The Chinese New Year falls on January 23rd in 2012. Although Thailand has its own calendar (that differs from the Chinese calendar), New Year’s celebration is still an important event in Phuket. The city has a strong Chinese heritage, with streets and temples still reflecting the influx of Chinese immigrants who arrived over a century ago. This makes Phuket a prime destination for Chinese visitors to celebrate the New Year. As a result, you can expect Phuket to go all out when it comes to festivities, decorations and live events.
During the festivities, which last three days, you can expect to see multiple dragon processions, plenty of lanterns hanging by windows or from trees, and tons of red-colored decorations (red is considered an auspicious color) almost everywhere. You can also expect ear-splitting firecrackers to go off almost non-stop during those three days. If you don’t want to be jumping off your seat every time one explodes, you might want to look for a hotel away from the central streets.
The Chinese New Year is also a great time to try traditional foods, as vendors take to the street to sell “auspicious foods” to welcome the New Year. One popular food during the New Year celebrations is fish. This is simply because the word “fish” and the expression “save more” sound very similar in Chinese, so eating fish can help bring money your way in the New Year. Dumplings and spring rolls are also popular, and so is nian gao, a sweet glutinous rice cake eaten as a dessert.