China is certainly a country that skips to its own beat. Rich in diverse landscape, culture and cuisine, it's a land where the ancient traditions mix in with the modern as the locals 'sweep the bad luck' out of their houses. Plan your trip during the Chinese New Year and prepare to be blown away by the sea of colourful celebrations that play out before your eyes.
ShanghaiWith the country’s largest population, you won’t be short of people to party with in Shanghai and the year of the horse in 2014 will be no exception. It has everything you could want from a modern city, mixed in with a dash of irresistible colonial charm. The firework displays are second to none, with thousands of pounds spent each year but are not just there for aesthetic purposes. According to legend, an evil monster appears on New Year’s Eve and the loud noise and bright lights created by the fireworks are said to ward the beast off.
You are recommended to try and reserve a seat with a balcony view in a restaurant or bar. From here, you can observe the light show at a safe distance. At street level, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the seemingly dangerous amount let off by over excited locals. As the celebrations come to a close, you can watch an old fashioned lantern parade at Yu Yuan Old Town Bazaar, where the visually stunning, traditional lanterns have not yet been replaced with modern, electric versions.
BeijingChina’s capital is set to continue its strong influence over world economy, so it will come as no surprise that it has an incredibly modern vibe to it, whilst retaining much of its old school charm. Beijing is also the cultural capital of China, and acts as a magnet to artists, musicians and film makers, so expect extra effort and drama in both the look and feel of Beijing’s celebrations.
The major social activity here is dining out, regardless of whether you’re eating with your partner, family or clients, meaning good restaurants are plentiful. Do try the Peking duck. It’s tender, delicious and crispy-skinned and you won’t taste duck like it anywhere else. You may notice adults handing children small red envelopes whilst eating out over New Year. These contain money and are given in the hope that they will bring the child a successful and prosperous life.
Hong KongHome to high octane action movies, Hong Kong is a breath of fresh air. Impeccably well organised, it also has a reassuringly low crime rate. With towering, brightly lit skyscrapers, Hong Kong is a colourful city at the best of times, but takes it to a new level come new year. From the impressive fireworks down at Victoria Harbour, to the famous parade and even New Year horse racing, the activities are seemingly non-stop throughout the festival.
Locals love to shop in Hong Kong during the holidays and any tourist with the slightest of shopaholic tendencies would be mad to miss out. Almost every need and taste is catered to here. In fact, you’ll probably find that you end up needing items you never knew existed in the first place. The welcome lack of sales tax make prices attractive too, so make sure you leave plenty of space in your suitcase.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views on www.pinoyadventurista.com.
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