Many Chinese are venturing to new destinations to celebrate the New Year. Thailand has become a popular spot for Spring Festival travelers.

CGTN’s Martin Lowe reports. Follow Martin Lowe on Twitter @MartinLoweTV

It’s becoming a new trend now for Chinese people to celebrate the Chinese New Year abroad, especially to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia. However, according to some Thai travel agencies, bookings have fallen by 50 percent or more following the government’s crackdown on zero dollar tour.

New Year can be a time to look back and forwards. Many Chinese view it as a moment for travel, not just to go home as in the past but more-and-more to venture somewhere new.

For many Chinese, New Year is the most important date on the calendar. Millions journey to see family in the country’s heartlands, by plane, train and bus. But an increasing number are looking outwards – using the holiday as an opportunity for travel and exploration.

A favorite destination is Thailand. Many Chinese come to light candles and make offerings. With the Chinese increasing desire-to-wander phenomenon, a shrine had been witness to both happiness and horror. Eighteen months ago a bomb was exploded here killing 20 people, the majority are Chinese tourists. But it remains a place many wish to visit.

Many in Thailand are of Chinese descent, with a shared culture – so for visitors it seems both foreign and familiar, a New Year destination that can be a home away from home.