It's the time to party!

A brand new year is around the corner, folks. Perfect time to plan a perfect welcome to 2019. If wondering where to be when the clock strikes 12 this Monday night, here are a few suggestions...

The illuminated temple of Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya river, Bangkok, Thailand

Perhaps we should all read A Chesterton Calendar in the last week of December. I’d call it essential reading for everyone. Author G K Chesterton redefines new year. Not for him the fun of year-end festivities. The fireworks. The dancing the night away. The plum cakes. And the aged wine. Listen to what he says: “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” That is the Chesterton idea of a new year. 

I, for one, agree with Chesterton. December 31 is merely a flip of the calendar. A night melding into a new day, which the calendar decides to call a new year. Chesterton has a point. We need a new/better soul in the new year. A better pair of eyes to see the world’s goodness. A new backbone to stand up for truth. A new nose to sniff evil and thwart its intent. A new pair of feet to walk towards the dreams, towards happiness and compassion. 

If Chesterton is not your idea of the new year, there are always pretty dots on the map to make merry. The early-bird-gets-the-worm believer should head to Samoa, Tonga, and Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of Kiribati, the first places in the world to welcome the new year. If you want to be the last one to ring in the new year, book a ticket to uninhabited US territories like Baker Island and American Samoa. For everyone, every place in between, here are the best places to celebrate the new year.

Sydney

It is the summer of new year. Or, new year in summer in Sydney, the first major international city to celebrate the dawn of a new year. Every year, most of us wake up to images of fireworks over the Sydney Harbour, and the Opera House luminescent at night. The iconic new year celebratory spot is somewhere near the Harbour, but the Manly, Bondi and Bronte beaches are also perfect for a long night. Camp, glamp at Cockatoo Island; there’s Great Gatsby theme at Nick & Nora’s; a Cuban-theme party at the Opera Bar.

New York

New York
New York

Think one million people in the Times Square. People merry-making and nudging/jostling for the best view of the ball drop. A geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter and weighing 11,875 pounds, illuminated by 32,256 LEDs capable of displaying a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colours and billions of patterns. That is the big New York new year event, the drop of a ball that made its maiden descent in 1907. If the ball is not your thing, do the four-mile Midnight Run or head to Bar 54, the city’s highest rooftop lounge.

Bangkok

Ranked as the seventh best place to celebrate new year’s eve in the world, the Bangkok Countdown is the best Thailand’s new year party. Think high-energy concerts, magical fireworks, pyro artworks, and open-air parties. The best street party is at Khao San Road where people drink, dance and party. For the pious and the not-so-boisterous, there’s Sanam Luang, the Royal Plaza nearby where pretty lanterns are released into the sky. 

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, own a spot on the Victoria Harbour. It is the best place to watch fireworks set to music. On December 31, the Countdown will start 60 seconds before midnight with the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre being the focal point. Hosted by Hong Kong Tourism Board, a live street party featuring various artiste performances will start at 10 pm at Tsim Sha Tsui Pier. The other fun and less-crowded option is a fireworks cruise and dinner buffet cruise. Or, ride up the double-decker elevators at Hong Kong’s tallest building straight to Sky100 Observation Deck for a spectacular 360-degree view of the revelry. 

Moscow

Moscow
Moscow

Decorated trees, illuminated churches, family eatathons, and of course, the surreal Red Square that is decked for the new year. Moscow is nearly frozen in December, but it has its joys - skating away the 2018 blues in the ice rinks; watch yolkas, the New Year children’s shows; go to Bolshoi Theatre or similar places for New Year ballets such as The Nutcracker; or just ogle at the outrageous costumes that people walk around in.  

Las Vegas

What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. But there is so much that happens in Vegas on the new year, that you might just not remember all that happened. First things first. Bundle up, it can get breezy. And get ready to strip. Wait, get ready to get to the Strip, the 3.5-mile strip of Vegas where all the action happens. By 8 pm, the strip is so packed that if you get an inch, think of it as a feat. Book a seat in The High Roller observation wheel at The LINQ Promenade, which is 550 feet above the Las Vegas strip. Other fascinating options are Skyfall Lounge on the 64th level of Delano Las Vegas, and Foundation Room on the 63rd floor of Mandalay Bay. The Fremont Street New Year’s Eve party is always a blast. 

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

In Rio, it is Reveillon. That is what the New Year Eve party is called. The best place: Copacabana Beach. Remember, there’d be 3 million people on the beach. Yes, 3 million. That’s a lot of people on one beach. But if you want to partake in one of the world’s best New Year parties, do not count the millions. Remember to wear white. Because almost all Brazilians will celebrate New Year’s night dressed in white from head to toe. It brings good luck. Or, so the Brazilians say. 

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It's the time to party!

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