New Year’s Eve is around the corner and is that time of the year where the party goes on for a very long time. How about you skip the same old celebration in your hometown and do something different? To help you plan, we have a lot of ideas for you under different themes. Weather you are looking for a non-stop music festival or want to be one with nature, this post has something for everyone. Cover art picture by Digital Thangka.
Here are 20 travel ideas for you to celebrate the New Year’s Eve, starting from typical parties to finding solace in nature:
Theme 1: Party the Night Away
01 | Celebrate the World’s First New Year at East Cape or Auckland, New Zealand
– Robin of Backpacker Guide NZ
The country that is the first to see the sun every day is also the best place to spend New Year’s Eve. Pick your option: From East Cape that has the first sunrise in the world, and a huge festival on New Year’s Eve to the massive Auckland fireworks without forgetting a wild and remote east coast beach where you will be mesmerized by a stellar sunrise.
02 | Enjoy a Luxurious Upscale Beach Party at Punta del Este, Uruguay
– Barbara Wagner of http://www.jet-settera.com
Punta del Este, a small but upscale beach town in Uruguay, is a popular New Year’s Eve destination for many wealthy South Americans. This town’s clean, white, eclectic architecture resembles Miami. The town is also called as the Monaco of South-America, as many of the big yachts dock here during the summer. It is one of the most expensive holiday destinations in South-America during the holidays. The nightlife is amazing, clubs around the port are open until 6-7am in the morning and the party rocks every night. Many tourists come here to enjoy gambling. The Conrad Hotel has one of the largest casinos in Uruguay and it is the favorite hot spot for many Brazilians. Huge fireworks make New Year’s Eve very memorable in Punta del Este.
03 | Party Non Stop with Backpackers in Huacachina, Peru
– Danielle Ditzian of Like Riding a Bicycle
Huacachina in Peru is a tiny town entirely on an oasis, it’s not only gorgeous, but if you stay at Casa de Arena, they have an amazing club to party the night away. In fact, I went to bed at 6 am on New Year’s Eve the year I was there… and was the first person in my 20-person dorm room to crash! Plus, if the partying gets to be a bit much, you can always go chill in the sand dunes looking at the beautiful oasis.
04 | Attend the infamous Full Moon Party at Koh Phangan, Thailand
– Rishabh & Niralee of GypsyCouple
Koh Phangan is arguably the party capital of South East Asia boasting of a monthly iteration of the Full Moon Party inviting revelers from all over. Scale it up to have double the audience, better music (if it’s possible) add in the New Year to the mix and you have a winner. The island is only approachable by ferry and has its Haad Rin beach as the epicenter of the partying wave (though other beaches have smaller parties running during the time). You can tick off insane music, fire twirlers, drinking games, a whole lot of multi ethnic revelers to make it an epic way to send off the old year and welcome the new one!
Theme 2 – Enjoy Regional Traditions and Cultural Events
05 | Burn Papier Mâché Characters at Salinas, Ecuador
– Dane of HolidayFromWhere
There is a tradition in Ecuador to build big Papier Mâché characters and then burn them to get rid of evil spirits for the New Year. They put dozens of 5-meter high infernos on the entire beach area. People celebrate by throwing massive fireworks into them. Note: Be careful because this nice traditional ceremony can sometimes cause massive fires. When I was there, it was the most chaotic, uncontrollable, yet memorable New Years Eve I have ever been a part of.
06 | Watch Apsara Dance in Siem Reap, Cambodia
– Nisha of Lemonicks
There are many destinations around the world where I would want to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Till now wherever I have celebrated it, it has given me much joy and fond memories. One of my favorites is Siem Reap in Cambodia. I have great memories of the place. I had gone there to volunteer for three months and celebrated Christmas and New Year in the process. The place is close to me not because it is a touristy place but for all those kids who gave me happiness and shared their joy. Otherwise also, there is no dearth of tourists in Siem Reap, so one cannot feel lonely. Go to Pub Street and celebrate in style relishing good food, drinks and watching Apsara dance.
07 | Shake Your Booty at Feria de Cali in Cali, Colombia
– Ruben Arribas of Gamin Traveler
One of the best places I’ve ever been to celebrating New Year´s Eve is in Cali, Colombia. Cali is the third largest city in Colombia and famous for being the Salsa capital all over the world. Last week of every year, they celebrate Feria de Cali, which is famous for the Salsa marathon. During this, everyone dances the streets, both the young and old, locals and visitors alike. During the day you can see huge colorful parades with flowers, people, animals and of course the most important, good and lively music. At night, there are many bands playing salsa and thousands of people dancing. Don´t know how to dance salsa? No problem at all, just visit Cali and people will teach you how to do it.
Theme 3 – Attend a Music Festivals
08 | Attend a Psychedelic Music Festival – the Experience Festival, Koh Tao, Thailand
– Sonal and Sandro of Drifter Planet
The Experience Festival is Asia’s most popular PsyTrance Music festival and it occurs on December 30 to January 2 in Koh Tao. This festival features a chill out stage and a full on PsyTrance main stage where you can dance for days to welcome the New Year. Moreover, Tao Island’s warm tropical weather makes sets the perfect mood for hours of dancing and camping. This island is also known for its beautiful beaches, viewpoints, and colorful marine life, which can be enjoyed before or after the festival.
09 | Watch a Firework Show or Attend a NYE Music Festival in Sydney, Australia
– Dave Anderson of Jones Around The World
While most of the world is in the middle of winter, it’s actually summertime down in Australia, which makes it perfect weather for all sorts of outdoor activities. The NYE Firework Show over the Sydney Harbour Bridge is truly spectacular, and should be on everyone’s bucket list. There are also so many different nightlife events and party cruises that are epic, or you can make the journey out to one of the music festivals in Australia that have 3-day events during New Years Eve! Trust me, get yourselves to Sydney at the end of December, and you won’t regret it! See you down under mate!
Theme 4 – Watch the Magic of Northern Lights
10 | Enjoy the Peace and Try to spot Northern Lights at Norway
– Lavina of A Capricious Compass
New Year has always been about extending the festive spirit and welcoming new begnnnings with a nip in the air! Coming from a tropical country, winter always meant temperatures around 10 degrees. However, a recent trip to Norway changed my perception of winter. Temperatures below zero blanketed the earth with a sheet of snow. It was mesmerizing! Silence for miles, the Auroras dancing in the sky at night, some warm toddy and people who matter the most, for company. Time to reflect and look forward to beautiful things! After spending many years partying at New Year’s eve, I can now say no one does winter like countries in the Arctic Circle and Norway especially so!
11 | Enjoy Lapland’s Winter Landscape and try to spot the Northern Lights, Finland
– Céline Simon of Je Papote
Who has never dreamed of spending New Year’s Eve in a beautiful winter landscape? At that time, the magic of Lapland makes sense. I suggest rent a confortable cottage with friends in the forest to be near the beautiful nature. After that, it will be time to enjoy the great white landscapes offered by Lapland. You can enjoy a lot of activities such as dog sledding, snowmobile or cross-country skiing. And when the day ends, you will absolutely end with a sauna to warm you. And if you’re lucky enough, you can see at night, the magic of the northern lights!
Theme 5 – Get Spiritual
12 | Experience a Spiritual Rejuvenation with monks at Tawang, India
– Siddhartha Joshi of Sid the Wanderer
Nestled high up in the Himalayas in the northeastern state of Arunanchal Pradesh in India, Tawang is not your usual destination to ring in the New Year. Home to world’s second largest Buddhist Monastery, the town, however, offers a beautiful blend of spirituality and adventure. If you are in town for the new year’s eve, I would recommend visiting the Monastery and spending time with the monks on the first day of the year. Follow it up with hikes around in the high mountains, and a visit to the numerous frozen lakes in the region. The days will be short and peaceful, and the nights would be long, yet Tawang will fill you with unbridled energy, which will last at least an year
Theme 6 – Hit a Famous Party Street
13| Enjoy midnight runs and Fireworks at New York City, USA
– Natasha of The World Pursuit
NYC has to be one the best places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Everyone knows that Times Square is the famous place to ring in the new year, however, there are even better places in the city to celebrate. Partying and dancing take place all over the city, but some of the best spots to waste the night away are in Central Park, Bowlmor Lanes, and the Brooklyn Bridge. In Central Park, there are even fireworks accompanied with midnight runs. As someone who lived in New York, I wouldn’t recommend anyone go to Times Square for the bash. It’s cold and you have to stand jam packed with other people for the entire day. Don’t ask me where you go to relieve yourself.
14 | Be a Part of a congregation on Siem Reap’s Pub Street, Cambodia
– Mar Pages of Once in a Lifetime Journey
Siem Reap is an always busy and often crowded destination. Gateway to the ruins of Angkor Wat, the town is filled with tourists during the dry season. But here is the tip: go for New Year’s and you are likely to have it all to yourself: the good weather, the ruins and the culture. For New Year’s Eve, everybody congregates on Pub Street, where all the bars are, and do the countdown together. The street does get incredibly packed and you will be stuck wherever you are unable to move forward or backwards. Some people on the higher floors might throw much needed water to cool everyone down and the spirit of party permeates. It is a different and fun way to spend the last night of the year and then carry on to the temples with less crowds than usual.
15 | Check out the Party scene on Bangkok’s Khao San Street, Thailand
– Lina & David of Divergent Travelers
My husband and I don’t price us on being partiers but there are certain experiences you should have at least once in your life. This is why, when we found ourselves in Thailand for New Years Eve, we decided to party the last hours of the year away on Kho San Road. The experience was interesting with a rave type atmosphere. The streets were so crowded that moving from one place to another required a shuffle but man, was it a good time. There were stages set up with live performers, fire throwers and music blaring from every bar on every corner. The experience of coming together with people from all around the World to celebrate a common holiday was an experience we will not soon forget.
16 | Party on the streets in Bali, Indonesia
– Jyotsana of Wander with Jo
Bali garners millions of visitors every year for it’s excellent beaches, temples, party scene, surfing, food, culture and more. However, New Year’s Eve attracts at least half of those millions, or so it seems. It is crazy busy on the streets and there are people – everywhere. I am not a big fan of humongous gatherings like these but if you want to party hard and just let your hair down – this is IT! My NYE at Bali was pretty epic. It just so happened that as soon as the clock stuck 12, everyone (yes, everyone) gathered on the streets (From their respective pubs on Legian street) to dance, hug and clink beer bottles with each other. It also started drizzling a bit and the whole vibe was surreal.
Theme 7 – Romantic
17 | Get Romantic and Enjoy Live Music in Vienna, Austria
– Karolina & Patryk of KarolinaPatryk.com
The absolute best place to celebrate New Year’s Eve is Vienna. It is the most romantic city of Europe, with a beautiful old town and many awesome monuments. At the last day of the year, it turns into a huge party zone! People from all over the world are coming to the capital of Austria to celebrate. The most important event takes place in the morning though. New Year’s concert in Vienna performed by the best musicians on this planet is famous all over the world. It’s broadcast live to 50 million people from more than 70 countries. Can you imagine anything better than being there and watching the concert in the flesh?
Theme 8: Attend a Live Concert
18 | Attend a Live Concert at Madison Square Garden
– Danielle Desir of The Thought Card
One of my most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations was spent at a JackU concert in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Over 18,000 people brought in the new year at Madison Square Garden that night. The stadium was sold old and the energy was electric. Not only were the DJ sets phenomenal, but there was also a humongous New Year’s Eve countdown. As the clock struck 12:01 a.m., the entire crowd went in a frenzy. Balloons and streamers fell from the sky and there were lots of joyful tears and kisses. For the next week, I had a permanent grin on my face and I haven’t been to a New Year’s Eve celebration of that magnitude since.
Theme 9 – Head to the Sand Dunes
19 | Enjoy a “Maharaja Style” celebration or Watch Thar desert’s Starry Night at Rajasthan, India
– Natalia Shipkova of My Trip Hack
I wanted to celebrate a New Year away from the usual high-pitched parties of big cities, thus I decided to choose Rajasthan – the land of Kings in India. On 31st Eve I was watching the fireworks lighting the sky at the Hill Fort in Jodhpur from one of the rooftops. It was spectacular to see the big picture of the city during the celebration. First days of January I’ve spent in a group of eight people in the Thar Desert roaming around endless dunes, lying on the sand under one million of stars and talking on different cultures. That was one of the most extended and memorable New Year experiences till date.
20 | Experience an Exotic “réveillon” at Erg Chebbi Dunes – Sahara Desert, Morocco
– João Leitão from Nomad Revelations
If you’re keen to experience an entirely different way of spending your New Year’s Eve, I think the Sahara Desert is the ultimate travel destination. Completely off-the-beaten track, Erg Chebbi Dunes in southeast Morocco is a great place to experience the most exotic “réveillon” party possible and to jump into a new year full of optimism. I have done it four times at Hotel Café du Sud, and I can’t wait to go back. Sahara is deeply involved with a particular type of mystic, and it represents our most profound perception of how a magical and mysterious place should be. Erg Chebbi holds the highest sand dunes in the country, and along with a unique musical heritage keeps visitors amazed and thrilled to visit. All around the region, several families pursue a millenary nomadic way of life and persist on remaining non-sedentary.
So what are you waiting for? Book your flights NOW and celebrate!
What was your best New Year’s Eve celebration? Let me know in the comments.