16 Things To Spark Joy and Celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore

Published on Jan 16, 2019

Chinese New Year is coming soon but don't let boring family visits get you down!

Instead of stressing yourself out, here are the 16 things you can do to spark joy this Chinese New Year!

1. Experience Spring at Gardens by the Bay

Spring Surprise at Gardens by The Bay

Singapore may not have cherry blossoms but you can still enjoy the Spring Season by visiting our very own Gardens by the Bay. GBTB is organizing a special CNY performance named Carps Leaping Over the Dragon's Gate,  a magnificent LED performance of an auspicious Chinese myth! wCatch exciting lion dances - Traditional Lion Dance and Lion Dance on Poles, and two Chinese Orchestra performances by top notch musicians from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra and Ding Yi Music Company.

2. Feeling the CNY Buzz at Chinatown

Chinese New Year at Chinatown

Starting from 19 January 2019 to 4 February 2019, you will be treated to nightly stage performances at Kreta Ayer Square. Be entertained by lively and vibrant stage performances, Lunar New Year songs and dance performances by local and overseas artistes and performing groups.

The bazaar itself will begin on 18 January 2019. With a variety of stalls lining up the streets of Chinatown, you can feast on mouth-watering New Year delicacies, enjoy the brilliant lights and decorations of the stalls and shop for the many New Year traditional goodies from cookies, decorative items, waxed duck and preserved fruits to potted plants and clothing.

3. Watch Fireworks at River Hongbao

River Hongbao 2019 is a 8-day fun-filled carnival for the whole family to enjoy as you usher in the Year of the Pig from 3 February 2019 to 10 February 2019 with fireworks performance every single day! You can look forward to performances by Zoe Tay, Marcus Chin, Joanna Dong, Yeo Yann Yann, Desmond Ng, and more. Foodies will also enjoy grabbing a bite at the various food stalls serving festive delicacies.

4. Go on a Story Walk Adventure with Real Pigs

Discover the wildest version of the Three Little Pigs and the “Big Bad” Wolf at the all new Lunar Adventure Story Walk! Celebrate Chinese New Year with our adorable Mini Pigs, Babirusa and Warthog at Singapore Zoo.

Don’t forget to meet their friends: Collared Peccary (River Safari), Red River Hog (Night Safari), and Cape Barren Goose "Pig Goose" (Jurong Bird Park) as your whole family enjoy an aus-pig-cious way to start the Year of the Pig.

5. Lohei with your favourite Sesame Street Characters at Universal Studios!

What better way to ring in Chinese New Year than with Lohei? Better yet, with your favourite sesame street characters and go on an auspicious Dragon Trail this lunar new year! 

The live musical show will also add an auspicious Asian touch to their sonic lineup of instruments with Chinese drums!

6. Get lucky with Ban-Luck

Card Games During CNY

If you aren't that close to family, get a group of trusted friends you know will not grill you on your marital status to share a meal and 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!

If Ban-Luck is too boring for you, there's the new cult favourite:

Now, how do we bet money with that game... hmm... 

7. Visit the lawns of the Istana

Istana Singapura

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 walking tours of the estate, and you can enjoy the cultural performances out on the lawn while munching on your picnic food from home.

Do remember to sign up early for the walking tours if you are keen.

8. Connect with the Outdoors this CNY

All parks are open during the holidays (and free), making it easy for you to reconnect with nature and spark joy in your life while surrounded by lush greenery. We do suggest going early as it might be crowded. Or empty if everyone is visiting!

Family Walk at Botanic Gardens

A walk with family at the parks or beach is a simple but meaningful way to usher in the new year with family as you bond with one another.

Don't just go to Botanic Gardens though, there's Chinese Gardens, Japanese Gardens and one of our favourite Treetop Walk from Macritchie Reservoir.

Kid on Tree Top Walk

Agent AL posing at the Treetop Walk

Just remember to bring enough liquids and energy to walk the entire 4.5km trail!

9. Head to the Arcade

If there is one place that MUST spark joy in us, it is the arcade. Whether you're thinking about Bishi Bashi or the good old Daytona, the arcade helps bring back memories and even make new ones as you go back there with new friends and family!

Arcade Family Time

Best part about it: selected outlets like Vivocity Timezone, Waterway Point, Plaza Singapura and Causeway Point are open during CNY.

Check out their opening hours here.

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 Journey to Happiness, or if you prefer a more local movie, Make it Big Big. 

If you can't get tickets or just don't feel like leaving the comfort of your home, there's always Netflix. Some of the favourites we are in love with include

  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
  • The Good Place
  • Black Mirror

What's your favourite?

11. Get Your Hair Done 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 8 open, according to what we know, so do give them a call to confirm if you wish to get your hair done. Some hair salons you can consider include...

Art Noise Japanese Hair Salon

art noise

Flamingo Hair Studio,

Threes Japanese Hair Salon

Threes Japanese Hair Salon

 COVO Japanese Hair Salon (KatongOutram Park)

COVO Japanese Hair Salon

AUBE Japanese Hair Salon (Wheelock Place & Marina Link & Clementi)

AUBE Japanese Hair Salon
AUBE Japanese Hair Salon Marina Link

We hear that Bump Hair Design @ The Rochester Buona Vista is open on the 6th as well.

Bump Hair Design

12. Party the Night Away at Zouk

After a long day of family visiting, its time to reward yourself with a date with your friends at Zouk. 

We hear from our sources that Zouk is closed on CNY eve but will be open on CNY Day 1 and 2!

Even if you're not a fan of Zouk, we're sure there will be some other clubs open for those of you keen to party the night away!

13. Enjoy the i Light installations along Singapore's iconic Marina Bay waterfront

iLight 2019 is back to illuminate Singapore's skyline with radiant works of art at night. The theme this year is Bridges of Time and  consist of over 30 installations that are free to everyone to experience. 

This year’s festival theme—Bridges of Time—invites visitors to explore connections across space and time. Artists and festival-goers will engage with the Lion City’s history, and its connection with the rest of the globe over the last 700 years.

14. Experience Art x Light at the Light to Night Festival

Can't get enough of the lights? View more light x art installations along the National Gallery, Arts House, Victoria Theatre, Esplanade and Asian Civilization Museum in the Light to Night Festival, an annual urban art event that celebrates the stunning Civic District of Singapore

15. Volunteer and help those in need


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.

If you need some suggestions on what you can do, check out giving.sg!

16. Count Your Blessings

If you want to be REALLY joyful, nothing works better than... counting your blessings. Robert Emmons and his colleagues at the University of California have done extensive research into making people happy. What they found is that people who are more grateful for what they have tended to be happier and in fact suffer from fewer health problems. 


As the new CNY begins, consider cultivating these positive habits to enhance gratefulness and your overall happiness.

  • Keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal 
  • Having a Gratitude Partner to encourage you on this journey
  • Use visual reminders such as Post Its about what you are grateful about everywhere around you!

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