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Flight Centre reveals the five unique places to ring in 2018

November 2, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

There is so much pressure to show off one’s New Year’s Eve (NYE) celebration these days. Fireworks, parties and feasting are now considered mainstream. For many, watching the famous ball drop in the middle of New York’s Times Square is probably the most prominent NYE celebration that comes to mind. But for those looking to ring in the new year while immersing in a totally different cultural backdrop, here’s five places to put on your list.

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Light up your 2018

With 2018 happening over a long weekend, hop on a short 3-hour flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand and join in the yearly tradition of sending up clouds of lanterns to welcome the new year.

To make sure you’re at the centre of all the action, stay at a hotel along Tha Pae Road, where you can find an array of shops, eateries and massage parlours. Purchase your own lantern from one of the street vendors and head over to the main square. As the clock strikes 12, the night sky bursts into life as locals release their wishes and hopes for the year ahead. Talk about an Instagram-perfect moment. 

Homigot, South Korea – A new dawn

To discover a less mainstream side of South Korea, head to Homigot, located at the easternmost end of the Korean peninsula, for a family-friendly countdown experience.

Here, the celebrations continue beyond midnight as many stay up to witness the first sunrise of the year. In Homigot, thousands of visitors gather in the cold as they watch the sun rise from the ocean, spilling the first ray of sunlight and rising through the Sangsaeng’s Hand, one of the two bronze sculptures shaped like a pair of hands that symbolise harmony and coexistence.

Make your way to the Homigot Sunrise Plaza as the festival kicks off on NYE with local cultural performances, Korean folk games, sunrise concert and fireworks shows. 10,000 portions of complimentary tteokguk (rice cake soup) are handed out to visitors for them to have a taste of an authentic New Year’s Day dish. 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – It’s all about the glitz and glam 

The celebrations in Dubai only get grander each year. Go all out and indulge in a luxurious stay at one of the rare seven-star hotels in the world – the Burj Al Arab – where at the stroke of midnight, will become the backdrop to one of the city’s most spectacular firework displays.

For an unparalleled view of the fireworks, make sure you book two months in advance for Burj Al Arab’s exclusive Gala Star Under The Stars NYE countdown event, featuring live performances, international cuisine and unlimited alcohol. 

Reykjavik, Iceland – Cosy up to warm, fuzzy bonfires

Join the Icelanders for an evening of singing, dancing and comforting hot chocolate around one of the 10 blazing bonfires that light up across town.

A 200-year-old tradition, the night kicks off with a celebratory dinner, followed by a party around the bonfires from 8.30 – 10.30pm. Then the Icelanders huddle up in front of the TV to catch Áramótaskaup, a comedy show satirising the major news of the year from 10.30 –11.30pm.

Nearer to midnight, head back out again for the fireworks display exploding from all corners of Reykjavík. For the best atmosphere, head down to the Hallgrímskirkja church square where thousands of people are getting ready to party the night away. 

Tornio, Finland and Haparanda, Sweden – Twice the celebrations 

The Finns and Swedes really know how to have a good time and here’s how you can follow in their footstep to countdown not once, but twice!

Start your celebrations in Tornio, Finland, as the country is ahead of Sweden by an hour. After your first round of hugs and champagne, simply take a five-minute scenic stroll across the Torne River to the city of Haparanda in Sweden, where even more fireworks and champagne await.

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