Where to celebrate Chinese New Year

08 April, 2017 By Natalie Smith

chinese new year travel

It's the year of the dog! You'd be barking mad not to celebrate in style this Chinese New Year!  

Why not get the best of both worlds and soak up the atmosphere of city celebrations, followed by a cultural escape or beach break thi lunar year.

Did you know that approximately 1 billion people celebrate the New Lunar worldwide? Get in with all the action and find out where is best to celebrate Chinese New Year right here!


From humble beginnings, Sydney’s Chinese New Year celebrations are now one of the biggest in the event calender. The 15-day festival puts the dazzle into the city with more than 50 events across all areas to explore. From world famous icons like the opera house illuminated in red light, markets, performances and lanterns in the shape of the zodiac signs - there’s certainly enough to keep all entertained. From Sydney, head out to the Hunter Valley (about a 2-3-hour drive) to experience the wine region famous for it's delicious Semillon, or visit one of over 100 beaches that the beautiful city of Sydney has to offer.


Melbourne's Chinatown hosts the Chinese New Year festival each year. Visit and you can expect performers throughout the day, martial arts and lion dance lessons, fireworks, traditional folk music, top food and dragons taking over the city. Dotted around the city, other venues offer its own unique festival theme. Once you’re done with the big city lights take a trip to the Great Ocean road and see the 12 Apostles stopping at the Otway Rainforest on the way to see the tallest Eucalyptus trees in Australia. A site not to be missed!


The capital of China, Beijing, is known for its traditional new year celebrations world-wide. Go at this iconic time and you’ll find carnivals, Peking opera, martial arts, acrobatics, music, lion and dragon dances, festival foods, arts and crafts, tea culture displays and muuuuuch more. Don’t miss Qing-Style Sacred Ceremony at the Ditan Temple Fair, Longging Ice and Snow Festival at Longging Gorge. From the city head 70 kilometres from to the Miaofeng Mountains -with its towering peaks rising majestically to a height of more than 1,300 meters. Its sheer cliffs, jutting crags and tortuous mountain paths make it one of the most renowned scenic spots in northern China.

Hong Kong
hong kong

Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year celebrations are like no other. The 3-day Spring Festival brings the city alive with markets, fireworks, food stalls, florals and red glowing lanterns. The main event is the Carnival-like parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, followed by Fireworks over Victoria Harbour. And if you really want to get into the festival flow, thousands of people will crowd into Sha Tin Racecourse on the third day of the Spring Festival holidays to celebrate and bring in the new lunar year. If you haven’t been to the city of lights before, you have to go up Victoria peak!! The view of the bay and surrounding islands from the top are spectacular. Take the funicular railway tram to the top, or hike if you’re feeling adventurous. Foodies and shopaholics alike will also highly enjoy the delights and hustle and bustle that Hong Kong has to offer.


Want a taste of new year, mixed with buckets of history, culture and adventure? Maybe Cambodia is your match. Cambodians celebrate their version of Chinese New Year, or Tet, as it’s known locally with red and yellow decoration around the streets, offerings of flowers and fruit, and of course fireworks. While you’re in Cambodia, a trip to Siem Reap, the gateway to the famous Angkor temples is not to be missed which just so happens to be a great place to join in the festivities as well.  Finish your holiday relaxing on one of Cambodia’s idyllic islands. Koh Rong island’s, Southwestern beach offers a huge slice of Paradise. Accessible by boat from Sihanoukville on the main land.


There’s a huge build up to Chinese New Year in Singapore. Festivities start 3 weeks before with an official opening ceremony which in true Singaporean spirit is full of fireworks and performances. See the city light up; temples and shopfronts galore are all lit and decorated without fail. Don’t miss: The International Lion Dance Competition at Chingay Parade. If it’s your first stay in Singapore the shopping delights of Orchard road are sure to put a strain on the purse strings. Plus Singapore sling cocktails in Raffles and chili crab lunches in the hawker markets to keep you nourished for days. Then there’s Sentosa island resort - visited by some twenty million people a year there’s a beach, two golf courses, the Merlion, 14 hotels AND a theme park to keep you and all the family entertained.


If Bangkok is on your bucket list, then there’s no better time to visit Thailand than at CNY. If you love big city lights and buzzing beats, then it’s time to experience Bangkok’s streets. Bangkok’s Chinatown becomes a display of bright red and gold as floats, dancers and drummers parade down its streets. Don’t miss: The Dragon Parade Yaowarat Road, Golden Dragon Dance, Dragon Parade. Once you’re done with the buzz then you can head to one of Thailand’s many beautiful islands to relax and unwind. We especially love the smallest island of Ko Tao for its world-renowned diving, tropical vibe, beach cocktails, coastal jungles and night life that will keep you up from dusk-to-dawn.

San Francisco
san francisco

The city by the bay home to hippies, techies, and fashionistas once again proves itself as a go-to-place to party. Bringing one of the biggest CNY parades outside of Asia, the San Fran show draws in over a million onlookers, with performances from dancers, drummers, stilt walkers, dragon dancing and the not-to-be-missed fireworks display. While you’re there soak up the city and see the sights. Shop till you drop in union square, take a trip back in history to Alcatraz, see the sealions at the wharf and try the yummy delights of the famous clam chowder.


Known as Imlek in Indonesia, Chinese New Year was declared an official public holiday in 2002 due to the country’s large Chinese population. In Java, spring festival fills the streets with dancers including the famous dragon dance. Extend your trip and explore the ancient Buddhist temple of Borobudur and take a morning trek to see the sun rise over Mount Bromo. #bliss!

Tips on how to travel at Chinese New Year

Any event that draws the crowds is important to keep your wits about you. Here’s some tips on how to keep safe on the streets when partying this year of the dog.

Be vigilant: Be ready for mass crowds everywhere, particularly at major transportation hubs like train stations and bus terminals. Busy areas where you can easily lose your way are daunting at the best of times, let alone if you don’t speak the local lingo. Try and wear bright clothing and arrange a meeting place with friends and family if you do get lost.

Keep your items close: Pick pocketers may be out in force to take advantage of all the tourists. Make sure you stay alert, wear a sensible across the body bag and only take out the essentials.

Be prepared: Many shops will be closed on New Year’s, so make sure you’re stocked up as eating and retail options may be limited on the actual public holidays 27th Jan.

Book early: Hotels and airlines tend to have sales and offer discounts at this time of year to attract customers. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Beware of inflated prices: Restaurants can be jam-packed at Chinese New Year in any city. With such large throngs of people all looking for the same limited resources, sur-charges may apply and prices are naturally on the increase. Don’t pay above the odds.

Dress appropriately: If you’re watching night parades or fireworks it can get chilly depending on where you are celebrating around the world. So, make sure you are prepared and wrap up warm.

Research about the celebrations: Did you know Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day? New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.


Contributor Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Having travelled to over 40 countries, studied tourism management and worked as a flight attendant for over three years, Natalie knows more than a thing or two about travel! She’s an adventure-lover, whose favourite trips have been trekking Machu Picchu and volunteering in an animal shelter in the Amazon. Qualified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and specialising in travel insurance for the last five years, she in passionate about helping travellers get the most out of their holiday.

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