Christmas in NY, New Years in Bangkok

With my re-entry permit freshly stamped in my passport, I flew to New York on 12/23 in order to spend Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family, and Christmas day with my dad’s side, just like I have in years past.  It was wonderful to see my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends after being out of the country for the last 4 months.

Lunch with my mom and sister
The Santomauro’s on Christmas Day!

After a relaxing 6 days in New York, I flew to Bangkok where I met Jake for New Years Eve.

New York to Shanghai, 7 hour layover, then Shanghai to Bangkok for a 27 hour trip. Better than the 3 flights and 36 hours it took me to get from Chiang Mai to New Jersey on the way there!

We spent the night at the Grand Swiss Hotel in Sukhumvit, a popular Bangkok district known for shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.  The guesthouses we usually stay in in Thailand have all been very cute, clean, and have everything we could need; but the Grand Swiss is pretty luxurious by comparison which was really nice for New Years Eve.

After getting ready for our night out in the city, we started off at 180° Lounge on the top floor of our hotel.  The 180° Lounge has a little roof-top bar where we sat overlooking the city.

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180° views of Bangkok

After enjoying the view and our buy one-get one 50% off cocktails, we decided to hit the streets of Bangkok.

Bangkok had a number of things going on for New Years Eve.  We decided to avoid the crowds at CentralWorld (similar to Times Square in New York City where there were thousands of people, live bands and DJs, a beer garden, fireworks, etc.) and instead go to one of the many rooftop bars Bangkok is known for.

We wandered the streets for a bit and quickly found the countdown party at Aloft Bangkok‘s Splash pool bar.  For a set price of 899 baht ($25) we get entrance to a rooftop pool party with unlimited food and drinks until 1am.  This is extremely cheap by US standards (especially for all you can eat and drink on New Years Eve!), but pretty pricey for our typical budget here in Thailand.  We normally spend about $1-2 per meal or drink, maybe $7 per day at most if we eat western food.  However, we decided it was worth it and bought two tickets.

A “pool party” was a bit of an overstatement.  There was a pool, but no one was in it.  This party had much more of a chill, lounge atmosphere with bean bag chairs scattered all over the roof.   We arrived about 30 minutes after the party had started so all of the prime bean bag real estate was already claimed, but this actually worked out better for us as it kept us moving around and mingling after each trip to the barbeque or the bar.

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DJ Zaar about to start the party

The best part of the party was the excellent people watching.  The relaxed atmosphere, mixed with an all you can eat and drink rooftop bar, drew a very interesting crowd.  We witnessed groups of Thai 20-somethings, very drunk foreigners, families complete with pre-school aged children (including a little girl in a princess costume who I think had more fun twirling around the roof than anyone else at the party), bored foreigners falling asleep in the beanbag chairs, and 60+ year old couples, all at the same party.

Jake and I had a great time commentating on the crowd, eating an endless supply of kebabs from the barbecue, and drinking bottomless  cocktails, wine, and champagne by the pool.
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Our one-night stay in Bangkok was a nice way to end a year where we moved across the world, and started entirely new careers.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing what this next year in Thailand has to offer.  We have lots of exciting plans underway,so follow my blog to get all of the updates :-).

Happy New Year!

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