The past weekend saw the arrival of the Lunar New Year, and the start of the Year of the Snake. Seeing the celebrations across Asia reminded me of my own new year adventure, when I welcomed in the Year of the Rabbit with friends in Hong Kong, after a four week trek down China’s east coast.
Here’s what I had to say about Hong Kong back then, on Tianjin Tales…
A few hundred miles later, we were ready to welcome in the Year of the Rabbit. From the neon overload of Mong Kok and Nathan Road in Kowloon, to the sleek financial-come-retail real-estate across Victoria Harbour at Central, Hong Kong has everything you could ask for. Markets, high-end boutiques, smelly street food, classy bars, teeming side streets, deserted beaches, city-scapes, tropical retreats – this confusingly British-style Chinese city was the perfect place to celebrate New Year.
For Spring Festival, most Chinese stay at home with their families, where they welcome in the New Year by staying up watching TV, letting off fireworks and eating dinner together. To prepare for the New Year we went to the Flower Market, where a buzz similar to that of Christmas shopping hung in the air. Kumquats for prosperity, blossoms for happy relationships – people were buying in bulk to bring in luck. We welcomed the Year of the Rabbit with a visit to the Tian Tan Buddha and a beach or two before returning to Kowloon for the New Year parade and a night of dancing in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s party precinct.
Hong Kong was an exhilarating experience, a definite highlight of my Chinese travels, but we simply scratched the surface of what this global city has to offer. It’s a destination I definitely hope to return to one day. In the meantime, I’m ringing in the new year with some fried noodles and a Tsingtao!