Tens of thousands of party people sang in the New Year as the Pattaya Countdown returned bigger and louder.
Locals, tourists and music fans from Bangkok and beyond began streaming into Bali Hai Pier Dec. 30 for the “Universe of Entertainment” show co-sponsored by the Mono Music label.
Day 1 featured such big names as Ben Chalathip, Room 39, Stap Apiwat and Singto Numcho, while the festival’s headliners took the stage New Year’s Eve after a bit of boxing.
Once a week-long festival that progressively shrank to a mere six hours last year, the Countdown for the first time hosted competitive Muay Thai boxing, Mono 29’s Top King World Series.
Rose Sirinthip, Panatda Reungwuth, Pete Pera, King Pichet, and Ploy Chompu-Yaneen followed with tunes until 11:45 p.m. when Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome counted down the final minutes of 2018 and welcomed in the New Year with 15 minutes of fireworks.
The party continued until 1 a.m. with prize giveaways and more music.
For the more-pious (and less hungover), 2019 started at dawn with the offering of alms to monks at Lan Po Public Park in Naklua, Beach Road in Jomtien and at Sutthawat Temple in East Pattaya.
The morning began with monks chanting prayers and ended with people lining up to donate rice and dried food.
At the temple, believers lit candles and incense for worship and asked for blessings from the Luang Por Toh Buddha sculpture.
They offered robes, made merit according to their birthday, bought coffins for the poor, contributed to the purchase of roofing materials, funds for the electric and water bills of the temple, made merit with gold and silver Bo leaves, poured oil to keep the eternal flame burning, and released captive birds and fish.