The biggest holiday of the year is about to kick off in Asia; Chinese New Year. Celebrated by a fifth of the planet, there is no shortage of places to visit and events to attend. Spring Festival, as it’s termed by the locals, doesn’t just take place in China. Throughout Southeast Asia, fireworks, lion dances, food and festivities line the streets of local Chinese towns.
In order to help you make the most of this important festival, we’ve put together this guide of the five best cities for helping you bring in the Chinese New Year with a bang.
First and foremost, what better way to celebrate the Chinese New Year than in the country it was born in? Hong Kong, in southern China, offers a great experience for anyone looking to find themselves in the midst of a true Chinese New Year festival.
Tsim Sha Tsui’s traditional parade offers an assortment of food, performances and other festivities. This is followed by the Victoria Harbour fireworks display; one of the largest in the world. There is so much to do in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year, walking down almost any street in the city will lead to something jumping out at you.
If you’d like to try something a little alternative, head to the Sha Tin Racecourse on the third day of festivities and try your luck gambling on the Chinese New Year Race.
Being one of the most important hubs between the east and west of Asia, Penang is a buzz of New Year’s excitement around this time of year. The cultural melting pot offers the Hokkien New Year festival along the waterfront on the 8th day of New Years. A dazzling display of fireworks and festivities.
Also in Penang, the Temple of Supreme Bliss (Kek Lok Si temple) acts as a kind of meeting place for the locals to pray for a good and prosperous New Year amongst it’s 10,000 bronze Buddha statues. The temple is fully lit up during the Chinese New Year, the only time of year in which this happens.
With the largest Chinatown in the world (outside of China), Bangkok celebrates the New Year with style and panache. You’ll also see food being placed in front of people’s homes to ward off a mythical beast called ‘Nien’. Head to Yaowarat Road in the city’s Chinatown to see lion dances a-plenty and no shortage of other music and dance.
Also stop by Charoen Krung Street Road’s Lengnoeiyi Temple and Chinatown’s dragon parade. In these areas, you’ll also find a range of places to eat and try the New Year’s cuisine.
Kuala Lumpur’s biggest attractions take place in its Chinatowns, the biggest of which is Petaling Street. Here you’ll find lion dances and fireworks. In fact, in Kuala Lumpur you’ll be able to find lion dances practically everywhere. Most shopping malls and centers will have lion dances taking place in one form or another.
The biggest happening in Singapore for the Chinese New Year is the Chingay parade. Taking place on the 10-11th of February in 2017, imagine 11,000 performers taking to the stage with a range of acts (from acrobats to lion dances) to help bring in the New Year. It truly is an unforgettable experience.
Kreta Ayer Square, in the city’s biggest Chinese area, features lion dancers and fire-eaters, whilst the Marina Bay Waterfront will have the Chingay Parade taking place.
If you’re in the mood for some luxurious (yet at the same time, not luxury) food, head to the Liao Fan street stall selling Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle to try one of the Singapore‘s only Michelin star street stalls. But be warned, it’s particularly crowded during Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year will start on January 28th this year, make sure you don’t miss out on getting involved in one of the biggest parties on the planet!