When I told people I will spend New Years Eve in Bangkok I usually got the reaction “oh wow, there must be a huge party everywhere” and I thought so as well. I arrived on the 30th in Bangkok and started looking for places to celebrate. But aside from big hotels with ludicrously expensive dinner-and-party packages or purely tourist parties in the tourist area there were no NYE parties. So we decided to go to a night market and to the roof top terrace for fireworks.
The Rachada night market was packed and buzzing. Food stalls, tattoo artists, nail studios, mobile equipment, and clothes all mixed in small tents with bright neon lights, surrounded by 2-story bars with busting music from electro to rock.
The night market and party area was rather local, only a few western people here and there. And the decoration was not New Years Eve like. Some bars had “Happy New Year” written on a chalk board, but otherwise it was just like any Saturday. We grabbed a few beers and some food until 11 pm, then we went back to our rooftop terrace on the 31st floor with view over Bangkok.
The rooftop was not too crowded. The few chairs and benches were almost all occupied, but no one had to stand. It was very quiet in general, no music playing, no big party. All groups were 2-6 people just sitting together, having snacks and drinks, and enjoying the view. A few minutes before midnight the people gathered in the corner with the best view towards the center. At midnight, nothing happened. Aside from us and one other group, nobody said “Happy New Year” or started cheering. A few hotels started their fireworks, but all very basic. And 5 minutes later, the fireworks were finish. Every now and then another rocket blasted in the distance, but that was it. Very unspectacular.
So if you like nice and warm NYE party with people from every country and prices comparable or higher than in Germany, the big parties in the tourist hotels is a great option. If you want to celebrate with locals, maybe the Thai new years party in April is a better choice.
So, but why is it 2561? Well, Thailand uses in some parts the Buddhist era as timeline, which starts about 500 years before the Christian era. That’s why also Google tells me all the time that pages have last been edited in 2559 etc. So happy New Year!