Happy New Year!
I’ve decided to start my first blog post by describing the amazing night in Siam, Bangkok, as midnight hit and the new year began.
The night began around 7pm with a quick train ride to Siam Station via the BTS Skytrain, absolutely crammed with locals and tourists alike. Many were excited to attend the New Year Festivities, with public events at a large number of major areas, such as Siam Paragon (a major shopping complex) and Central World (famed for its New Year’s fireworks display).
Siam Paragon – Siam Station
The first stop on my trip was Siam Paragon, a 10-storey shopping complex, with a range of stores, food options, cinema, and even a full-fledged aquarium. On the 31st of December, Siam Paragon hosts a concert with a range of famous artists, both Thai and International. The crowds were at least 10,000 strong by the time that I had arrived around 7:30, with walking anywhere between the station and the mall requiring patience and a decent amount of manoeuvring. After 20 minutes watching the concert, I had decided to retreat to Siam Square as the crowd continued to grow.
Siam Square – Siam Station
My next destination was Siam Square located opposite Paragon. I entered via Siam Station, as crossing the road during this time would have led to an almost definite insurance claim. The square was my favourite part of the night, full with markets, fake snow, bustling crowds, and a myriad of bands made up of talented high-school students. It was easy to take a seat and admire the music, ranging from Thai-pop classics, to Rock and Jazz music. There was a range of delicious street food which I was more than happy to devour at that point, and I did with satisfaction.
There were a range of different pop-ups from various companies, such as “Happy-Netflix-Year,” where I met my group-mates for the Bangkok Programme, and proceeded to travel to Central World, a short walk from Chit Lom station.
Central Word – Chit Lom Station
It was not a short walk. As soon as we got off that train, we knew we were in for it.
Hundreds of Thousands…
It was hard to tell. People lined the streets (paths and roads) in droves, all trying to get a view of the Central World Stage. Mind you this was around 10pm, still a further two hours until the fireworks began. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life, and I do not know if I could do it again. Our group was swamped in a wave of people, bumper to bumper like a Bangkok traffic jam. We were stuck in the crowd for at least 30 minutes to an hour, and in a city where it can be difficult to find a bathroom, that isn’t the most pleasant experience.
My group was too tired and so left for home, while I decided to stay and watch the countdown. I do not regret it. Being a part of the crowd as they all sprinted to get a view of the show was exhilarating, and I felt like I had finally arrived in Bangkok. The fireworks show surpassed anything I have seen while in New Zealand, and ran for 15 minutes into 2023.
After the fireworks, I sprinted back to the station to avoid the crowds, and returned via the Skytrain. We decided to grab a late-night feed at the local KFC. I didn’t find them spicy, but my friends found that wicked wings here live up to their name.
Once Again… Happy New Year!