The skies remained dark, Bali Hai was quiet and meditating took precedence over medicating for some as Pattaya celebrated a less-happy new year.
In respect to the royal mourning period, fireworks were banned and the annual Pattaya Countdown music festival was canceled. Instead, Pattaya City Hall hosted a low-key countdown event at the Naklua “walking street” market while many who might have gone to Bali Hai to play went to temples instead to pray.
That didn’t mean the city wasn’t busy. It was just the opposite for the long holiday weekend, with hotel occupancy soaring and visitors packing the roads and beaches.
On Dec. 31, people converged on the Naklua Market area for the “Walk & Eat” event where local dancers and students from Pattaya School No. 9 put on shows before two concerts from R Siam country music label artists Baitoey and Kanda.
At midnight, the crowd broke into a rendition of the royal anthem in remembrance of HM the late King.
Local temples were packed overnight with many deciding to make merit and partake in meditation activities for blessings and good fortune in the new year. It was also a good alternative to fighting traffic.
Some did brave the roads, however, to venture to Khao Chee Chan where the “Big Buddha” was illuminated for New Year’s.
While no government events were scheduled, private parties flourished at hotels and resorts featuring gala dinners and a dash of entertainment. Hotel occupancy was through the roof as a lot of Thai tourists were seen in the popular hotels throughout Pattaya. Walking Street was particularly busy as well as bars were offering great promotions and countdown activities.