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Where to Celebrate New Year 2014, Yo?

Goodbye 2013, hello 2014! Looking for ideas on where to spend the New Year at? The Travel 3Sixty Digital Team jetsetters are here to help you pick!

Tokyo, Japan – Irvin Hanni

Being in Japan means that you will be one of the first in your Facebook feeds to post in the year 2014 (since its timezone is earlier than most of ASEAN). How’s that for a reason, eh? Like other big cities, the streets in Tokyo are typically abuzz with joyous people celebrating the upcoming year.

     Youngsters tend to head to Roppongi Hills, where the Tokyo Tower lit up with the upcoming year’s digits, to watch brilliant fireworks and throw confetti and stuff. It is also a tradition for the temples around Tokyo to countdown till the clock hits 12 and ring the big bell for luck in the New Year.

     New Year in Tokyo falls in winter, which is the perfect reason to drink amazake, the hot rice wine. It is also a fun time to be in Japan as shops will display fukubukuro (lucky bag) for people to buy. Fukubukuro is a New Year tradition where the shops will put in their random products inside a bag and sell it for a very cheap price! Surprise presents for the New Year, anyone?

HOW TO GET THERE: AirAsia flies direct to Tokyo from Kuala Lumpur. Visit www.airasia.com for low fares.

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Image: CC BY Yoshikazu Takada

Lombok, Indonesia – Haze Jalalludin

Bali who? – That’s what you’ll be saying once you had a taste of this underrated little paradise called Lombok. Access to this haven can be done by flying in straight into Lombok’s main island via AirAsia and taking a short boat ride to the Gilis (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno & Gili Air – three different islands under Lombok).

     On the main Lombok island, New Year celebrators have been known to hike up to Mount Rinjani (2nd highest mountain in Indonesia) to watch the fireworks and usher in the New Year sunrise; whereas on the little Gili Islands, celebrations are mostly done on the beach or in a boat on the pristine waters, as you party in the new year!

     Whether it is nature, adventure, romance or partying with the best, Lombok is definitely a place where you can do one or all!

HOW TO GET THERE: AirAsia flies direct to Lombok from Kuala Lumpur. Visit www.airasia.com for low fares.

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Photo credit: Nizar Zaini

Sydney, Australia – Ellyse Ng

Let’s face it – the ‘wow’ factor in crowding with the rest of Australia (and the world) at Darling Harbour to watch the fireworks go off at midnight over the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge is so 2012. Instead, why not avoid the crowd and book a fancy table at Nick’s facing the beautiful lights of Cockle Bay Wharf? A glass of Chardonnay and an amazing unobstructed view is the best way to welcome the New Year.

     If you’re adventurous, head up to the Blue Mountains and celebrate the brand new year with the Three Sisters Katoomba as you sip on a nice warm mug of cocoa whilst marvelling at the breathtaking Blue Mountains!

     Don’t want to travel far? Then dine in the greens of Centennial Park with fabulous fusion cuisines and a fabulous wine list, or if water is your element, then head over to Aqua Dining for fine dining above the Olympic-sized North Sydney pool where many world records have been broken. Wherever you choose to usher in the New Year, Sydney is a magical experience on its own.

HOW TO GET THERE: AirAsia flies direct to Sydney from Kuala Lumpur. Visit www.airasia.com for low fares.

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Goa or Hyderabad, India – Ari Fajar

If you irk at the thought of attending a New Year’s party, only to be shoved around by half-drunk strangers as they blast their deafening trumpets in your face, going on a serene retreat may be just the thing you need.

     The combination of yoga and meditation is a great way to reach a sense of balance after a year of many challenges and prepare for another one. In Goa and Hyderabad, meditation centres are offering various Christmas and New Year packages.  

     The retreat usually spans 3 to 5 days so that you can work on your physique and mind up to the last day of the year, combining meditation sessions, enlightening discussions and fabulous modern facilities. You will be spending New Year’s Eve with other people, but the small gathering is how positive energy works. People with positive energy will affect each other and having many in one place in one time will recharge you enough for whatever challenges you might face in the future.

     No matter what faith you are, you certainly can reap the benefits of a clear mind and a healthier body. Come back from your retreat rejuvenated, with the strength and confidence you need to set your New Year’s resolution and actually succeeding!

HOW TO GET THERE: AirAsia flies to various destinations in India from Kuala Lumpur. Visit www.airasia.com for low fares.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Shafiqah Shafie

Looking for a dynamic and unforgettable way to experience New Year’s Eve? Ring in the New Year in the city that never sleeps! Buzzing and rapidly developing, the greater KL (also known as Klang Valley) is a capital area in Malaysia covering Kuala Lumpur and adjoining cities and towns in the state of Selangor.

     Known for its bouncing nightlife and top-class entertainment scene, the Greater KL boasts a huge number of street parties, concerts, fireworks and other forms of live entertainment during NYE each year. Popular spots to be at during the night include the world-famous Petronas Twin TowersSunway PyramidMutiara DamansaraBukit Bintang and Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square).          

                With concerts and fireworks galore, this NYE celebration is bound to be spectacular, especially since it’ll kick-start Visit Malaysia Year 2014! So get your party shades ready and your body twerking for a colourful night of non-stop revelry at Kuala Lumpur’s NYE 2014!

HOW TO GET THERE: AirAsia flies to Kuala Lumpur from various destinations. Visit www.airasia.com for low fares.

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Photo credit: KamalRahman

Boracay, The Philippines – Abby Yao

Boracay is a party island on any given day, but on New Year’s Eve, White Beach is the place to be in the Philippine archipelago. Thousands of people from all over the world descend on one of the world’s best islands for the midnight countdown, which is followed by an hour of fireworks along the beach from the different resorts, each competing for your attention with their best pyrotechnics displays.

     The mood is as festive as a 4-km stretch of sand can get. The beach buffets along White Beach are grand and the merrymaking goes on until the sun is up…or until the food and drinks run out. Throw in the live bands and the DJs, it’s no surprise that many people come back to Boracay on this night year after year.

     Stay on a few more days for the island life – sail on a paraw (the local boat), sip shakes and sample world cuisines from expat chefs. Nothing beats walking from one boat station to another and discovering new restaurants along the way. Just remember to book several months ahead as superpeak season rates aren’t cheap and the more affordable rooms are reserved in advance.

HOW TO GET THERE: AirAsia flies direct to Kalibo from Manila, Seoul and Busan. Visit www.airasia.com for low fares.

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Image: CC BY Doun Dounell

So how is it going to be? Are you going to beach bumming in Boracay or party like it’s hot and cold in Tokyo? Share with us your plans in ushering the New Year in the comment section below! ;)

WHERE’S YOUR NEW YEAR DESTINATION?