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Chiang Mai’s New Year resolutions

Chiang Mai’s New Year resolutions

Fat, fags and booze again

Marion Vogt
Photos: Michael Vogt,
Phitsanu Thepthong, and Monchai Techasa
(Chiang Mai News)

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 2004.

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 party animals.

Yes, Chiang Mai saw in the New Year in style!

The Amari Rincome Hotel’s unintentional ‘burning boat show’ livened up the proceedings and showed that the Naga really does breathe fire.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat (3rd left) and Chiang Mai MP Yaowapha Wongsawas led the people celebrating the New Year.

One of the many stars that appeared on stage at the 700 Year Anniversary Sports Complex.

A huge crowd filled the 700 Year Anniversary Sports Complex Main Stadium.

Fireworks all over town!

Another Bangkok style stage performance, normally only seen on TV.

A very cheerful crowd celebrated the start of 2004 at The Bears Den, with host David Strudwicke (center) enjoying spending time with his guests.

The atmosphere of the gala dinner party at Pornping Tower Hotel.

Charn Prathummin (2nd left), GM of Pornping Tower Hotel draws the winning ticket in the lucky door prize.

The parade of TV and movie stars moving onto the stage at the main stadium of the 700 Year Anniversary Sports Complex was spectacular.

Arie J.M. de Keijzer, general manager (back row right), with friends and guests at the Rydges Tapae Hotel’s Reggae beach.

Rock Around the Clock was the theme at the Grand Ballroom with the yellow Chevy in the foreground.

The ‘East meets West’ dance show at Rydges was pure visual fun.

Not Hua Hin, Pattaya or Koh Samui - this was the Rydges rooftop Reggae swimming pool.