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China is famous worldwide for celebrating its own Lunar New Year that takes place early in the year. The country does not host a mass celebration of the traditional New Year. However, there are still plenty of people who celebrate it with loads of fun activities.

Many people dream of visiting an exotic country like China. The New Year can pose as a great excuse to finally do so. Checking off an item on your bucket list just by being there can be a great way of ringing in the New Year. And there are so many things to do on your first trip to China.

places to visit in china

If you end up deciding to go, here is your guide to spending the New Year in China 101.

Why travel for New Year in China?

People in different places care differently about New Year's Eve. While Christmas is the time to stay home or visit your parents and spend a couple of days seeing family or old friends, New Year's Eve is usually an excuse to go out and party. This can sometimes get tiring when it is repeated year after year, so many people opt for using up some of their vacation days.

Traveling for New Year has become pretty common. It can be particularly fun if you choose to visit a country like China that is somewhat exotic and probably far from everything that you are used to.

Starting off your year by visiting a new place can be quite energizing and exciting. You'll kick it off by being adventurous, trying out new things and broadening your horizons. Some people even want to move after visiting an interesting foreign country. Even if it does not inspire such extreme plans, it is definitely bound to offer plenty of opportunities for reflection at the very least.

Where to go for New Year in China?

If you have come all the way to China, chances are you want to spend your time there to the fullest. Perhaps the New Year's Eve in China itself is not even that important to you, because there is so much to do and see at all times of the day. Here are some of the places you can go while spending the New Year in China.

1. Shanghai


This global financial hub is a popular travel destination year-round. Like elsewhere in China, Chinese New Year is celebrated much more widely than the one you will be there for. But still there are plenty of things to do in Shanghai. There are many large public events on offer. However, you can also find ways to experience this great city while doing something a little smaller in scale.

Much like visiting any other major city, it might be a good idea to see what you might be interested in beforehand and plan your stay at least a little bit in advance. One of the things you definitely shouldn’t miss is walking along the streets of the former French Concession. This part of the city is very popular among tourists.

One of the reasons is because it has retained a lot of its original architecture and charm. Besides taking long walks and admiring its architecture, the streets are lined with bars you can pop in and out of.

Another thing you can do on actual New Year's Eve is to visit the late-night street food market of Shouning Lu. Here you will be able to toast in the New Year with traditional Chinese drinks and delicious delicacies. Your activities will be those of a typical New Year celebration, but they will contain the twist of trying some things you have probably never tried before.

You'll ring in the New Year acquiring some new favorites, that is for sure. Some other typical things you can do while spending the New Year in China is having fun in a karaoke bar or enjoying the fireworks and laser shows taking place on the Bund Promenade or one of the squares.

2. Hong Kong


If you decide to spend New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, you will be treated to an unparalleled fireworks show across the Hong Kong skyline. One of the things you can do on the day is to climb your way up to Victoria Peak. From here, you can enjoy the view of the city. After that, you can visit some of its street markets.

The colonial air of the legendary Peninsula hotel is where you might want to have afternoon tea before the big night on the town.

For the stroke of midnight itself, you can find your way to one of Hong Kong’s many rooftop bars. There you’ll be able to enjoy the view of this majestic city while enjoying a traditional New Year’s celebration. However, there is a way to truly ring in the New Year in a memorable way.

You can arrange for a junk in Victoria Harbor, which is a type of traditional Chinese sailing boat. Imagine making your way in a slow-moving boat just as the clock strikes midnight.

3. Dali


If you are looking to get a more traditional taste when spending the New Year in China, you may want to opt for visiting Dali Old Town. Visiting Dali offers opportunities for a more spiritual as well as a more relaxing experience. Tea is a big deal in Yunnan province. During the day, you can visit tea plantations and learn about the art of making tea firsthand.

A Bai three-cup ceremony of drinking tea is another unique tradition you can experience here. During this ceremony, you get to drink three different teas. The final one you drink is actually a mixture of various different flavors. It symbolizes the importance of accepting all that life throws at you. This just might be the note you want to end your year on.

In the evening, you can ring in the New Year enjoying the traditional local delicacies and artisanal products. There are actually tours available to take you through surrounding villages for a taste of the local traditional goods. You will learn something new while thoroughly enjoying yourself in the process.

Nian gao or New Year Cake is made of sticky glutinous rice or yellow rice; a traditional festive cake during Chinese New Year. Chewy and sticky when it’s fresh from the steamer, firmer and sweet later. Steamed Fish is a must for Chinese New Year reunion dinner; it symbolizes surplus/extra. The typical blessing is Nián nián yǒuyú - wishing you have a surplus of food and money every year.
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