City-Discovery.com presents Top Asian Destinations in the Year of the Tiger
Paris, France (February 1, 2010)—February 14 ushers in the Year of the Tiger. In honor of the Chinese New Year, City-Discovery.com announced its Top Asian Destinations where the occasion is marked by a host of festivities. The travel website also named activities in and around the destinations.
In China, the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) is celebrated as a three week-long public holiday. In northern China, people usually have jiao zi (dumplings), which are shaped to resemble the gold ingots used in ancient China, while in Guangdong province and Hong Kong, people prefer to have a sumptuous meal with chicken, pork, fish and vegetables. The meals served during this time are meant to symbolize the things that Chinese people hold very dear such as prosperity, fortune, happiness and longevity.
Aside from the dragon dances, burning of firecrackers and the consumption of copious amounts of food, the festivities also include demonstrations of martial arts, parades, exhibitions, floats, Chinese Opera performances and so much more.Beyond the New Year spread, however, the celebrations may also include a parade, fireworks displays, themed tours, flower markets and sporting events. This is especially true in Hong Kong, where the parade hits Tsim Sha Tsui East on the Kowloon peninsula on Chinese New Year's Day, and spectacular fireworks can be seen over at Victoria Harbour. Visitors should also watch out for the Chinese New Year Fiesta, which features stage performances held at the New World Centre and the Avenue of Stars. For activities to try during this holiday, City Discovery recommends the Essential Beijing Tour, Best of Shanghai Day Tour, Hangzhou, Heaven on Earth Day Tour, Hong Kong Island Tour, and Cultural Heritage Tour of Hong Kong.
Like Hong Kong, Macau also celebrates the Lunar New Year with aplomb by closing down shops, offices and factories for this traditional holiday. Other events to look forward to are the long dragon and lion dances, performances held at the region's most important squares, and the fireworks display that grandly set off Macau's impressive skyline. To participate in the festivities try City Discovery's Macau Full Day Tour.
In Taiwan, the temples welcome large numbers of people, who come with elevated incense sticks to pray for good luck. According to tradition, the first person to place incense sticks into the censer will be blessed with good luck throughout the coming year. This has necessitated major temples in Taiwan to close their main gates before midnight on Lunar New Year' Eve; opening the doors only at the stroke of midnight. Other ways the Taiwanese celebrate the holiday is by frequenting Taipei's Dihua Street (known for its foodstuffs), and by broadcasting traditional music associated with the Spring Festival through loudspeakers in department stores, many of which hold year-end sales to attract numerous shoppers. For other fun things to do in Taiwan, check out one of City Discovery's bestsellers, the Taroko Gorge Day Tour.
Over in Thailand, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with great merriment. Aside from the dragon dances, burning of firecrackers and the consumption of copious amounts of food, the festivities also include demonstrations of martial arts, parades, exhibitions, floats, Chinese Opera performances and so much more. To participate in Thailand's Chinese New Year events, travelers are advised to visit the following regions: Bangkok's Yaowarat area, Nakhon Sawan, Songkhla (Hat Yai district), Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chon Buri's Pattaya district and Phuket, which are known for their significant Thai-Chinese populations. After the celebrations, try exploring Thailand's best attractions with City Discovery's Grand Palace and Temples Tour, Ayuthaya (onward by coach, return by cruise) and 6 Days Around Thailand tour.
A different sort of celebration happens in Vietnam, where New Year's Day is referred to as "Tet" (short for Têt Nguyên Đán). Tet is the ultimate holiday, lasting from three days to a week, with most Vietnamese preparing days in advance so they can buy new clothes, fresh flowers and plenty of food to share with family, friends and special guests. A long-standing Vietnamese tradition forbids sweeping during Tet, as it symbolizes sweeping the luck away, as well as the visiting of people who recently experienced a loss of a loved one. Among the things to watch out for during Tet are the public performances, usually commissioned by prosperous families, and the fireworks displays that are attended by thousands of families who want to welcome the New Year with a bang. To discover more of Vietnam's charms and attractions, City Discovery suggests the following activities: Ho Chi Minh City – Half Day City Tour, Mekong Waterways – Private Tour and Bonsai Dinner Cruise on Saigon River.
In Malaysia, the biggest New Year celebrations happen in Penang, where visitors can expect fireworks displays, cultural performances and traditional lion and dragon dances. During this holiday, every Chinese household in Malaysia is decorated with Chinese lanterns and red carpets. As with other countries celebrating the Chinese New Year, Malaysia's night sky also lights up with thousands of firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. A must-see during this holiday are the performances featuring classical music or cultural dances, staged at shopping centers all over Kuala Lumpur, and the elaborate decorations sported by shopping complexes, supermarkets and even buses to up the festive mood. City Discovery advises traveler to see more of Malaysia during or after the New Year celebrations by checking out these activities: Kuala Lumpur City Highlights, Historical Malacca tour and Sunway Lagoon Theme Park activity.
The Chinese New Year is also celebrated in Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines, territories where a sizable Chinese population resides. Overseas, Chinese New Year celebrations are also observed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Wellington, Vancouver and London. With City Discovery now available in 13 languages including Korean, Japanese and Chinese, booking activities like participating in the Chinese New Year celebrations is made easier and more convenient. For more information, visit City-Discovery.com.
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