Chinese New Year 2020 will soon be upon us – and If you are lucky enough to be in Bangkok during this festival period then it’s a must to make a point of spending time in Chinatown (Yaowarat). The celebrations are a historic, very festive, and a memorable experience. It is the time to ring in the New Year with loud drums, red shirts and dragons to scare away evil spirits. Over three days superstitious residents give offerings for spiritual good favour - ranging from burning bank notes, giving red envelopes containing money to family members, praying to deities, burning incense, lighting candles, and much more.
Chinese New Year celebrations (also known as the Spring Festival) originates from the ancient Chinese Lunar Calendar in 2,698 BC. It is equivalent of western New Year’s Eve celebrations (Gregorian calendar Est.1582). The Chinese version also pre-dates the Roman Julian calendar (45 BC) by over 2,500 years!
‘Yaowarat’ has one of the oldest and largest Chinese communities in the world, granting Bangkok with probably the best Chinese New Year celebrations to attend outside of China itself. It is one of Bangkok's most vibrant neighborhoods, and surely throughout the year worthwhile visiting as it is one of the city's top locations for walking, due to its narrow lanes, lack of traffic, and charming old shophouses and active street side community. From temples to shopping arcades to the staggering array of good food, Chinatown is a must for a Bangkok visitors itinerary.
The easiest way to get to Chinatown is totake the MTR getting off at Wat Mungkorn station.
Morning in Yaowarat is a good time to experience the vintage atmosphere at one of the many traditional cafes. It is also a good time to take photos at Chinese temples, such as the Dragon Temple or Kamala, also known as Wat Leng Nei Yi where locals pray for blessings, and performers spend hours making up and getting into character for performances that provide an insight into traditional Chinese culture.
Afternoon in Yaowarat is time to enjoy the experience of the Sampeng Lane Market - which pretty much sums up the whole shopping experience of Chinatown. This busy daytime market with narrow lanes is at times chaotic with rows of stalls peddling an extensive range of goods.
Evening time in Yaowarat is a ‘foodies paradise’. It is one of the primary reasons when locals and tourists flock to Chinatown for outstanding Chinese food. Whether it be for splurges on shark’s fin or bird nest soup, abalone, or some of the freshest and largest crab or prawns in the city. Alternatively, at reasonable prices you can be served outstanding fresh dishes on bustling street corners in the heart of Yaowarat.
For safety’s sake, and keeping your gear dry, don't forget your Feelfree Gear waterproof travel gear! From here your adventure into the Chinatown begins…
Happy Chinese New Year & Happy Adventure!
Feelfree Gear Team,