CNY weekend guide (27-30 January): River Hongbao, Istana tour and more

The Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations also bring along with them the first extended weekend of 2017, packed with festivities and celebrations all across the island. The annual River Hongbao, Sentosa’s Love in Springtime and a tour of the Istana are just some of the highlights this weekend.

1. River Hongbao 2017

Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su

Since 1987, the River Hongbao has been the annual welcoming party for the Lunar New Year. Held at the floating platform along Marina Bay, the 10 day fun-filled extravaganza features large lantern displays, food and activities for the family. Nightly displays of fireworks, lasers and performances by local and regional artists form the highlights of the celebrations. There is also an ample variety of foods, both traditional Chinese and local fusion foods to satisfy your taste buds.

Photo: Getty Images

Children can learn more about traditional Chinese arts and crafts or join in the fun at the many games stalls and thrill rides at the festival. There will also be an exhibition The More We Get Together: Festivals and Festivities in Singapore” featuring specially curated themes and photographs of major festivals in Singapore.

On the eve of CNY, the festival will host a special countdown party well past midnight to welcome the Lunar New Year.

When: 26 Jan – 4 Feb (2pm – 11pm daily and extended till 1am on 27 Jan, eve of CNY)

Where: The Float @ Marina Bay

Price: Free


2. Love in Springtime @ Sentosa

Photo: Sentosa

Sentosa’s “Love in Springtime” transforms Palawan Green, Merlion Plaza and Beach Plaza into festive playgrounds with lights showcases, entertainment lineups and activities for the family.

From 28 to 30 January, the Lunar New Year festivities will feature a LED dragon dance, a lion dance, walkabout characters and stilt walkers, as well as a pen-a-wish activity and prosperity drums.

There will also be a showcase of 12 zodiac lanterns at Palawan Green and a nightly lights display show at the Merlion. Families can also bond through sing-along sessions at the “Thank You For The Music” mini concert held on 11 Feb at Palawan Green.

When: 21 Jan – 26 Feb

Where: Sentosa (various locations)

Price: Free (Sentosa admission may apply)


3. Tour of the Istana

The Istana, the official residence for the President of the Republic of Singapore, is set to open its doors to the public five times this year, including this coming weekend on 29 Jan.

Entrance to the Istana is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents and $2 per person for others. During the Open House, a variety of performances are hosted on the grounds of the Istana, along with a select few function rooms displaying gifts presented to the President and Prime Minister of Singapore. Visitors can also opt for guided tours of the main building and a nature walk of the estate around the Istana.

For those who wish to venture on their own, download the Istana Garden Walk app from the Apple and Android store, where you’ll be able to scan QR codes around the premises for background information of the various monuments. 

When: 29 Jan

Where: The Istana

Price: Free (Singapore citizens and permanent residents and $2 for other visitors)


4. Dahlia Dreams @ Gardens by the Bay

Photo: Gardens by the Bay Website

Showcasing its first floral display of 2017, the Flower Dome will be displaying orange and red Dahlias and Begonias for a period of one month to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Chinese Garden inspired landscape of the Flower Dome will also feature a three-tier pagoda, a pavilion, and moon gates, along with sculptures of chickens to welcome the year of the rooster.

When: 20 Jan – 19 Feb

Where: Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay

Price: Local residents – $12 (adults) $8 (senior citizens and children)

Other visitors – $28 (adults) $15(children)


5. Festive activities @ the Zoo

The Singapore Zoo will play host to its own lineup of activities for slightly over two weeks, with activities such as a mascot meet and greet, lion dances and a Zoo-diac Trail. Snap a picture with the God of Fortune, watch the animal feeding sessions with specially prepared treats or learn about your zodiac predictions for the Year of the Rooster by following the Zoo-diac Trail.

Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

When: 27 Jan – 11 Feb

Where: Singapore Zoo

Price: $33 (adult), $22 (child), $15 (senior citizens who are Singaporeans or permanent residents)


6. Australia Day celebration

(Photo: Reuters)

Thursday (26 Jan) marks the National Day of our world neighbours down under, but the celebrations won’t be limited to the land of kangaroos and koalas. Head over to the Tanjong Beach Club on Sunday (29 Jan) to celebrate Australia Day with good food and Aussie DJs Dave Code, Dave Does & Adam Sky.

When: Sunday (11am – 10pm)

Where: 120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore 098942

Price: Your food and drink


7. Pop Up Yoga @ Botanic Gardens

Singapore Botanic Gardens. (Photo: AFP)

If you’re not running around consuming Chinese New Year goodies on the first day (28 Jan), why not head down to the Singapore Botanic Gardens for a Pop Up Yoga session? Just bring your own mat and your own water, and you’re all set to go. Who knows, this might kick off a new trend of such sessions taking place at public locations all around the island.

When: Saturday (28 Jan)

Where: Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569

Price: $5


8. CNY @ KidZania

This interactive role-play indoor theme park for kids features a 81,000 square feet kid-sized city that is complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles and even a functioning economy to allow kids to experience hands-on learning. For Chinese New Year, KidZania has tweaked selected role-play activities within its park, inspired by traditions.

The Lion Dance City Parade happening daily at 2.45pm will allow kids to learn more about Chinese traditions and why the New Year holds such significance in the Chinese calendar. Kids can also learn how to create Chinese calligraphy at the Main Square daily and bring home their creations to decorate their homes.

When: 21 Jan – 12 Feb

Where: Palawan Kidz City, 31 Beach View #01-01/02, Singapore 098008

Price: $58 (kids between 4-17), $35 (adults), $25 (senior citizens)


9. CNY Lockdown @ The Skyline Club & Lounge

For those of you looking for a themed party this Chinese New Year, the CNY Lockdown might just be your thing. Dress up, take part in challenges, and choose if you want to win a prize or continue with the free flow of drinks for anyone in the room. Of course, there are rules, which you can check out on the event’s Facebook page.

When: 28 Jan (10pm) – 29 Jan (4am)

Where: Skyline Club & Lounge, Level 45 Singapore Land Tower, Singapore 048623

Price: $35 (free entry for those dressed to the theme)