Fireworks and fun: Where to celebrate this festive season

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Fireworks and fun: Where to celebrate this festive season

From lively countdown parties to quiet, more intimate retreats, our Asian Trails’ destinations offer a variety of captivating ways to celebrate and usher in the New Year. Whether you are looking for a relaxing escape or a night that never ends, the region’s cosmopolitan cities, idyllic landscapes and tranquil beaches create the perfect backdrop for unforgettable occasions. Here is our round-up of the best events in Asia during the festive season.

Countdown parties and fireworks

Be part of the action and join in the live countdown celebrations that will take place around the region, especially in major cities such as Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City.

In Bangkok, Thailand, head to a riverside restaurant or embark on a river cruise for the best views of the fireworks. Savour a memorable meal while watching the pyrotechnics. Alternatively, head to the top of a city skyscraper for panoramic views and a cocktail or two at one of the city’s many rooftop bars. For details and recommendations about boats and venues, contact Asian Trails Thailand.

For Cambodian-style celebrations, the liveliest events take place in the capital, Phnom Penh. Revel the night away in Bassac Lane where local bars and restaurants will have live music and DJ parties or watch the sun go down as fireworks soar along the riverside Sisowath Quay. Contact Asian Trails Cambodia for bookings and recommendations.

In Vietnam, Chill Sky Bar in Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most iconic venues in the city. This rooftop venue provides stunning views of the city. Expect an evening filled with heart-pumping music headlined by renowned DJs, playing anything from house to R&B and hip hop. Asian Trails Vietnam can assist with bookings and more information.

For a taste of the high life, ring in the New Year in Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur‘s Sky51. Dine at Sabayon where three to seven-course degustation menus are served with views of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Then continue with after-dinner festivities at Blue rooftop bar, a spectacular venue that promises an energetic countdown. To make arrangements for your sky-high festive celebrations, contact Asian Trails Malaysia.

Singapore’s Marina Bay countdown is an iconic event with a variety of activities and awe-inspiring fireworks lighting up the harbourfront. Throughout December, events will take place all along the promenade – from the Esplanade Bridge to Merlion Park and City Hall, including art displays and festive markets. Contact Asian Trails Singapore to find out how to be part of this colourful event.

In Hong Kong, the best seats in town for the nightly ‘Symphony of Lights’ spectacle is on a traditional Chinese junk boat in Victoria Harbour. Enjoy a glass of champagne with canapés at sunset as you cruise and watch the mesmerising display of dancing lasers and music that illuminate the city’s skyline. For more details about the cruise or to make a booking, contact our team at Asian Trails China & Hong Kong.

Quiet and cultural celebrations

For those looking for a more intimate countdown experience, our destinations also offer memorable and unique cultural moments where guests can ring in the New Year, far from the crowds.

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, China

This annual spectacle is a unique, larger-than-life experience hosted in the city of Harbin in North-East China. As the world’s largest ice and snow festival, the event boasts breathtaking ice sculptures, ranging from famous landmarks to mythical creatures. These are illuminated by vibrant lights after sunset creating a magical atmosphere.

Visitors can also enjoy ice slides, skating and international ice sculpture competitions. The festival merges culture with art, showcasing traditional Chinese performances and offering an ideal backdrop for photography.

See our recommended three-day itinerary for the Harbin Ice Festival or contact Asian Trails China & Hong Kong for more details.

Christmas in Malacca, Malaysia

For a unique cultural experience, celebrate Christmas with the Kristang community in Malacca, Malaysia. The community’s strong spiritual roots stem from their unique Portuguese-Malaccan heritage, which can be traced back to the turn of the 16th century.

Carol singing and church services form a large part of the festivities, while local eateries will serve festive fare such as Devil’s Curry, a spicy and tangy mix of chicken and potatoes, or Pongteh, a delicious slow-cooked stew made with palm sugar.

To experience this unique cultural event, contact Asian Trails Malaysia.

A spiritual renewal in Luang Prabang, Laos

Ensure a positive start to the year with spiritual healing and Buddhist blessings in Laos. Take part in the daily custom of tak bat, an early morning practice where locals give alms to Buddhist monks to make merit.

Combine this with a guided temple visit for an in-depth look at Buddhist culture, architecture and etiquette or take part in a baci ceremony, a centuries-old practice where villagers exchange good wishes by tying white strings around each other’s wrists.

Contact Asian Trails Laos for a customised itinerary with more spiritual inspiration for the New Year.

Escape to nature in Bali, Indonesia

Escape to nature in Munduk, Bali where cascading rice fields, waterfalls and serene landscapes form the perfect backdrop for a quiet and reflective New Year experience.

Away from the modern world, take the opportunity to relax, unwind and simply enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze. Adventurous souls can embark on more active pursuits such as ATV tours or dirt bike rides to scenic waterfalls, with picnic lunches en route.

For more festive season ideas or to plan a New Year retreat in Munduk, contact Asian Trails Indonesia.

Island festivities, Cambodia

The islands off Cambodia’s southern coast are ideal for an intimate retreat. At Song Saa Private Island, immerse yourself in island life in private jungle or ocean villas. The property is planning a range of activities for the festive season, including a traditional monk blessing, live music, traditional apsara dancing and acrobatic displays by the talented performers of Phare, The Cambodian Circus. There will also be an art auction with proceeds going to support the Song Saa Foundation’s marine and community initiatives.

Nearby, on the island of Koh Rong, The Royal Sands is putting on an equally spectacular festive display which includes a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve. For the end of year countdown, the celebrations kick off with signature cocktails and canapés followed by a specially prepared dinner with live music and fireworks on the beach!

To secure a booking or learn more about Cambodia’s remote island resorts, contact Asian Trails Cambodia.

Explore sacred Shangri-La, China

Escape the crowds for an off-the-beaten-path journey in the beautiful province of Yunnan in South-West China. Embrace the art of slow travel as you follow the ancient Tea Horse Road, a historic trade route that dates back centuries. The journey takes guests through breathtaking landscapes, quaint villages and the charm of a bygone era. Immerse yourself in the Three Parallel Rivers region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ecological and geographical magnificence.

Explore the mystical land of Shangri-La, with its snow-capped peaks and rich Tibetan culture. Wander through the picturesque village of Cizhong nestled amidst vineyards, home to a historic Catholic church and a Tibetan Catholic community. Finally, set your eyes on the grandeur of Meili Snow Mountain, a towering peak which boasts some of the most awe-inspiring vistas in the province.

See our recommended nine-day itinerary to Exploring Sacred Shangri-La or contact Asian Trails China & Hong Kong for more details.

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