Bangla Road in Patong was jam packed with people who had come to watch the official countdown held at the beach on Thaweewong Road in scenes not witnessed on the popular walking street since the COVID-19 pandemic struck almost three years ago.
The specially constructed stage on the beach saw several live acts entertain local residents and local and international tourists before a spectacular firework display welcomed in 2023.
The huge crowds meant traffic in and around central Patong was largely brought to a standstill and the atmosphere was jubilant with no major trouble reproted by authorities.
However, many people chose to ignore the official warning from authorities last Monday (Dec 26) pertaining to a ban on setting off fireworks and releasing sky lanterns in public places and several of the latter in particular were clearly visible above the popular beach location.
This was also the case at the Bang Tao, Layan and Surin beaches where a huge number of sky lanterns were released and fireworks were set off prior to the midnight show, where several major hotels in the region held impressive displays.
Permission had been granted by authorities on Tuesday (Dec 27) to allow organisers to conduct firework displays as long as they complied with strict safety measures.
At Central Phuket in Kathu over 20,000 enthusiastic revellers were entertained by a spectacular light show and firework display at midnight in addition to a Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival, in what organisers were categorising as the first official EDM festival of its kind on the island.
Phuket Deputy Governor Danai Sunantarod was joined by Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree, Senior Director of Branch Operations Region 8 Phuket and Sophon Kiamkarn from the Phuket Public Relations office to extend warm New Year greetings to tourists and locals alike.
- Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub