Dec 23 2013

New Year 2014 in Penang

Published by at 10:29 am under Festivals


From family-friendly to downright debauched, Penang offers up a number of different and suitably celebratory ways in which to welcome 2014. Here are a few ideas to help you plan your New Year’s Eve.

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Penang’s official New Year’s Eve party is a great way to experience Malaysian pop culture. 

Celebrations in Georgetown kick off at the Esplanade Park (next to Fort Cornwallis on Lebuh Light) from 20:00. As Penang’s official NYE Countdown, PG2014 features over four hours of dancing competitions and popular Malaysian singing acts on the outdoor stage, as well as games, contests, lucky draws and a whole bevy of banging fireworks when the clock strikes midnight. This is sponsored by the Penang state government, so expect a big, family affair – last year’s crowd topped 100,000. The entertainment is a great way to experience Malaysian pop culture, and the fireworks are some of the best in town. Entry is free and you can come and go as you please, but if you come early and six hours seems a bit too much, you can always duck out for dinner and drinks in Georgetown and return for the grand finale.

The other family-friendly hotspot in Penang this New Year is Straits Quay, whose Masquerade Party will appeal to all ages. Don a mask and head down to this popular marina-side mall to enjoy roaming street performers, street art activities, live music on the floating stage, masquerade dance performances and, of course, plenty of fireworks at the turn of the year. There is a wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose from, to suit all ages, moods and pockets, and many offer outside seating from which you can enjoy the entertainment and the views of the yachts in the quay. The festivities start at 18:00 and if you spend more than 50 ringgit in one receipt at any of the outlets, you can claim a free mask (while stocks last).

For something a little more upbeat it is worth checking out nearby Precinct 10 (Jalan Tanjung Tokong; T: 04 263 7888), where you can drink and dance away the first few hours of 2014 at any of the three popular bars: Cuvee (T: 012 421 8486) is a sleek, designer-chic establishment populated by whisky-fuelled tribes of Penang’s privileged twenty-somethings, while Nueve (T: 012 421 8486) and Soho Gastropub (T: 04 890 6617) attract a mixed crowd of party-goers and pump out the beats well into the night.

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Welcome in 2014 with fireworks at Straits Quay. (Photo courtesy of E&O Berhad.)

Not to be outdone, the fashionably modern and extremely upmarket G Hotel (Gurney Drive; T: 04 370 7000) is hosting its very own event this year. The Loungelicious NYE Party in the main foyer is centred around the hotel’s epically long bar, which will be serving up wines and cocktails to Penang’s great and good. With a live band and international DJs playing from 21:00 to 03:00, this is sure to be one of the island’s most sophisticated parties, and tickets cost 60 ringgit (plus service and taxes) per person, to include two drinks and a party pack.

Of course, if it’s a good old-fashioned laidback pub/bar/club-crawl you’re after, then you really can’t go wrong with a walk down Georgetown’s Upper Penang Road, a pedestrianised haven of all things alcoholic. The chances are you may not even make the whole length of the street, there are so many bars to choose from, but whatever state of inebriation you end up in, you will no doubt enjoy the lively, celebratory atmosphere. If you fancy dancing off the alcohol, check out perennial favourite, Slippery Senoritas (Lot B3A, 2 Upper Penang Road; T: 04 263 6868), which is a lot less sleazy than it sounds and is sure to get your 2014 off to an auspicious start.

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