Chinatowns Around the World to Celebrate Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year (Gong hei fat choy – Chinese New Year greeting in Cantonese) - also known as Spring Festival, is a time of festivities and feasts and is celebrated around the world. According to Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the year of the rat, which is rumored to bring fortune, love and new opportunities! Traditionally, festivities begin on the 17th of January and end on the 8th of February, with the actual Chinese New Year taking place on Saturday 25th of January 2020. During the three weeks, celebration is split into three parts: little year (which is a time for preparation), spring festival (25th of January to 4th of February) and the iconic lantern festival (8th of February).
For those travelers who can’t make the trip to China to enjoy the festivities, Booking.com, the digital travel leader with a mission to make it easier for everyone to travel the world, shares some of the top destinations across the globe to celebrate Chinese New Year, endorsed by Booking.com travelers1.
Aside from the perfect place to stay, Booking.com is also sharing some of the top Chinese New Year taboos to keep in mind to avoid bad luck:
No negative words should be spoken
Avoid breaking anything made from ceramic or glass
Resist cleaning or sweeping, as this can sweep away good luck!
Avoid using scissors
Avoid wearing unlucky colors (black or white)
Avoid washing your clothes during the festivities, as this supposedly washes away good luck!
Whether you are a seasoned Chinese New Year reveler, or someone who hasn’t experienced it before, consider adding these destinations and nearby places to stay to your bucket list for an epic Chinese New Year celebration.
Travelers living in or visiting the UK and who are keen to celebrate Chinese New Year, should visit Liverpool. Home to a vibrant Chinatown that’s located south of the city center, visitors will enter Liverpool’s Chinatown through its iconic ceremonial arch, which is in fact, the tallest arch in any Chinatown outside of mainland China2 and was a gift from Shanghai. Explore the illuminated streets of Chinatown, Boldstreet and Liverpool ONE, and see the thousands of Chinese lanterns, which are out in full force to celebrate the Lantern Festival.
Where to stay: Ideally situated with a ten minute walk from Chinatown, Chavasse Apartments offer a cosy stay in a central location. The apartment boasts a rooftop terrace, perfect for catching a glimpse of the Chinese New Year fireworks and lanterns.
Bangkok, ThailandVenture to Yaowarat Road for Bangkok’s very own Chinatown - a haven of culinary delights, shopping and Chinese temples. Experience a sensory overload of sights, smells and sounds and enjoy the blend of Thai and Chinese cultures. Among the many gilded temples, Wat Traimit, located in Chinatown, is a must-see as it houses the Golden Buddha, the largest gold Buddha statue in the world. Enjoy the art of organized chaos, with a trip to Sampeng Lane Market. Not only is it the ideal spot for affordable trinkets and exotic street food, it was in fact the original high-street of Chinatown. Head around the corner to Yaowarat Road on Saturday 25th of January 2020 for the main celebrations and witness the spectacular dragon parades and light a candle at the Kuan Yim Shrine and Dragon Flower Temple.
Where to stay: The Orientale hostel is an ideal spot for travelers seeking a budget stay, as it’s located less than one mile from the popular Chinatown. The hostel also boasts a sun terrace, perfect for travelers wishing to see the sights of the Chinese New Year festivities without the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
Yokohama, JapanYokohama’s Chinatown has a history dating back more than 160 years and is the largest Chinatown in Japan. Travelers exploring Yokohama can meander through the narrow and colorful streets and sample foodie favorites including steamed buns and ramen noodles. After indulging in delicious Chinese cuisine, head to the popular site of Kanteibyo, which is an impressive colored temple in the center of Chinatown. In addition to Chinese New Year in January, Yokohama also boasts a 15-day spring festival where locals and travelers alike can celebrate by viewing the iconic Lion Dance and Celebration Parade.
Where to stay: Hare-Tabi Traveler's Inn Yokohama hostel is ideal for explorers on a budget. The hostel is situated in the middle of Chinatown and is a great meeting place for travelers as it has a shared lounge and dormitories.
San Francisco, USThe bustling Chinatown of San Francisco is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the US and boasts an array of restaurants, tea shops, karaoke bars, galleries, herbal shops, a two-story marketplace and an iconic Dragon’s Gate. If travelers are lucky enough to be in the area on Saturday the 8th of February 2020, do not miss out on the Grand Parade, including a 28-foot-long golden dragon, floats, dancers and music; but make sure you get there early to get a good spot, as this is one of the largest Chinese New Year parades in the world!
Where to stay: Travelers looking to celebrate Chinese New Year in San Francisco will love staying at the Stanford Court San Francisco, as this boutique hotel is just a short walk from the lively Chinatown.
Melbourne, AustraliaTake a trip to the Central Business District of Melbourne and discover the lively Chinatown. Soak up history and heritage at the Chinese Museum and enjoy delicious Chinese food in one of the many authentic restaurants. For the past 160 years, the Melbourne Chinese New Year festival has been celebrated in this Chinatown. Join in the festivities with fellow partygoers and head to Chinatown on Sunday 2nd of February 2020 and be one of the thousands of spectators watching the mesmerizing Dai Loong Big Dragon Parade.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of Melbourne’s restaurant and theatre district on Little Bourke Street, is the Ovolo Laneways hotel, which is just a five minute walk from Chinatown. Guests can immerse themselves in everything Melbourne has to offer with theatre, shopping, sporting arenas, art galleries, restaurants and bars all within an easy walking distance.
Montreal, CanadaDiscover Montreal’s Chinatown with a trip to De la Gauchetière street, nestled between Downtown Montreal and Old Montreal. Although this L-shaped Chinatown may be one of the smaller Chinatowns in the world, it is loved by locals and returning visitors from all over the globe. Keep an eye out for the striking dragon beard candy stand, as this is the only place to try this bizarre hair-like candy in North America. If you’re hoping to celebrate Chinese New Year but want to avoid the crowds, buy a ticket for the Chinese New Year Gala on Saturday 18th of January 2020 at the Théâtre Maisonneuve and expect a celebration of dancing, singing and acrobatics.
Where to stay: Sonder — Quartier des Spectacles offers modern apartments in a convenient location, it’s just a 5 minute walk from Chinatown. Each apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, perfect for travelers hoping to create their own culinary masterpiece by cooking an authentic Chinese dish to celebrate the New Year.
1Methodology: The list was based on endorsements from international Booking.com users who travelled to these destinations. The destinations had to receive 200 endorsements in the category “Chinatown” to be considered, and were selected on the basis of share of total endorsements.
2BBC. Liverpool’s Chinese arc ten years standing [online]. Liverpool, 19th February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/liverpool/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/newsid_8522000/8522792.stm