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With vibrant lion dances, noisy firecrackers, and regal red-and-gold aesthetics everywhere you look, Phuket turns into something magical during Chinese New Year. The festival, which marks a brand new year in the Chinese lunar calendar, is joyously celebrated by the island’s Chinese community as well as curious locals and tourists who want a taste of the Orient.
The Old Phuket Festival, which celebrates the island’s rich culture and identity, coincides with Chinese New Year every year, making the festivities all the merrier. Even though Chinese New Year isn’t an official public holiday in Phuket, here are 5 things you can do on the island this weekend to ring in the new year and celebrate Phuket’s history and heritage.
If you want to get into the festive spirit, you have to look the part! You can start by raiding your wardrobe for something red. The color symbolizes prosperity, good fortune, and joy. Red is worn to attract these three qualities in the new year that awaits us.
Lai sees – little red envelopes containing money – are handed out by married couples to children as well as unmarried friends and relatives for good luck. If you know any married couples that celebrate Chinese New Year, you may be in luck!
Watch Lions and Dragons Dance
If you take a stroll along the Old Town Road, such as Thalang, Soi Romanee, Phang Nga, Rassada, and Dibuk Road, you might catch the mesmerizing lion and dragon dances this weekend that will chase away evil spirits and bring good fortune.
You’ll also see many food stalls along the Old Town roads that pop up for the Old Phuket Festival. Be sure to indulge in the delicacies on offer while marveling at the street parades and music performances.
Visit Chinese Shrines
There are many Chinese temples and shrines, including Jui Tui Shrine and Boon Kaw Kong Shrine, dotted around the island. Families traditionally visit temples and shrines on the first and second days of Chinese New Year to ask for favors from the deities and bring luck for the year ahead.
Even if you aren’t visiting to pray and offer to gods, you can visit to take in the unique atmosphere around the shrines, from the gorgeous red lanterns adorning the temples to the smell of burning incense in the air.
Check Out the Wat Chalong Fair
Although not a Chinese temple, Wat Chalong hosts a large festival for Chinese New Year that lasts ten or more days. The temple transforms into a colorful carnival with lots of stalls selling food, clothes, accessories, plants, and much more. You’ll also be able to enjoy some exciting funfair games and rides that are sure to make your experience unforgettable.
Enjoy a Hearty Chinese Meal!
If you haven’t tried Chinese cuisine, you’re seriously missing out! Luckily for you, Chinese New Year is the perfect opportunity to savor delicious Chinese dishes and desserts. There are many restaurants and hotels, such as the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, on the island serving delicious Chinese meals for the occasion. Be sure to fill your belly with a delectable selection of dumplings, soups, Chinese-style roast beef, whole roast pig, egg tarts, and so on.
Are you ready to ring in the Year of the Rat?
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