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Best things to do in Hong Kong this Lunar New Year 2024

By Celia Lee 1 February 2024

Header image courtesy of LN9267 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Lunar New Year celebrations are now in full swing! As one of the most celebrated holidays in Hong Kong, there is plenty to do around town while we wait for the Year of the Dragon to begin. If you are wondering how to plan your activities for the upcoming holidays—beyond the usual family gatherings—here is a handy list of things to do in Hong Kong this Lunar New Year 2024.

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Photo: Summer Palace

Try festive food

Lunar New Year is a time for feasting! There’s a myriad of dishes that are traditionally enjoyed during the holidays, but here are three of the most common ones you should try.

Lo hei (撈起; lou1 hei2; “mix and raise”)—also known as yusheng (魚生; raw fish) in Mandarin—is a traditional Cantonese-style raw fish salad usually made with fresh fish, vegetables, and condiments. The dish’s name carries auspicious wishes for the new year. The Cantonese name, lo hei, is derived from the tossing motion made when sharing this dish. In the name, “hei” (起) can be replaced by its homophone “喜” (hei2; happiness); the phrase then translates to “tossing happiness” or “tossing prosperity.” The Mandarin name is often interpreted as a homophone of yusheng (餘升; “an increase in abundance”).

Poon choi (盆菜; pun4 coi3) is another traditional Cantonese meal enjoyed at most festive occasions, festivals, and banquets. Served in large, bowl-like dishes, layered ingredients as varied as pork, duck, abalone, fish maw, mushrooms, and bean curd are poured over with an oyster sauce or a fermented bean curd-based sauce.

Tong yuen (湯圓; tong1 jyun4) are round glutinous dumplings traditionally prepared in a sweetened ginger soup. Usually served on Lunar New Year’s Eve and at Mid-Autumn Festival family gatherings, the spheric shape of the dumplings symbolises union and togetherness.

Dining outlets around town are gearing up for the festivities with a series of speciality menus. If you are eager to try out some of these traditional dishes, check out our list of the best Lunar New Year menus to find out where they are served and what you can expect!

Photo: Tai Kwun

Admire festive displays

From swaying red lanterns, blooming cherry blossoms, and auspicious dragons, you will find a trace of Lunar New Year almost everywhere in Hong Kong during the festive season. Check out our list of the best Lunar New Year displays in town here.

Photo: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Catch live performances

Throughout the Lunar New Year period, lion and dragon dances will be happening across town, whether in cultural destinations like the revamped Central Market and Lee Tung Avenue, bank halls, hotels, and more.

Check out the annual lion dances at The Peninsula Hong Kong and Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong lobbies on 10 February for an entertaining show. The Chinese New Year Night Parade is also returning to Hong Kong to celebrate the Year of the Dragon! Happening in Tsim Sha Tsui on 10 February, prepare for a series of festive floats, cultural performances, and an unforgettable street party. Learn more about the parade here.

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Photo: Red John (via Unsplash)

Browse across a flower market

During Chinese New Year, it is customary to display symbolic flowers in your home. If you want to learn more about this practice, check out our guide to Chinese New Year flowers and other home plants that are believed to improve luck in the new year.

Once you are familiar with the types of flowers to display in and around your home, head to a nearby flower market and find the perfect blooms for you! The Mong Kok Flower Market is a must-visit, but you should brace for the crowds, as this is one of the most popular spots for locals and visitors alike during the holidays. As an alternative, Discovery Bay and Central Market are also hosting festive flower markets.

Photo: Henry Lai (via Unsplash)

Watch the fireworks

The main Lunar New Year event happening in Hong Kong is the festive fireworks display. Taking place on 11 February on Victoria Harbour, it is best to plan ahead to find a good spot as big crowds flock to admire the dazzling show. Check out our guides to the best views of the Hong Kong skyline and the best restaurants with harbour views to help you pick out a prime fireworks-watching spot!

Photo: Hong Kong Disneyland

Experience Lunar New year magic

Hong Kong’s two theme parks are joining in on the Lunar New Year festivities! At Hong Kong Disneyland, visitors will be greeted by beloved characters dressed in traditional Chinese garb ready to greet guests and wish you an auspicious year ahead. Don’t miss out on “Mickey’s Year of the Dragon Celebration” show, where Mickey and friends will hit the stage and perform an original festive song. Check out Hong Kong Disneyland’s other festive offerings here.

Over at Ocean Park Hong Kong, the “Lunar Fiesta” programme features a plethora of celebratory activities, including lion and dragon dances, a drum performance, and festive variety shows.

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Photo: Extreme Librarian (via Unsplash)

Visit temples

It is customary for locals to visit temples around Hong Kong during Chinese New Year. While we expect these spiritual sites to get pretty crowded over the holidays, it is still worth joining the stream of people to wish for a prosperous year ahead. If you need some inspiration, check out the most beautiful temples in town or our guide to temple-hopping on Lantau Island.

Photo: LN9267 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Make a wish at a wishing tree

Another popular Chinese New Year practice in Hong Kong is to make a wish at a wishing tree. People will write down their wish on a placard before tying it to a tangerine. Traditionally, the tangerine would then be thrown onto a wishing tree, and the ones that catch onto the tree branches are believed to come true. In recent years, people have been encouraged to stop throwing their wishes due to the damage caused to the sacred trees. Instead, people now tie their wish placards to a wooden rack placed nearby.

By far the most popular wishing tree in Hong Kong is the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree. Here, you can still engage in the traditional wish-making method of throwing your wish onto the tree, as there is an artificial version that can bear the weight while preserving the state of the real banyan tree. Attracting sizeable crowds each year, the humble residential area is transformed into a bustling tourist attraction during Chinese New Year. Check out our neighbourhood guide to Lam Tsuen to plan your visit ahead of time!

Photo: Minghong (via Wikimedia Commons)

Hike for good luck

If you want to get away from the festive crowds this Lunar New Year, why not go on a hike? It is local tradition to hike on the first day of the Chinese New Year as it is believed to bring good luck for the rest of the year. Check out our comprehensive hiking section for detailed guides and inspiration for your next hiking trip!

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Celia Lee

Staff writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, Celia is passionate about culture, food, and different happenings in the city. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her scouting for new and trendy restaurants, getting lost in a bookstore, or baking up a storm at home.

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