As the wise playwright George Bernard Shaw once declared, “I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad”. With that in mind, in celebration of the changing Chinese zodiac this Chinese New Year, ZUJI has put together a list of destinations celebrating each animal’s corresponding characteristics and lucky directions. Instead of selecting the same old destinations based on the usual reasons, why not choose the next one based on your astrological traits?
1. Zodiac sign: Rat
Birth years: 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Rat are instinctive, acute and alert, while sophisticated and popular in social interactions. Personal safety must be taken seriously when Rats travel overseas.
Lucky directions: Southeast, Northeast
Head to: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hot air balloons over Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The next time you think about taking your millionth trip to Bangkok to satisfy that mango sticky rice craving, or bargain hunting, head up North instead to Chiang Mai, and experience something truly magical. Away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city life, visitors can enjoy hot air balloon rides overlooking paddy fields and mountainous landscapes. Take a trip to the Old City to visit any one of Chiang Mai’s 300 temples on offer – we recommend Wat Sri Suphan, Thailand’s only temple made entirely of silver. If you’re feeling a little more posh, check out the many beer buffets housed in cool upmarket areas, where all-you-can-drink beer is available from just S$5! Whoever said buffets were just reserved for food?
2. Zodiac sign: Ox
Birth years: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Cow are persistent and simple, yet honest and straightforward. They are contemplative before taking actions, and not easily affected by their surroundings.
Lucky directions: Southeast, South and North
Head to: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Rich in culture with incredible natural scenery to boot, it is a must to visit Siem Reap at least once in your life. Don’t miss out on the many temples, such as the famed Angkor Wat, known to be the world’s largest religious structure and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Apart from Angkor Wat, other ruins such as Ta Som Temple and East Mebon Temple are equally fascinating. The Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Facility is another must-visit. Give back to the less fortunate this Chinese New Year by donating to the museum’s fund for its newer school and dormitory for amputee children.
3. Zodiac sign: Tiger
Birth years: 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Tiger are powerful, independent, confident and brave.
Lucky directions: South, Southeast, East
Head to: Hanoi, Vietnam
A view of Halong Bay, Vietnam
With its tree-lined boulevards, lakes, parks, villas and temples, one might mistake Hanoi to be an Indonesian or French city given the many colonial influences around. To truly experience Vietnamese life, take a trip to the Northern Mountains to sample rural living. Get a bird’s eye view of what Mother Nature has to offer with a helicopter ride to Halong Bay. Indulge in a kayak or dive adventure in these stunning waters, home to thousands of species both below and above sea level. But a trip to Hanoi would not be complete without a visit to the Snake Village in Le Mat, where you can eat fresh organs and other parts, straight out of live snakes. Definitely for the brave Tigers indeed!
4. Zodiac sign: Rabbit
Birth years: 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are tender, graceful and sensitive in nature, and tend to have a high demand in life quality.
Lucky directions: Southeast, South, East
Head to: Seoul, Korea
Along the streets of Garosu-gil, Seoul, Korea via Flickr (sellyourseoul)
What better city to visit to celebrate your all-time favourite hobby – shopping – than Seoul? Apart from the common shopping districts such as Dongdaemun and Myeongdong, there are other districts that deserve honorary mentions as well. Apgujeong-dong is one such district with stores selling upscale fashion products lining its streets, catering to young trendsetters. If that doesn’t cut it, visitors can head to Cheongdamdong, which holds the title of probably being the most luxurious shopping area in Seoul (think S$17 for a cup of coffee). A short taxi ride away from Apgujeong-dong is Garosu-gil, a narrow street filled with trendy cafes and shops and famed for its European-like surroundings. Give yourself a reason to shop till you drop this Chinese New Year!
5. Zodiac sign: Dragon
Birth years: 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Dragon are lively, intellectual and excitable.
Lucky directions: North, Northwest, West
Head to: Shanghai, China
The contrast of old vs. new in Shanghai, China
A city with a mix of both the old and the new, it is easy to see why tourists are flocking to Shanghai, with historical relics lining its modern landscape. Thrill seekers would love the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, which offers a 360-degree view of the city at 259 metres. Art lovers will enjoy Shanghai’s growing arts scene at Moganshan Road, known for its Chinese contemporary art studios, and The Shanghai History Museum for everything on Chinese history. End off your night with a cruise tour on the Huangpu River to see Shanghai’s night skyline, a ride not to be missed!
6. Zodiac sign: Snake
Birth years: 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Snake like hanging out in the dark, representing their wisdom and wit. They are calm and sensitive, but humorous at the same time.
Lucky directions: Northeast, South, Southwest
Head to: Taipei, Taiwan
At the top of Elephant Mountain overlooking the skyline, Taipei, Taiwan
It is said that Taipei is a city that never sleeps. Urban hikes through the night are common here, with Elephant Mountain giving you the best view of the city. Also known as Xingshan, the best time to start your hike is in the late afternoon, where you can view the sunset as well as an exceptional night-time view of the city. In the culture-rich towns Pingxi and Shifen, you’ll have the opportunity to write wishes on lanterns and set them into the night sky for a moderate fee. Don’t forget to check out the world-renowned night markets like Shilin Night Market for amazing street food and great shopping finds!
7. Zodiac sign: Horse
Birth years: 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Horse are dynamic, zealous and generous in nature.
Lucky directions: Northeast, Northwest and Southwest
Head to: New Delhi, India
Akshardham Temple, New Delhi, India
Mention India and the Taj Mahal automatically comes to mind. But did you know that the country is home to so much more? In New Delhi, you can visit the Lotus Temple, where you will have the chance to walk through beautifully manicured gardens. Just 15 minutes away is the ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple, where the drums and chant of “Har-e-Krishna” can be heard. Additionally, the Akshardham Temple will amaze you with its elaborate architecture and detailing. Similar to Paris’ Triumphal Arch, the India Gate is popular with both locals and tourists wanting to pay tribute to the lives lost during World War I. A word of caution: Many beggars line the streets along the Gate, so do not let your guard down with your generous nature.
8. Zodiac sign: Sheep
Birth years: 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Sheep have a special sensitivity to art and beauty, with a fondness for quiet living.
Lucky directions: East, South, Southeast
Head to: Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
The fishing village of Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
Australia’s Port Douglas may be a tiny fishing village, but it sure packs a punch. Located southeast of Queensland, the town is filled with trendy restaurants and a top-rated golf course, allowing visitors to enjoy the top quality of life without the crowds. The town plays host to a beautiful beach, where you can swim, snorkel and surf. Remarkably, the town is one of the only places in the Australian continent where visitors can get access to the Great Barrier Reef by boat. Thrill seekers can explore the Daintree Rainforest, where visitors can swing through the canopy on a zipline and discover secret swimming holes and beaches. This is one place that will definitely guarantee scouts an explorer’s badge.
9. Zodiac sign: Monkey
Birth years: 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Monkey are the life of the party. They are flexible and versatile, while quick-witted in their daily lives.
Lucky directions: North, Northwest, West
Head to: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
The stupas atop Borobudur Temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
With natural landscapes and lush greenery, expect to be blown away in Yogyakarta. Pronounced as ‘Jogjakarta’ or ‘Jog-Ja’ for short, it is more laidback than other Indonesian cities such as Jakarta and Bandung. Adrenaline junkies will love the outbound activities of rock climbing and tightrope walking offered at the Kalibiru National Park, while nature lovers will find solace at the water-flowing mountains of Sewu Mountain Range. For those seeking a more heart-pumping intense challenge, try body rafting at Kalisuci Cave, where fast river currents complete with twists and turns through underwater caves will give you an adventure of a lifetime. Make sure to visit the Borobudur, the world’s largest and greatest Buddhist temple. While it can get crowded at times, the best time to visit is early in the morning to catch the rising sun beaming through the holes in the stupas. Its laidback feels and many Instagram-worthy spots will make you want to prolong your stay indefinitely!
10. Zodiac sign: Rooster
Birth years: 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Rooster are independent, and seldom rely on others.
Lucky directions: Southwest, Northwest, West
Head to: Maldives
A private island in the Maldives
Did you know that there are more uninhabited islands than there are inhabited in the island-country of the Maldives? If you fancy, you can book a whole private island all to yourself! Catch your own dinner during the night reef-fishing trips organised by local fishermen, and grill your catch of the day on an island under the stars. During the day, explore the different islands by flying on a sea plane, cycling or even, wait for it, on a cargo ship. If that’s not enticing enough, you could take a night swim alongside grey reef sharks – don’t worry, they are harmless, of course.
11. Zodiac sign: Dog
Birth years: 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Dog are not afraid of any difficulties.
Lucky directions: South, Southeast, East
Head to: Paro, Bhutan
The rice fields of Paro Valley, Paro, Bhutan
While getting to Bhutan is a little tricky – Paro Airport is the sole international airport and only a handful of airlines are allowed to land there – it is well worth the journey! A must-visit in Paro Town is Taktsang Lhakhang, also known as The Tiger’s Nest Temple. A three-hour trek is mandatory to reach this iconic landmark located at an altitude of more than 3,100 metres. For a challenging yet fun adventure, there is the option of cycling or trekking through mountains and over lakes to explore tiny rural villages and catch a glimpse of exotic wildlife through the scenic hills. It is also important to note that Bhutan charges tourists a sustainable fee of up to US$250 per day, and US$40 for a visa, but let that not hinder you from experiencing the happiest country in Asia and eighth happiest in the world.
12. Zodiac sign: Pig
Birth years: 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Pig avoid risky activities but are considerate, responsible, independent and optimistic.
Lucky directions: Southeast, Northeast
Head to: Kyoto, Japan
The quaint Kozan-ji Temple during autumn, Kyoto, Japan via Flickr (Moyan Brenn)
Kyoto is said to be one of the best Japanese cities – everything here is just about amazing. From its shrines and temples – Nishi-Hongwan-ji Temple for its elaborate design and Kozan-ji Temple for its surrounding mountainous beauty – you can enjoy peace and serenity while basking in Japanese aesthetics. Home to not only the finest green tea, caffeine lovers too can head to downtown Kyoto (Nakagyō-ku) which houses some of the most famous coffee houses. Hit the historic geisha town of Gion at night, which is known for its array of bars, restaurants, and geisha houses. For a quieter experience, you can explore the district’s old houses, art galleries and antique shops. Of course, any trip to Kyoto would not be complete without a night’s stay in a machiya. These old townhouses, though fascinating and modern, are sadly becoming a rare sight due to the changing ways of Japanese living. To let you in on a secret, Kyoto is prettiest in autumn.
To let you go on your lucky holidays, ZUJI has great CNY promotions on-going now! Find out more here.