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chinese new year

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Would Hong Kong or Sinapore be the best place to experience the Chinese New Year?
We are a family of 4 ( 2 boys aged 16& 11)
Planning a 3 day stop over on the way to Australia.

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    Beware that most shops, restaurants and other business establishments will be close for the week of the Chinese New Year.

    For a foreigner or non Chinese I would say that Hong Kong will be a better place to be at during the new year. Cooler weather and you can watch the festivities in more comfort.

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    Dear Steve:

    I lived in both Hong Kong and Singapore for 5 years each. I loved Singapore as a place to live, but would agree with the message below that Hong Kong would be a more interesting place to spend Chinese New Year. The weather is great at that time of year. All the skyscrapers will be lit with neon signs of good luck and other symbols in Chinese, which is something to see. Best of all, there are fireworks in the harbour (generally on the second night of the holiday, but check with your hotel), and they are spectacular. There are often lion dances around town too, which bring good luck to start the new year. All in all, it is an interesting time to be in the city.

    Please note that Chinese New Year is offically a 3-day holiday. Virtually everything but hotel restaurants will be closed on the first day, and many shops and restaurants will be closed on the second day. Unless you are really into shopping, this is not much of a problem. Also, its interesting to see the streets of Central deserted and shops closed - a very rare sight! It is also somewhat sobering to see several thousand of the 40,000 Philipina maids hanging out here on their day off.

    I would recommend walking around the Western or Causeway Bay sections of town on the first or second day, as you will see lots of families going to their "reunion dinners".

    For the kids, there is a small zoo in Central at the Botanical Gardens. There is a nice aviary as part of Hong Kong Park (near to the tram to the Peak). When you go to the Peak, look for signs for Luggard Road near the tram station at the top. This is a road which wraps around the Peak and gives great views all around. It is flat (very rare in Hong Kong!) and takes about an hour. There is a large waterpark near Deep Water Bay; however it may be too cold for some of the rides. There is a good dolphin/seal show. There is also a panda enclosure there where you can see the giant pandas.

    A trip to Stanley on the double decker public bus which goes over the mountains is a must -- the kids will enjoy the ride more than shopping in Stanely. Be sure to get the bus which takes the mountain route, and NOT the Aberdeen Tunnel route. I believe they are the #6 and #6A buses, but please check with your hotel. Better yet, get on the bus at the main bus terminus at Exchange Square in Central. The buses start from here, and there is a map showing the route, so you can be sure of getting on the right bus. The fare is HK$7 or so (about US$1). Try to get as close the the front upstairs as you can. The Boathouse in Stanley is a good place for lunch, although there are several good restaurants along the quay in Stanely. On the way back, stop at Repulse Bay and walk the huge curving beach to the temple of Tin Hau (goddess of the sea) at the end.

    The giant buddha on Lantau is an interesting side trip, but if you only have 2-3 days, I would not attempt it, as it will take the better part of a day.

    Have a great trip!

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    Keep in mind that Chinese New Year is mainly a holiday people spend celebrating with family... if you can find a local to let you see things from the "inside" you'll have a much more interesting view of the celebration!

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