Party across Asia this New Year's


Want to escape Hong Kong this New Year’s Eve? Gabrielle Jaffe rounds up the best places to celebrate on the continent

Sure, Hong Kong has lots of fun New Year’s Eve shindigs goin’ down across town but if you want to try something new for the countdown, the rest of Asia also has plenty of tempting offers. Don’t worry, you won’t miss our city’s traditionally lacklustre NYE fireworks when you’ve got Elvis dwarves and ‘wishing spheres’ to marvel at…


Family friendly fun

For those with kids, Singapore has two great options for families wanting to celebrate together. The main event is the Marina Bay Countdown (, where an eight-minute-long musical firework display bursts out for hundreds of metres along the bay, attracting thousands of visitors each year. A nice addition is the ‘wishing spheres’. People write their hopes for the coming year on to 20,000 luminous globes, which are then floated on the waters of the marina.

If you want an adrenaline rush, Universal Studios Singapore ( stays open until 1am on New Year’s Eve,
so you can enjoy exhilarating rides and film fun galore while listening to international tribute artists belt out pop classics.
And not every NYE party in Singapore is rated PG-13. Perhaps the most adult fun to be had on the island is at the Siloso Beach Party (, a 12-hour dance fest spread over five zones, with music ranging from trance and electronica to more chilled-out lo-fi. Tickets from $278.

Get there
Jetstar Asia flies direct to Singapore from $3,037 return (inc taxes).



Top temples and music madness

If you want to be one of the first in Asia to see in 2014 – and to see it in accompanied by banging beats from some of the biggest names in electronic music – then head to the Land of the Rising Sun. In previous years, Tokyo mega-club Sound Vision Museum has managed to nab Detroit Techno masters Jeff Mills and Derrick May for its NYE parties. See for details.

For those who would prefer to say goodbye to 2013 with live music, Rockin’ On magazine’s Countdown Japan festival ( sees 100 acts playing across four stages over three days, culminating in one big all-night party on New Year’s Eve itself.

Looking for something less headbangy? Then mosey on down to The Pit Inn (, the Shinjuku den that puts on an all-night jazz-in with dozens of veteran musicians. Punters are free to come and go as they please, which is perfect if you want to sneak off for a spot of ‘hatsumode’. What is ‘hatsumode’, you ask? This all-important first shrine visit of the year sees the Japanese don colourful kimonos and present amulets at Shinto shrines across the country at midnight on December 31. But don’t worry if you’re too busy partying at midnight, the shrine visits go on throughout the night and into the first few days of the New Year.

Get there Direct flights to Tokyo via HK Express take four hours and start from $3,722 return (inc taxes).



Bund bashes and gay old times

There are few better ways to greet the future than standing on Shanghai’s historic Bund and gazing out over the Huangpu River and on to the space-age buildings on the opposite side. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for you to do just that.

One is to join the jet-setting crowd on the terrace of The Peninsula Shanghai (, where DJs pump out chart-toppers and drinks flow freely at the bar until 4am ($865 presale, $1,247 on the door). Table and dinner packages are also available.

Nearby, Bar Rouge’s ( gold-themed NYE party has its resident DJs spinning house and techno. Tickets ($382) include a flute of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial champagne. At an edgier location on the South Bund, new circus-themed club Cirque Le Soir (, whose regular performers include Elvis dwarves, magicians, sword-swallowers, snake charmers and burlesque dancers playing with electric sparks, is sure to put on a good show. Check the website nearer the time for details.

Though not on the Bund, so lacking the views of the other options, the gay-centric 390 Bar is also likely to offer a fun night full of spectacle. Last year’s celebration was a black tie, no pants affair with drag performances. See for updates.

Get there China Eastern Airlines flies to Shanghai from $2,324 return (inc taxes).



Black tie or pumpin’ house

Watch 2014 begin from the Great Wall at The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu’s NYE dinner in Huairou district, featuring dancing and live music for $507 (+86 10 6162 6506). And Capital M hosts a special New Year’s Eve black tie gala with a six-course menu and champagne cocktails on the terrace, which overlooks the historic Qianmen – a gate in Beijing’s city wall – for $1,260 (+86 10 6702 2727).

As for a musically good time on NYE, head to the Maybe Mars Holiday Show at XP from 9.30pm (ticket price TBC, +86 10 6406 9947) and celebrate the arrival of 2014 with top resident bands, including White+, Birdstriking, After Argument and Alpine Decline.

Or tap up the YEN Countdown party 2013 at UCCA from 10pm (tickets also TBC, +86 10 5780 0200), which is set to be huge. Year after year, YEN’s NYE party brings pounding house beats and epic visuals to UCCA’s sprawling exhibition space. For a good time, it’s a sure-thing.
Get there China Southern Airlines can fly you direct to Beijing from $2,280 (inc taxes).


Across Asia Beach parties

We recommend hitting up Thailand or India this NYE. At Koh Phangan, Thailand, the birthplace of the Full Moon Party, they don’t let the fact that the NYE moon is only a crescent get in the way of a good time. More than 50,000 people descend on the Thai island for several days of debauchery. It’s all fuelled by Thai mamas selling buckets of booze and other kinds of party juice.

For a more relaxed scene, try Goa, India, the original home of the beach party and psytrance. Thousands of revellers come here for Sunburn festival (, which runs from December 27 to 29. That gives party-goers just enough time to get over their hangover and start all over again on December 31.

Get there Fly through Bangkok to Koh Samui via Thai Airways ( from $6,446 return (inc taxes). From there, ferries leave several times daily for Koh Phangan. Air India ( can take you direct to Mumbai from $3,844 return (inc taxes); from Mumbai, Indigo ( flies to Goa from $2,420 return (inc taxes).


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