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Things to See and Do this Chinese New Year

By Jenny Leung 23 January 2017
Chinese New Year is coming home to roost, and as we prepare to kiss goodbye to the Goat and welcome in the Rooster, our city is gearing up for two weeks of amazing events and celebrations. From the usual suspects like the fireworks and flower market - which are returning bigger and better than ever - to some special one-offs, there's plenty to sink your claws into. Kung Hei Fat Choi, Hong Kong!

New Town Plaza Chinese New Year Deco_3c

Floral Blessings at New Town Plaza

If the flower markets don't satiate your need for auspicious blooms, then maybe New Town Plaza can help scratch that pollen-laced itch. Their Floral Blessings installation features a 20-foot tall floral wishing tower which contains the eight blessing flowers of spring. Bloomin' marvellous! When: January 11 - February 14 Where: New Town Plaza, 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin How much: Free Click here for more information
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Bounce Trampoline Park

Time to jump for joy! To celebrate Chinese New Year, Bounce is offering two hours of jumping time for $188 (usually $150 per hour). Grab some mates and check it out, or if you want, go alone - we're not here to judge. Trampolining is hardly an ancient or traditional practice, but it's still fun. When: January 16 - February 3 Where: Bounce, G/F, EMAX, KITEC, 1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay How much: $188 Click here for more information


Chinese New Year Family Day with Asia Society

A non-stop, jam-packed family day of traditional festivities and lively entertainment. Asia Society is going all out this year with lion dance performances and workshops, lion-inspired arts and crafts, puppet shows, festive dress-up and photos, Chinese martial arts workshops, storytelling, and culinary delights. See? Jam-packed. When: January 22 (11am-5pm) Where: Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty How much: $158 (members), $188 (non-members) Click here for more information


Complete Deelite - Chinese New Year Cookie Workshop

Hong Kong's dessert maestros Complete Deelite are on hand this festive season to teach you (and your little ones) how to bake delicious cookies using their full-proof recipe. As well as mastering the art of the perfect bake, you'll also learn how to make perfectly consistent royal icing and pipe detailed designs on your cookie! When: January 23 (10am - midday), February 2 (10am - midday) Where: Complete Deelite, 2/F, On Lan Centre, 11-15 On Lan Street, Central How much: $800 (members), $880 (non-members) Book a class here or email [email protected]


Lam Tsuen Well-Wishing Festival

A lovely little traditional festival that sees hundreds flock to this tiny village in the New Territories. The Well-Wishing Festival is all about casting your aspirations for the next year - this involves writing your wish (along with your name and date of birth) on a bit of paper, tying it with a string on one end and an orange at the other, then chucking it over one of the village's 'wishing' trees. If the message catches on one of the branches and stays there, you're sorted. Told you it was lovely. When: January 28 to mid-February Where: Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories How much: Free Click here for more information

Hong Kong Celebrates Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Parade 

Colourful floats, marching bands, troupes of acrobats, lively dragons, traditional Chinese dancers, international troupes from all over the world, drummers, Chinese lions, and of course, firecrackers. This is the meat-and-gravy to the fireworks sweet dessert - a real face-to-face with some amazing local culture (and international culture approximating local culture). The parade itself features over 30 floats with Disneyland, Ocean Park, and Ngong Ping 360 all throwing their decorative hats in the ring, and there's an endless array of other visual delights going on. If you can only go to one thing this Chinese New Year, it should probably be this. When: January 28 (8pm) Where: Starts at The Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, Tsim Sha Tsui, then goes all over the place in a parade-y fashion How much: Free Click here for more information
edition: Where to see in Chinese New Year

Lunar New Year Fireworks Display

The big one. There's a reason this display is watched and streamed all over the world - it's nothing short of a delightful, flamboyant, colourful, all-out war against the night sky. Twenty-three minutes of beautifully choreographed assault on the senses. And it's glorious. It's the fireworks display that all fireworks displays dream of becoming when they grow up, and this one is rumoured to have almost 24,000 pyrotechnic shells fired in it - only HK$8 million going up in smoke! When: January 29 (8pm) Where: Around Victoria Harbour, with vantage points along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, Central and Western District Promenade and Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai How much: Free Click here for more information


Chinese New Year Rooftop Beach Party

If you fancy getting away from all the bustle this New Year and heading to a more chilled-out bustle then this is for you. Just to be clear, someone hasn't put a beach on their roof (even though that would be amazing) - it's a party on a roof, next to a beach. If you can get over that disappointment then in you're in for a good time - with international DJs from South Africa, Colombia, UK, Macao, and China spinning well into the wee hours. With an open bar and the beautiful surroundings of Lamma Island, this is one of the best Chinese New Year parties around. When: January 29 (9pm - 6am) Where: Lo So Shing Beach Refreshment Kiosk, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island How much: $300 Click here for more information


Chinese New Year Race Day

Kick off the Year of the Rooster auspiciously with one of the biggest race days in the global calendar. If gambling's not really your thing there's plenty of other reasons to make the trip up to Sha Tin - variety shows with traditional lion dances, singing performances, greeting's from the city's top jockeys, and good luck tips shared by renowned Feng Shui Masters. When: January 30, (12.30pm - 6pm) Where: Sha Tin Racecourse How much: $10 entry fee to the public enclosure Click here for more information
AFP PHOTO / Alex OgleAlex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images

Traditional Temple Rituals 

Paying homage at one of the city's many stunning temples is about as authentic as it gets, and is also a more subtle, introverted way to enjoy the holidays if you're not keen on all the dancing and explosions. Hundreds of people gather at the beautiful, tranquil temples dotted across the city to give thanks for their good fortune over the past year. Popular places to perform these rituals include Wong Tai Sin, Che Kun, and Man Mo Temple. This is a real insight into the more personal aspects of Chinese New Year and shows a more intimate side to the festivities. When: Throughout Chinese New Year Where: Temples across Hong Kong How much: Free Click here for more information

Le Garçon Saigon

Fancy a bit of a change up with your Lunar New Year dining? Well, this stunning little eatery in Wan Chai has the very thing. Their impressive suckling pig is amazing take on the classic dish, painstakingly prepared over three days. The result is tender, juicy meat with perfectly crispy and golden skin. When: Until February 1 Where: Le Garçon Saigon, 12 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai How much: $298 - $1,198

Birds of a Feather Flock Together - Pacific Place

This shopping centre in Admiralty is taking the Lunar New Year celebrations so seriously that they haven't just added a few frilly bits and pieces here and there. Oh no, 'Birds of a Feather Flock Together' is a full-blown campaign of New Year joy with a name that rhymes and everything. Among the centre's New Year transformation are 30 roosters and birds nesting in the gardens, over 38,000 gold feathers hanging above paper structures of yet more roosters and birds, peephole bird houses with cool things to look at inside (roosters and birds?) and special, eco-friendly Lai See packets. When: Until February 7 Where: 88 Queensway, Admiralty How much: Free Click here for more information


Flower Markets

When you live in the definitive concrete jungle that is Hong Kong, and can't find the time to venture out to its greener areas, it's easy to forget just how passionate the city is about its flora. Throughout Chinese New Year, around 15 flower markets bring an explosion of colour and aroma to the city. Traditionally festive flowers and plants such as kumquat trees, cherry blossom, and daffodils take centre stage, as they’re believed to bring good luck, but you can also find fresh tangerine, orange, and citrus plants which are also known to usher in luck and prosperity. When: February 2 - 8, (12 noon – midnight, except February 8 which runs from midnight – 6am) Where: 15 parks across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon including Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok How much: Free Click here for more information

Read more! Check out our Guide to Chinese New Year Flowers


Lantern Carnival

Although the lighting of lanterns is really a citywide event that marks the end of Chinese New Year, there's still certain places you can go to see it en masse in all its twinkly glory. As well as that, there's the always-excellent Lantern Carnival which takes place at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. Here you can catch loads of amazing events and performances like folk song and dances, instrumental performances, acrobatic shows, as well as dragon and lion dances. Also, if you're looking to learn some of the ancient crafts behind Chinese New Year, there's loads of heritage exhibitions on topics such as lantern making, dragon or lion making, Chinese painting, and paper cutting (not to be confused with paper cuts - they're rubbish). When: February 11 Where: The Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, Tsim Sha Tsui How much: Free Click here for more information


Freespace Happening

The second Freespace Happening of the year is going all out for Chinese New Year. The amazing free festival has a ludicrous amount going on including (but not limited to) the Hong Kong Phil's percussion ensemble belting out an eclectic selection of classical and pop tunes, a large-scale instrumental performance featuring a staggering 108 musicians, fortune telling, Chinese New Year themed workshops, meditation classes, dancing, and about a million other neat little bits and pieces. When: February 12 (2pm - 7pm) Where: Nursery Park, West Kowloon Cultural District How much: Free Click here for more information

institute of languages

Hong Kong Institute of Languages Chinese New Year Specials

Why not kick off the Year of the Rooster by learning something new? The Hong Kong Institute of Languages is celebrating the Lunar New Year by discounting its Mandarin and Cantonese courses by 20%. Also, it has two workshops coming up where you can learn how to make dumplings like a pro or get a crash course in Chinese tea. When: February 13 (dumpling workshop: 7pm - 9pm), February 15 (Chinese tea demystified: 7pm - 9pm) Where: 6/F, Wellington Plaza, 56-58 Wellington Street, Central How much: Free for current and past students, $100 for all others For more information, or to book a place, contact Carrie on (+852) 2877 6160 or email [email protected]


Mahjong Playground at Langham Place

This Chinese New Year, Langham Place will be transformed into a mahjong lovers paradise! The game is a cultural mainstay throughout Hong Kong and China, and is especially popular over the Lunar New Year. As such, this mahjong makeover will include giant game tiles for taking giant mahjong photos, game booths, and some funky mahjong erasers (pictured) up for grabs. When: Throughout Chinese New Year Where: Langham Place, Mong Kok How much: Free Click here for more information

Stelzen-Art, Germany

Lee Tung Avenue

Hong Kong is so primed and excited for the Year of the Rooster that even fancy stretches of road are getting involved - enter Lee Tung Avenue. The walkway will be adorned with over 1,000 large, red lanterns, while a series of festive events will take place - the Chinese New Year Parade on January 29, and the eye-popping LED Lion Dance Celebration on February 8. The LED Lion Dance Fiesta will also see the mystical creatures dance along the avenue with blessings to lovers on February 10 and 11, while the Lantern Festival Wedding Bazaar will be held on February 11 and 12. When: Until February 28 Where: Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai How much: Free Click here for more information

Whatever you decide to do this Chinese New Year, we wish you all happiness, luck, and prosperity!

Read more! Check out the biggest Do's & Don'ts for a Rockin' Year of the Rooster, and see What's On in Hong Kong.

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Jenny Leung

Senior editor

Born in Hong Kong and raised in the UK, Jenny grew up with the best of both worlds. She loves just about anything to do with music and doesn’t shy away from belting out a tune or two when it comes to karaoke. If she’s not out and about exploring the city and practising her photography skills, she’s probably tucked up in bed with a book or glued to her laptop doing her online shopping.