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Top places to celebrate Chinese New Year 2016

Clive Wedderburn January 26, 2016

The 2016 Chinese New Year is upon us. Occupying the 9th position on the Chinese zodiac, it’s those curious, mischievous and clever monkeys who are in the ascendancy. But that certainly doesn’t stop you from joining the festivities, whatever animal sign you are. Here are some fab places to see in the New Year. 

Singapore 

If you want to tick a Far East city off your bucket-list then Singapore is certainly worth a visit. This city has many architectural delights including the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Singapore Flyer overlooking the dazzling Formula 1 race circuit, not to mention the legendary Raffles Hotel and the exciting nightlife to be found at Clarke Quay. 

Packed full of food highlights with amazing taste sensations on offer not just from China Town but other communities such as Little India too, join local Chinese New Year celebrations on the River Hongbao to see giant lanterns and spectacular fireworks illuminate the night sky. Across the city there are many events involving stilt and lion walkers, magic shows and tumbling acrobats culminating in a New Year float parade in China Town. After the party, make your way to Sentosa Island for some rest and recuperation; it will take fifteen minutes to reach Singapore’s little getaway island for tranquil nature walks, exotic plants, birdsong and a two kilometre long sheltered beach.

“Light the lanterns and usher in another great year with new hopes and aspirations. Happy Chinese New Year!”

Sydney

Sydney has so much to offer, with fascinating wildlife, gorgeous views, great cuisine and beaches galore. It also has a vibrant Chinatown district that is something of an institution to Sydneysiders, who are regular partakers of Sunday morning Dim Sum. The Chinese New Year celebrations are one of the most highly anticipated events in the city’s calendar so expect Chinatown to be a hive of action with markets, dragons and lion dancers plus dragon boat races out on the harbour. The city is easy to walk around with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge within easy access of Chinatown, so take the opportunity to stroll down to the quayside for a close up of these architectural wonders.

“Yesterday is a memory, today is a gift, tomorrow is a hope. Wishing you all a Happy New Year! “

New York City

Never to be outshone by any other metropolis in the world, New York throws the kitchen sink at the Chinese festival and includes three separate parades and several days of festivity starting at the beginning of the Lunar New Year on 8th February. Of course, if you’re visiting New York then leave plenty of time to visit Fifth Avenue, stroll through Central Park and perhaps take in a show on Broadway. But if you combine your sightseeing with the New Year celebrations, you can also expect lion dancers in Manhattan, a Lunar New Year Parade in Flushing, and firecrackers in Queens. The biggest draw however is reserved for Chinatown’s marching bands, Chinese acrobats and stunning urban visuals. Get your camera ready!

“May the new year bring your life joys that never fade, hopes that never die, strength that never weakens to take you as high as the sky.”

San Francisco

 

San Francisco boasts one of the oldest Chinese communities in the United States and the celebrations have origins dating back to the 1860s Gold Rush. There is little wonder therefore that the event is so widely regarded in the USA with over three million people watching the pageantry every year. When better to visit San Francisco to sightsee the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and chic Russian Hill neighbourhood than during the Chinese New Year celebrations? Take an iconic trolley car ride to witness the Grand Parade, expect marching bands and martial arts groups, while stilt walkers and firecrackers light up the night and a legendary Golden Dragon, carried by over 100 participants, creates an unforgettable centrepiece for the grand finale. 

Hong Kong

The annual Hong Kong Chinese New Year fireworks extravaganza is a must-see for any Chinese culture buff, with one of the finest pyrotechnic displays anywhere in the world. Expect to find Hong Kong at its most vibrant, with laser light shows and red lantern displays while the spectacular fireworks illuminate Victoria Harbour. A harbour cruise during the celebrations will be an experience you will not forget. 

Alternatively, head over to the Tsim Sha Tsui district for views across the harbour and to witness the famous night parade, offering staggering photo-opportunities with the Central Skyline and Victoria Peak in the background.  Go shopping along nearby Nathan Road for anything from high end goods to tourist’s knick-knacks. After such extreme urban action indulge yourself with a relaxing trip to Lantau Island to visit Po Lin Monastery and the 34 metre high seated bronze Buddha. Is there a better place to celebrate Chinese New Year than in Hong Kong?

Hayes and Jarvis wish you health, wisdom and lasting prosperity for the Chinese Year of the Monkey 2016