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Chinese New Year is no doubt a joyous occasion that most look forward to every year. This festive period usually encompasses several days of collecting red packets, munching on delectable new year goodies, buying new clothes and visiting friends’ and relatives’ homes for even more red packets!

However, we all know that there are only that many red packets to be collected and that many homes to visit. Additionally, most shopping malls are typically closed during Chinese New Year. This usually means watching endless re-runs of hilarious Stephen Chow’s comedies while snacking away on those love letters and pineapple tarts.

We are all too familiar with this rather “mundane” way of spending the Lunar New Year. Besides all the non-stop eating and talking, here are 10 activities to do during Chinese New Year that doesn’t involve empty malls!

1. Rooster In The New Year At Jurong Bird Park!

No better way to usher in the Year of the Rooster than at the bird paradise itself – Jurong Bird Park!


Be treated to a flurry of celebratory activities, such as lion dance performances as well as mingling with the God Of Fortune and Fu Lu Shou for some luck and prosperity. Likewise, understand some fowl facts and learn the importance of chicken to humankind.

Furthermore, you can even drop by their Breeding and Research Centre for an exciting opportunity to witness new chick hatchings!

Flock down to Jurong Bird Park this Chinese New Year with your family or friends to welcome in the Roo-nar New Year!

Jurong Bird Park
27 January – 11 February 2017
Opening hours: Daily, 8.30am – 6pm
Address: 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925

2. Embark On A Zoo-diac Trail At Singapore Zoo

Keen to know what is in store for you for the year ahead? Go on a zoo-diac trail at Singapore Zoo to shed some light on what to expect this Rooster Year based on your zodiac animal!


Additionally, be mesmorised by the captivating and rousing lion dance with their twice a day performances.

Likewise, watch how the animals enjoy their festive treats as you and your family or friends stroll about within the zoo. From the free-ranging orangutans to the Komodo dragon and Sun Bear, it seems like even the animals are set to indulge in the festive eating and celebrations as well!

Singapore Zoo
27 January – 11 February 2017
Opening hours: Daily, 8.30am – 6pm
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826

3. Hit The Gym And Work Off Those CNY Goodies

All the munching of delicious Chinese New Year goodies and stomach-filling steamboats are bound to leave you feeling bloated and chubby. Take this chance to burn off some of those unwanted calories by hitting the gym!


Thankfully, there are still some gyms that are open during this festive period if you happen to be one of those hardcore health enthusiasts.

Even if you are not, this is the perfect time for you to start on those #fitgoals new year resolutions because you’ll surely have loads of free time on hand.

Alternatively, one cheaper and free option is to simply go for a short run at any of the nearby parks!

Gyms: CrossFit Hub, Evolve MMA, local parks and reservoirs

4. Visit The Green Lawns Of The Istana

Ever wondered what goes on behind those massive iron gates of our President’s official residence, the Istana?


Well, have your curiousity quelled this Chinese New Year! The grounds of the presidential residence is usually open to public on major holidays. Additionally, for a small entrance fee, you can tour selected function rooms inside the Istana building. Furthermore, you can even view a special display of gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister!

Alternatively, sign up for a guided nature walk at the Istana to explore the vast lawns and surrounding lush greenery. To top it off, you can expect a delightful series of performances throughout the day to keep you and your family or friends thoroughly entertained!

Visit the Istana
29 January 2017 (Sunday)
Opening hours: 8.30am to 6.00pm

5. Be Right At The Heart Of Festivities At River Hongbao 2017

Look forward to this year’s 31st edition of the River Hongbao Festival, which will feature an elaborately-decorated heart-shaped design entrance walkaway to usher in the Year of the Rooster!

Furthermore, be dazzled by the spectacular lantern displays all around the area. To top it off, you can expect a delightful spectacle of fireworks and lasers shows at 9pm every night.


You can even experience the traditional Chinese art and craft here as well, ranging from activities such as calligraphy, traditional handicrafts and paper cutting.

There are also fun amusement rides and game stalls to keep the entire family entertained. Additionally, expect special performances by local and international acrobatic art troupes as well as appearances by local celebrities the likes of Nathan Hartono!

What’s more, there is also a food street to quell those hunger pangs. Tuck into delectable treats such as roasted duck, satay, tandoori chicken and even churros. With the plethora of activities and programmes happening here, there is no better place to soak up the festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year than at the quintessential River Hongbao!

River Hongbao Festival
26 January – 4 February 2017
Opening hours: Daily, 2pm– 11pm (extended to 1am on CNY eve, 27 Jan)
Address: The Float @ Marina Bay

6. Gong SEA Fa Cai At S.E.A Aquarium

We cannot guarantee that the S.E.A Aquarium will be less crowded than usual given that it will be a long weekend holiday. However, we are pretty sure that the numerous species of marine animals here as well as the massive viewing panel will certainly provide an amazing and fascinating time as opposed to simply staying at home!


You can expect a sea of fun and celebration this Lunar New Year! Be dazzled by the underwater dragon dance or go on an adventure hunt for auspicious fishes in the Trail of the Rooster (Hogfish). Moreover, you can even rub shoulders with Mai the Manta mascot and the Ancient S.E.A. Guardian.

Dive into a Gong SEA Fa Cai time here at S.E.A Aquarium this Chinese New Year!

S.E.A Aquarium
21 January – 11 February 2017
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 7pm
Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, S.E.A. Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269

7. Check Out The Floral Displays And Performances At Gardens By The Bay

Soak in the spring beauty of floral displays while enjoying the Chinese New Year festivities at Gardens By The Bay!

Credit: Gardens by the Bay

Besides admiring the floral displays at the flower dome, there are also several engaging activities that you and the entire family could participate in.

Their Spring Surprise 2017 offers an array of entertaining traditional performances as well as the biggest ever LED Phoenix making its debut appearance here in Singapore.


Get artsy-fartsy at the various crafts booths and customise your very own prosperity egg or learn the art of Chinese calligraphy. Enjoy musical performances by talented young musicians as well as mesmerising dance and aerial silk performances.

Dahlia Dreams and Spring Surprise at Gardens By The Bay
30 January – 12 February 2017
Address: Flower Dome & Supertree Grove, Marina Bay Sands, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953

8. Plan A Mahjong or Blackjack Night

If you absolutely have to stay indoors this Chinese New Year and those Stephen Chow comedies are starting to get less comical, there are still other ways to maximise this festive holidays – such as hosting a game night!


This is perhaps one of the only times whereby people are willing to gamble and risk some of their money. Mahjong and Blackjack are the two common games typically played during Chinese New Year. In fact, many people only play this tiled or card game during this festive period simply for the fun of it!

Never mind if it is your first time playing. Simply ask and there are bound to be friends or relatives who are willing to teach you. Who knows, you might very well enjoy some beginner’s luck!

Address: Your own home or relative’s or friend’s place

9. Go On A Staycation

A long weekend typically makes it the ideal period to head overseas. However, we are all too familiar with the exorbitant airfares during the festive period – which can be a major turn-off.


For a pocket-friendly way to relax and rejuvenate without the costly expenditure of an overseas getaway, why not book a staycation instead? There are many boutique hotels in Singapore, such as Hotel Indigo, Wanderlust or The Quincy Hotel, that offer exclusive packages so you’ll enjoy their facilities and services. If you’re looking for something more classic, head over to Shangri-La, where all your needs and wants will be taken care of.

While the hotel rates might be on a slightly higher price point due to Chinese New Year, at least it beats paying for those expensive flight tickets!

10. Catch Mulan the Musical

Instead of watching the same movies that are being screened during Chinese New Year on the telly every year, why not opt for a different “movie” experience altogether by catching Mulan The Musical?


This theatrical romantic comedy from Taiwan gives a different spin to the conventional Hua Mulan story that we are all-too familiar with. If you think this female war heroine was in the army out of filial piety, then you will be in for a surprise!

The musical incorporates some local elements such as using Singapore-inspired songs. Additionally, this hilarious and romantic musical comedy also features the original cast and crew as well as local artistes such as Pierre Png and Ann Kok.

Travel back in time to ancient China this Chinese New Year to understand the true story behind Hua Mulan like you have never seen before.

Mulan The Musical
16 December 2016 – 5 February 2017
Time: 8pm
Address: Resorts World™ Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269

There is no denying that Chinese New Year revolves mainly around home-visiting and endless snacking on those delicious Chinese New Year goodies. Furthermore, with the closure of most shopping malls during this festive period, it might seem that there is absolutely nothing else to do.

From working off those calories to exciting activities at various Singapore attractions, there are still so many things to do in spite of the closed shopping malls. Hence if you are the restless sort, fret not!

These activities are bound to keep you thoroughly entertained during this long Chinese New Year weekend!

(Header image credit:

Also, read 9 Incredible Yu Sheng To Toss So You Get Good Luck In The Year Of The Rooster