Long after the New Year’s celebrations were over, a festive atmosphere continued to reign across Thailand’s southern Surat Thani province.
The holiday atmosphere remained particularly vibrant on islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, according to a report from the National News Bureau of Thailand with a significant proportion of visitors, both local and overseas tourists, opting to extend their stay on the islands.
Other tourist hotspots across the province that have enjoyed an extended peak season included Khao Sok National Park and the Ratchaprapha Dam and lake. According to the local office of the Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand, a high number of tourist arrivals were recorded in both areas.
Precise figures are yet to be published, but the Tourism Authority of Thailand said the festive atmosphere would to continue through Chinese New Year. A large proportion of Thailand’s population are Chinese descendants and as such the Lunar New Year is always a big celebration across the country.
Every year, Chinese New Year celebrations on Koh Samui are focused in the local towns of Nathon, Hua Thanon and Maenam. Events include a lion and dragon procession, fire walking and other public shows and performances. Similar events also take place on Phuket over Chinese New Year, while Bangkok’s Chinatown is also a centre for many performances and festivities.
Exploring cultural attractions and festivals such as Chinese New Year across Thailand’s mainland and island destinations is becoming an increasingly popular holiday activity. The expansion of the country’s domestic flight network with operators such as Air Asia has opened up more parts of the Kingdom to cultural tourism.
National carrier Thai Airways is also responding to the trend within a "Discover Thailand 2014" package that gives visitors the opportunity to explore three destinations with one single airline fare. Each ticket is valid until the end of 2014, and all three flights must be used within a period of three months.
by MAX VEE