Kung hei fat choi!
The time of year for lai see packets, kumquat trees and fireworks is fast approaching. Whether you’re new to Hong Kong or a seasoned expert in all Chinese New Year traditions, it’s always helpful to have an idea about what’s going on around town at this festive time of the year. We’ve put together a handy list of things to do over the public holidays (Monday, 8 February – Wednesday, 10 February) if you haven’t managed to bag a flight abroad… Happy Chinese New Year!
Cathay Pacific Parade
One of HK’s most loved CNY events is back to ring in the Year of the Monkey! The Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Parade is a beautiful extravaganza of music and colours, with a festive feeling in the air all around you! Float after float, each one is more lavish than the last. Be wowed by live performing artists who don’t seem to spare an ounce of their talent and watch the TST Harbourfront turn into a giant street party. You can either book a grandstand seat, cram along the parade route (the best vantage points are along Canton Road outside Harbour City, Haiphong Road or the junction of Nathan and Peking Roads outside Chungking Mansions) or watch from home – the entire event is broadcast on TVB Jade.
When: Monday, 8 February, 8pm ’til late
Where: Starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui and proceeds along Canton, Haiphong and Nathan Roads, ending at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.
How much: Free viewing along the parade route; $480/$450/$300 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. Tickets can be purchased at Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre by the TST Star Ferry Pier.
The CNY fireworks are a magnificent display of beautiful colours bursting in the sky. Let’s just hope the sky cooperates so we can truly enjoy the grand spectacle! The world-class show takes place in Victoria Harbour each Lunar New Year. Enjoy the show from a high vantage point or cozy up on the sofa at home with the family and watch it on your telly while munching away on some traditional CNY grub.
When: Tuesday, 9 February, 8pm ’til late
Where: Victoria Harbour between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui
How much: Free!
Festive Field Trips
An ornate arrangement of colourful and fragrant plants and flowers, the jumbo-sized Flower Markets, situated in Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park and Fa Hui Park in Prince Edward, are certainly worth visiting. A perfect outing for all to enjoy, start feeling real festive in the midst of the evident New Year atmosphere. Transform your apartment into a CNY jungle with tangerine trees and lucky bamboo. Deck the halls with bells of holly? Not quite! Deck them with cherry blossoms, orchids and daffodils instead!
When: From early February – Monday, 8 February
Where: 14 parks and playgrounds all over Hong Kong including Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island and Fa Hui Park, Mong Kok, Kowloon.
How much: Free! But don’t forget to bring along your wallets to splurge on some exquisite flowers.
Taking a more traditional approach, visit one of the many temples to pray for health and prosperity in the upcoming year, whether it’s for your family, or for yourself. The HK locals usually visit to pay respect to ancestors or pray for some good fortune in the year to follow, bringing along some offerings of food and incense with them. However, the temples aren’t just a place to visit for holy reasons, they’re actually very architecturally bewitching and the shrines are brightly decorated (also, the burning of incense makes for a really cute moment to snap). So grab family and friends and go on a spiritual excursion in celebration of the New Year!
When: Monday, 8 February – Monday, 22 February
Where: Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, 2, Chuk Yuen Village, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon; Tin Hau Temple, 10 Tin Hau Temple Road, Causeway Bay; click here to check out more.
How much: Free!
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree
Paying a visit to the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree is a popular tradition during the Chinese New Year. It’s simple: just write your wish on a paper, tie it to a string with an orange and toss it over the tree, it should successfully catch on one of the branches and remain hanging for your wish to come true! Whether you believe in the power of the wishing tree or not, this is a cute little activity to do during the holiday time with your friends or family.
When: Friday, 19 February – Saturday, 5 March
Where: Lam Tsuen Wishing Square, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
How much: Free!
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort + Ocean Park
Lai see with large chocolate gold coins at the entrance – sounds like a great treat! Besides, we freakin’ love Disney – we’re all just big kids at heart. Guests at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will be immersed with “Endless Fortune”. Take photos with Mickey, Minnie and all their Disney friends (Instagram on point), decked out in colorful Chinese New Year attire, enjoy traditional Chinese delicacies available all throughout the park, buy thoughtful little gifts for your loved ones (and yourself) and watch the special CNY-themed parade – at Disney you can do and see it all! Heading Southside, Ocean Park always put on a good CNY bash, with dazzling decorations, and dedicated performances that will swing (get it?) you into the Year of the Monkey!
When: Throughout late January and early February
Where: Hong Kong Disneyland, Sunny Bay, Lantau, Hong Kong; Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
How much: Disneyland: $450, Ocean Park: $320
Chinese New Year Race Day
And a classic – you’ve frequented the races many a time, so be sure to head over for an extra special outing in honour of the Year of the Monkey – Chinese New Year Race Day at Sha Tin Racecourse. The day promises heaps of festive programmes including lion dances, CNY greetings from well-known jockeys and of course, a tipple or two!
When: Wednesday, 10 February, 12pm-6pm (gates open from 11am!)
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse, New Territories, Hong Kong
How much: General admission is just $10!
During the festive period, Lion and Dragon dances will be going on just about everywhere you turn! From shopping centres to restaurants, hotels and possible even in your office block, you’re bound to catch one at some stage over the holidays! You’ll definitely be able to catch one at the annual parade in TST on Monday, 8 February.
Day to Day
Take full advantage of all that free time and embrace the great outdoors! Okay, CNY is notorious for rainy weather and with recent cold spells, cosy-ing up indoors is appealing – but the cooler climes do make for great hiking conditions! Check out these top 5 hikes in Hong Kong that promise quiet forest treks, isolated beaches and stellar city views.
Go on… you’re on holiday, girls! Grab your friends and family and head out for a boozy brunch that won’t break the bank! With heaps of cheap and delicious alternatives to glitzy hotel spreads, these seven brunches are super chilled and an awesome way to catch up with those also staying in the 852 this year.
Freshen up after that brunch (and inevitable, regrettable night out) with some al fresco picnic fun! Keep an eye on the forecast and keep your fingers crossed for sunshine, but these top picnic spots are sure to help you unwind after a long month back at work. So whether you’re packing your own tinfoil sarnies, opting for hair of the dog with a bottle of bubbles or snapping up a pre- prepared basket (we love Invisible Kitchen‘s spread), get back to nature, escape the hustle and bustle and wrap up warm!
A few days off might just be exactly what you need to find yourself a new hobby for the New Year! If you’re yet to find your forte, then have a scroll through some of these top hobbies to try and get stuck in.
Support Local Charities
During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget that there are those not so lucky to be celebrating. There are tons of ways to lend a hand and make a difference in Hong Kong, but why not make a ‘gold wish’ for those in need this Chinese New Year? From now until Monday, 22 February, you’re invited to fill out your name on a golden wishing card and hang them on Hutong’s Wishing Tree. Three wishes will be chosen and Aqua Restaurant Group will be sponsoring three Chinese orphans on behalf of the people who fill in the wishing cards for the year. Support your local community and OneSky Foundation with just a little love, warmth and smiles, and make a child’s day.