The Chinese Lunar New Year, typically falling in late January or early February, is unquestionably the most important holiday in Hong Kong; so if you have to pick one place in Asia to ring in 2013 on the Gregorian calender, Hong Kong’s the city to do it.
To start, Hong Kong’s own Times Square — a mall, not an intersection — hosts a New Year’s Eve bash each year featuring live music, massive crowds and a ball drop countdown to midnight just like its counterpart in New York City. It’s a hot ticket event, though, so plan ahead and make your way there early to stake out a spot.
For the best New Year’s Eve views, it’s hard to beat the fireworks display over Victoria Harbour. The centerpiece of the display is the numeric countdown on the side of the International Finance Centre building on Hong Kong Island followed by midnight fireworks and a special Symphony of Lights display utilizing 44 buildings on either side of the harbor. Almost all the hotels and prominent nightclubs will be throwing parties running the gamut from elegant and demure to rowdy, and nearly all the city’s restaurants will have special set menus for the occasion.
Tips for New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong
- To enjoy the fireworks without the crowds, splurge on a harbor-view room on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.
- Plan to stay on the same side of the harbor as your hotel for the entirety of the night as cabs will be hard to come by.
- Make reservations, whether you’re going to dinner or a club, book in advance.
- If you don’t want to pay for an expensive set menu, eat dinner early or use New Year’s Eve as your night to try some of Hong Kong’s excellent street foods.
- If you can’t see the fireworks from your room, either book a New Year’s Eve harbor cruise or plan to stake out a spot on either side of the water at least two hours early.
- The best place to catch the fireworks, if not on a boat, is from the Avenue of Stars.