The Thai island of Koh Samui has a centuries long relationship with China and can be seen on Chinese maps as early as 1687. There are several examples of Thai - Chinese style architecture found around the island that make a visit during Chinese New Year even more appealing.
Though typically only celebrated by Thai Chinese, in recent years due to the influx of Chinese tourists and the tendency of Koh Samui locals to enjoy celebrating everything, Chinese New Year is becoming more popular among the private sector. Celebrations start three days before the Chinese New Year's Eve which in 2016 was Monday, February 8 and denotes the beginning of Year of the Monkey in the Chinese zodiac.
Typically Chinese families start preparations for Chinese New Year by cleaning their houses, a metaphor for “sweeping away” old things and preparing to embrace the new. New years shopping is important as is generosity to children. Typically a family meal is organized in the lead up to welcoming the New Year. Around Koh Samui people typically stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year by letting off firecrackers to scare off negative spirits.
A favourite of villa guests staying in the north east of Koh Samui, Wat Plai Laem, located between Big Buddha and Choeng Mon is a colorful Thai-Chinese style temple completed in 2004. Here you will find two impressive Chinese statues. Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion has 18 arms and is revered by Chinese people as the protector of women children, the sick and the poor.
Visitors can also see the Laughing Chinese Buddha, a fat 30 meters high red, white and gold Buddha that represents wealth and prosperity. Another attraction at large facility is the large pond full of koi that can be fed for a small charge. This serenity and liveliness of the colorful Wat Plai Laem sums up the spirit of the Chinese community on Koh Samui.
There are several other wonderful examples of Thai-Chinese style temples around Koh Samui that an IVL driver would be happy to take you to and explain the history and cultural significance. Certain temples also hold small festivals intermittently than are fun for kids of all ages. For more information on Chinese New Year and the best places to be a part of the festivities do not hesitate to contact our concierge department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 09 803 998 30 (local number).