Bangkok’s light festivals: welcoming the New Year

Bangkok’s light festivals. Ratchaprasong Kingdom of Light
Ratchaprasong Kingdom of Light welcoming the new year 2020. Photo by Discovering Bangkok

Bangkok offers a warm ambiance to make your year-end adventure, a memorable one. The city is lively throughout the year but it lights up to its best during the last couple of months which also coincides with the best weather in the city. The entire city dazzles with color, light, and music.

Bangkok’s light festivals. Loy Krathong in Lumphini Park
Celebrating Loy Krathong in Lumphini Park. Photo by Robertpollai – Own work, published on http://www.the-ninth.com, CC BY 2.0, Link

Begin with the Loy Krathong ( ลอยกระทง) festival, known as Thai Festival of Light, which is celebrated on a full moon day in November. Lotus-shaped lanterns are decorated with flowers and candles and released onto the rivers. This huge family event symbolizes prayers, wishes and willingness to let go of one’s compulsions. The festival marks the end of the rainy season.

Teaser Awakening Bangkok 2019 promoted by Time Out Bangkok, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Mitsubishi Motors

The Awakening Bangkok, another lighting festival is held towards the end of November in a different part of the city, Charoenkrung ( เจริญกรุง), located in Bang Rak District ( เขตบางรัก), is the home to Bangkok’s oldest paved road constructed 150 years ago adjacent the shores of Chao Phraya River. This 10-day festival presented more than 30 light installations to offer visitors a fascinating experience. The spectacular light event featured cutting-edge lighting installations by artists from all backgrounds.

Bangkok’s light festivals. Santa Claus. Central World
Santa Claus at Central World. Photo by Discovering Bangkok

Bangkok transforms into a wonderland during Christmas and becomes one of the most illuminated cities in the world during the holiday season. As you walk down the city’s major landmarks, larger-than-life holiday decorations, huge glittering Christmas trees, and Santa’s of all sizes welcome your heart fully.

Bangkok’s light festivals. Gaysorn Christmas Village
Gaysorn Christmas Village. Photo by Discovering Bangkok

Despite being Thailand a Buddhist country and therefore Christmas is not officially celebrated, the Merry Christmas greeting is omnipresent at shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants giving the feeling to the visitors as they were at home in this season.

Bangkok’s light festivals. Siam Square
Christmas decorations at Siam Square. Photo by Discovering Bangkok

There’s an outburst of light and festivity on every street. And most noticeably on the streets of Siam, central Bangkok. And who knows, you might come across the largest Christmas tree in all over South East Asia on your next turn. Large shopping malls put up lights usually by the end of November.

Bangkok’s light festivals. Christmas tree at Central World
Gigantic Christmas tree at Central World Square. Photo by Discovering Bangkok

The Chao Phraya River shimmers with cruise boats of all sizes draped in festive lights. Visitors relish extravagant meals and free-flow drinks while the boats ceremoniously glitter and float under the night sky. You may want to soak yourself into the live music and the infamous cabaret onboard, or leisurely watch the picturesque spots along the river bank. Christmas and New Year is one big continuous event and so the holiday mood effortlessly moves from one to the other.

European Dance in Festival of Lights at Siam Paragon
European Dance in Festival of Lights 2019 at Siam Paragon. Photo by Discovering Bangkok

International carnivals, world-class street shows, upbeat dance music, and never-ending playful parties keep Bangkok busy through the last week of the year. A plethora of countdown events is held all across the city. Thousands of people gather in front of Central World, Bangkok’s flagship shopping center, to witness the most vibrant street countdown.

Bangkok’s light festivals. Bangkok countdown 2020
Bangkok’s light festivals. Bangkok countdown 2020
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Bangkok countdown 2020 at Central World Square. Photos by Discovering Bangkok

From traditional to hyped-up western type, there’s a countdown event for everyone. Countdown events feature light, sound performances and dance parties to fade the night away. Events start at around 4 pm on New Year’s Eve and flow into late midnight. Sky trains and subways open till 2 am to aid this once in a year occasion.

Teaser of Amazing Thailand Countdown 2020 promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in association with ICONSIAM

ICONSIAM, opened in November 2018, is one of the most popular places to be on this night. It’s a perfect combo of shopping and dining along with a splendid fireworks show over the river.

Full 7-part fireworks display in the Amazing Thailand Countdown 2020 event at ICONSIAM, the official countdown event in Thailand

The final countdown into the New Year is draped with impressive and spectacular fireworks displays. The extravagant lighting on the ground is complemented by the near-perfect stunning firepower up against the midnight backdrop. And that’s how Bangkok wants you to finish THE night in style.