CHINESE NEW YEAR 2015 (The Year of the Sheep)
Detailed below is information which visitors may find useful in relation to events, tourist attractions, public transport, shopping, museums, public libraries, leisure venues and postal services during the Chinese New Year period.
INFORMATION RELATING TO CHINESE NEW YEAR 2015 EVENTS IS POSTED HERE AND UPDATED AS AND WHEN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE
The grand finale of last year's Chinese New Year Night Parade was the HKTB float “New Year Party @ World City”, a bejewelled carnival train, symbolising the beginning of a vibrant and joyous journey in Hong Kong. Image: Hong Kong Tourism Board
The Hong Kong “king” and “queen” of clowns, both champions in the World Clown Competition, were joined by local professional clowns to entertain spectators along last year's parade route. Image: Hong Kong Tourism Board
Chinese New Year Celebrations in Hong Kong for the Year of the Sheep run from 13th February 2015 to 5th March 2015. Special events include;
LUNAR NEW YEAR FAIR (FLOWER MARKETS) of which the largest and most popular are at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park, Mongkok. About half the stalls at these fairs sell colourful flowers and plants, whilst other stalls sell decorations, foods and gadgets. The fairs operate from 13th to 18th February 2015 from noon to midnight each day and until about 5am on Lunar New Year's Day, 19th February 2015. Admission is free. Shops at the year-round Mong Kok flower market, a popular tourist attraction at Prince Edward Road West and Flower Market Road open 24 hours a day on the two days immediately before Lunar New Year's Day.
CATHAY PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL CHINESE NEW YEAR NIGHT PARADE on Chinese New Year's Day, 19th February 2015, the highlight of Lunar New Year's celebrations, takes place through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, starting at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza at 8pm then passing Star Ferry Pier Bus Terminus then travelling along Canton Road, Haiphong Road, Nathan Road and Salisbury Road before arriving at the finish at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers at about 9-45pm, with the last float reaching the finish at about 10-45pm. The Night Parade, first held in 1996, is sponsored by Cathay Pacific for the 17th consecutive year. The parade features about thirteen elaborately decorated themed floats with colourful lighting, international performing groups from several countries, local performing groups, and street performing groups with thousands of musicians in marching bands, cheerleaders, costumed characters, traditional cultural performances, dances and dragon and lion dancers. Prior to the parade, starting from 6-30pm, spectators along the route will be entertained a line-up of performers, including jugglers, dancers, cosplayers and a marching band.
In order to allow more spectators to view the parade there are no spectator stands along the route, other than at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, where the parade starts. Sound and lighting effects for the parade have been enhanced since 2013.
There will be two performance zones along the parade route, both being near the start of the parade at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza and on Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade near the Clock Tower.
Viewing along the parade route is free and the parade is expected to be watched by about 150,000 spectators. Paid seating is available in spectator stands at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. Approximately 2,700 seats are available in the spectator stands. Tickets, priced at HK$300, HK$450 and HK$480, are on sale on a first-come, first-served basis (maximum 4 tickets per person) from Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre at Star Ferry Pier Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui from 8am on Saturday 7th February 2015. HKTB Visitor Centre is open from 8am to 8pm daily. However, it should be noted that tickets usually sell out on the first day of ticket sales.
Spectator stands open for ticket holders at 7pm.
Standing spectator viewing areas are along Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan Road (marked in yellow on the above map). Best vantage points are the area in the vicinity of Gateway Hong Kong Hotel, Harbour City on Canton Road and the section of Nathan Road between its junctions with Mody Road and Middle Road (outside Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong Hotel and Chungking Mansions).
From 20th February 2015 until 1st March 2015 some of the floats from the parade will be put on display at the Lam Tsuen Wishing Square during the Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival (see below) and various venues in Hong Kong to allow the public an opportunity to see the floats close-up (further details to be advised).
HONG KONG WELL-WISHING FESTIVAL 2015 takes place during 10th to 23rd February at Lam Tsuen near Tai Po in the New Territories. This is the location of the famous Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees where visitors can make a wish and enjoy the festivities. The festival will include;
International Float Exhibition - a display of some of the floats from the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade (see above).
Food Carnival with local snacks, seafood specialities and traditional Hakka food.
Lantern Lighting ceremonies to celebrate new born babies
Traditional Joss Paper throwing. Wishes are written on small placards which are attached to oranges and tossed into a wishing tree. According to tradition only wishes which hang on the branches without falling off come true.
Wishing Lanterns Lighting Ceremony. Based on traditional custom, people write their wishes on wishing lanterns and float them onto a wishing pool hoping for best fortune in the forth-coming years.
Dawn Market, every Saturday and Sunday with home grown agricultural products for sale
Wish Locks. To symbolize a love commitment towards each other, lovers write their names on padlocks which are affixed to fences or bridges in Europe, Japan, Korea and many other countries. Lam Tsuen Wishing Square presents wooden wish locks where people can write messages of love to relatives, friends and lovers.
Well-Wishing Festival Celebration Night on 5th March 2015 with meal and stage performances by Hong Kong artists.
For further details see the Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival 2015 website;
2015 LUNAR NEW YEAR FIREWORKS DISPLAY on the second day of Chinese New Year, 20th February 2015 in the Western calendar, will take place at 8pm on Victoria Harbour between Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui. The spectacular event is expected to be watched by about 300,000 spectators, during which about 23,888 fireworks will be discharged to a height of up to 75-metres from three barges moored on the harbour near Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre in a display lasting for 23 minutes and six seconds, and featuring about eight scenes.
Suitable viewing points are Tsim Sha Tsui, Hung Hom Bypass, Central District (New Central Harbourfront, Tamar Park and the area around Central Piers), Wan Chai, Mid-Levels and Causeway Bay. Spectators can tune to Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) Radio Four (FM 97.6 - 98.9) for synchronised music during the display.
The event is sponsored by Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing Limited.
Image of a scene from a previous year's display: "Loving Brings Bliss"
Scene from a previous years display
CHINESE NEW YEAR RACE DAY - On 21st February 2015, the third day of Chinese New Year racing fans can try and get the new year off to a prosperous start amidst the frenetic atmosphere of Chinese New Year Race Day at Shatin Racecourse, where an attendance of about 100,000 is expected. Admission is from 10-30am, with racing from 12-30pm to 6pm. Bona-fide tourists can obtain a Tourist Badge for HK$100 allowing entry to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Members' Enclosure. Entertainment includes a spectacular opening variety show in the parade ring with performances by popular local TV stars, a Fortune Tips Forum with a fung shui master and lion and dragon dance performances. A "Fortune Horse pen" will be given free to all spectators on entry to the racecourse.
HONG KONG PULSE 3D LIGHT SHOW
Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show, organised by Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), is to be shown four times each evening from 14th February 2015 until 5th March 2015 (excluding 19th February, the first day of Chinese New Year).
Produced by Spinifex Group, a prestigious Australian overseas production team, the spectacle is created by images projected on to the façade of Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Clock Tower and is based on the theme of Hong Kong as a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, and shows how it evolved through the years into the major world city it is today through striking visuals, including uniquely local buildings. Spinifex Group’s Head of Creative, Richard Lindsay, has over 20 years’ experience in the design industry and has been involved in numerous international creative media shows, including the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, in which he collaborated with famed Chinese film director Zhang Yimou; the 2010 Shanghai World Expo; the 2010Vancouver Winter Olympics; and the 2013 edition of the Sydney Opera House light show in “Vivid Sydney”.
The show lasts about 15 minutes and takes place at 8-30pm, 9pm, 9-30pm and 10pm during the periods indicated above at the`Open Piazza, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
The show features a theme song, which will be played during the show at the venue and on a number of radio channels, namely FM103.4 MHz, FM106.8 MHz, and FM107.9 MHz.
Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show made its first appearance during the CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival from 29th October 2014 to 16th November 2014 and also operated during HKTB's Hong Kong WinterFest from 17th December 2014 to 29th December 2014.
Pulse 3D Light Show projected onto the façade of Hong Kong Cultural Centre returns for the Chinese New Year Period
The following tourist markets remain open throughout Chinese New Year although some shops/stalls will be closed for between one and three days or may operate reduced hours during the first three days of Chinese New Year;
Apliu Street Flea Market
Mong Kok Flower Market (7am to 7pm)
Gold Fish Market (10-30am to 10pm)
Jade Market (10am to 5pm)
Temple Street Night Market (4pm to midnight)
Ladies Market (Noon - 11-30pm)
Jardine's Bazaar and Jardine's Crescent
Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West ("The Lanes of Central")
Western Market (10am to midnight)
Major shopping malls, department stores and shops, convenience stores and supermarkets remain open remain open throughout the Chinese New Year period. Some malls, including Times Square, will operate extended shopping hours on the first two days of Chinese New Year and all major shopping malls have festive decorations. Some shops may open later than usual on Chinese New Year's Day. However, many small local shops close on Chinese New Year's Day and some also close on the following two days.
SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS - On 18th and 19th February, the nightly light and sound show "A Symphony of Lights" will take place as usual at 8pm. However there will be no background music or narration in the area outside Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Hong Kong Museum of Art in view of rehearsals for the Chinese New Year Night Parade taking place on 18th February and the parade itself on 19th February. Background music and narration will continue to be broadcast at the Avenue of Stars and in the area around Golden Bauhinia Square at Wan Chai. On 20th February, "A Symphony of Light"s will take place as usual at 8pm whilst the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display, which also commences at 8pm, takes place but there will be no Symphony of Lights background music or narration. There will, however, be live background music related to the fireworks display.
HONG KONG DISNEYLAND - Hong Kong Disneyland's Chinese New Year Celebrations include seasonal gifts, festive menus at its dining establishments and special Chinese New Year room decoration packages at its hotels.
Hong Kong Disneyland's opening hours during Chinese New Year - to be announced.
Tickets - normal admission tickets are valid except on 21st & 22nd February 2015 (the third and fourth days of Chinese New Year) which are "Designated Days" and only Designated Day Tickets are valid for admission to the park on these days.
During Chinese New Year on 12th February 2013, a new daily attendance record was set at Hong Kong Disneyland when 44,872 visitors visited the park.
OCEAN PARK - to be advised (opening hours during Chinese New Year in 2014 were 10-30am to 6-30pm on Chinese New Year's Eve and 10am to 9pm on each of the first four days of Chinese New Year).
Note - Ocean Park may suspend ticket sales at certain times if the attendance inside the park at any one time is near to the park's 36,600 capacity.
NGONG PING 360 - during the Chinese New Year period 18th to 22nd February 2015, Ngong Ping 360 is open from 9am to 6-30pm each day. Details of special events to be announced.
LUNAR NEW YEAR CUP 2015 - South China v New York Cosmos. Hong Kong Football Association's popular Lunar New Year tournament, dating back to the 1950's takes place at Happy Valley Stadium with 3-15pm kick off. For ticketing arrangements see;
SKY100 HONG KONG OBSERVATION DECK - opening hours to be announced.
Large numbers of worshippers are expected at temples throughout the territory during the Lunar New Year Period. At two of the busiest temples, Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple and Che Kung Temple special crowd control and traffic measures will be implemented. Details of opening hours at popular tourist temples are;
SIK SIK YUEN WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE (except the Tai Shui Yuenchen Hall) is open from 7am on Chinese New Year's Eve, 18th February 2015 until 5-30pm when it will close until 9pm. When it reopens at 9pm it will remain open throughout the night and close at 6-30pm on Chinese New Year's Day, 19th February. On 20th and 21st February 2015, the temple opening hours will be 7am to 6-30pm.
The Tai Shui Yuenchen Hall at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is closed on 18th & 19th February but will open from 8am to 5pm on 20th & 21st February.
Special crowd management measures will be put in place as necessary from 7pm on 18th February to 7pm the following day, and daily between 7am and 7pm from 20th and 21st February.
CHE KUNG TEMPLE will open from 7am on 18th February, until to 6pm, when it will close until 11pm. The temple will reopen at 11pm and remain open until 6pm on 19th February. On 20th February the temple will open at 7am until 6pm and reopen from 11pm through to 6pm on 21st February. On 22nd February, opening hours are 7am to 5-30pm.
MAN MO TEMPLE on Hollywood Road will open at 7am on Chinese New Year's Eve, 18th February and remain open until 7pm on 19th February. On 20th and 21st February, the temple will open from 7am to 6pm.
All the following museums and venues, operated by the Hong Kong Government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department, will close at 5pm on Chinese New Year's Eve, 18th February 2015 and will be closed on the first two days of Chinese New Year, 19th & 20th February 2015;
Hong Kong Museum of Art
Hong Kong Museum of History
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Hong Kong Science Museum
Hong Kong Space Museum
Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum
Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum
Law Uk Folk Museum
Hong Kong Railway Museum
Sam Tung Uk Museum
Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery
Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre
Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre
Hong Kong Film Archive
Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
All public libraries will close at 5pm on Lunar New Year's Eve (February 18th) and will remain closed during the Lunar New Year public holidays from February 19th to 21st 2015
On 19th and 20th February 2015, the operating hours of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Visitor Hotline (852) 2508 1234 will be extended from 6pm to 9pm (services during the extended operating hours are available in Cantonese, English and Putonghua only).
During the Chinese New Year holiday, the following HKTB Visitor Centres will continue to operate normal hours;
Buffer Halls A and B, Arrivals Level, Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport – 8am to 9pm daily
Lo Wu Arrival Hall, 2/F, Lo Wu Terminal Building – 8am to 4pm daily
Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui – 8am to 8pm daily
The Peak Piazza – 9am to 9pm daily
PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC ARRANGEMENTS
Public transport generally (MTR, buses, trams, ferries) operates to public holiday timetables, providing a greater frequency of service than on normal weekdays on many routes although a few services are suspended or frequencies reduced (mainly early morning services). Extensive road closures and traffic diversions will take place on 18th and 19th February 2015, affecting public transport on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon for the Chinese New Year Night Parade and Lunar New Year Fireworks Display. Special traffic and transport arrangements also apply in the vicinity of Mongkok and Victoria Park flower markets, Wong Tai Sin Temple and Che Kung Temple at Sha Tin, and at Lam Tsuen (wishing trees), near Tai Po, where large crowds are expected.
All MTR lines (except Airport Express, Disneyland Resort Line) and certain Light Rail routes will operate overnight on Lunar New Year’s Eve (18th February) to enable people to attend the flower markets. As weekends prior to Chinese New Year (CNY) are usually very busy for shopping and pre-CNY gatherings, MTR will operate an additional 1,661 train journeys on four consecutive weekends prior to CNY and over the holiday period. On Sundays extra services will be added on the Island Line to enable a train frequency of 3 to 3.5 minutes to be maintained for most of the day and the Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan Lines frequency will be enhanced to about 4 minutes on Sunday evenings. rains will also run more frequently on the Friday immediately prior to the Lunar New Year. For the traditional CNY fireworks display on the second night of the Lunar New Year (20th February 2015), MTR service on the Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, West Island Line, Tseung Kwan O Line, Tung Chung Line and West Rail Line will be strengthened. Passengers are advised to use Octopus cards when travelling on the MTR during the CNY holidays. Single Journey Ticket users are advised to purchase two tickets at their originating station, keeping one ticket for their return journey to avoid long queues.
On the second and third days of Chinese New Year (20th and 21st February) Adult Octopus Card holders will benefit from a 50% discount on all journeys on the MTR network. Eligible passengers holding Child Octopus, Elder Octopus and Octopus with Student or Persons with Disability status will enjoy a concessionary fare of HK$1 per journey. The concessions exclude journeys on Airport Express Line, East Rail Line journeys terminating or starting at the mainland border stations of Lo Wo and Lok Ma Chau and first class travel on East Rail Line.
OTHER SPECIAL TRAFFIC/TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENTS;
Special traffic and public transport arrangements will apply for the following events (details to be announced)
Mong Kok Flower Market - 13th to 18th February
Lam Tsuen - 10th to 23rd February
Che Kung Festival, Sha Tin (Che Kung Temple) - 18th to 21st February
Chinese New Year Night Parade - Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui) - 19th February
Lunar New Year Fireworks Display - Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui) and Hong Kong Island (Central & Wanchai) - 20th February
Local bus operators traditionally decorate one or two buses in festive livery to celebrate Chinese New Year. Above is one of KMB's "Year of the Snake" buses from 2013
CROSS-BOUNDARY PASSENGER TRAFFIC ARRANGEMENTS
An estimated 8.5 million passengers will pass through Hong Kong's sea, land and air control points during the upcoming Lunar New Year festive period. About 75% will pass through land boundary control points during this period. The number of outbound passengers using land boundary control points is expected to reach its peak on 17th February while the inbound traffic is expected to be at its heaviest on 22nd February.
Lo Wu Control Point will be the busiest. Passenger traffic at the Lok Ma Chau, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Shenzhen Bay control points will also be heavy.
To cope with the anticipated heavy traffic during the festive period, the Immigration Department will redeployed more than 100 staff to reinforce various control points, minimised leave for front-line officers and will operate extra clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards have been deployed to provide crowd management support.
The Immigration Department, the Police, the Customs and Excise Department and the MTR Corporation Limited will set up a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point to closely monitor passenger traffic conditions and make necessary arrangements. The Immigration Department has also established communication with the Mainland frontier inspection authorities to ensure smooth passenger traffic flow.
As traffic at control points is expected to be heavy, to avoid congestion and a longer waiting time for immigration clearance than usual, the Immigration Department advises all cross-boundary passengers to plan in advance and avoid making their journeys during busy periods, and to follow radio and TV broadcasts on traffic conditions at various control points. The expected busy times at land boundary control points are available on the website of the Immigration Department at www.immd.gov.hk. In addition, information on public transport services to and from various control points is available on the Transport Department website at www.td.gov.hk. The Immigration Department will upload daily passenger statistics for the above festive periods on its website for public reference.
Cross-boundary passengers are reminded to bring along their identity cards and valid travel documents when they travel to the Mainland. Hong Kong residents should check the validity of their Home Visit Permits, in particular residents under the age of 18 whose Home Visit Permits are valid for three years from the date of issue. Non-permanent Hong Kong residents should bring along their valid smart identity card as well as their Document of Identity for Visa Purposes or other valid travel document.
Those in the process of having their identity cards replaced who are holding an acknowledgement receipt, or children under 11 years old who hold Hong Kong identity cards, should carry a valid travel document or Re-entry Permit for travel.
There are 400 e-Channels installed at various control points. Re-enrolment is required for enrolled passengers who have received a new identity card to continue using the Express e-Channel. Frequent Visitor e-Channels are installed at various control points for enrolled frequent visitors. Re-enrolment is required for Mainland visitors who have renewed their Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao or exit endorsement before continuing to use the e-Channel service.
Hong Kong residents who require assistance while travelling outside Hong Kong may call the Immigration Department's 24-hour hotline at (852) 1868.
All post offices will be closed from February 19th to 21st 2015, with the exception of the General Post Office at Connaught Place, Central and Airport Post Office, which will open on February 20th and 21st. The business hours of these two post offices will be from 9am to 5pm and 8am to 5pm respectively.
On February 19th, the first day of the Chinese New Year, one mail collection will be made for the posting boxes of the General Post Office, International Mail Centre Post Office, Kowloon Central Post Office and Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office. On February 20th and 21st, one mail collection will be made for the posting boxes of the General Post Office and Airport Post Office.
PUBLIC PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
All Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) parks and playgrounds will remain open during the Lunar New Year holiday period (February 19th to 21st). Leisure Link Internet and telephone reservation services will also operate as usual throughout the holidays.
GOVERNMENT RECREATION AND SPORTS FACILITIES
Sports centres, various fee-charging land-based facilities, swimming pools and water sports centres will be closed during the first three days of the Lunar New Year, 19th February 2015 to 21st February 2015 except that on 21st February 2015 some sports centres, turf pitches, squash courts, tennis courts, the archery range at Ngau Chi Wan Park and indoor bowling greens at Island East Sports Centre, as well as Tuen Mun Recreation and Sports Centre, will reopen.
Services at gazetted beaches will be suspended. Stadia and all sports grounds will be closed unless advance bookings have been made.
Holiday camps will be closed during the first three days of the Lunar New Year and lodging will not be provided on Lunar New Year's Eve, 18th February 2015.
Leisure Link booking counters at venues will not operate when the venues are closed. For venues scheduled to reopen on the third day of the Lunar New Year, their Leisure Link booking counters will also resume operation from the same day.