Maximize your Chinese New Year 2019 public holidays for a vacation to these uniquely beautiful places.
If you’re always bored of the local Chinese New Year celebrations, why not put those public holidays to good use? It’s never too early to plan for a getaway! Extend them with just three days of annual leave and you’ll get a nine days of holidays in total.
With just slightly over a week at your disposal, many destinations await you so we’ve compiled a list of the best holiday destinations. Whether you’re an island-hopper or urban explorer, there’s always a place for you!
Why Go: Nestled to the east of Bali, Lombok is home to gorgeous beaches and the majestic Mt Rinjani – the second tallest volcano in Indonesia. A popular trekking destination among seasoned hikers, the moutain rises to over 3,700 metres above sea level, and it takes about three to four days to reach the summit. If you’re not a volcano conqueror, Lombok’s pearly white beaches and marine life exploration (scuba diving, of course!) are also popular among couples looking for the perfect honeymoon.
Where to Stay: From budget bungalows to luxurious beach resorts and villas, Lombok has something for everybody. For a mid-range option, consider Puri Mas Beach Resort, a chic resort that hosts an art gallery, a diving school, a yoga garden, and a restaurant overlooking the sea. Nothing beats a Chinese New Year lunch with ocean breeze!
Don’t Miss: Visit the traditional weaving village of the Sasak tribe to experience their daily life of weaving, a traditional artform that has stood against the test of time. You can even support these diligent women by purchasing their fine quality textiles.
Why Go: Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a melting pot of Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French cultures. Decades of foreign influence has shaped the capital into an antique yet dynamic city, with delicious street food waiting for you at every turn. Escape the chaotic motorbike-filled roads and lose yourself through the alluring streets of time-worn shops, modern chic cafes, and colonial architectures.
Some restaurants may be closed during Chinese New Year (yes, they do celebrate too!), but tourist attractions are available all year round, so get packing!
Where to Stay: The Hanoi Laselva Hotel, surrounded by lush trees, is an affordable mid-range hotel in the bustling Old Quarter. Continental breakfast is complimentary at its chic restaurant with city views. The hotel also assists travellers with tours and bike rentals.
Don’t Miss: Hanoi also boasts natural wonders, such as the famed Ha Long Bay. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its emerald waters, labyrinths of 1,600 breathtaking islands and dazzling limestone pinnacles. Its outstanding scenic beauty is a must-see on a Hanoi trip.
Why Go: Tainan, the former capital of Taiwan during the Qing Dynasty, is Formosa’s oldest city. Venturing into Tainan feels like a step back in time, with many centuries-old temples and precious historic sites at every corner, waiting to tell you stories from its past. The Cigu Salt Mountain and Taiwan Salt Museum is a top attraction, where you can witness the laborious process of extracting salt and learn about Taiwan’s former backbone industry.
Where to Stay: Forgo the luxury of hotels and experience the trademark Taiwanese hospitality with homestays. Spend your Chinese New Year holidays at Trunk, a popular B&B in Tainan that offers clean and modern rooms in a refurbished rustic house.
Don’t Miss: Built towards the end of the 19th century, the Anping Tree House was once a warehouse, before it was abandoned in the 1940s. Over the century, a large banyan tree grew through the property, and became a habitat for wildlife such as squirrels and birds.
Why Go: Did you know? Kyoto narrowly escaped aerial bombings during World War II, and its 2,000 temples and shrines were spared the destruction. Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, and it’s also the heart of the geisha society, as well as the birthplace of cultural traditions like tea ceremony and kaiseki dining. Along with modern shops, restaurants, and cultural festivals, Kyoto is simply Japan in a nutshell.
Where to Stay: Kyoto has no shortage of international chains or local boutique hotels, but you should stay in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) at least once for that quintessential Kyoto experience. For budget-friendly travellers, try Ryokan Shimizu for a simple night in futons on tatami.
Don’t Miss: Kinkakuji, known as the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen temple and Kyoto’s most iconic sight. It became the retirement villa for Ashikaga Takauji, the formidable shogun and founder of the Ashikaga shogunate during the 14th century.
London, United Kingdom
Why Go: A city immersed in history, London is full of instantly recognisable landmarks – Tower Bridge, Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and the list goes on. With an extensive array of award-winning restaurants and gastropubs, exquisite museums, iconic department stores, and beautiful parks, the English capital truly offers a mesmerising experience for your senses.
Chinese Londoners have been settling since the 1880s, and it’s no surprise that the Chinatown tenants go all out during Chinese New Year. Expect an extravagant Chinese New Year celebration with parade floats, dragon dances, and delicious food if you head to London’s Chinatown.
Where to Stay: Wombat’s City Hostel London, a restored former seaman’s hostel, is a popular accommodation among solo travellers, couples, and even families. The trendy and affordable hostel also offers private rooms, and is within walking distance of Tower Hill tube station and the Tower of London.
Don’t Miss: Buried deep below a building near to Parliament, Churchill’s War Room is former Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s central nerve command of the destructive second world war. The secure bunker and rooms has been left untouched since 1945.
Start your new year with the best travel companion!