Chinese New Year Celebrations in Koh Samui
The Chinese New Year is celebrated enthusiastically throughout Thailand. Koh Samui attracts a large number of visitors to enjoy the festivities alongside their time basking in the island’s incredible natural beauty. The celebration is a positive cultural highlight on Koh Samui’s calendar with activities centring on the island’s temples, beaches and main towns.
Chinese New Year is not a designated national holiday but many Chinese-owned businesses will close to mark the occasion. Many of the islanders have strong ancestral connections to the Chinese mainland and look to their historical connection at this moment. Eager tourists will come to Koh Samui to enjoy the celebrations at the numerous parties, parades and events across the island.
Check your diary
2018 will see out the Rooster and enter the honourable Year of the Dog. The New Year festival takes place on the first day of the first lunar month so the date changes every year on the Western Calendar. Chinese New Year will fall on Friday February 16th 2018, which is a great time to be on Koh Samui with perfect weather daily and the bustling high season in full flow.
Dragons and firecrackers
According to the folklore, a wicked dragon would cause havoc on New Year’s Eve by devouring all the harvest and terrorizing villagers. One year a brave soul attempted to frighten the dragon away by hanging up red decorations and setting off firecrackers. Luckily, the idea worked and the dragon was seen no more.
Red is the colour
This explains why the colour red is found everywhere during Chinese New Year – it’s regarded as the colour of hope, good fortune, and a deterrent for evil. There will be plenty of red lanterns hung around Samui, the local markets will sell red items of clothing and the ear-piercing sound of firecrackers resounds on every beach!
If you want the luck to stay with you through the new Chinese year then here are a few tips to follow. Don’t use any sharp tools on New Years’ Day – no knives, scissors or nail clippers. Be kind to all you meet and try not to argue with anyone. Be careful not to trip over any objects! Do not wash your hair and remember to wear lucky red. Abide by these and it’s a good step toward avoiding any bad luck in the New Year
What to expect around Koh Samui
Koh Samui’s most family friendly destination for catching the festive action is the north coast beach town of Maenam. You’ll find plenty of friendly events, packed with tourists, locals, wide-eyed children and endless street vendors. It hosts a spectacular CNY street procession with a dragon parade and lion dances accompanied by music, dancing and fireworks. The dancers make up the head and body of the creatures, then exaggerate the animal’s movements, to the tune of beating drums, clashing cymbals and resounding gongs. The focal place in Maenam is the Chinese Temple but the whole area is alive with endless market stalls selling souvenirs and tasty local Thai and Chinese treats.
The colossal Guan Yu shrine is a good place to catch some boisterous celebrations. You can’t miss this lofty temple and its huge statue of the red-faced warrior from China’s feudal past. Expect the New Year celebrations to feature firecrackers and fire jugglers, lion dances, dragon parades and acrobats. The lion dance is great fun - it is thought to bring good luck as it prances along the street to clashing cymbals and rhythmic drums. The lion hunts down the vegetables, which have been hung above the doors of houses and businesses. Scattering the leaves symbolises a fresh start and good luck for the New Year. Watch out for the procession of Chinese mythological creatures which ‘bless’ the faithful and the tourists with good luck for the year ahead.
The island’s capital is Nathon and the celebrations here are a little less frantic. The town sees a few tourists so the action is traditional and full of authentic local presence. The capital sees CNY as a time to cherish family, friends and Chinese traditions, with parties, festivities and present giving. Along with Nathon’s dances and parades you’ll find lots of the homes with altars offering food treats, such as lucky oranges, for the festive occasion.
Chinese New Year Indulgence
In recent years, many of the top hotels such as the Four Seasons and the Anantara have adopted a Chinese New Year theme and offer Dragon dances throughout a dinner package.
The Four Seasons Hotel is located in a beautifully secluded point on the northern coast of Koh Samui. This boutique five-star resort is piled high with indulgent comforts and the luxury amenities for their guests.
Check out the website for updated information for this year: https://www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui/destination/highlights
Koh Samui has two 5-star Anantara hotels which are renowned for their style and service. The hotel chain typically puts on several treats to celebrate the CNY. Set menus of Chinese and Thai specialities featuring lucky red prawns and lobster, delicious dim sum, and Chinese tea tasting.
Nikki Beach, located in Lipe Noi, is one of Koh Samui’s top destination beach clubs. The club is putting on a Chinese New Year Sunday Brunch special. Head on down for an authentic dragon parade, delicious Chinese dishes and an atmosphere to savour at this much loved location.
For updated information check out this event website: