Chinese New Year comes early in 2020. While it is not an official national holiday in Thailand, it is in four provinces. And it widely celebrated throughout the rest of the country owing to Thailand’s close cultural ties with China. Celebrations are liveliest in Bangkok,
Chinese New Year in Thailand
Chinese New Year is one of the most popular festivals of the year in Thailand. While Chinese New Year is not an official holiday across the nation, it does enjoy official status in four provinces in the south.
Interestingly, these four provinces are the only Thai provinces with Muslim majorities. In fact, the rest of Thailand is predominately Buddhist.
Narathiwat – Narathiwat province is located in Southern Thailand. In fact, the province faces the Gulf of Thailand. The provincial capital is the eponymous town of Narathiwat. Narathiwat Airport serves the province with domestic flights. The population of the province is 802,474.
Pattani – Six of Patani’s districts lie on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand. The provincial capital is the eponymous town of Pattani. While the province has an airport, it does not have scheduled airline service. The population is 718,077 people, and fishing is the province’s key industry.
Satun – Satun lies on the shores of the Andaman Sea. The provincial capital is the eponymous town of Satun. While the province has a population of 321,574 people, it does not have an airport. Ferries link the province to Langkawi Island in Malaysia.
Yala – Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. In addition, it is one of only two provinces in the south without a shoreline. The provincial capital is the eponymous town of Yala. The provincial population is 532,326.
The nearest airport is currently Hat Yai International Airport in neighboring Songkhla province. However, an airport in Betong will open at the end of 2020.
Already, three airlines have announced plans to serve the airport, including budget carrier Nok Air.
Thailand’s Cultural Links with China
Thailand’s cultural links with China are strong. In fact, many Thais have Chinese or partial-Chinese ancestry.
An estimated 10% to 14% of Thais have Chinese or mixed Sino-Thai ancestry. Furthermore, the ratio is probably higher in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, where Chinese cultural influences are strong.
China has also become Thailand’s largest source of tourism in recent years. In fact, an estimated 10 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in 2018, setting an all-time record. The previous record was set in 2017, when 9,805,753 Chinese nationals visited the Land of Smiles.
The attractions are many. First, Thailand is relatively close to China. As a result, there are direct flights to Thailand from many Chinese cities.
In addition, Thailand is considered more affordable than other nearby travel destinations. Furthermore, Thai food suits the taste of Chinese foodies.
Then there is the issue of culture. As a predominately Buddhist society, Thailand offers an undeniable sense of familiarity for Chinese tourists. In fact, many Chinese people are Buddhist themselves.
Consequently, Chinese tourists now account for fully one-third of Thailand’s in-bound tourism!
With Thailand’s growing popularity among Chinese tourists, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is going to great lengths to encourage even more visitation from the world’s most populous country.
Therefore, TAT currently operates offices in five Chinese cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Kunming, and Shanghai
Chinese New Year Celebrations in 2020
More than one million travelers are expected to visit Thailand over the Chinese New Year period this year. And roughly one-third of them will be from China.
In fact, Friday 24 January to Thursday 30 January are official holidays in China
Official Chinese New Year celebrations will be held this year in the three Thai travel destinations most popular with young Chinese travelers: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
Reflecting the seriousness the Thai government places on promoting CNY festivities, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the festival held in Bangkok’s Chinatown in 2019.
Unfortunately, there has been no word yet if she will do the same in 2020.
There are usually cultural performances in all three cities. In addition, there are usually demonstrations of various Chinese art forms such as paper cutting and calligraphy.
Other highlights usually include fairs selling snacks and souvenirs, performances by popular artists and singers, the list goes on.
Last year, China, sent performers from seven provinces, including acrobats from Shanxi, puppeteers from Fujian, and traditional Chinese dance troupes from Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, and Qiandongnan.
Shandong province alone sent Chinese opera troupes, traditional dancers, acrobats, and martial arts practitioners.
Most of the Chinese New Year celebrations will be held from 24 to 30 January. Howevr, some locations will start celebrating a few days earlier. And others will continue celebrating a few days longer.
Listings are based on events held in previous years. Events this year may vary.
Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Thailand
First a look at the Chinese New Year celebrations taking place in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
Scroll down for an alphabetic listing of CNY celebrations taking place in other cities and towns across Thailand.
Celebrating Chinese New Year in Bangkok
Bangkok is the nation’s capital and Thailand’s largest city. Located in Central Thailand, the City of Angels has a large Chinatown.
In fact, the largest celebrations take place around Odeon Gate in Chinatown. However, Chinese temples and shrines dot the city. Consequently, you can expect festivities to take place throughout town.
Meanwhile, shopping malls throughout the Big Mango will also be decked out with Chinese New Year decorations during the CNY period.
The Bangkok Chinatown Festival is usually a a two-day celebration with cultural shows from China, dragon parades, lion dancing, street stalls selling Chinese food, lantern decorations, an exhibition telling the story of Yaowarat’s Sino-Thai community, and performances by well-known artists and pop stars.
At Chalerm Phrakiat Gate, Bangkok, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Representatives from the governments of China and Thailand will extend greetings in celebration of the Year of the Rat at Siam Square, where three of Bangkok’s toniest shopping malls are located: MBK, Siam Square One, and Siam Paragon.
There will be cultural shows from both countries. Examples include demonstrations of paper cutting and other Chinese art forms, a fair selling goods and auspicious foods, and live entertainment.
At Siam Square, Bangkok, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Chiang Mai
The city of Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand. It is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. Tucked away in a mountainous region, Chiang Mai enjoys a cooler climate than most parts of Thailand.
Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center
Cultural shows from China and Thailand, performances by well-known artists and pop stars, and a fair selling Chinese food, products, and fashion items will all take place at this upscale shopping mall.
At Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre, Chiang Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Chiang Mai Chinatown
A spectacular procession of dragons, lion dancing, Chinese cultural and musical performances, a Miss Chiang Mai Chinatown beauty pageant, Chinatown Kids talent contests, and a food and souvenir fair will be held in Chiang Mai’s Chinatown.
At Kuang Men Road (Lao Zhou alley), Chiang Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed
Celebrating Chinese New Year in Phuket
The city of Phuket is the largest city of Phuket Province, which comprises 33 islands, including the eponymous island of Phuket, which is Thailand’s largest island.
Located off the West Coast of Southern Thailand, Phuket is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations.
Central Phuket Floresta
Cultural shows from China and Thailand, performances by well-known artists and pop stars, and a fair selling Chinese food, products, and fashion items.
At Central Phuket Floresta, Phuket, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Phuket’s Old Town
There will be a colourful procession through Phuket’s Old Town as well as lantern decorations, cultural performances, and a food fair featuring traditional Phuket-style dishes.
At Phuket’s Old Town Plaza, Phuket, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Trang Clock Tower
A Who’s Who of chefs at nearby restaurants will cook up a variety of auspicious Chinese bites. There will also be do-it-yourself workshops and fruit carving as well as a special merit-making package tour
At Trang Clock Tower Circle in Phuket, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
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Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the Provinces
An alphabetical listing of Thai cities and towns with significant Chinese New Year celebrations follows.
Listings are based on events held in previous years. Events this year may vary.
Ang Sila is a small fishing village in Chonburi Province in Central Thailand. The town is home to an extravagant Chinese temple, which contains a four-storey with building with statues of Nacha Sa Shai Chue, the 1,000-hands Chinese Goddess of Mercy, and other Chinese deities.
Chinese New Year is celebrated at the Nacha Sa Thai Chue Shrine with an extravagant ritual, which includes paying tribute to Nacha Sa Thai Chue, the god of the shrine. There are also merit-making rituals.
At the Dhamma Rasmi Maneerat Foundation, Nacha Sa Thai Chue Shrine, Ang Sila Municipality, Chon Buri Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed
Established in 1350, the historic city of Ayutthaya is the capital of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province in Central Thailand. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
Devotees will pay homage to the guardian spirits of Ayutthaya at 108 shrines in the ancient city.
There will be a shrine parade contest from 16 districts, a lantern decoration contest; a spectacular procession of lion dancers, dragon dancers, and acrobats; Miss Chinatown and Little Miss Chinatown pageants; and cultural shows and performances by well-known bands and singers.
At Naresuan Road, Ayutthaya Municipality, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Ban Chak Ngaeo
Ban Chak Ngeo is small village located in Chonburi Province in Eastern Thailand. Because of its large community of Sino-Thais, it is sometimes referred to as the “Chinatown of the East”.
Chinese New Year celebrations in this town feature the painting of Chinese opera masks at an ancient opium den and opera house, performances of traditional Chinese dances at a local school, lion dancing, Chinese calligraphy, and a local community fair.
Ban Chak Ngaeo, Chonburi Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Hat Yai is the largest city and the commercial hub of Songkhia Province, which borders Malaysia. Located in Southern Thailand, the town has a sizable Sino-Thai community.
There will be dragon parades with a 20-metre-long giant dragon and lion dancers from Nakhon Sawan, cultural performances from China, a Chinatown Kid talent contest, a Miss Hatyai Chinese beauty pageant, and an authentic Chinese food fair.
At the Sri Nakhon Foundation School, Hat Yai Municipality, Songkhia Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Ko Si Chang
Located in Chon Buri Province in Central Thailand, Ko Si Chang is a small offshore island anchored in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is also spelled Koh Si Chang. It should not be confused with Ko Chang, an island in Trat Province.
Chinese New Year is celebrated by paying homage to Chao Pho Khao Yai, the guardian spirit of the island, as well as other guardian spirits and Chinese gods.
Ko Si Chang Municipality, Chon Buri Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
One of the four major cities in Isan, as the Northeastern region of Thailand is known, the city of Nakhon Ratchasima is also called Korat. It is located in the eponymous province of Nakhon Ratchasima, which is Thailand’s largest province.
The Korat International Art and Culture Festival features local and international art and cultural shows, demonstrations of various Chinese art forms including traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, and a Chinese food eating challenge.
At Chomphon Road (from Chompho Gate to Suanmak Night Bazaar), Nakhon Ratchasima Municipality, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
The city of Nakhon Sawan is the capital of Nakhon Sawan Province, which is located in Central Thailand.
The 103rd Pak Nam Pho Chinese New Year Festival will feature processions, including the procession of Chao Pho-Chao Mae Paknam Pho and Chao Mae Kuan-im (Guan Yin), lucky draws, acrobatic performances, dragon parades, lion dancing, angel parades, cultural performances from China, festive lighting, a light-and-sound show, and performances by well-known artists and pop stars.
At Riverside Beach at the beginning of the Chao Phraya River (Paknam Pho), Bangkok, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
The city of Pattaya is one of Thailand’s most popular resort destinations. Located in Chon Buri Province, Pattaya is 100 kilometres, or 62 miles, southeast of Bangkok.
There will be Sino-Thai cultural performances, lion and dragon dancing, a CNY exhibition, and live concerts starring famous bands and singers.
Central Pattaya Beach and Walking Street, Pattaya Municipality, Chon Buri Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
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The city of Phetchaburi is the capital of Phetchaburi Province in Southern Thailand.
At the Chinese New Year celebration, attendees will pay homage to Chinese gods and the guardian spirits. There will be a charity cooking of auspicious Chinese noodles in a giant wok, lion and dragon dancing, traditional Chinese dancing, and acrobatic performances. Young people and well-known bands and singers will also perform.
At Surin Ruechai Road (18 Road), Phetchaburi Municipality, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
The town of Ratchaburi is the capital of Ratchaburi Province in Western Thailand.
The Chinese New Year celebrations in Ratchaburi will be held’s in the town’s Chinatown. There will be cultural performances, a light-and-sound show, a fireworks display, a Mister and Miss Chinatown beauty pageant, Little Mister and Miss Chinatown Kids contest, a spectacular Chinese New Year procession, and a charity cooking-off featuring auspicious Chinese noodles in a giant wok .
At Raj Pracha Pattana Dam, Ratchaburi Municipality, Ratchaburi Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
The town of Suphanburi is located in Suphanburi province in Central Thailand.
Celebrants will pay homage to the province’s guardian spirits at Suphanburi City Pillar Shrine. There will be “Dragon Descendants” performances, which will include lion dancing, drumming, dragon dancing, martial arts demonstrations, thousand-hand Guan Yin dances, and face-changing opera performances s as well as a local fair.
Dragon Descendants Museum, Suphanburi Municipality, Suphanburi, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
The city of Udon Thani is one of the four major cities in the Isan region of Northeastern Thailand. It is a gateway to Laos, Northern Vietnam, and Southern China.
Chinese New Year is celebrated in the town with good luck rituals, a spectacular procession of lion dancers, a Chinatown Kids talent contest, a Miss Udon Thani Chinatown beauty pageant, and street stalls selling Chinese food.
At Wat Sunthorn Pradit Chinese Temple, Prajak Sillapakom Road, Udon Thani Municipality, Udon Thani Province, Thailand. Dates to be confirmed.
Listings are based on events held in previous years. Events this year may vary.
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