Gung Hay Fat Choy!
With over 6 million Thais (over 10% of the population) of Chinese extraction, Chinese New Year was always a big event in the Kingdom. Given ‘Year of the Dog' celebrations fall in the 60th year since His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej's accession to the Thai throne, this year's festivities take on a new significance. This is the year His Majesty the King of Thailand becomes the longest reigning Thai monarch and the longest reigning living monarch in the world – an auspicious occasion and certainly cause for celebration!
To mark the occasion, the government of the People's Republic of China has presented two giant dragon lanterns to the festival organizers of this year's festivities in Bangkok 's China Town . The theme of the event - "A warm friendship of two nations under the great kindness of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej" - reflects the strength of Sino-Thai relations which go back centuries.
This year's China Town Chinese New Year festival will revolve around two huge dragons; one 30 metres in length, and the other 5 metres in length. The Chinese government has sent 100 dancers and kung-fu troupes to add to the festival's frenetic activity. Hundred's of Thai and Chinese-style lanterns will illuminate Yaowarat, Charoen Krung and Trimitr – the main roads in the China Town area. Expect ear-splitting fire-crackers, a traditional ‘Lion Dance', a ‘Golden Dragon' procession, and a whole lot more.
The festival takes place from morning to mid-night and given the volume of people expected in the area, probably the best way to get there is going to be to take the subway (underground / MRT) to Hualampong Railway Station and then get a taxi to Yaowarat (Yao-wa-rat). Expect a bit of a delay – this is a popular event!
Bangkok, however, is not the only place to celebrate Chinese New Year, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Chonburi (Pattaya), Phuket, and Chiang Mai all traditionally have great Chinese New Year Festivals.
The period of the festival differs depending on where you go - Nakhon Ratchasima, 28 – 29 January, Nakhon Sawan 22 January – 2 February, Chonburi (Pattaya) 27-29 January, Hat Yai 28-31 January and Chiang Mai 29-31 January.
In Phuket the island's Peranagan (local born) festival takes place and incorporates Chinese New Year.
Happy Chinese New Year!