Make this New Year your best one yet and ring in the new year with these unique countdown events.
Forget about lame party poppers and mystery bowls of punch and welcome in the new year by enjoying a helicopter ride over Monaco, taking part in a marathon in Zurich at midnight or cruising in a tall ship.
Party on a Pullman train in England
End the year in style and take a ride on the Belmond British Pullman train. You will join the train at London Victoria station, then this luxury locomotive will whisk you through the English countryside. After a champagne reception, you will then sit down to enjoy a five-course silver service meal. The team will make sure your return to London it is perfectly timed so that you can see the fireworks lighting up the sky as you travel back across the River Thames. Priced GBP450 per person.
Countdown to 2020 on a tall ship in Singapore
Set sail on the vintage tall ship, the Royal Albatross in Singapore, and watch its 22 sails unfurl as you leave the shore behind and navigate the Straits of Singapore. You can toast your journey with a glass or two of champagne, before enjoying a festive buffet which includes roasted turkey breast with chestnut sauce and traditional Christmas log cake.
The ship will then return to shore for the Dockside Countdown Party where you will see fireworks over Mount Faber as a DJ gets the party started so you can go dancing into the New Year. Priced SGD295 per person.
Welcome the New Year at a 10th-century Cambodian temple
Once hidden under jungle vegetation, the 10th-century Prasat Kravan temple will now be decorated with 1,000 candles for a New Year’s Eve celebration that you will never forget. While you dine in the shadow of the temple’s five ancient towers, some of Cambodia’s finest performers will descend the steps of the temple to entertain you.
The evening will begin with a blessing by the Sacred Dancers of Angkor, followed by an introduction to Cambodian instruments with the help of master soloists. Guests will also enjoy a traditional Sbaek Thom shadow puppet concert, as well as the high-flying acrobatics of Cambodia’s famed Phare Circus. If you are aching for a culture fix, this is the celebration for you. Priced USD575 per person.
Celebrate Hollywood style in Monaco
If you can’t wait for the 25th James Bond film to hit the big screens in April, you can create your own movie moment, for the Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo has launched the GoldenEye Experience. While you might not need to tackle an international spy ring, you will spend New Year’s Eve taking a helicopter flight over Monaco and enjoying a drive along the French Riviera in an Aston Martin. You then return to your suite later in the evening to enjoy a couple’s massage, followed by a Michelin-starred dinner cooked by Joel Robuchon’s team on the rooftop terrace of the Carre d’Or suite.
If you have forgotten your tux, don’t worry, the hotel team can arrange for a tux or evening gown to be brought to your suite. After dinner, you can enjoy a martini at the bar, before your butler provides you with gaming chips for the Hotel Metropole casino. If you’ve ever wanted to utter those famous words: “The name’s Bond, James Bond,” this is the place to do it. Price on demand.
Run a marathon in Switzerland
If you’re feeling sluggish after all that festive food, take a flight to Switzerland, for when the clock strikes midnight on 31 December 2019, the Neujahrsmarathon begins. You can then race through the streets of Zurich and burn off all those festive calories. If it’s a while since you’ve hit the bricks, you don’t need to do the full 42 kilometre-run along the Limmat River. There is also a half-marathon, quarter marathon and team event, so you and your friends can join together to claim those medals on 1 January 2020. Kids can also take part in the fun run so everyone has the chance to do some sightseeing while getting healthy at the same time. This well-organised run also features showers at the finish line, so you can brush up, put on your party clothes and celebrate all over again. Entry fees vary.
Join Thai monks for a blessing in Bangkok
If you’ve had a hectic 2019 and are looking forward to a more relaxed New Year, join Buddhist monks from all over Bangkok for Suad Mon Kaam Pee (New Year prayers) at Sanam Luang Park in Bangkok. At this heritage site in front of the Grand Palace, monks will lead visitors in prayer from 1 p.m. on 31 December. When the sun goes down you can watch the sky lanterns rise from behind the temple rooftops, and in the morning you can take part in an alms’ giving ceremony. If you don’t have a chance to visit Bangkok, you can look out for one of the other 30,000 temples which will also be celebrating Suad Mon Kaam Pee throughout the country.
Ring in the New Year at the Longhua Temple in Shanghai
Ring in the New Year by striking a 3,000kg bell at Shanghai’s largest temple. Each year, the Longhua Temple welcomes 100,000 visitors for the Evening Bell Striking Ceremony. As well as having the chance to ring the bell for luck, visitors can watch a music concert, see lion and dragon dances and spot fireworks lighting up the night sky. The Evening Bell Striking Ceremony acts as a countdown to midnight – the first strike of the bell will start at 11.32pm and the 108th strike marks midnight. With each strike of the bell, fireworks will be released. The first 108 tickets are the most auspicious and cost around USD280 (2,000 yuan), while members of the public who wish to ring the bell for luck can pay around 500 yuan (USD73) to ring the bell after midnight. The fees for ringing the bell go to charity. Tickets are on a first come, first served basis.