Of all the holidays on the South Korean calendar, Soellal is clearly one of the most important. In Malaysia, with its large ethnic Chinese population, the same holiday is celebrated under the name Chinese New Year. If you are traveling to Malaysia during this time, it is important to understand how the holiday is celebrated, and how it can effect your travel plans.
While both holidays often see families visiting one another in their hometowns, the celebration of Chinese New Year in Malaysia differs from Seollal in several interesting ways. For example, instead of spending their time visiting their ancestor’s graves, Malaysians often visit temples to pray for a prosperous and healthy new year. Another difference between the two celebrations focuses on its display. While Seollal is family affair in the home, Malaysian’s commonly watch the lion dances and parades that are common in many towns both large and small.
Like Seollal in Korea, Chinese New Year in Malaysia can be a difficult, but rewarding time to travel. On the positive side, temples and cities are beautifully decorated, many of the open tourists sites will be less crowded, and people are extra friendly because of the festive atmosphere.
On the other hand, moving between cities can be difficult during this time since transportation can be sold out weeks in advance, and highway traffic is very heavy. It can also be difficult to find open shops or restaurants, especially those serving local cuisine, as many will be closed during the holiday.
However, don’t let these potential difficulties stop you from traveling through Malaysia during Chinese New Year because doing so will allow you to experience how others celebrate this shared holiday.
You can read this article in Korean at Travel Wire Asia: 설날에 말레이시아 여행하기.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website.