Chinese New Year is celebrated with much splendour in Hong Kong. The city comes alive during this period, with many festive events lined up throughout the week.
Some attractions to look out for include a night parade, signature fireworks display, fragrant flower markets, temples and the ever-popular horse races. The mood of the metropolis is further elevated by locals who engage in merrymaking.
For travellers thinking of experiencing the Lunar New Year here, Hong Kong Tourism Board has come up with some suggestions on things to do and sights to see.
Catch one of the many flower markets in the city, where locals shop for seasonal flowers and plants that symbolise different well wishes. Cherry blossoms are believed to improve romantic luck while water bamboos are said to bring wealth.
For a full-fledged experience, visit Victoria Park or Fa Hui Park, two of the biggest and most popular flower markets which are packed with people in the evening.
CNY Day One
Start the year with a spiritual walk. Many locals go hiking on this day as climbing uphill signifies progress in life. The perfect place to go for such a walk is Lantau Island, home to the world’s tallest sitting Buddha statue built outdoors. Stop at Ngong Ping Village to visit its beautiful gardens, before heading to Po Lin Monastery to sample some vegetarian dishes.
In the evening, head over to Tsim Sha Tsui to catch the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade. Be entertained by dazzling floats including those by Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park Hong Kong. There are also performances by dancers and acrobats from around the world.
CNY Day Two
Venture to the New Territories for some morning fresh air and try placard throwing at the Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po. Buy a placard, which is tied to an orange, write your wishes on it, and throw it at the Wishing Tree. The higher the placard hangs, the greater the chance of wishes coming true.
When the sun sets, head to Victoria Harbour for a fireworks display. The 30-minute spectacle is best viewed for free along the harbourfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, or International Finance Centre in Central.
CNY Day Three
Paying respect to the deities is a customary practice among locals, especially the older generation. For a glimpse of this tradition, visit Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai. Try “Kau Chim”, or fortune stick drawing, to see what fortune awaits in the Year of the Pig. Remember to spin the temple’s famous copper windmill clockwise for good luck.
From Che Kung Temple, take the MTR East Rail Line to Sha Tin Racecourse for the Chinese New Year Race Day. The special races, which are the first in the Year of the Pig, provide the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience horseracing, a hugely popular activity in Hong Kong.