Chinatowns Around the World to Celebrate Chinese New Year
Gong hei fat choy! Also known as Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a time of festivities and feasts and is celebrated around the world. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the year of the rat, which is rumored to bring fortune, love and new opportunities! Traditionally, festivities begin on January 17 and end on February 8, with the actual Chinese New Year taking place on Saturday January 25, 2020. During the three weeks, celebration is split into three parts: little year (which is a time for preparation), spring festival (January 25 to February 4) and the iconic lantern festival (February 8).
For those travelers who can’t make the trip to China to enjoy the festivities, we're sharing some of the top destinations across the globe to celebrate Chinese New Year, as endorsed by Booking.com travelers.*
In addition to showcasing the perfect places to stay, we're also sharing some of the top Chinese New Year taboos to keep in mind in order to avoid bad luck in the coming year:
- 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 who are keen to celebrate Chinese New Year should visit Liverpool. Located south of the city center, visitors enter the city's vibrant Chinatown through an iconic ceremonial arch, which is in fact, the tallest arch in any Chinatown outside of mainland China** and a gift from the city of Shanghai. Explore the illuminated streets of Chinatown, Boldstreet and Liverpool ONE, and enjoy the thousands of Chinese lanterns out in full force for the celebrations.
Where to stay: Ideally situated just 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.
Promising a guaranteed sensory overload, venture to Yaowarat Road to revel in the unique mix of Thai and Chinese culture in the heart of Bangkok’s very own Chinatown. Among the many gilded temples in the area, Wat Traimit is a must-see as it houses the largest gold Buddha statue in the world. An epicenter of organized chaos, Sampeng Lane Market is the ideal spot for affordable trinkets and exotic street food, and was in fact the original high-street of Bangkok's Chinatown. For the main Chinese New Year celebrations, head around the corner to Yaowarat Road on Saturday January 25, 2020 to witness the spectacular dragon parades. Afterwards, you can light a candle at the Kuan Yim Shrine and Dragon Flower Temple.
Where to stay: Less than a mile away from Chinatown, The Orientale is an ideal spot for travelers seeking a budget stay in Bangkok. The hostel boasts a roof terrace, perfect for travelers who want to kick back and enjoy the spectable of Chinese New Year festivities above the hustle and bustle of the crowds below.
The largest in Japan, Yokohama’s Chinatown has a history dating back more than 160 years. Travelers exploring Yokohama can meander through the narrow and colorful streets, sampling steamed buns and bowls of ramen. After indulging in delicious Chinese cuisine, head to the popular Kanteibyo, an colorful and impressive temple in the center of Chinatown. In addition to Chinese New Year in January, Yokohama also boasts a 15-day spring festival which features the iconic Lion Dance and Celebration Parade.
Where to stay: Right in the middle of Chinatown, Hare-Tabi Traveler's Inn Yokohama is a great place to connect with other travelers and swap stories.
San Francisco, US
The bustling Chinatown of San Francisco is one of the oldest in the US and boasts an array of restaurants, tea shops, karaoke bars, galleries, herbal shops, a two-story marketplace and the iconic Dragon’s Gate. If you're lucky enough to be in the area on Saturday February 8, 2020, make sure to check out the Grand Parade, which includes 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: If you're keen to celebrate the Year of the Rat in style, the boutique Stanford Court San Francisco is just a short walk from San Francisco's lively Chinatown.
Take a trip to the Central Business District of Melbourne to discover the city's lively Chinatown, where the city's Chinese New Year festival has been celebrated for the past 160 years! You can soak up some history and heritage at the Chinese Museum before enjoying a delicious helping of Chinese food in one of the cistrict's many authentic restaurants. To join in the festivities, make sure you're there on Sunday February 2, 2020. You'll 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 short 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 easy walking distance.
Discover 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 beloved 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 January 18, 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, just a short walk from Chinatown. Each apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, perfect for travelers hoping to to celebrate the Chinese New Year with an authentic culinary creation of their own.
*Methodology: 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.
**BBC. 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