Chinatown in Singapore gets ready for Chinese New Year

Before we headed back to Boston, I made a quick dash to Chinatown to pick up a few gifts.  I made a point of waiting until after Christmas, so I could be sure that the CNY decorations would be up. Part of me was a bit nervous, as it was a trip to go buy CNY decorations last year that resulted in the broken ankle, but what were the odds that lightening would strike twice…right?  RIGHT???

All kidding aside, I was also very excited to see what Chinatown would do for the year of the dragon.  The year of the dragon is a pretty huge deal, and from the moment I got there, it didn’t disappoint.  Witness the giant dragon draped over the bridge by the Chinatown MRT station.


For awesome pictures of the giant dragon (including gorgeous night shots), check out Singapore Actually’s post and The Dot Diaries post.

While you can buy CNY decorations at plenty of stores, in my mind there’s nothing more fun than going to Chinatown to buy them.  Yes, it’s crowded, crazy, and chaotic, but that’s half the fun.  And from what I hear tell, the insanity of the build up has NOTHING on what it’s like to be there on CNY.

Stores that usually sell all manner of tchotke and souvenir put away all their stock and sell nothing but household decorations.  Most decorations seem to go for less than $5 SGD, so the volume they must be able to sell to make that worthwhile is pretty breathtaking when you think about it.

The first photo is a close-up of several decorations, the second is of the storefront, looking inside.

Everywhere I looked were dragons.  As I am a huge dragon fan, this was extremely pleasing to my eye, as have been the legion of dragons I’ve spotted around Singapore since.

Rooftop of a building in Chinatown as I walked down New Bridge Road…

Paper dragon…if I could figure out how to hang him from my ceiling, I totally would.  Quite possibly year round.

Adorable little stuffed dragons, although I went with something else in the end…

Unfortunately, my camera died and my cellphone battery was also starting to go as well, so I don’t have any more pictures.

However, I can tell you that if you are ever lucky enough to be in Singapore around CNY, you absolutely need to go to Chinatown.  Words alone can not do it justice.  The lanterns, the red and gold, the people, the energy are unlike anything you experience here at any other time of year.  Chinese New Year is an unparalleled holiday in Singapore…nothing shuts down the city like it, nothing motivates traditions like it, and nothing beats it for excitement.

Last year I missed out on CNY because I broke my ankle the day I bought the decorations.  This year, between the new baby and the jet lag of getting home just a week before CNY (and the whole first week without help thing) we only really dipped our toes in the magic of CNY in Singapore by attending River Hong Bao (keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post).  But next year…next year will be our year.

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1 Response to Chinatown in Singapore gets ready for Chinese New Year

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