We seem to keep missing Lunar New Year celebrations wherever we are. In Sydney in 2017 we enjoyed an unexpected dragon dance through a market but missed the big day, and in Singapore in 2020 we watched decorations pop up around town in preparation for the event but we had to leave before the actual festivities.
This year we were determined to catch the real thing, or at least what we could, given where we are. We figured Chiang Mai is our best bet so we reluctantly left delightful Pai for the minibus journey back over the mountains to our home base in Chiang Mai.
Most of the celebrations would be in Chinatown, a long hot walk from the Old Town, so we chose to get up early and watch the start of the official kickoff parade at the East Gate.