Countdown nationwide

New Year's countdown in Bangkok. Patipat Janthong

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) invites all to count down to the new year with the Amazing Thailand Countdown 2018 celebrations in five regions, with highlighted activities in Lampang, Sakon Nakhon, Phuket, Rayong and Kanchanaburi. The events will take place on Saturday and Sunday, from 4pm-midnight.

The celebrations reflect the TAT's latest marketing concept of "Open To The New Shades" and "Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018", according to TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

The concept focuses on five activities: discovering new attractions or experiences, exploring a variety of local and international dishes, shopping for locally made products, sharing wonderful experiences with family and friends, and helping local communities thrive through sustainable tourism. Local experiences can be divided into four main categories: charm (such as the friendliness of the Thai people, as well as Thai arts and crafts), joy (such as cultural festivals and sports events), relaxing (Thai massage, beach holidays), and deliciousness (street food and fine dining).

- In the eastern region, Rayong's seaside district of Ban Phe will see decorative lights on fishing boats. The event will feature live EDM and music of the 90s, along with food by local chefs, a beach clean-up activity and DIY activities at several interesting workshops.

- In the western region, the TAT's countdown will be held at the historic Bridge Over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi province. A special train will cross the famous bridge once the New Year has been rung in.

- In the North, the countdown will take place in Lampang, where horse-drawn carriages, one of the province's highlights, will be beautifully adorned with lighting decorations.

- In the South, Phuket's Old Town will be bright with illuminated Sino-Portuguese buildings and joyful activities, including traditional Peranakan cultural shows and parades, a carnival, concerts and retro market fairs. The countdown will take place at the clock tower and Standard Chartered Building. The clean-up activity will be held at these two venues on Monday morning.

- In the Northeast, the countdown at the Ming Muang field in Sakon Nakhon province under the theme of "Cool Isan" highlights street performances and local food and other products, including three black animals -- chickens, pigs and cattle -- raised under a royally initiated project from Phu Phan Mountain Range.

Light shows in Bangkok

Residents and holidaymakers in the city of angels can enjoy dazzling New Year light displays and bid farewell to 2017 at different venues citywide.

Some of the most popular places are CentralWorld, EmQuartier and Emporium, while the new event is the Thailand Illumination Festival on Soi Ratchadaphisek 8.

Until Jan 7, visitors to CentralWorld will see more than 400 Christmas decorations, cartoon characters and art pieces, including the 5m-tall sculptures of Santa Claus and friends created by Argentinian artist Javier González Burgos.

Also until Jan 7, EmQuartier and Emporium are beautifully decorated under the theme of "Winter Wonderland The Grand Celebration". Highlights are the 12m-tall polar bear and 3D mapping. Other shopping districts along Sukhumvit and Ratchaprasong roads are also lit up with festive lights and decorations, including at Gaysorn Village and the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok.

Until Jan 6, the Thailand Illumination Festival 2017 takes place on a 39 rai plot of land in Soi Ratchadaphisek 8, with more than a million LEDs. The decoration is inspired by a garden-lighting festival in Japan.

Call the TAT Contact Centre at 1672.

Email if you have any news to share.

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