Christmas Day is barely behind us but with the wrapping paper barely in the bin, we’re already gunning for those New Year’s Eve fireworks displays.
With a long and illustrious tradition of blowing things up (ever heard of Yanshui?), it almost goes without saying that Taiwan does fireworks right, and the New Year’s Eve displays might be the best of the bunch. Pretty much every major and county-level city is holding its own countdown event this year, many ending in huge displays that go on for up to 15 minutes in some cases. Even if you’re not so keen on loud bangs, this is also one of your few chances to catch some of the biggest bands and performers in the country right now. Basically, everyone has been booked for the night, and even better: most of the events are free!
Duration: 360 seconds
What better way to ring in 2022 than with one of the most iconic firework shows in Taiwan? This year, pyrotechnics will be launching an astonishing 16,000 fireworks from Taipei 101 in one of its biggest displays to date. According to 101 chairman Chang Hsueh-shun, the theme of this year’s show is “Toward a better future” — and after the past two years, we certainly hope that’s the case. During the six-minute display, revelers can expect “oo” and “ah” at a series of creative formations, including hearts and angel wings, as the explosives are launched from the upper stories of Taiwan’s most iconic building.
As in previous years, the 101 firework display will conclude Taipei’s New Year’s Eve countdown party, which this year will run from 6:00 pm to 1:00 am at City Hall Square with a thrilling line-up of powerhouse indie, rock, and mandopop performers. We’re talking A-Lin, Tizzy Bac, Power Station, and Malaysian pop singer Fish Leong. There’s no limit to the number of people that can attend the event but it’s not allowed to eat or drink at the venue — with the exception of water.
Duration: 794 seconds
Rocketing off from the completed seconds of the new Danjiang Bridge, Tamsui’s New Year’s Eve firework show promises to be an astounding show that it’s hoped will one day eclipse the display at 101. Not that you’ll have to pick between the two. The show starts early at 8:22 pm on December 31, when more than 10,000 rockets will be launched from the sidewalks of the slender Zaha Hadid construction, lighting up over a full kilometer of the Tamsui River in a firey polychromatic display.
Given its exposed location, you won’t have too much trouble getting front-row seats either. The fireworks will be visible from both the Tamsui and Bali riversides. Get there early enough and you’ll also be able to enjoy an afternoon of music, theater, and street performances at Fisherman’s Wharf, on the Tamsui side.
Duration: 100 seconds
All too happy to see the end of 2021 are the organizers of the Taoyuan New Year’s Eve countdown, the theme of which, “Meet,” reflects people coming together after a cabin-feverish year of being stuck indoors. True to the theme, revelers will get to spend the final moments of the year with a line-up of local and emerging talents, including Julia Wu, WeiBird, and singer-songwriter Eve Ai, who took home Best Soundtrack at this year’s Golden Horse awards. Best of all, the concert will be right outside Taoyuan High-Speed Rail Station. So you can feasibly catch the show, nip back into Taipei, and party until dawn.
Sun Moon Lake
Duration: 300 seconds
Already one of Taiwan’s most beguiling scenic spots, it’s hard to imagine just how stunning it will be to see Sun Moon Lake light up come midnight on New Year’s Eve. Lasting for 5 consecutive minutes, the display will be launched from the pier at the indigenous village of Ita Thao, preceded by two hours of live music and performances. If that sounds like too much excitement before bed, then don’t sleep. Stay up until dawn and catch the first sunrise of the year from Shuishe Pier, on the other side of the water.
Lighting up Taichung Central Park, the city’s official New Year’s Eve countdown claims to have the best line-up of stars and performers of the bunch. We’re not sure how to ratify that claim, but Golden Melody winner MJ116 and Ella (Of the iconic 2000s girl group S.H.E) are pretty decent headlines for the party, which will last from 7:00 pm until late.
Taichung (LIHPAO Discovery Land)
Duration: ~300 seconds
Location makes a big difference when it comes to firework displays. So naturally, Taiwan’s biggest Ferris wheel is hard to top. Still, with performances from the likes Chang and Lee, boy band Wolf(s), and Golden Melody winner Olivia Tsao it’s difficult to imagine the energy of this countdown event going anywhere but up.
Duration: 888 seconds
Families will have a blast come midnight at Kaohsiung’s E-DA World, which boasts this year’s longest display at almost 15 minutes. In previous years its actually lasted for up to 999 seconds. Get there early to enjoy a full day at the park where rides will be operating from 9:00 am to 8:00 p.m. (entry after 4.30 p.m. is only N$299).
In addition to E-Da, Kaohsiung will also be holding several other countdown events across the city. Including a beach party on Cijin Island from 19:00 (presale tickets NT$699) — with fireworks on the beach at midnight if you’re not already convinced. Across the water on the harborfront, the city’s official countdown event will feature not one but two live music stages, headlined by some of the biggest names in Leo王 and Øzi, two of Taiwan’s biggest names in hip hop. Needless to say, this isn’t one to miss.
Duration: 420 seconds
Countdown at the harbor city is likely to be one to remember, especially given that this year’s almost 7-minute-long display was designed by internationally renowned pyrotechnician and fireworks wizard Huang Jun-hao. This year’s hard rock-themed event features a full slate of grungy staples, including the surly post-indie collective Your Woman Sleep with Others (老王樂隊).
You don’t need a reason to head to Hualien for NYE, but here’s one anyway. Instead of just one countdown party, the city is hosting a six-night countdown festival, with concerts from Boxing Day through to the 31st right by Dongdamen Night Market. That means a packed program of indie, rock, pop talents, from Crowd Lu to Power Station. Power through the night and finish up at nearby Nanbin Park Beach, where you’ll be able to watch the first dawn of 2022 creep in over the Pacific Ocean.
If you missed Pasiwali earlier this month, NYE is your chance to catch up on the latest happening in Taitung’s vibrant music scene. In no surprise for arguably Taiwan’s artsiest city, this year’s countdown festival will take place at an old Japanese-era train station, with contemporary indigenous singer Suming and reggae favorite Madzka headlining the night.