Chinese New Year is upon us once again, as the Year of the Tiger comes to a close and the Year of the Rabbit begins. In Bangkok, the place to see it all unfold is of course Chinatown.
Cheapflights.com has chosen Bangkok’s Chinatown as one of the top ten places in the world to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
What to Expect
On both February 3rd and 4th from noon to midnight, Yaowarat Road will host the main events of the festival. You can see colorful dragon processions, lion dancing, and Chinese cultural performances such as Chinese opera. Be sure to get there before 3 pm on Thursday, February 3rd, because Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will officially open the event and all traffic in and out of the area will be stopped.
Starting from midnight February 2 — New Year’s Eve — the Chinese shrines will be open for people to make offerings. Some of the most important Chinese shrines, such as Leng Nei Yee (Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat), will become packed to the gills as the hopeful come to burn incense and offers food and pour oil in lamps. Those with lung problems may want to think twice.
It’s all in the name of good fortune, of course, but this trip to a shrine is particularly important for anyone whose birth year animal has some issues with the Rabbit. For example, in the Year of the Rabbit, those who were born in the years of the Chicken, Rat and the Big Snake must be especially vigilant. The Dog, Pig, and Goat folks are going to have some good luck.
Consider the abundance of street food another event in itself. No rabbit on the menu, but how about some Beijing Duck? While Chandrpen Restaurant is actually in Rama IV, not Chinatown, it still merits a visit for the new year, especially if you are want Beijing Duck. Remember you need to order it in advance.
In the mood for some Chinatown seafood? Give “Red” and “Green” sidewalk seafood restaurants a try. (Actually, Lek & Rut and T & K Seafood are their real names. Check out the rest of the Best Seafood Restaurants in Bangkok.)
And shoppers take note: any kind of New Year, Chinese or otherwise, is a fine excuse to have promotions and sales. Central World has a sale running from February 4-March 4. Siam Paragon has its Chinese decorations up for the shutterbugs and posers. And have a look at an exhibit of Chinese paintings by master Hsu Bin at the Emporium, from January 26-30. It’s free!