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5 best Chinese New Year celebrations around the world

These destinations are renowned for going all out for Chinese New Year. If you're planning to celebrate in style, this is where you want to be.

Whether you call it Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the biggest day on the Asian calendar - and this year, it falls on Friday 16 February 2018.

Street parties, lion dances and decadent banquets will be held in the lead-up to and during Chinese New Year across Asia, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and, of course, China.

For anyone travelling to see the celebrations, we suggest you get there early and stay at least two weeks. Celebrations begin the evening before Chinese New Year and continue through to the Lantern Festival, which is 15 days later. And don't forget to check out our deals on travel during Chinese New Year.

Here are our picks of the best of the best you should see at least once in your lifetime:


Best destinations for Chinese New Year celebrations

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1. Beijing

For the hub of Chinese New Year celebrations, go straight to the source. Beijing and Shanghai are said to host the best Chinese New Year celebrations with carnivals, firecrackers and parades pulling anyone and everyone into the streets to cut loose and celebrate.

  • Where to go: Beijing and Shanghai
  • What to expect: Carnivals, firecrackers, parades, temple visits
  • Events to attend: Qing-Style Sacred Ceremony at the Ditan Temple Fair, Longging Ice and Snow Festival at Longging Gorge

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2. Hong Kong

Blending old traditions and customs with modern practices, Hong Kong's Chinese New Year is like no other. The festivities run for an mind-boggling 15-days during which time the city come alive with markets, fireworks, food stalls, florals and red glowing lanterns.

The pièce de résistance? A 20-minute fireworks display and International Chinese New Year Night Parade on the day of Chinese New Year. Simply unforgettable.

  • Where to go: Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Harbour
  • What to expect: Markets, fireworks displays, lanterns, parades
  • Events to attend: Night Parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, fireworks display over Victoria Harbour, Chinese New Year races at Sha Tin Racecourse

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Chinese New Year Fireworks Cruise with Unlimited Drinks

Chinese New Year Fireworks Cruise with Unlimited Drinks from Voyagin

Watch the brilliant, 26-minute firework show over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. Board an 80-foot yacht and dine on a hot and cold dinner buffet, sip unlimited wine, beer and soft drink and get lucky red envelopes.

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3. Singapore

The anticipation for Chinese New Year in Singapore is stifling. An annual countdown in the city's Chinatown begins three weeks prior with an official opening ceremony that includes fireworks and performances.

Arrive a week before Chinese New Year and you'll witness the street’s pre-war shophouses, temples and clan houses lit up in a spectacle of old meets new.

They'll remain lit for 19 continuous days.

  • Where to go: Chinatown
  • What to expect: Fireworks, street performances, decorated shopfronts and temples
  • Events to attend: International Lion Dance Competition, Chingay Parade

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4. Bangkok

Although the three-day-long celebrations in Bangkok are short, they most definitely are sweet.

The party opens with the Thai Princess, who partakes in the celebrations throughout the New Year. Bangkok’s Chinatown becomes a display of bright red and gold as floats, dancers and drummers parade down its streets. As the night wears on, the parade’s long dragon is lit up in LED lights to guide the way.

Lanterns glow throughout the streets and the night is further lit up with the crack and sparkle of firecrackers.

  • Where to go: Chinatown
  • What to expect: Parades with red and gold floats, street performers, dragon dancing
  • Events to attend: Dragon parade on Yaowarat Road, Golden Dragon Dance, Dragon Parade

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5. San Francisco

Proving that you should never underestimate the party power outside of Asia, San Francisco hosts a Chinese New Year celebration worthy of the trip.

Boasting one of the oldest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, its parade draws in over a million onlookers annually and consists of over 5,000 performers.

  • Where to go: Chinatown
  • What to expect: Parades with dancers, drummers, stilt walkers, dragon dancing and fireworks
  • Events to attend: Chinese New Year Parade, Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year celebration

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Chinese New Year Australia celebrations:

Chinese New Year in Sydney

Sydney is hosting a Chinese New Year festival from 16 February until 4 March, with more than 70 events across the city. Lunar lanterns will be scattered throughout the city poised in the shape of the zodiac signs in honour of the beginning of the Year of the Dog. To continue the theme, expect to find Year of the Dog art exhibitions, guide dog graduation ceremonies, and guide dog art installations.

Other intriguing events include a Chinese New Year concert, fireworks display over Sydney Harbour to welcome the new year, karaoke themed BridgeClimb and more than our fare share of Chinese New Year banquets and restaurant offerings throughout the CBD.

Chinese New Year in Melbourne

Melbourne's Chinatown hosts a Chinese New Year festival with this year's event starting on 15 February and running until 25 February.

Dogs will bark and celebrations will abound and although the 2018 festival details haven't been released yet, last year's events included roving performers throughout the day, a guess the number of fortune cookies contest and martial arts and lion dance lessons for children.

Chinese New Year in Brisbane

For one day and one day only Chinatown Mall in Fortitude Valley will be overrun with luck and joy. It celebrates the Year of the Dog on 17 February with lion dancers, fire shows, traditional music and cultural performances.

Hundreds join in to witness the stilt performers, ribbon dancers, paper cutting workshops and a fire cracker show. Starts from 4pm.

Chinese New Year in Perth

Join the Chinese New Year fair and festivals at Northbridge, Forrest Chase and Elizabeth Quay. This year's festival events have yet to be confirmed though you can expect nothing short of performances by lion dancers, traditional folk music players and martial artists are paired with food stalls, firecrackers and more during the day-long event.

Chinese New Year in Adelaide

From Rundle Mall to the Adelaide Night Markets to, obviously, Adelaide's China Town, the city of Adelaide is set to light up with celebrations and dancing over Chinese New Year. Exact dates have yet to be confirmed though lanterns, fireworks and firecrackers are likely on the cards.


Best Chinese New Year deals

Up to 50% off day tours and activities in Thailand

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Sample discounts include 50% off James Bond Island tours, 45% off Phi Phi Island day tours, 15% off Mae Ping River Cruises.

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40% off tour of Koh Phi Phi and Maya Bay tour

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Valid until June 2018 for a speed boat tour from Phuket, Thailand including hotel transfers and lunch.

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Hong Kong one-day tour from $23

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Valid on select dates. This is a 6-hour private tour. Destinations include seafood market in North Point, Ladies Market and Man's Market in Mongkok, Victoria Harbour and more.

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Up to 30% off last-minute deals Valid on select last-minute departures. Destinations vary, but include China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Bali. T&C's apply.

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40% off James Bond Island tour near Phuket

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Valid until June 2018 for a speed boat tour of Phang Nga Bay near Phuket, Thailand.

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Up to 40% off Singapore attractions and tours

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Sample discounts include 40% off Jurong Bird Park Singapore, 40% off Skyline Luge at Sentosa, 34% off Cable Car Singapore, 30% off Singapore Zoo entry.

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Up to 25% off Dusit Thani Pattaya hotel

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Valid until 30 September 2018 at Dusit Thani Pattaya, Thailand. T&C's apply.

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Up to 70% off hotel stays and vacation packages Destinations include Gold Coast, Port Douglas, Bali, Phuket, Fiji, Vietnam and Hawaii. Sample packages include a 5-night stay in Surfers Paradise for $299 (Regularly $579) and a 5-night package to Fiji for $999 (Regularly $2101),

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Hong Kong from $504 return with Philippine Airlines Valid select days in May and June. Sample fares include Sydney-Hong Kong for $512 return and Melbourne-Hong Kong for $529 return.

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Up to 20% off Hong Kong tours and activities

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Sample destinations are HK Island, Central, New Territories, and Kowloon. Book Walking Tour, Nature & Outdoors, Architecture & History, Hiking & Trekking, and more.

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Up to 10% off Asia hotels Valid on select hotels in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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Up to 10% off Big Bus tours Valid on select tours in Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Darwin, Dubai, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Miami, Muscat, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Vienna and Washington DC.

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Up to 75% off select worldwide tours and activities

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Valid on select dates. Destinations include Paris, Rome, New York, Singapore, Barcelona, Tokyo and more. T&C's apply.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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