In the past, New Year’s Eve was never that exciting to us. We’ve bought overpriced tickets for boring New Year’s parties, drinking the cheapest champagne from plastic cups; attended house parties filled with people we didn’t know and didn’t particularly like, and noticeably absent; good New Year’s fireworks.
We’re from Canada and maybe it’s the weather there; the extreme cold, or extreme rain if you’re on the west coast – that contributes to the lack of festivities. Maybe it’s because Canadian officials seem to be pretty uptight about fireworks in general. They’re heavily regulated and the sale of fireworks are outlawed altogether in some cities. When certain cities actually do put on a fireworks display, they’re so bad it makes you wonder why they even bothered in the first place.
We always ended up watching clips of other amazing New Year’s celebrations on BBC World News – places like Sydney, Paris, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and New York; wishing we were there because it actually looked like fun.
So here we are in Phuket, Thailand for New Year’s Eve and there’s no lack of fireworks here. There are fireworks for all . . . literally!
Our New Year’s Eve in Phuket began with a party at the hotel. It was a good mix of tourists and expats exchanging wonderful stories of travel & adventure, with music, finger food, drinks, and a healthy dose of good cheer to go around.
From there, we moved on to Patong Beach to find a good spot for the fireworks show. We settled on the north side Patong Beach, where we found a restaurant table on the sand to enjoy some delicious local food and drink before the stroke of midnight, while random lanterns and fireworks lit up the night sky. So far, we were off to a good start; sitting on the beach, 50 feet from the surf, with cold drinks in our hands and a gentle tropical breeze.
Local vendors roamed the beach selling fireworks to thousands of happy, intoxicated tourists and locals converging on the sand to ring in the New Year. They had everything from sparklers and lanterns, to fireworks resembling large explosive devices that could level a city block with ease.
This is what makes New Year’s in Phuket so exciting. This is not a controlled event where 15 minutes of fireworks are set off on a barge in the middle of the bay, this my friend, is a do-it-yourself fireworks extravaganza where every man, woman and child can participate if they have the ability to strike a match and light a fuse.
As the countdown to the New Year commenced, the entire 3.5 kilometer stretch of Patong Beach erupted with the deafening blasts and the blinding lights of thousands of fireworks exploding overhead, illuminating the waters of the Andaman Sea. It was absolutely fantastic! Aside from having to dodge the flaming spray from the odd rogue firework shooting through the crowds, to my knowledge, nobody in our area of Patong Beach was injured . . . well, nobody was seriously injured anyway.
At last, we were able to experience a New Year’s celebration we had only seen in photos and news clips. It lived up to the hype, New Year’s in Phuket was truly a great time and it has inspired us to seek out the spectacular New Year’s Eve events happening all over this great world.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!