Kick off this New Year with a bang
Before you know it, 2016 flew right by us and because it has been an undeniable rollercoaster ride for the entire world, the best thing we need right now is to start off the new year right, right here in Asia. Also, Chinese New Year – one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Asia – falls in January this year, so you can expect Asia to be booming with festivities and celebrations throughout the month!
So here are 25 reasons why Asia is the place to be this January!
– SINGAPORE –
1. Get the full Chinese New Year experience in Chinatown
Year after year, Chinatown has never disappointed both the locals and tourists in Singapore with their extravagant CNY festivities, celebrations and even competitions. Catch the official and highly anticipated light-up ceremony to Lion Dance Competitions and of course, the food stalls and bazaars that line up the streets.
Chinatown’s celebrations start from as early as 7 January so you’ll have ample time to soak up the festive atmosphere! Grab your pal and head over to their website for the full details of the event dates and timings!
Klook Pro-Tip: If you’re flying in for the festivities, skip Singapore’s always-crowded public transport and book yourself an airport transfer to arrive in style!
2. Witness the rise of the phoenix at Gardens by the Bay
This festive season, the iconic Gardens by the Bay will be showcasing a brand-new floral display drawing inspiration from the famous Chinese tale, Journey to the West. Expect breathtaking displays of dahlias, begonias and more as they take centre stage in the Flower Dome.
Flowers aside, the little ones will be entertained by LED dragons, lions and even stilt walkers with a stunt-filled dazzling performance at the Supertrees. Do look out for the debut of the biggest LED Phoenix to have ever grace the stage in Singapore! Head over to their website for the full details!
3. Dream big at Kidzania
Kidzania helps to bring every kid’s aspirations to life with over 80 role-playing activities mimicking real life professions like journalism and nursing and even a life-sized replica of an airplane for aspiring pilots and crew!
This Chinese New Year, Kidzania’s hosting a wide array of programmes, including calligraphy opportunities held daily for both the kids and their parents at the Main Square! While you’re there, don’t miss out on Martial House’s spectacular Wushu Performances as well. But best of all, every Kidzanian will be given a hongbao (red packet) containing 80 KidZos (currency used at Kidzania), because what’s CNY without hongbaos right?
4. Rock out to the latest Indie hits at the highly anticipated Laneway Festival
It’s always a great idea to start the year off with some good Indie music and which better place to do so than at the biggest music festival in the country – Laneway Festival? Held at the Meadow at Gardens by The Bay, it will be the 6th time the festival is held in Singapore and indie fans can be prepared for more than 12 hours of mosh pit fun.
Tickets are already being sold online through SISTIC and with a festival so big, expect the tickets to be sold out prior to the event! And even if you do get your tickets at the door sales, you probably have to pay at least 20% more! So do get your tickets soon or even grab your friends along because did we mention group packages push the prices even lower?
Klook Pro-Tip: Get a 4G SIM Card so you can get the best deals on the tickets ASAP, unless you’re totally okay with the (very expensive) door sales prices!
Location: Meadow, Gardens by The Bay. 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Date: 21 January 2017
Price: From S$166
Nearest MRT Station: Bayfront Station
5. Escape the crowds and head to an art fair at Art Stage Singapore
If you’re not a fan of crowds you can head to Art Stage Singapore, the leading art fair in the whole of Asia. Happening from 12-15 January, the 4-day long Art Stage Singapore will be held at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre and houses some of Asia’s best art works.
Just last year, there were a total of 173 art galleries out of which 32 were from Singapore! Visitors, art collectors and art fans alike can purchase your tickets through SISTIC now. There are also a whole bunch of discounts offered as well, so be sure to check that out!
Location: Sands Expo & Convention Centre, 1 Bayfront Ave, 018971
Date: 12-15 January 2017
Price: From S$32
Nearest MRT Station: Bayfront Station
– Thailand –
6. Discover your love for boats at the Phuket International Boat Show
Everyone wants to own a yacht one day, but for now, the best we can do is attend the Phuket International Boat Show, which is immensely popular amongst both locals and tourists in Thailand.
The 4-day event will showcase an impressive collection of some of the best yachts owned by shipyards from around the world including the luxurious Ferretti Yachts. Expect fashion shows, live band performances and even cooking classes at this year’s International Boat Show, proving there’s something for everyone even if you’re not a luxury yacht fan!
Location: Royal Phuket Marina, Thepkasattri Rd, T. Kohkaew, A. Muang, Phuket 83200, Thailand
Date: 5-8 January 2017
Contact: +66 76 360 811
7. Design your own brolly at Chiang Mai’s Umbrella Festival
Watch Bo Sang’s streets come alive with the vibrant colours of thousands of traditional Thai umbrellas as the locals come together to celebrate the Bo Sang Umbrella Festival just 6km away from Chiang Mai!
Held on the 17 and 18 January, expect umbrella-making demonstrations, musical performances and the highlight of the whole festival – a parade with stunning floats created by the locals. The festival also hosts the annual Bo Sang beauty pageant, so you can expect to see a few eye candies there as well!
Location: Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
Date: 17-18 January 2017
Contact: +66 76 360 811
8. Take part in Thailand’s biggest Chinese New Year celebrations at Chinatown!
Yaowaraj, also known as the Chinatown of Bangkok, comes to life every year during Chinese New Year with festivities lining the streets up the streets from day to night.
Feast your eyes on dragon dancers, spectacular parades and stunning fireworks, making Chinatown the place to be in Bangkok over the Lunar New Year!
Location: Yaowarat, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
9. Spend a family day out at Bangkok’s Safari World
If you have the luxury to travel with your kids this month, it’s never a bad idea to take them to Safari World Bangkok where there’s definitely something to do for the whole family! Safari World sets itself apart from the other typical zoos for one very good reason: its animals roam freely.
Here you can literally get up close and personal with the animals and learn all about them. Head to the giraffe feeding platform where not only will you be able to feed the friendly giants, there are plenty of photo opportunities as well!
Location: 99 Panyaintra Road, Samwatawantok, Bangkok 10510, Thailand
Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm daily
Contact: +66 2 518 1000
Nearest station: Mo Chit Station
10. Kick back with a massage from one of Bangkok’s best spas
Being in the land of smiles isn’t complete without a massage or a spa treatment of some sorts. (Well, besides shopping.) And considering how it’s going to be so packed with festivities everywhere, the best thing you need right now is some good ol’ me-time.
What’s better, Klook is having an exclusive promo on the world-renowned and award-winning packages from Let’s Relax Spa! Simply enter the promo code: RELAX10 and enjoy an additional 10% off when you book the treatments and packages through Klook!
Location: (Sukhumvit branch) Sukhumvit Soi 39 (Phrompong), North Klongton, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand
Hours: 10:00am – Midnight daily
Price: from S$24
Contact: +66 2 662 6936
Nearest station: Sukhumvit Station
– Hong Kong –
11. Make a wish at the Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival
Probably a wishing tradition unlike any other, the Hong Kong Well Wishing Festival takes place in Hong Kong’s New Territories centred around an unlikely main star: the famous Lam Tsuen wishing trees!
Legend has it that a fisherman threw his wishes into every tree for protection, and since then this has been a tradition unique to the area. All you have to do is write your wish on a piece of joss paper, tie it to an orange and toss it over the wishing tree. If the “wish” lands securely on a branch, it’s believed your wish will come true!
The weight of all the wishes over the years have caused some wear and tear on the actual Lam Tsuen trees themselves so the tradition is carried out using fake trees, though visitors can still pray to the Lam Tsuen trees and pay respects if they’ve managed to successfully cast one!
Location: Lam Tsuen, Hong Kong
Hours: From 28 January 2017
Nearest station: Tai Wo Station (free shuttle or taxi to Lam Tsuen Wishing Square)
12. Be part of the Chinese New Year parade at Tsim Sha Tsui
A classic annual favourite amongst the locals, the Hong Kong Chinese New Year Parade is held along the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui and features a wide array of performances, with highlights such as Lion Dance performances, huge colourful floats and of course, fireworks.
We should add that this 1.5-hour parade that falls on the evening of the first day of CNY, has big name sponsors that include Hong Kong Disneyland, so you can expect Disney-related floats cruising through the streets as the Chinese New Year songs play in the background!
Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon (Parade starts at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza)
Hours: 8:00pm – 9:45pm
Nearest station: East Tsim Sha Tsui station Station
13. Don’t miss the glorious fireworks at Victoria Harbour
Fun fact: Firecrackers are thought to scare away the evil spirits and help bring in good fortune for the coming year! And with that, fireworks display has been a key must-have for any Lunar New Year related celebrations in Hong Kong!
The best of the lot has got to be at Victoria Harbour, where the annual must-see Hong Kong Chinese New Year Fireworks event is held. In fact, this 25-minute long display is often dubbed the most amazing fireworks display in the world!
Location: Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Hours: Midnight, first day of Lunar New Year
Nearest station: East Tsim Sha Tsui Station
14. CNY Celebrations at Hong Kong Disneyland
Of lanterns, hongbaos, lion dances and more, the iconic Hong Kong Disneyland offers its own rendition Lunar New Year festivities with your favourite Disney characters donning traditional costumes and wishing you “Gung Hei Fat Choy!”, a common greeting used by the locals during this period!
Disneyland festivities will kick off as early as a week prior to the new year, and features a different lead character every year. For example, Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger took centre stage during the year of the Tiger, and Mickey and Minnie in the year of the mouse. So being that 2017 is the year of the Rooster… we’ll just have to wait and see, right?
Location: Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Date: From mid-January 2017
Nearest station: Disneyland Resort Station
15. Chinese New Year Race at Sha Tin Racecourse
Hong Kong’s biggest horse racing event of the year takes place at the Sha Tin Racecourse on the third day of the Lunar New Year with more than 100,000 fans flocking to the stadium to place their bets on one of the only two legal gambling activities in the country (horse-racing and rugby!).
The twist in this however, is that the money collected from these horse races actually go straight to charity! Guests can also look forward to the Grand Opening Ceremony, where an exciting line-up of performances such as lion dances and musical and cultural performances awaits!
Location: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Sha Tin Racecourse Stand, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Date: 31 January 2017
Price: Minimum bet of HKD10 (~SGD 1.86)
Nearest station: Causeway Bay Station
– Macau –
16. Catch dazzling fireworks from the top of the Macau Tower
Macau’s famous landmark takes part in the country’s Lunar New Year celebrations by showcasing an impressive display of fireworks on the first day, giving locals and tourists alike another good reason to visit this whopping 223m tall tower! Additionally, the Macau Tower will be celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year so guests can look forward to a wide range of exclusive activities including lucky draws, special discounts and more.
To get the best seat in the house to view the fireworks, opt for a dinner at the tower’s revolving restaurant before the display!
Location: South Bay New Reclamation Area, Macau, China
Date: 28 January 2017
Contact: +853 2893 3339
Buses: 9A, 18, 23, 26, 32, MT4
17. Let loose at the Macau City Fringe Festival
Initially slated for November 2016, the Macau City Fringe Festival is postponed to 13-22 January 2017 and this yearly arts event is expected to be the biggest yet. Art lovers or those that are just a fan of Macau’s city style and architecture should definitely visit this festival because this is where Macau’s colourful culture takes centre stage.
Taking place in almost every popular iconic landmark in Macau, performances showcasing dance, drama, street art and even puppetry can be enjoyed. So yes, the Macau City Fringe Festival will be pretty hard to miss if you’re in the city!
18. See a 200m-long dragon at Senado Square
Fancy witnessing a 200m-long dragon winding through the Macau districts that house about 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites? Then head over the Senado Square this CNY, because this historic gem of Macau transforms into a joyous annual occasion that hosts a variety of events, including the usuals like lion dances and floats parades.
Although the highlight of the show would have to be the 200m dragon dance, for which you might want to find a good viewing spot early! The parade starts from Senado Square, and goes through the districts of Lilau Square, A-Ma Temple, and finally, Sai Van Lake Square.
Location: Largo do Senado, Macau
Date: 28 January 2017
Buses: 3, 3A, 4, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 19, 21A, 26A, 33
19. House of Dancing Water
A performance that combines the use of 3.7 million gallons of water (that’s equivalent to 5 olympic-sized swimming pools!) and a troupe of talented individuals makes the House of Dancing Water the top must-see when visiting Macau. Showing at City of Dreams, this spectacle is created by world-renowned show maker, Franco Dragone!
Widely popular, this almost-always sold out show has seen viewers at the edge of their seats with the stunning acrobatic performances that follows the love story of a shipwrecked stranger, a beautiful imprisoned princess, and an evil stepmother. Kind of like a Disney movie with the addition of acrobats and lots of water!
Location: Dancing Water Theatre, Level 1 at City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau
Hours: 5:00pm and 8:00pm
Contact: +63 2 800 8080
20. Macau Gondola Rides
Start your year off on a romantic note as you cruise through the canals in “Macau’s Venice” AKA the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. Your experience is complete with a Gondolier that has prepared a few of his Italian Opera vocals to charm you throughout your journey.
You can also opt for an on-site photographer that’ll capture every little detail of your experience that you can piece together in the form of a perfect memorabilia of your trip!
Location: The Venetian Macau, Estrada de Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, Taipa, Macau
Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Contact: +853 2882 8888
– Vietnam –
21. Full Moon Night – Hoi An
Watch the quaint old waterside town of Hoi An transform into a Disney movie for a few days every month as all of Vietnam gather to celebrate the Full Moon Night! The practice of releasing these paper lanterns into the Thu Bon supposedly brings the bearer happiness, good luck and and love. All the lights in Hoi An are turned off on this special night, illuminated only by flickering candlelight of lanterns being lit from every corner.
The Full Moon Night happens on the 14th day of every lunar month and you can view the calendar for the rest of the year here. Definitely something not to miss if you’re planning a trip to Hoi An!
Date: 11 Jan 2017
How to Get Here: Hoi An is approximately an hour’s drive from the city of Da Nang
22. Dong Thap Tourism Week
The Mekong Delta province of Southern Vietnam will host their first ever Tourism Week this month! The region thrives on its flower exports, so expect plenty of colourful flora and fauna and even an attempt to set a new World Record with Vietnam’s largest flower waterfall with more than 2,500 baskets of flowers from Sa Dec Flower Village!
Titled “A Place Where Four Seasons Bloom”, visitors will get to sample a variety of handmade local cuisine and learn about the fabric of the local community through local handicraft at three locations: Sa Đéc Park, Tân Quy Đông Flower Village and Tân Phú Đông Flour Village.
Date: 7-14 Jan 2017
23. Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnamese Lunar New Year)
Tet Nguyen Dan is the Vietnamese version of the Lunar New Year and is one of the most important celebrations in Vietnamese culture! This all-in-one festival doesn’t just celebrate the beginning of a new year, it also celebrates nature, culture, the living and the dead.
Visitors can witness various traditional rituals and ceremonies performed during this period throughout Vietnam. Get in on all the colourful action at Ho Chi Minh’s Chinatown district and join in the revelry together with the locals!
Date: 28 Jan 2017
24. Fire Dancing Festival of the Red Dao People
There are nearly 60 ethnic groups in Vietnam, each with their own unique culture and traditions. In the city Ha Giang, male members of the Pa Then or Red Dao ethnic group perform a unique rituals to worship the Fire God for health, happiness, luck and peace.
Agile male members of the Red Dao people then jump barefoot into a fire of burning coals for about 3 to 4 minutes each in hopes of securing a successful harvest for the year and chasing away demons and diseases. If you’re looking for a more cultural experience – it doesn’t get any more authentic than this!
Date: 28-29 Jan 2017
Location: Ha Giang
How to Get Here: From Hanoi, take a 8-hour bus journey from My Dinh bus station
25. Escape to Hoa Lu
All the Tet festivities can be a little overwhelming, so for those who want a little peace and quiet, why not venture into the Vietnamese countryside of Hoa Lu for a day of true escapism?
Once an ancient capital city of Vietnam, Hoa Lu has as many spectacular ruins as it does breathtaking nature respites. From the imposing Tam Coc (Three Caves) to ancient relics dating back to the Dinh and Le dynasties several centuries ago, it’s hard to believe this is just 2 hours away from bustling Hanoi!