Spending New Year's overseas? Hit up these cities to say goodbye to 2017
It’s nearly time to bid farewell to another year. If you’ve got plans to visit Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, or Sydney to welcome 2018, you’ll certainly find this roundup handy. Here’s a guide to key countdown parties happening in the Asian region, along with some useful notes so you can make the most of your New Year’s Eve.
A dim sum feast at a Michelin-starred eatery paired with a spot of street shopping before all the festivities take place at a scenic waterway venue – that’s a tough combination to beat, don’t you think? Hong Kong is the place to be if that sounds like your cup of tea. Be at the iconic Victoria Harbour to catch an eight-minute musical fireworks show that will light up Hong Kong’s night skies (and the city skyline, of course).
Don’t miss: The fireworks display will be taking place above the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Good viewing spots include the Kowloon (along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, including Hong Kong Cultural Centre Open Piazza and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade) and Hong Kong sides of the harbour (particularly the Central harbourfront area, including Central Piers 9 & 10, as well as the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai) so head over around 9pm or 10pm to make sure you’ve got the best seats in the house.
Tip! Starting from 11pm, rooftops around Victoria Harbour will launch a series of “shooting stars” at 15-minute intervals. Don’t forget to make a wish when you see them!
Okay, it isn’t in Asia but we couldn’t leave out Sydney. Up for a jam-packed evening in Australia’s bustling harbour city? Starting from 6pm on 31 December 2017, there’s an entire schedule for Sydney NYE 2017 that’ll keep you busy all the way ‘til the much-awaited 12-minute fireworks display at midnight.
Don’t miss: Catch performances involving planes and tugboats, and an Aboriginal cultural ceremony said to cleanse Sydney Harbour of any bad spirits – it’s a feast for the senses!
Tip! As for vantage points in the city, there are countless venues to choose from. Some are ticketed, while others are free, so check out the full list here.
The Taiwanese sure know how to pull out all the stops when it comes to ringing in the New Year. Centred around the 508 metre-tall landmark that is Taipei 101, the city’s year-end party is one of the biggest in Asia.
Don’t miss: As midnight approaches, you’ll get to marvel at towering Taipei 101 as it lights up floor by floor, according to the countdown, from the lowest level to the highest. Expect a dazzling fireworks show when the clock strikes 12 and a star-studded line-up of performances. Past years have seen popular Taiwanese artistes like Wilber Pan and Rainie Yang grace the stage at the Civic Plaza concert, so you can expect a blockbuster this year.
Tip! The best vantage points in the area are Taipei City Hall or Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
The best thing about celebrating the New Year in South Korea, is the variety of options. Depending on what you prefer, you can either visit the Bosingak Bell Pavilion to witness a traditional ceremony or make your way to either Homigot or Busan to get away from the crowd.
Don’t miss: The Bosingak Bell is one of Seoul’s most treasured icons. Each year, it is rung 33 times by the mayor and it’s become a well-loved annual ritual among locals and travellers alike. Up to 100,000 people flock to the site during New Year’s Eve, so it goes without saying that if you want a good spot to see a glimpse of the bell and the entire process, you’d have to arrive very early to secure a spot.
Tip! If you prefer to get away from the crowds, head to Homigot or Busan instead. The annual Homigot Sunrise Festival is held on Pohang Beach, and the Busan Sunrise Festival takes place on Haeundae Beach and Yongdusan Park. Both feature cultural performances and fireworks displays on 31 December. If you can, stay up to catch the first sunrise of the year along the coast.
In the Land of the Rising Sun, you can participate in something called hatsumode, which refers to the first shrine (or temple) visit of the year – perfect for pensive types who don’t quite fancy rambunctious parties.
Don’t miss: Hatsumode celebrations are held at virtually every shrine and temple across Japan, but we’d recommend timing your visit around midnight on New Year’s Eve, so you can witness the ceremonial ringing of the site’s grand bell.
Tip! Not sure where to go? You can drop by Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, where other activities include tucking into small bites from the surrounding food stalls and saying a little prayer in the main hall (visitors can sometimes wait for more than an hour for access during this time of the year).
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This article is sponsored by DBS Bank