5 getaway destinations for Chinese New Year 2016

Here are five great destinations that will be literally 'painting the town red' for Chinese New Year!

Hong Kong
Hong Kong
21 Jan 2016

Hong Kong

Picture Credit: Huffington Post

The Hong Kong celebrations are regarded as amongst the world's top events, ranking alongside Brazil's Carnival and Munich's Oktoberfest.

Festivities kick off on New Year's Day with the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, near Victoria Harbour, where thousands line the streets to watch a procession of floats, dancers, jugglers, and marching bands.

The following day sees Victoria Harbour ablaze with a spectacular of choreographed pyrotechnics. The display is accompanied by the nightly Symphony of Lights that takes place here every evening, where lasers strafe the clouds and skyscraper lights display musically choreographed patterns.

On the third day of festivities, 100,000 excited fans fill the Sha Tin racecourse for the most important horse racing event of the year, all presented within a colourful program of festivities and performances.

This is also a time to shop, with malls offering promotions, entertainments and discounts. Hong Kong during Chinese New Year is a hive of incredible activity and spectacle.

If you are travelling to Hong Kong, find all the best things to do right here.
 

Singapore
Singapore
21 Jan 2016

Singapore

Picture Credit: ibtimes.co.uk

Around three quarters of the Singapore population are of Chinese ethnicity, and, consequently, it's one of the places to be for Chinese New Year.

Singapore's Chinatown will feature 2,668 handcrafted lanterns, of all shapes and sizes. Chinatown itself has been transformed into a garden, featuring musical performances, acrobatics and a panoply of street stalls.

Make sure to partake of all the delicious festive goodies of the season, including buttery pineapple tarts, rich prune 'lapis' (spiced cake), crisp love letters (rolled egg biscuits), melt-in-your-mouth 'kueh bangkit' (coconut cookies), spicy shrimp rolls and 'bak kwa' (sweet pork jerky).

River Hongbao, held at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay, boasts demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy and paper cutting, intricate handicrafts, jewellery, ethnic costumes and other cultural products. It's also where you'll find the largest outdoor food street in Singapore.

Singapore's famous Chingay parade is often performed at New Year, though this year's comes a little later in the month (Feb 19-20). If a single event could capture the essence of Singapore’s unique personality, it would be this - the largest street performance and float parade in all Asia!

If you are travelling to Singapore, find all the best things to do right here.
 

George Town, Penang, Malaysia
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
21 Jan 2016

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Photo Credit: Penangtravelchannel.com

George Town, on the Malaysian island of Penang, is a UNESCO world heritage site, awarded for its multicultural history, evident also in its present day mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians. Featuring a unique colourful architectural and cultural townscape, without parallel anywhere in Southeast Asia, the town explodes with yet more life and colour at
Chinese New Year.

Penang's town squares fill with revellers and every major Chinese style kongsi – elaborately ornamented temples and houses belonging to various Chinese clans – are aglow in vibrant reds and oranges, in homage to their ancestors.

This year will see 18,000 red lanterns lit up each night of the festivities. This is also the best time to visit Kek Lok Si, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, its own nightly illumination transforming it into the a visual representation of its translated name – The Temple of Supreme Bliss.

The 15-day celebration draws visitors to George Town from all over the world, entertaining them with deity parades, fireworks and lion and dragon dances. And, of course, fireworks!

If you are travelling to Penang, find all the best things to do right here.
 

Bangkok
Bangkok
21 Jan 2016

Bangkok

Photo Credit: Thailandemagazine.com

Bangkok is home to one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world. As Thais also celebrate the Lunar New Year, celebrations are city wide. Known for its traditional ceremonies and party culture, Bangkok doesn’t disappoint at Chinese New Year.

Yaowaraj, Bangkok’s Chinatown, is the epicentre of festivities and, as with other venues, boasts glittering parades, firecrackers, fire-eaters, dragon dancers and cultural performances. As night falls, it becomes time to watch the huge stage near the Chinatown Gate where traditional musicians, dancers and acrobats perform.

Another focal point is the city's famous CentralWorld Square, where throngs of revellers assemble each year to enjoy an array activities, performances and delicious food.
It's also the time to visit the many shrines around the Chinatown area, where locals go to give tribute, in hopes of bringing good luck for the new year. Less traditional, younger merrymakers head to RCA, Silom and Khao San road to fill their nightclubs and dance their way into the new year.

If you are travelling to Bangkok, find all the best things to do right here.
 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
21 Jan 2016

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo Credit: Hopper.com

Though Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, a sizeable part of its ethnic Chinese population lives in Kuala Lumpur, which makes it a great place to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Celebrations here, though, are a little more intimate than in other destinations – no Chingay parades, for example. But, as in other places, the temples prove popular destinations where locals gather to pray and pay their respects to their ancestors. One such one is the ornately decorated, six-tiered Thean Hou, atop leafy Robson Heights, which also affords some fine views over the city

As elsewhere, families return home for reunion feasts and the streets are alive with crowds, enjoying the open air markets, the fireworks, and filling the lavishly decorated shopping malls of the vibrant Golden Triangle in the northeast of the city.

Chinatown and Buddhist temples are the places to see the traditional lion and dragon dancing troupes with their customary crashing cymbals, clanging gongs and stylised singing.
 

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