Unusual New Years’ Eve Celebrations

Full Moon Party Feb. 2012 in Koh Phangan, Thailand

Photo Credit: Flickr

Deciding where to ring in the New Year is the last big problem you face in 2013. Obviously, New Year’s Eve parties will include friends and families, but where are the best New Year’s Eve Celebrations? There are some obvious cites that are top favourites: the fireworks over Sydney Harbour, the ball drop in NYC, but there are a mountain of interesting parties with a twist to choose from.

Full Moon Party

Full Moon Parties on Koh Phangan are known the world over for being crazy. Held during the full moon every month, the festival lasts around three days and fortunately, every year New Year’s Eve happens to fall around the end of the month. As such, the Full Moon Party often coincides with New Year’s Eve. Although New Year’s Eve is not traditionally celebrated in Thailand at the same time as the West celebrates the New Year, Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan attracts many more tourists than it does locals. Most backpackers travelling around Asia at this time of year decide to spend the New Year on the little island. With buckets of cocktail concoctions available for cheap, sandy beaches with music blaring, the island fills up quickly and accommodation is scarce and expensive. So grab some neon paint and beach wear and head to the world’s favourite party island to start 2014 with a bang. This year, there is double the fun as the island hosts two Full Moon Parties, one on Christmas Day (December 25th) and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (December 31st and January 1st).

Reykjavik, Iceland

If the sandy beaches and warm tropical waters are too far removed from your typical image of New Year’s Eve, then try chilly Reykjavik in Iceland. Images of snowy landscapes and husky driven sleighs are more traditional festive images. But Iceland forgoes the fireworks so often seen at New Year’s Eve celebrations. In their place, are the magical Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Only very far North in the Northern hemisphere is the lights visible, and they are only visible for a few months of the year. Mid-winter is peak viewing time and offers the best chance to see the lights, which are notoriously unreliable. In blooms of lucid green, brilliant violet and vibrant blue, they dance across the night sky. Visibility depends on a clear sky and low light from the moon. Any interference from artificial lights can hinder visibility so it is necessary to travel into the wilderness. Spend the night in an ice hotel, made entirely of ice. Despite the warm furs designed to keep the ice beds coy, it may be wise to bring someone to cuddle up too. If this all sounds too cold, there are a lot of steamy saunas to hang out in in order to warm up.

Sydney, New York, London and all the Other Cities

Of course, many people will want to head to one of the iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations’ Witnessing the Ball Drop in NYC or Sydney’s fireworks are very expensive, although well worth the money. Crowds are dense an most people start arriving around midday, with all the best viewing points gone by about 2pm. Be prepared for a long day, including food and drinks as it can be difficult navigating thorough the crowds. Despite the long day and wait, there are usually many street performances and entertainers to keep eager crowds happy throughout the day. Dress for the occasion, but mostly for the weather. New York can be freezing, but there’s a high chance of sunburn in Sydney. But most of all bring those resolutions and have a Happy New Year!