New Year in Chiang Mai was celebrated in many places -
hotels, restaurants, on the streets, in the houses and principally at the
700 Year Anniversary Stadium where 40,000 people congregated to welcome in
Whatever you did, this New Years Eve was hopefully a most
enjoyable night. The people we met were in a great mood, wearing colorful
paper hats, tooting tasseled trumpets, blowing horns, and dancing the night
and the old year away. At restaurants, it was couples and friends sitting
together, just enjoying each other’s company and trying to let the year
end in ‘slow motion’. But everybody had a personal resolution for 2004.
The overall winner in the resolution stakes was once
again ‘to lose weight’, followed by similar numbers of ‘giving up
smoking’ and ‘stop drinking so much’. While foreign residents seem to
worry more about health related issues, Thais reflected more on the monetary
side of things. Answers like, ‘I want to pay off my debts’, ‘I want to
save money’ and ‘get a better paid fun job’, was the usual answer.
While the hotels were crowded, the restaurants were quiet
after 11 p.m. However, the streets were packed, and it looked like people
were cruising and having parties in their cars. The police patrols around
Chiang Mai were checking around the Night Bazaar, pulling up speedsters, and
helmetless motorcycle riders.
Most teenagers, many politicians and those young at heart
celebrated at the 700 Year Sports Complex, where shows, ‘happenings’,
noise, music and events all seemed to happen at the same time. The estimated
crowd of 40,000 people welcomed 2004 with a bang.
Thapae Gate was completely different from last year. The
huge stage was replaced by a Lanna market, and with traffic at a standstill
around that area it was a rather quiet affair.
There was the usual beautiful gala at the Amari Rincome,
with an unplanned special effect when the boat carrying the gorgeous girls
in Lanna costumes through the swimming pool caught fire. No injuries
resulted but the guests and onlookers were in high spirits when the boat and
its occupants were safely returned to the shore.
While the Amari fired in the New Year, at Porn Ping Tower
Hotel a mixed crowd of tourists and residents celebrated with a gala dinner,
music and lucky draws at the poolside.
The most spectacular hotel event, however, seemed to be
at the Rydges Tapae Chiangmai Hotel. A huge crowd with hundreds of party
people strolled through the hotel, where management and staff had created
four different theme parties, each one with their own specials and
highlights, with rock n’ roll of the sixties to reggae and Caribbean
feeling. The rooftop swimming pool even had a campfire to warm people again
when they came out of the discotheque. In the ‘Chillis’ restaurant,
people were swinging to the sweet sounds of jazz while popping corks and in
the ballroom Rock Around the Clock was re-visited turning normal people into
Yes, Chiang Mai saw in the New Year in style!
Amari Rincome Hotel’s unintentional ‘burning boat show’ livened up the
proceedings and showed that the Naga really does breathe fire.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat (3rd left) and Chiang Mai MP Yaowapha Wongsawas
led the people celebrating the New Year.
the many stars that appeared on stage at the 700 Year Anniversary Sports
crowd filled the 700 Year Anniversary Sports Complex Main Stadium.
all over town!
Bangkok style stage performance, normally only seen on TV.
cheerful crowd celebrated the start of 2004 at The Bears Den, with host
David Strudwicke (center) enjoying spending time with his guests.
atmosphere of the gala dinner party at Pornping Tower Hotel.
Prathummin (2nd left), GM of Pornping Tower Hotel draws the winning ticket
in the lucky door prize.
parade of TV and movie stars moving onto the stage at the main stadium of
the 700 Year Anniversary Sports Complex was spectacular.
J.M. de Keijzer, general manager (back row right), with friends and guests
at the Rydges Tapae Hotel’s Reggae beach.
Around the Clock was the theme at the Grand Ballroom with the yellow Chevy
in the foreground.
‘East meets West’ dance show at Rydges was pure visual fun.
Hin, Pattaya or Koh Samui - this was the Rydges rooftop Reggae swimming