Dancing dragons, snapping firecrackers, booming drums. This is what I expected at the opening ceremony of the Chinese New Year in Bangkok Chinatown but in the end, find none of them. Guess I should have researched better. I was in the centre of Bangkok’s Chinatown on Yaowarat Road to celebrate the Year of the Snake (2013) and in the end, it was a decent evening, worth the visit and probably better than our expected evening squashed around a dragon parade. A short walk from Hua Lamphong MRT station we find roads closed and the main Yaowarat Road lined with white pavilions and a whole lot of street food.
Yaowarat Walking Street
After stuffing my face with Kai Yang (grilled chicken) and Isaan sausages and being force-fed fried squid eggs we join the sea of red shirts and silk dresses which flow into the distance on the Yaowarat Road. For Chinese New Year the entire Chinatown area is a vast walking street with buildings and surrounding sois dressed in red banners and lanterns.
The Opening Ceremony
We arrive to Chinatown near 5PM, the same time Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was to arrive for the opening ceremony, not sure what happened but we didn’t see it. Instead we find seats at a roadside restaurant (Lek and Rut Seafood) and wait for excitement. We eat extra-long noodles as Chinese Tradition, the longer the noodle the longer your lifeline. For hours things seemed like they would happen but did not.
The Royal Procession
Finally the road is cleared and the Royal Procession passes (20.34PM). No dragon parade. Turns out the crowds were there for a glimpse of the Thai Princess. In Thailand the Royal Family are kind of a big deal and to my surprise I was also a tad giddy. Having spent so long in Thailand this was my first time seeing their Royalty. I also got to see ex-pm Abhisit in a Red Shirt. I will make up for lack of dragons at tomorrow’s Nakhon Sawan Chinese New Year Celebrations.
Poking Down Backstreets
Returning to Hua Lamphong MRT station we poke around Bangkok back streets photographing food and local life.