Thai celebrants out in full force for New Year

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BANGKOK, Dec 29 – Leading tourist attractions nationwide are mostly booked, filled with New Year’s celebrants, while many people are leaving the capital or their home towns for the holidays.

National parks, especially in the wintry North, are crowded with tourists gathering for countdowns into the Year 2013.

In Phitsanulok province, 370 km north of Bangkok, accommodations in all national parks and botanical gardens are fully occupied, some until mid-month in January. Tents have been set up in reserved areas in the parks.

Some provincial administrations organised special activities as part of the New Year’s celebrations.

In Uthai Thani, 500 km north of Bangkok, the Second Buffalo Festival is being held in the provincial seat to promote tourism and create awareness among farmers on buffalo breeding. Farmers and tourists alike enthusiastically joined the festival.

In the central province of Suphan Buri, about 100 km from Bangkok, the Thai Orchid Festival is held until January 5. More than 3,000 orchids of nine different species are on display. Highlighting the festival is a 300-metre-long orchid tunnel.

Samila Beach in the southern province of Songkhla has been beautifully decorated to welcome Thai and foreign visitors who are pouring to the seaside resort for the New Year. Tourists are streaming to take pictures with the mermaid statue, a signification attraction at Samila Beach.

New Year’s celebrations in Bangkok are organised at several leading venues including Ratchaprasong intersection which is the main countdown arena on New Year’s Eve, December 31. The countdown event in the eastern beach resort of Pattaya, with colourful fireworks, is no less extravagant than in Bangkok.

At Sanam Luang, people traditionally wake up early on the morning of January 1st to offer alms to Buddhist monks – a merit-making ceremony for the start of a new year.