Fabulous ways for you and your travel companions to ring in the Year of the Dog in an exquisite private villa in Thailand
Tangerines and oranges are one of the favourite fruits of Chinese New Year
Home to a large Chinese community, Thailand is an excellent destination for those keen to see in the New Year in style. Cultural hotspots include Bangkok’s Chinatown and Phuket Old Town, where the houses are decked out with an array of scarlet and gold decorations.
Dragon dances, parades and processions fill the streets, and many families leave offerings of dried fruit and flowers to bring luck for the year to come – but that’s not to say you have to go out to enjoy the fun.
Thanks to the key role food plays in Chinese culture, it’s unsurprising that cuisine should play such a key part in new year celebrations, too. That’s why a private villa in Thailand is a fantastic based for your Chinese New Year celebrations. After all, with a professional chef on hand, there’s no end to the array of exquisite delicacies you’ll be enjoying.
We’ve put together a selection of ideas for how to spend your New Year in a luxury private villa.
Your villa’s professional Thai chef will be able to prepare a mouth-watering Chinese meal
A family meal in your private villa provides the perfect setting to enjoy on an array of fine dishes specifically prepared for the Chines New Year celebration. Every special Chinese New Year dish comes with its own special meaning, symbolising something for the year ahead. Roasted Peking-style duck, served with pancakes, cucumber and all the trimmings could provide a mouth-watering starter for your family to feast on. While this dish is best known for its crisp, glazed skin and succulent meat, it’s also a symbol of fidelity.
Steamed fish is another dish that often takes pride of place on tables during Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese word for fish, “yu”, sounds similar to the words for “wish” and abundance” making it the perfect choice for the occasion. Flavoursome and moist, poached chicken is another Chinese New Year delicacy. The dish is usually served without being cut up, to symbolise wholeness and prosperity.
Al fresco entertainment
A casual barbecue and pool party provides a fun, relaxed way to spend the holiday
If you’re looking to break away from tradition somewhat, then why not celebrate with a pool party and barbecue rather than a formal sit-down meal? Not only will you still get to enjoy an array of exquisitely prepared delicacies, but you’ll also be able to make them most of your villa’s stunning al fresco surroundings and the sublime Thai climate.
Many villas come with their own dedicated barbecue units, with al fresco seating close by. Just because you’re having food prepared on the barbecue, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon New Year customs entirely. For example, you can still enjoy fish, chicken and duck – it’ll just be marinated and grilled in a different way. Your villa’s professional chef will be working with family recipes that have been passed down through generations, so you know you can look forward to something delicious when lunch or dinnertime finally rolls around.
For guests who want to ensure some traditions are adhered to, why not finish off the meal with Nian Gao? This steamed fruitcake is typically offered to the Chinese Kitchen god so he’ll provide a positive report on the family once the New Year begins.
Kick off the new lunar year at an exclusive dinner party with friends
For many people, Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate with friends. If you’re in Thailand staying with your friends in a private villa, or even if they are staying nearby, a sumptuous dinner party is an excellent way to see in the new year. Your villa’s private chef will be able to whip up a delectable array of traditional or avant-garde delicacies, including appetizers for guests to nibble on as they arrive.
One of the best things about hosting a dinner party in a luxury villa is that there’s a multitude of dining spots to choose from. The indoor dining area is perfect for evening meals once the sun has set. Alternatively, the villa’s gardens will be beautifully lit, providing a stunning backdrop for the meal. If you dine at sunset, then the property’s al fresco dining area overlooking the ocean will often have jaw-dropping views – perfect for a memorable welcome to the year ahead.
Baan Taley Rom has an an exquisite selection of spirits and liquors
Like most festivals and events, it is no only food but also drinks that play a key role in the festivities at Chinese New Year. If you have a penchant for any particular drinks, there’s a plethora of places in your private villa to enjoy sipping a glass or two. Outdoor areas like the pool terrace, the landscaped gardens, or even the relaxation pavilion close to the beach all have their unique appeal. Inside, spacious lounge and dining areas or stylish mezzanine level spaces offer a chic setting for pre-dinner cocktails.
If you’re keen to do something different and sample some exotic flavours, your villa staff will be able to prepare a rage of cocktails to match your personal tastes. No matter whether you prefer creamy, pina colada-style masterpieces with rich coconut milk, or sweet and fruity sensations, your glass will always be at least half full.
Party for two
Couples can welcome the Year of the Dog with a romantic celebration
For some people, a low-key celebration may be the way to celebrate Chinese New Year and the opulent surroundings of a Thai private villa offer a sublime setting for a celebratory date night.
Beginning with cocktails on the pool terrace at sunset, you could then move down to the beach to enjoy a pre-prepared picnic by your villa’s professional chef. A basket of cured meats, bread, olives and fresh fruit eaten from the comfort of a soft beach blanket is a blissful meal for two.
Once the sun has set, you and your loved one can head back to the villa for a romantic soak in the hot tub. Some master suites come with stunning baths and hot tubs attached to the bedroom to set an alluring honeymoon vibe. Your villa staff will be able to run the bath for you in advance, even sprinkling fragrant petals on the surface of the water.
Glowing scarlet lanterns are symbols of good luck, and often used as decorations
Chinese New Year wouldn’t be complete without the right decorations. First and foremost in the collection of embellishments should be scarlet lucky lanterns, adorned with beautiful gold trimmings. Hanging a red lantern in the doorway of your home is believed to drive away bad luck. Decorative paper cuttings are also popular at this time of year. You’ll see many pieces of artwork like this attached to windows as you stroll round Chinese neighbourhoods. Each patterned piece of paper typically shows an auspicious plant or animal, representing a different wish.
What should you wear to celebrate Chinese New Year? Some ideas…
- This is the time of year when brand new outfits should make an appearance for the first time. It’s time to break out that special holiday outfit you’ve been saving.
- Traditionally, shades of red gold and pink are worn. These hues symbolise luck, wealth and prosperity for the year to come
- Avoid dull shades like black, brown and charcoal