If you’re not tied in to a hotel Gala Dinner, here are some tips for making the most of the New Year celebrations, as well as some advice about staying safe through the holiday:
1) The Gregorian calendar’s New Year is also the Thai solar calendar’s New Year, although as Thailand follows the Buddhist Era year numbering, we are a full 543 years ahead and as such, here in Thailand we will be entering the year 2556. Both December 31st and January 1st are public holidays, and the New Year (unlike Christmas) is widely celebrated across the kingdom. All of which to say: expect an additional influx of Thai tourists, and attendant traffic jams.
2) There is a countdown being held at Nopparat Thara Beach on 31 December, along with a market fair. This is organised by the local council, and will have performances by local schools early in the evening, as well as by some Thai TV actors and popstars flown in especially from Bangkok, if you are partial to a bit of celebrity. It is likely to be mobbed.
3) For a more chilled out New Year, most local expats head down to The Last Fisherman Bar, on Ao Nang Beach, where you can relax, have a drink and watch a dozen hotel firework displays across the bay for free at midnight. As seats fill up quickly, you can bring your own mat and camp out on the sand.
4) If you wish to release a fire balloon for some New Year luck, do buy one early and keep it – although it seems like there are people selling them every couple of metres, they have been known to run out close to midnight.
5) For the youngsters and young at heart, post-midnight, there will be parties in most areas – try Tonsai for a beach party, Luna Bar for the dancefloor (ladies, buy bottled drinks only), or Center Point Plaza for shots until you fall off your bar stool.
6) Champagne, outside of 5 star hotels, is almost impossible to come by in Krabi. Resign yourself to a glass of fizzy Prosecco and realise this is a small compromise when you are celebrating New Year outdoors in your shirt sleeves.
7) Having said that, don’t forget your umbrella! On several of the past few New Year’s Eves, it has randomly start pouring down – and given today’s weather (I am writing this with the lights on at 10am), this is particularly relevant.
8) If possible, avoid driving anywhere on New Year’s Eve. If you must, please be extra careful on the roads: drink-driving is very common here and accidents, often fatal, increase exponentially during this time of year.
9) On New Year’s Day, why not visit the Red Cross Charity Market in Krabi Town? Along with numerous shopping opportunities (handicrafts, clothes, nick-nacks), you’ll find street food and the chance to donate some money to the Thai Red Cross by entering their annual New Year raffle.
10) Stuck for a New Year’s resolution? Make one to visit (or revisit) one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Krabi – you won’t regret it!
Have a great, safe and happy New Year 2013 / 2556 from all of us here at Your Krabi!