How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong Like a Local

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong Like a Local

Spend the Chinese New Year with a bang, and where else to celebrate it but in Hong Kong?

Contributed by Eat. Sleep. Travel. Repeat.

Tsim Sha Tsui

A giant cat brings in good luck for Hong Kong. At Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Chinese New Year is one of the most celebrated holidays of the calendar year. Even countries outside of China, Hong Kong and Macao observe this event as a sign of welcoming prosperity and abundance in the coming lunar year.

Yet here we were, celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong!

The timing of my return to Asia’s World City could not have been more appropriate with the festive fever all around. Dragons, lanterns, prosperity trees, you name it. Even with a busy city of Hong Kong where people work day in and day out, they still find time to welcome the New Year!

Also read: Last-Minute Beach Getaways for Chinese New Year 2016

If your visit to Hong Kong falls on the days leading up to or on Chinese New Year, you are in so much luck! Based from our experience in welcoming the Year of the Goat (2015), here is how to celebrate this wonderful holiday like a Hongkonger!

What to expect

Accommodation may be a bit pricey

Like most countries when you visit during peak seasons, hotel prices tend to increase especially when there would be an influx of tourists coming into Hong Kong to celebrate Chinese New Year. Make sure to watch out for hotel deals – there will be tons of them during the holidays – and grab them as early as possible. For a more budget-friendly approach, apps like AirBnb and CouchSurfing may get you better apartments to stay.

Observe business hours

Chinese New Year is highly observed by local Hongkongers as the holiday marks a time to gather with friends and family and celebrate the coming lunar year. Expect that most government offices, banks, shopping and dining centers will be closed during the during of the Chinese New Year. Some other retail and shopping malls may even be opened for extended periods of time. Stalls and street markets are often closed on the first two days of the New Year, and they resume business on the third. Just make sure not to panic when stores are closed on your visit in the holidays. Public transport is still very much available for everyone; just tune in on the diversions and detours they may be making as the night progresses for the parade and fireworks.

chinese new year hong kong

Crowds of people line up for a trip to see Big Buddha. Avoid, if possible, on peak season.

Tourists, tourists everywhere

Major attractions like The Peak, Big Buddha, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park operate on their usual hours on Chinese New Year. Holidays like these attract more tourists coming into Hong Kong, which makes most of these attractions full of people, making your visit not that fun and worthwhile anymore. Should these attractions be part of your itinerary, you may want to re-schedule your visits after the Chinese New Year celebrations, preferably on weekdays, when your allowed stay in Hong Kong permits. As much as possible, avoid the places that attract people coming in as it can be a time-eater with long lines and uncomfortable walks. Once work and school days resume, there would be less people coming in, though most of the time it still feels like a lot.

Also read: How to Plan a 4D3N Hong Kong DIY Trip

What to watch

International Chinese New Year Night Parade

One of Hong Kong’s iconic events in ringing in Chinese New Year, the Night Parade has become an annual spectacle of beautiful floats and impressive local and international performers taking over the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon Island. Crowds of people flock to the streets to catch this lively parade that starts at 8:30 in the evening on Chinese New Year’s Day. Make sure to find your spot as early as possible and get closer to the action!

chinese new year night parade

A local group takes center stage along the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui for the parade.

Lunar New Year Fireworks Display

The second night of Chinese New Year is dedicated to a majestic pyrotechnic display, shooting fireworks through the sky from Victoria Harbour, where thousands of people gather on both sides. The show may last for as long as 30 minutes. A recommended spot to view the fireworks is at the Avenue of Stars, where you have to position yourself at least before sunset so you can still gain admission to the viewing area.

avenue of stars

Waiting for fireworks from the Avenue of Stars.

A Symphony of Lights / Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show

The nightly display of laser lights and sounds is still a must-see show when in Hong Kong at eight in the evening. Buildings from both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island synchronize their lighting to the music. To appreciate this Symphony better, be at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront near the Avenue of Stars.

Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show

Pulse 3D Light Show emanating from Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade.

Making its debut just last October 2014, the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show has also become a nightly attraction that puts on amazing audiovisual effects. The show takes place after A Symphony of Lights and displays on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, and it creates a feature according to the currently celebrated theme.

Also read:5 Places to Shop at in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

A city is often transformed whenever a holiday comes over. Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is one of those moments that draws a lot of attention, especially in a city that has already become a major tourist hub in Asia, no matter the occasion.

hong kong skyline

Hong Kong island skyline from Kowloon.

For more information on weaving through Asia’s World City, make sure to check out my blog on Hong Kong.

For now, just stay tuned and we hope you could hop on a plane to scream Kung Hei Fat Choi in China next year!

About Author

Ramon Gahob Jr.
Ramon Gahob Jr.

Ramon is a dreamer who lives by the motto ''I eat, sleep, travel, repeat". He believes that travel is the best investment a person can have that can make life rich with experiences and adventures, and can push the boundaries of how far one can go. He spends most of his free hours looking up where to go next, creating ways to make them happen, and reflecting on an amazing life thus far.


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