Gong Xi Fa Cai, it’s that time of the year; Chinese New Year. It might not be recognised as a national holiday in Thailand but Chinese New Year is widely celebrated throughout the Kingdom by the Thai-Chinese community. The biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in Bangkok are to be experienced in and around Yaowarat; the area with the biggest Thai-Chinese community.
Chinese New Year is also known as the ‘Spring Festival’. Originally it marks the end of the coldest days of the year. As it goes according the Lunar calendar there’s no set date for Chinese New Year but it’s typically in Januari / Februari where the biggest celebrations will last for around 3 days. Worldwide it causes the largest human migration in the world where Chinese people reunite with their family for this special holiday. For those traveling to Bangkok during Chinese New year here is what you should know:
How Bangkokians celebrate Chinese New Year
Bangkokians with Chinese ancestors will gather with their families to celebrate the Chinese New Year. During these days they will be praying to god and ancestors and fight off monsters. If you are not familiar with the Chinese New Year here are several traditions that you may notice all around Bangkok while you are here:
- People will pray to gods and ancestors by offering food
- The color red is everywhere. This color symbolizes the fire that scares off monsters and demons
- Paper cars, -gold bars, -phones, -clothes -money etc is being burned to bring good luck to ancestors
- The sounds of firecrackers will scare off monsters and bad luck and are also used to welcome the new year
- Red envelopes with money are being transferred between family members, friends and even colleagues to transfer fortune.
If you want to experience such prayers and offerings first-hand a good place to go is Wat Leng Noei Yi. This important Chinese Buddhist temple is Bangkok’s most famous place for Chinese celebrations and holidays. There are however numerous Chinese temples and shrines in Bangkok that might be less crowded to experience these yearly celebrations.
Chinese New Year festivities in Bangkok
Thailand loves a good party, festival or basically anything that can be celebrated. Although the Chinese New Year is very much family orientated, each and every year there are huge and extravagant festivities in and around Chinese temples and Yaowarat road.
During the most important day of the Chinese New Year, Yaowarat road will be closed during the late-afternoon and evening to make place for the festivities. Expect colorful and festive dance parades, live music and traditional Chinese dragon shows on Yaowarat road starting late afternoon. All surrounding streets will be packed with all kind of decorated food stalls and other shops which makes for colorful sights. For more low-key performances walk away from Yaowarat road into some of the neighbouring smaller streets. Expect fireworks, dragons, lanterns and loads of food and immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind experience.
Getting around in Bangkok during Chinese New Year
Hop around Bangkok’s most popular attractions and experience how the Chinese New Year is being celebrated by using Tuk Tuk Hop. Hop on and off our Tuk Tuk’s as many times as you want between 8.30 and 18.00 starting at around 300 THB per person.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!