Best Places in the World in Which to Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2011

This New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, expatriates throughout the world will celebrate the arrival of 2012. Here’s our lowdown on the best places in our top list of expatriate destinations to celebrate NYE 2011. Whether you are letting off Roman candles in Seoul, participating in a minstrel carnival in Cape Town or braving the cold in Moscow’s Red Square, there’s something here for everyone.

Africa and Middle East

Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

It is not New Year’s Eve but the 2nd January that the locals in Cape Town party the hardest. In 19th-century South Africa, the second of January was a slave’s only day off in the year and so the celebrate of Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year) has become a huge event. On the 2nd January up to 13,000 minstrels paint their faces a variety of colors and storm the streets for the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival. The crowds will be immense, with over 80,000 people expected to be in attendance. The streets lining the parade of brightly-clad participants will feature a wide variety of stalls offering South African wares and local delicacies. 

Further Information:


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Expatriates in Dubai wil have plenty of opportunity to celebrate the New Year, with events and parties being held throughout the city. Time Out Dubai have compiled a list of the best New Year’s events in Dubai.

Asia Pacific


Auckland, New Zealand

Expatriates celebrating New Year’s Eve in Auckland can do so in the warmth, so what better way to welcome 2012 than on a beautiful beach in the amazing surroundings of the Matakana coast, one of the most stunning beaches on that side of the world. Enjoy a huge range of music including funk, indie, house, hip-hop, electro, jazz and drum & bass. Tickets are available from just $105 NZD.

Further information: New Year in Auckland


Bangalore, India

While there doesn’t seem to be a centrally organized even in Bangalore this year, bars restaurants and clubs throughout the city will not be missing the opportunity to welcome 2012 in style. A list of events throughout the city can be found here: New Year celebrations in Bangalore.


Bangkok, Thailand

New Year’s Eve in the capital of Thailand is celebrated in style and the best place to countdown the new year is at CentralWorld Mall, where a 69-foot-high Greeting Ball Tower signals the arrival of midnight. Over 300,000 revelers are expected to meet at the mall to welcome 2012 and there will be a wide range of entertainment on offer throughout the evening. Grab a glass of Chang beer from an outdoor beer garden and be prepared for an amazing night. Those looking to experience a more traditional Thai welcome to the new year can enjoy dance and folk music at Sanam Luang, the city’s historic parade ground. At midnight, fireworks explode over the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

Further information: New Year’s Eve in Bangkok


Beijing, China

Again, there doesn’t seem to be a centrally organized even in Beijing this year, but bars restaurants and clubs throughout the city will not be missing the opportunity to welcome 2012 in style. A list of events throughout the city can be found here: The Beijinger Guide to New Year.


Hanoi, Vietnam

Last year marked the first year that Hanoi officially celebrated the New Year. This year promises to be another spectaular welcome to the new year and bars and dance clubs will be packed with people as they celebrate the arrival of 2012. Expats in Hanoi can say goodbye to 2011 at a free open-air event organized by the Press Club. Further details can be found here: Press Club New Year’s Eve

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, China

The waterfront promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui is the place to be to welcome in the New Year in Hong Kong and it offers an ideal vantage point from which you can enjoy the spectacular fireworks display. Those looking for something slightly more unique can book a two-hour cruise on the Shining Star Ferry, where they can enjoy a gentle sail around Victoria Harbour. It departs from the Tsim Sha Tsui pier, $24 per adult. 

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Melbourne, Australia

Expatriates who are looking to welcome 2012 in style should not miss this year’s New Year’s Eve Harbourside Extravaganza. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s magnificent Docklands Harbour, the entire top floor of Waterfront Venues will be transformed into a massive party. The venue offers amazing panoramic views of the spectacular Harbour so party-goers will have a fantastic view of the fireworks when the clock strikes 12.

Further information: New Year’s Eve Harbourside Extravaganza.


Mumbai, India

Restaurants and bars throughout Mumbai have a wide range of special events planned for New Year’s Eve. For a comprehensive listing of the city’s top spots to welcome 2012 see the Mumbai Boss Guide to New Year’s Eve.


Seoul, South Korea

Spending New Year’s Eve in the Seoul Special City, South Korea, is sure to be an experience you won’t forget. The main event New years Eve fireworks event is held at the Bosingak Belfry in Jongno, Seoul City. It is local tradition to take a roman candle to the event and everyone lets them off simultaneoulsy as the clock strikes twelve. There’s an old Korean saying about New Year’s Eve: “If you fall asleep tonight, tomorrow your eyebrows will be snow-white.” With many of the bars in Seoul being open all night, this should not be a problem.


Shanghai, China

While there doesn’t seem to be a centrally organized even in Shanghai this year, bars restaurants and clubs throughout the city will not be missing the opportunity to welcome 2012 in style. A list of events throughout the city can be found here: Smart Shanghai New Year’s Eve


Singapore, Singapore

New Year’s Eve in Singapore is a big affair and every year the event is marked by a spectacular fireworks event at the Marina Bay. The event is very popular with both locals and tourists so it is advised that you get there early to get a standing position.

Further information: New Year’s Eve fireworks in Singapore


Sydney, Australia

There really is only one place to witness the arrival of 2012 in Sydney and that is at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. More than a million people gather here on an annual basis to welcome the new year and there they are treated to a spectaculor firework display that is accompanied by music. If you want to welcome the new year in style, book a place on one of the boats in the harbour.

Further information about enjoying New Year’s Eve in Sydney: Sydney New Year’s Eve


Tokyo, Japan

If you want to start celebrating New Year’s Eve as early as possible, then Tokyo is the place to be, with celebrations here starting on the 29th of December and lasting all the way until January 4th. During this period the majority of shops will be closed but people will be out on the streets in force and the bars, restaurants and clubs will be packed with party-goers. Join the locals in welcoming the new year by eating Toshikoshi Soba (New Years Eve Noodle), which symbolizes a long and healthy life. The Watch-Night Bell, an analog to a countdown, rings 108 times at temples throughout Japan in a bid to rid the country of poverty and unhappiness. Make the most of the opportunity to visit the Imperial Palace, which will be open on January 1st, one of the few days in the year that it is open to the public.



Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is a great place to see in the new year and there will be a wide variety of entertainment on offer to suit all tastes. For a comprehensive listing of new year events in Amsterdam, see the I Am Amsterdam Guide to New Year.


Barcelona, Spain

There’s only one place to go in Barcelona to ring in the new year: Las Ramblas to ring in the New Year. While Barcelona doesn’t have an official New Year’s Eve celebration people in the city hit the streets to celebrate the new year and they party through the night.


Berlin, Germany

Expect New Year’s Eve in Berlin to be a cold affair, with tempertaures around the freezing point. However, this doesn’t stop Berliners from getting out in the open-air for their annual New Year’s Eve celebration, and the city proudly claim that they offer the largest outdoor New Year countdown in the world. Approximately one million revelers are expected to show up the nearly mile-and-a-quarter-long stretch between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate. There will be lazer shows and music and party tents will be scattered throughout the stretch where you can enjoy traditional German foods and beer. Those who are looking to escape the crowds can head to Unter den Linden Boulevard, where they will be able to enjoy the fireworks in a more tranquil setting.

Further information: Welcome 2012


Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is one of the best places in Europe to celebrate New Year’s Eve and hundreds of thousands of people flock to the Grand Palace to witness the amazing firework display. Lose yourself amongst the crowd and enjoy the life entertainment and music that will be sure to get you in the mood for a party.

Further information: New Year’s Eve in Brussels


London, United Kingdom

New Year’s Eve marks a big celebration in London and this year the city promises the best firework display in the history of the new year celebrations. This year Radio 1’s Nihal will keep the crowds entertained with a live DJ set while they await the famous Big Ben bongs at midnight. Over 120,000 people are expected to line the Thames to watch one of the world’s biggest firework displays so do make sure that you arrive early.

Further information: London New Year’s Eve


Madrid, Spain

Puerta del Sol is the place to be on New Year’s Eve and it becomes the centre of attention for the whole of Spain as everyone awaits the time at which the clock mounted in the roof of the offices of the “Ayuntamiento de Madrid” (City hall) chimes the end of the old and the begining of the new year. The area surrounding the Sol itself becomes a major party scene and there will be much celebration through to the early hours of dawn.


Moscow, Russia

If you’re in Russia on New Year’s Eve there really is only one place to be: Moscow’s Red Square. Here the party is huge although it most certainly is not for the feint of heart: the freezing temperatures of the Russian winter and the amount of time it can take to get in and out of Red Square, only the very dedicated – or very inebriated – will even contemplate joining the fun. If you do miss out on New Year, don’t worry; many Russians also celebrate the Orthodox New Year or Old New Year on the night of the 13 January, so you’ll have a chance to do it all again.


Paris, France

One of the most traditional ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris is by watching the fireworks at the Champs-Elysees. Parisians, expats and tourists alike begin arriving around 9pm, all vying for a spot that will give them a view of the fireworks as they explode in front of the Eiffel Tower. Bring your own champagne and be prepared for some serious celebrations.

North America

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, USA

Restaurants and bars throughout Los Angeles have a wide range of special events planned for New Year’s Eve. For a comprehensive listing of the city’s top spots to welcome 2012 see the Guide to New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles.

New York

New York City, USA

There really is only one place to be in New York on New Year’s Eve and that is in the midst of the excitement at Times Square. Be part of the action as the whole world turns their attention to the symbolic New Year’s Eve Ball as it descends from the flagpole atop One Times Square. There will be an estimated one million people in Times Square this year so be prepared for crowds and a very big party!

Author: ExpatInfoDesk