The most popular Chinese New Year destinations for Asian travelers

The number one Chinese New Year destination this year doesn’t even traditionally celebrate Chinese New Year. Source: Shutterstock.

CHINESE NEW YEAR is a good time to get together to celebrate the festivities with family, friends and loved ones. For those who are celebrating, at least.

It’s also the perfect time to take off someplace else, thanks to the long holiday, resulting in the biggest annual “migration” of people in Asia.

It’s the biggest traditional festival for the Chinese, so it’s no surprise that Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia are on the top 10 list of Chinese New Year destinations for Asian travelers.

According to global online booking platform Agoda, Tokyo has overtaken Bangkok as the number one Chinese New Year destination for Asian travelers in 2018, a title held by Bangkok for the past two years. In fact, Japan has taken three of the top spots: Kyoto makes an entry for the first time in ninth place and Osaka in is third, moving up from ninth place in 2016.

Chinese New Year in Japan are regular working days and the Japanese don’t traditionally celebrate it. However, there’s a large number of Chinese migrants and their descendants living in the Chukagai (Chinatown areas) of Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki, and the people living in those areas join in on the festivities.

Source: Shutterstock.

Tokyo’s nearby Yokohama Chinatown district hosts two weeks of vibrant events, including a countdown party, traditional lion dance performances, parades, and a lantern festival. Large groups of foreign visitors from Taiwan (26 percent), South Korea (15 percent) and China (15 percent) flock to the area to ring in the new year.

In Kobe, arguably the most popular Chinatown in Japan, the whole district is bustling with activities and celebrations for an entire week in February be it colorful parades, ritual dances, martial arts, or lively acrobatics, and it starts from as early as 10.30am until past dinner time.

There’s no doubt that it’ll be a feast to remember because there’s also Chinese cuisine from various regions of China including Shanghai, Beijing, Sichuan and more.

Source: Shutterstock.

Hong Kong tourists are expressing their love for the East Asian winter with six Japanese cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Sapporo, Nagoya) and one Korean city (Seoul) on their list.

China welcomes large crowds during Chinese New Year as it is a widely popular hub for the celebrations. To avoid the influx of people and often well below freezing wintry temperatures, the Chinese themselves would escape to tropical destinations. In fact, five out of 10 Chinese New Year destinations for Chinese tourists are tropical destinations.

Malaysians and Singaporeans, on the other hand, are more inclined to celebrate Chinese New Year near home. For Malaysian tourists, nine out of the top 10 destinations are domestic, while Singaporeans favor nearby Southeast Asian hot spots.

Interestingly, all but one of the top 10 Chinese New Year destinations for Asian travelers are city escapes, with Thai island Phuket in 10th place.

Meanwhile other destinations such as Singapore and Chiang Mai have slipped down the rankings: from third place in 2016 to eighth place in 2018 and from seventh place in 2016 to 12th place in 2018, respectively.