’re looking for a romantic way to see in the New Year with your other half, escape the hubbub and embark on a river cruise. A candlelit dinner and live music plus a glitzy cityscape make for a great night!
6. Siem Reap, Cambodia 🇰🇭
Although best known for being the home of the largest religious monument on the planet, Siem Reap is actually a party-goer’s heaven – with an entire street dedicated to boozing it up! The aptly called ‘Pub Street’ stretches for 100 metres and sits at the heart of Siem Reap’s nightlife scene.
Happy hour lasts all day long and the neon lights will pull you in like a magnet. Theme nights, banging beats and beer pong tables make for an epic night out no matter which of the many bars you head to.
To be honest, every night is a party down on Pub Street so you shouldn’t expect too much out of the ordinary on New Year’s Eve. The only difference is that there will be way more people (more chances to meet like-minded drinking buddies) and fireworks. And with beers for less than a dollar, you really can’t lose!
7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 🇲🇾
Although the nightlife scene in Malaysia is often overshadowed by neighbouring Thailand, there are plenty of great bars and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, especially if you have a bit of cash to spend.
For a truly novel evening, head to Atmosphere360, the highest-revolving restaurant in the whole of Southeast Asia. From here, you’ll be able to watch the action from above, all while enjoying an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner.
If swanky restaurants are not really your thing, KLCC Park is the place to go for the New Year celebrations. Live music performances go on all evening against the backdrop of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Don’t miss the New Year countdown which culminates in an impressive fireworks display.
8. Vang Vieng, Laos 🇱🇦
Laos’ premier party town is the perfect destination for New Year’s Eve in Southeast Asia. A spiritual home for hedonists, it is cheap and fun, with a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets.
Once famous for its legendary tubing scene complete with water-world bar crawls, these have been toned down over recent years due to justified safety concerns. Despite this, the party scene in Vang Vieng is alive and well. Tubing is still on offer and alcohol is still part of the experience, however, only four bars are allowed to operate at any time and the water slides have been removed.
Spend a day floating down the Nam Song River before heading off to one of the local watering holes to count down the New Year. You’re guaranteed to meet a range of travellers from around the world as you drink, dance and be merry!
Few things are as satisfying as signing off the existing year buoyed up with hope about what the next will bring. Despite December 31st not being an inherently Asian celebration, those in Southeast Asia have adopted the festivities with unbridled enthusiasm, offering travellers of all stripes a night to remember.
No matter whether you are looking for a low-key celebration of gratitude or want to rave it up at a huge blowout, you are bound to find the perfect destination for the NYE festivities in Southeast Asia.
Where is the best place you have ever spent New Year’s in Southeast Asia? Share it with us in the comments!