14 Unconventional Things to Do During CNY 2018 in Singapore

Published on Feb 12, 2018

Tired of family visiting? Here are 14 unconventional things to do that does not involve explaining your love life to relatives you see once a year! Check them out and let us know how you'll be ushering in the Year of the Dog ...

1. Spring Surprise at Gardens by the Bay

Skip the visiting and celebrate the Year of the Dog with Gardens by the Bay with your family. Spring Surprise 2018 offers an array of festive performances and fun for the entire family. Do not miss the spectacular ultraviolet (UV) light performances with the UV Lotus Dragon and UV Northern Lions making their very first appearance here in Singapore! Programmes are free, however, admission charge to Flower Dome applies.

2. Take a walk along Chinatown

Nothing like strolling along Chinatown to get you into the festive mood. Usher in Chinese New Year with live performances and a rousing countdown celebration with MediaCorp artistes in the heart of Chinatown on 15 Feb, 9.30pm - 12.30am. Be entertained by the lively performances from a medley of festive songs, skits to interactive games as the countdown party culminates with rousing firecrackers and a spectacular display of fireworks.

3. Visit River Hongbao

Unusual Things to do During CNY River Hongbao 2018


River Hongbao 2018 is an eleven-day fun-filled carnival for the whole family to enjoy as you usher in the Year of the Dog, which will be held at The Float @ Marina Bay from 14 to 24 February 2018. This year's theme, “An Endearing Home for One and All” will portray how multicultural Singapore builds an endearing and inclusive society which embodies the philanthropic spirit of our pioneers through thematic lantern displays and an exhibition titled “My Home, My New Year.” Highlights also include fireworks, cultural performances from home and abroad, food street and interactive fringe activities. It's open to public and admission is free!

4. Go to the zoo

Go wild this Chinese New Year (15-18 Feb) as exciting acrobatic lion dance performances, mascot appearances, and animal-themed activities are taking over the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Parks. While you’re there, snap a selfie with the God of Fortune and seek fortune forecasts by following the "zoo-diac" trail.

5. Wan Qing Festival of Spring 2018

Learn about Chinese culture through performances, traditional lantern riddles, workshops and guided tours at this annual 15-day festival, held at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

Date: 16 Feb to 2 Mar

Venue: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Website: www.sysnmh.org.sg

6. FUNTASTIC Festive Activities at Sentosa

FUN-Tastic Fortune Awaits You on Sentosa! Stand to win over $50,000 worth of prizes in Sentosa FUN-Tastic Draw, or try your luck at our Spend-play-win booths to win instant prizes! Don't miss out on adorable Snoopy-themed decor and zodiac boards popping up across the island as well. During the 1st 3 days of Chinese New Year (16 - 18 February 2018), join in the festive celebrations with lion dance and dragon dance performances, meet and greet sessions with Snoopy and more!

7. Get lucky with Ban-Luck

Play Card Games During CNY

It is customary to do a few rounds of visitation during the festival. Besides being a good time to catch up, share a meal and learn more about the Chinese culture, you’ll also be able to indulge in a traditional game of Ban-Luck, also known as blackjack or 21-points. The Chinese like to gamble during the New Year because they believe that gambling during a new year brings in fresh luck. If you aren’t sure how to play, get your host to give you a quick run through with the rules of the game, and you’ll be off in no time. Don’t forget to bring two oranges to exchange with the host if you want to receive some red packets stuffed with money!

8. Visit the lawns of the Istana

Visit Istana During CNY

Ever wondered what goes on behind the wrought iron gates of The Istana, the official residence of Singapore’s president? The grounds of the presidential residence are open to the public during major holidays, and you’ll get a chance to visit on the second day of the Lunar New Year. For a small fee, visitors can also get privy to the special rooms used for presidential functions and services. There are also free walking tours of the estate, and you can enjoy the cultural performances out on the lawn while munching on your picnic food from home.

9. Go for a picnic at a park

Picnic During CNY

All parks are open during the weekend, making it easy to have a chill meal while you're surrounded by lush greenery. We do suggest going early as it might be crowded. Or empty if everyone is visiting! A picnic at the park or beach is a simple but meaningful way to usher in the new year with family as you bond with one another.

10. Watch movies


Catch up on movies you haven't watched or just watch a CNY themed movie to get you into the mood! There's always Monkey King , or if you prefer a more local movie, Jack Neo's Liang Xi Mei.

Otherwise, there's always the western classics like Star Wars, and the highly reviewed, The Greaetst Showman. If you can't get tickets or just don't feel like leaving the comfort of your home, there's always Netflix and/or Korean dramas to get addicted to! Some recommended K-dramas to get you started include: 

  • Korean Odyssey (Korean adaptation of Sun Wu Kong in modern day setting starring Lee Seung Gi)
  • Goblin
  • Because This is My First Life

11. Go shopping 

Haven't gone out to the malls in a while? Some shopping malls are actually open during CNY so you can clock some steps walking through the mall. MBS, for example, is offering shoppers 2x rewards points for shopping and dining at the mall from 15 February. Of course, you can also spend your time adding items to your shopping cart to purchase during an online promotion. 

12. Cool off at water parks 

Water Parks During CNY

To cool down from the heat, why not hit up some water parks? Singapore is home to many, from East to West. and at different price points. Examples include Sentosa Cove ($36), Wild Wild Wet ($18) and Jurong East Swimming Complex ($1.50). If you're planning to go, make sure it's before you do #9 and #10! And go early because it might get crowded if everyone thinks of the same method to cool down.

13. Relax at a hair salon

Didn't have time to get your hair done before CNY? Take the chance to relax at the hair salon because there won't be many people there. There are however only 5 open, according to what we know, so do give them a call to confirm if you wish to get your hair done. Some hair salon you can consider include...

Art Noise Japanese Hair Salon

Art Noise During CNY

AUBE Japanese Hair Salon (Wheelock Place & Marina Link)

AUBE Marina Link During CNY

14. Volunteer your time


CNY may be a festive time where people come together but it can also be a period of pain and loneliness for some. If you're done with CNY visiting early, why not volunteer and share the love with people who would appreciate your time the most? Take time to give back during this festive period and spread some joy to those that need it the most.

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