The most important festival for Thai-Chinese communities, Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year in Thailand also draws a huge crowd of foreign visitors. With its festive atmosphere, tasty food, vibrant cultural performances and the happiness of Thai-Chinese families, Lunar New Year in Thailand is on of the best ways to experience the local Chinese culture at its liveliest.
Chinese New Year means the beginning of the new Chinese zodiac year and Chinese New Year 2020 in Thailand is the year of the pig. Please note that the date changes every year depending on the Chinese lunar calendar. It always falls on January or February, however, and Lunar New Year 2020 is celebrated in January.
Chinese New Year 2020 Date: Saturday, January 25 (Year of the Rat)
Best Places to Experience Chinese New Year in Thailand
1. Yaowarat, Bangkok
The Chinese New Year is celebrated all across Thailand, but the biggest celebrations take place in Yaowaraj which is the Chinatown of Bangkok. It is one of the most popular gatherings for this festival and major roads are cordoned off from traffic. Imagine how crowded it must get that all four lanes of Yaowaraj Road must be blocked. The roads are flooded with people in red wishing each other ‘xin nian hao’ or ‘happy new year’. There’s undeniable, infectious energy in the air during this time. There isn’t much space to breathe on these busy roads, but you’re bound to feel a sense of community as you enjoy the Chinese New Year here.
2. Nakhon Ratchasima
Local and international visitors will get the chance to celebrate the Chinese New Year and take home memories of a meaningful and memorable experience. The Monument of Thao Suranaree (Yamo) and Mueang Thong Garden will be decorated and divided into six zones in accordance with the teachings of the ancient Chinese philosopher-educator Kong Qiu (Confucius). Visitors will enjoy dragon parades and lion dances as well as experience a range of cultural performances.
Another busy location for these celebrations can be seen in Thalang Road, Dibuk Road and Phang Nga Road in Phuket. Although this is a Chinese festival, it is celebrated by all and tourists are warmly welcomed to the festivities. In Phuket, there are dozens of beach parties on the days leading up to the New Year.
4. Warorot Market, Chiang Mai
For a more sober celebration, Warorot Market in the historic town of Chiang Mai is where you should be. The streets are lined with food and souvenir stalls. Be prepared to walk the entire day and gorge on various delicacies prepared for the special occasion.
The Ratchaburi Chinatown will feature spectacular cultural performances, contests to crown Mr. and Miss Chinatown and exciting multimedia shows. These will all take place around the Ratchaburi National Museum.
In Mueang Phetchaburi, visitors will be able to enjoy spectacular processions of dragon and lion dances and pay homage to a pantheon of 22 Chinese gods. Other highlights include a Miss China Mueang Phet pageant, and a Mr. and Miss Chinatown contest. There will also be cultural performances staged by students from various schools and a family fun fair.
Thai people of Chinese descent in Trang will showcase their famous local dishes, including the ever-popular grilled pork. The celebration, to be held at the Clock Tower Plaza in Mueang Trang. There will also be folk performances indigenous to Trang, cultural dances from China and the Little Miss Ang-Pao contest.
8. Suphanburi (19-21 February)
The Suphanburi Chinese New Year Festival of “7 Years Miraculous Dragon” will take place at the Dragon Descendants Museum. Highlights include multimedia shows and Chinese cultural performances.
9. Nakhon Sawan
Enjoy a spectacular procession of Chao Pho-Chao Mae Paknam Pho and Chao Mae Kuan-im (Guan Yin) as well as acrobatic performances, dragon parades, lion dances, angel parades and cultural performances from China. The event will take place on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the area of Paknam Pho Market.
10. Hat Yai
The Hat Yai Chinese New Year Festival will take place at the Sri Nakhon Foundation School with spectacular dragon parades and lion dances. There will also be a fireworks display and cultural performances. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the beautiful decorations of lanterns, another highlight of Hat Yai’s Lunar New Year.
The Ancient Capital Miracle Chinese New Year will take place at the Chao Phrom Market with cultural performances from China as well as a Thai country music concert. Also to be enjoyed will be a Miss China Contest, singing and talent shows and a lantern decorating competition. Make time to pay homage to the guardian spirits of Ayutthaya at 108 shrines across the province.
Enjoy spectacular lion and dragon dances acrobatically performed atop a high wooden pole, Modern Chinese cultural performances will make use of multimedia but there will also be magic shows and a Miss Pattaya China Girl talent. Events will take place at Wat Bueng Bowon Sathit and Lan Pho Naklua.
This is a hugely popular festival in Thailand that sees massive crowds each year. If you plan on visiting during this time, it’s a good idea to make bookings and call ahead as accommodations will fill up quickly. Airlines often have Chinese New Year offers which can lead to major discounts if planned well. If you’d like to join the festivities, don’t forget to wear red. While picking an outfit, do remember that this is a significant festival to the Sino-Thai community and you shouldn’t dress in a way that could hurt sentiments.
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