Bring in the new year, Thai style

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iol travel jan 9 phuket Reuters Another popular destination to see in the New Year is that of Thailand's largest island, Phuket.

Bangkok - Few nations can lay claim to holding three New Year’s celebrations each year, so for travellers with a penchant for seeing in the New Year - be it a Western, Thai or Chinese New Year- Thailand proffers up the best of all three, guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding reveller.

While the traditional Thai New Year, known as the Songkran festival, is celebrated from April 13 to 15 every year, and the Chinese New Year in February, January 1 has also been declared a public holiday in Thailand and the Thais happily join in the fun of the western celebration.

Thamanoon Kuprasert, general manager of Central, Eastern and Southern Africa for Thai Airways International says the most anticipated events taking place on New Year’s Eve each year are the spectacular firework displays that take place at various venues across the provinces. “No matter where you are visitors can count on dazzling fireworks extravaganzas lighting up the night sky after the countdown to midnight. Venues in the larger busier cities and islands will have a number of top entertainment acts on the cards and many night clubs will have secured renowned DJ’s to entertain their patrons until the early hours of the morning,” he comments.

Kuprasert says that visitors to Bangkok can look forward to various parties and promotions involving sumptuous feasts, dancing the night away, or for the older generation, traditional dance and folk song performances.

“The festive season is a busy time in the Thai capital so to avoid disappointment it is advisable to book in advance. The various countdown events across the city will have their own character and attract different crowds but where ever you go it will be a unique and memorable experience.

“The most popular countdown spots in Bangkok are usually in front of the world Trade Centre, around Siam Square, along Silom Road and Patpong, and at Sanuam Luang and Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue. The best places to view the firework displays are Sanam Luang and Wat Saket, on top of the Golden Mount,” he adds.

Another popular destination to see in the New Year is that of Thailand’s largest island, Phuket. Here, merrymakers unsurprisingly flock to the beaches to enjoy the breathtaking firework displays and crowds filter down onto the long stretches of sand to release paper lanterns into the sky at the stroke of twelve.

“The Karon beachside bars and decks offer good views of the fireworks with some even offering patrons a glass of free champagne at midnight. Many locals flock to Saphan Hin Park to enjoy a more traditional celebration. It is an all-day event with food stalls, markets, handicrafts and fruit carving demonstrations. It is the place to go to sample a real taste of local culture and cuisine,” concludes Kuprasert.

Thai Airways travellers can take advantage of the Thailand & Asia Pacific Delight Promotion and purchase an air ticket to Thailand and Asia Pacific destinations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Bali, China, Indo-China, Australia & New Zealand until March 31, 2013. For more information, visit www.thaiair.co.za or phone (011) 268 2580.

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