The actual New Years Day is today, January 23rd. It's the year of the dragon--so what better way to celebrate than to go to Bangkok's big Chinatown district and join in the fun?
Our plan was to head over to Chinatown in the early afternoon, explore the streets and shops, have lunch and wait for the big parade. Oh, the best laid plans.......
We left our hotel and headed for the nearest subway station just a few blocks away. This was our first time riding Bangkok subway, we've been using the Sky Train. We were very impressed! VERY clean, well signed and efficient. We bought our tokens, and hopped on board. The trains were fairly crowded, I don't think we're going to be lonesome in Chinatown today!
We got off at the appropriate stop, exited, and promptly got lost! We took out our trusty map, but that wasn't helping much. Finally David asked a nice lady for help, she didn't speak much English, but she was so sweet and helpful. She said "you come", and she actually walked us about 3 blocks to the entrance arch for Chinatown! She very sweetly made sure we were safe when crossing the streets, and when she had escorted us to our destination, she smiled and said "Welcome to Thailand". We thanked her sincerely, even including a few "wais"! What a delightful experience!
(Note: A "wai" is the traditional Thai form of greeting, also used to express gratitude. It consists of a slight bow, with both palms pressed together is a prayer-like fashion.)
The streets were crowded, and we noticed a very heavy police presence:
We walked along, enjoying the people watching and admiring the Chinese New Years decorations everywhere.
There were some interesting food booths everything from roasted chestnuts:
To squid eggs! Although I absolutely love squid, and eat it often--I passed this one by! It seemed to be a very popular snack, though.
After walking (well, kind of walking--it was really more like shuffling along with the crowd, and at times it was like swimming up stream in a fast current!) a few blocks, we decided that as much as we were loving the festive atmosphere, the crowds were just too much! We turned around (that was fun!) and walked back in the direction of the subway station.
We took a slightly different route, and enjoyed some other street performers.
Here's an older Thai gentleman playing a mean electric guitar:
It was a crazy, fun, hectic and wonderful evening in Chinatown! What perfect way to celebrate Chinese New Years with my sweetie (and about 50,000 other lovely people)!