|The Chinese believe that dragon and lion dances can drive away evil spirits and bring good luck and fortune to the people. Photo courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board
MANILA, Philippines - Hong Kong is offering a series of events and activities in an effort to lure tourists during the Chinese New Year festivities, which kicked off yesterday.
One of these is tonight's International Chinese New Year Night Parade, which will feature 35 floats and performing groups from 12 countries and regions.
The parade starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui and proceeds along Canton Road, Haiphong Road, Nathan Road, and Salisbury Road. It ends at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board released ten events and activities that visitors can take part in as the city continues to welcome the Year of the Dragon -- from flower markets and lantern festivals to a fireworks display and a race event.
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1. Flower markets
Treat yourself to an enchanting mix of colors and scents at Hong Kong's flower markets, located at 14 parks and playgrounds all over Hong Kong, including Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island, and Fa Hui Park in Mongkok, Kowloon. These are open from noon to midnight. Admission is free.
2. Lunar New Year fireworks display
Thousands will line both sides of the iconic Victoria Harbour on January 24 to witness Hong Kong ushering in the Year of the Dragon with a pyrotechnic display. The fireworks display will start at 8 p.m. Admission is free. You can also join a fireworks display cruise and enjoy the show while sailing around the Victoria Harbour.
3. Lunar New Year lantern carnivals 2012
Soak up the festive New Year's ambiance with holiday-themed Christmas lanterns and a variety of cultural performances. Enjoy Chinese singing and dancing along with the traditional stage arts or have your fortune told and try your hand at a lantern riddle quiz.
The Lunar New Year lantern carnivals will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Tsuen Wan Sha Tsui road playground (February 4), Tseung Kwan O Po Tsui (February 5) and Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza (February 6). Admission is free.
4. Chinese New Year fortune-seeking trip
During Chinese New Year, it is customary to give thanks for the past 12 months and pray for good fortune in the coming year. Join crowds on a Chinese New Year fortune-seeking trip at different venues such as Kowloon, New Territories and Hong Kong Island.
5. Chinese New Year race day
Join the eager punters at the race track in a unique Hong Kong tradition. On the third day of Chinese New Year, local sports fans hope to kick off the new year with a winning bet. Admission is free. First race begins at 12:30 p.m.
6. Hong Kong Wetland Park: Bird-watching festival
Every year, large flocks of waterfowl migrate to Hong Kong and make their winter homes at the Wetland Park. Visit the wetland park this Chinese New Year and join special programs such as tours and sessions.
7. Year of the Dragon at Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping 360 is adorned with dragon-themed Chinese New Year decorations in festive colors until February 5 to welcome the Year of the Dragon. Ngong Ping village will also be filled with live entertainment, including a golden dragon parade and a lion dance.
8. Ocean Park CNY Fiesta
Visitors are invited to go to Ocean Park's Aqua City, Rapids of the Rainforest and Thrill Mountain attractions for its Chinese New Year fiesta, which will run until February 5. The event will feature Chinese drum shows and dragon dances, among others.
9. Hong Kong Disneyland: Year of the Dragon celebration
Hong Kong Disneyland takes tourists to its Chinese New Year celebration, which will run until February 5. It will feature dragon processions, a lucky trail and a meet and greet session with Mushu of hit Disney film "Mulan."
10. Sky100: Sky-high Walk of Good Fortune
Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck is offering the Sky-High Walk of Good Fortune where visitors can enjoy panoramic 360-degree views of Hong Kong from the highest viewing point in the city. It is also a great location for viewing the Lunar New Year fireworks.