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Chinese New Year survival guide 2014

By Anjali RaguramanEvents - 22 January 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 11:28 AM

Chinese New Year survival guide 2014

Photos courtesy of chinatownfestivals.sg and Gardens by the Bay

As Chinese New Year rapidly approaches (the eve is on 30 January, Thursday), here are some ideas to help you usher in the Year of the Horse — what to wear, what to eat and where to hang out with family or friends. For those not taking part in the festivities, these tips may come in useful as well.

New year, new clothes

Get kitted out in auspicious red, but here’s how to do it without looking like a hongbao. Check out some great horse-themed accessories in the January lust list by inSing's Styl+, if matching your attire to the Chinese zodiac calendar year is your thing.

Horse-themed gear at Puma stores

If you need to get some last-minute shopping done, all boutiques at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands will be operating as usual throughout Chinese New Year from 10am to 11pm (Sunday to Thursday) and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Takeaway festive goodies and reunion dinners

cry baby
Order a suckling pig in advance for your reunion dinner

Food is integral to the new year celebrations, so tuck into prosperous pen cai (cold plate platter), pineapple tarts and yusheng (raw fish salad). The ultimate bak kwa test will guarantee you pick up the right barbecued meat in Singapore. If you need some help preparing a feast, order in a whole suckling pig from Peony Jade or even an Indian-flavoured yusheng from Tandoor. There are plenty of options for Chinese New Year takeaways via this handy guide by HungryGoWhere. Or if you’re not in the mood to cook at all,here is a list of restaurants to have reunion meals.

Huat, ah!

Putting bets on horses may be inevitable in the Year of the Horse, as spectators hit the Turf Club. The New Year Cup takes place on 1 February, Saturday and there are special packages for patrons on the day. Along with admission to the marquee, there is a buffet lunch and an instant-photo booth. Round up 10 friends and you’ll even get complimentary yusheng. More details here.

Ride a pony

The Singapore Zoological Gardens will be open and, weather-permitting, so are the pony rides. Located at the Rainforest Kidzworld, each ride costs $6 and a guide will accompany your little ones. 

Keep cool indoors with dinosaurs  

Get up close and personal with an 18m-long Apatosaurus or a new fossil of an Adeopapposaurus, discovered in Argentina just last year. Head to the 'Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction' exhibition at the ArtScience museum. The collection traces 600 million years of dinosaur history, and houses more than 400 fossils and 490 models.  It will be hours of fun for the family, and a dream for any dinosaur-lover.

 

Free admission to museum

The Singapore Art Museum is hosting an open house on 31 January and 1 February, from 10am to 7pm. On Saturday 1 February, there are workshops for children, who will be taught to make and take home a Biennale-inspired puppet (hourly from 11am to 6pm, outside Learning Gallery 1, level 2). At 2pm, there will be a lion dance performance on the front lawn. As part of the ongoing Singapore Biennale, contemporary artwork by Singaporeans will also be displayed around the museum grounds. 

Play among the flowers

If you love nature, check out the horse-themed floral display at the flower dome in Gardens by the Bay. Among the sculptures of horses inspired by the Chinese painting '100 horses', there are hundereds of colourful blooms in the Flower Field. They make great subjects for photography enthusiasts as well.

Visit Gardens by the Bay to check out the special Year of the Horse floral display

Walk through Chinatown 

What is Chinese New Year without a visit to Chinatown? Up until new year’s eve, there are nightly stage shows at Kreta Ayer Square and the festive street bazaar (where you may catch the stunning lights and decorations up close) will be open.

Post-reunion dinner partying

The best part about the holidays is the chance to go all out with the partying, and there are plenty of options. On Chinese New Year eve, Gem Bar hosts MUGIC with Ulyesses James and Dang Chau.

The view from Ku De Ta never gets old, no matter what time of year it is

On the first day of Chinese New Year (31 January), dress up in orange so that you may also head to Club Kyo for ‘Mad Orange’. Be spotted in the citrus shade and be treated to an hour-long free flow of housepour, spirits, beer and wine (10.30pm to 11.30pm). Ku De Ta sees DJ Andrew Chow at the decks, spinning tracks for you into the new year. Over at Blu Jaz near Arab Street, DJ Ollie Des and Ko Flow keep hip-hop alive with its Solid Gold night. 

Fireworks displays

Firecrackers are banned in Singapore, so the next best option is fireworks! On 29 and 30 January, the Sands SkyPark and Event Plaza are some of the many vantage points around Marina Bay Sands where you may witness fireworks display by the River Hong Bao carnival happening on the Float@Marina Bay.

Gong xi fa cai (wishing you prosperity) as you gallop into the Year of the Horse!