On 10 February 2024, we will say farewell to the rabbit and usher in the Year of the Wood Dragon. Considered the luckiest of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, the dragon symbolises power, energy and transformation. That makes 2024 a year to thrive, accomplish and pursue your dreams. Here’s why you should celebrate this highly auspicious Chinese New Year 2024 (CNY) with your family on the beautiful tropical island of Bali.
While Bali is predominantly known for its rich Balinese Hindu culture, the island is also home to a significant Chinese community. Chinese traders started to arrive by sea around the 14th century. Many settled on the island, coexisting harmoniously with the local Hindu community, who embraced elements of Chinese culture – including Chinese New Year. Known in Indonesia as ‘Imlek’, CNY is celebrated with a unique blend of Chinese traditions, Balinese charm and fabulous fusion cuisine. From late January, you will find an air of anticipation and excitement across the island, and spot red lanterns blowing in the breeze. You can also witness cultural performances, parades, and fireworks and enjoy special CNY menus in festively adorned restaurants.
The most important aspect of Chinese New Year 2024 is spending time with family, so it’s the perfect time to book an exclusive home away from home. Elite Havens luxury villas offer private chefs, personal pools, tranquil gardens, and plenty of space for all the family to spread out. Another benefit of a villa stay in Bali is the Elite Concierge who can take care of any arrangements – from restaurant reservations to family outings, so all you have to do is pack your bags and hop on a plane.
Whether you want to observe all the rituals and traditions of a classic CNY, or simply relax with your family in comfortable surrounds on a beautiful tropical island, here are 4 top reasons why you should head to Bali for Chinese New Year 2024.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
1. Witness festivities in a Chinese temple
Known as klenteng, Bali’s ornate Chinese temples set a lively scene for Chinese New Year 2024 festivities. Expect vibrant decorations, prayer rituals that fill the air with the fragrant scent of incense, and elaborate ceremonies. There are thrilling cultural performances too, including the traditional lion dance and dragon dance. Celebrations are often high in volume as the loud sounds of firecrackers, drums and cymbals are considered effective ways to ward off evil spirits.
Some Chinese temples to visit in Bali include Kuta’s Vihara Dharmayana Temple, which dates to 1876, and Klenteng Caow Eng Bio, which clings to the tip of the Tanjung Benoa Peninsula (near Nusa Dua,) and is more than 300 years old. Perhaps the most evocative of Bali’s Chinese temples though, is Ling Gwan Kiong. Here you will find magnificently landscaped miniature gardens, vivid murals and lotus ponds brimming with pink and white blooms. Located on the seafront in Singaraja which was once a buzzing seaport, Ling Gwan Kiong Temple is close to Agung Jagatnatha, an ornate Balinese Hindu temple, which is also worthy of a visit. The Elite Concierge can organise a day trip for you to this northern region of Bali, perhaps taking in some of the island’s scenic waterfalls along the way, with a lunch stop at the laidback seaside town of Lovina.
2. Shop for the entire family
Wearing something new on the first day of the Chinese New Year is deemed auspicious, and Bali with its trendy boutiques, leafy malls and buzzing markets, is a fabulous place to pick up a new outfit or two. The more colourful the better – with the lucky colours red and gold a popular choice for CNY.
Bali’s malls, such as Beachwalk, heartily embrace the spirit of the lunar new year and you will find ample decorations and some terrific promotions to celebrate the holiday. The atmospheric markets in Denpasar are ideal for sourcing decorations, red envelopes for ang pao (money gifts) and fresh fruit. Mandarin oranges are particularly popular, as their name in Chinese, ‘kam’ sounds similar to the word for gold, and are thought to bring riches into your life.
3. Indulge in traditional Chinese cuisine
Food has a big role to play in CNY. One of the unique aspects of Chinese New Year celebrations in Bali is the delicious fusion of Chinese and Balinese cuisines. Specialities like Nasi Campur may be prepared with a Chinese or a Peranakan twist, incorporating flavours and techniques from both culinary traditions. You can indulge in traditional Cantonese cuisine at one of the island’s many Chinese restaurants, such as Happy Chappy Chinese, with locations in Seminyak, Petitenget and Canggu.
Restaurants and hotels also offer elaborate set menus and buffet extravaganzas. Expect authentic dishes like Peking duck, steamed pork belly, lion’s head Chinese meatballs, whole fish and moon cake. Plus, fun traditions like noodle tossing and mandarin throwing, and maybe even a live gamelan orchestra for a delightful Balinese twist. Don’t worry about scouring the internet – the Elite Concierge can advise on the best CNY celebrations around the island.
4. Stay amidst luxury in a family-friendly villa
More than anything, Chinese New Year is about family. And sharing a luxury villa with your loved ones makes for a memorable holiday, without the distractions of a crowded hotel or resort. Travelling as an extended family? Adjoining villas are available and can offer up to 12 bedrooms. Some villas have strong traditional Balinese design elements, allowing you to immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture. You may also like to attend Balinese cultural performances, such as the barong or Kecak dance, or visit other island attractions, like Bali Zoo, Bali Bird Park and Bali Marine Safari Park.
One of the greatest advantages of staying in an Elite Havens villa is having a private chef on hand, who can customise your Chinese New Year menus to your preference. Opt for auspicious dishes such as longevity noodles – long noodles to symbolise long life, dumplings – which represent wealth, and spring rolls (with or without a Balinese twist) for good luck. Prefer a seafood barbecue, Indonesian banquet, or western-style brunch? Your private chef can prepare those as well, along with special menus for the kids.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year in a luxury villa allows you to combine the best of both worlds – the privacy and comfort of exclusive accommodations, paired with the enchanting festivities that characterise Chinese New Year in Bali, all on your terms.
Ready to make your Chinese New Year unforgettable? Book your holiday villa now for a fantastic celebration with your family. Don’t wait – reserve your spot today and create lasting memories!