Chinese New Year is around the corner and this is a time for joy and celebration for many around the world. It is during this time that families and friends from around the world meet up and share this auspicious occasion. Chinese New Year is well known for its extravagant celebrations which involves lights and sounds. Chinese families usually for a get-together dinner on New Year’s Eve, and clean their homes to clear away bad fortune on New Year’s Day. Customarily, children would be given red envelopes known as ang baos filled ‘lucky money’ and positive wishes on New Year’s Day. But what if you don’t celebrate Chinese New Year? For some, this could very well just be a three-day break from work or school, but for the adventurous ones, it is a time to explore the . Without further ado, here are the top five things one can do during this festive period 5. Take a walk around the IstanaEver wondered what goes on behind the big iron doors at the official residence of Singapore’s President? The Istana, a 106 acre (0.43 km2) estate is open to the public during festive occasions. For a small sum, guests can likewise gain access to special rooms utilized for presidential services and functions. There are also free walking tours of the estate, and one can enjoy the cultural performances out in the lawn while munching on sandwich tapaoed from the nearby Plaza Singapura 4. Become a touristYou’ve always wanted to go to the observatory deck of Marina Bay Sands and walk on the suspended bridge at Gardens by the Bay with your loved ones. However, it’s always crowded which just puts you off mood. Now is your perfect chance to do all these touristy things without having to queue since it’s the Lunar New Year there won’t be much of a crowd. Think the beach, famous landmarks and perhaps, Sentosa. All those will be great to go without suffering the crowd 3. Last minute shopping at ChinatownOn the off chance that you haven’t gone down to the clamoring market covering Chinatown’s Temple Street and Smith Street, you haven’t experienced the genuine Chinese New Year in the Singapore atmosphere. The market will still be open till the night of Chinese New Year Eve, so make a beeline quickly for the good bargains. According to most people, most stalls offer discounts and lower prices toward closing time. Get prepared for the haggle of shoppers trying to get last minute items so this is the only place that will be crowded during the Lunar New Year. 2. Go to the museumsMuseums in general might have reputation of being boring but you’ll be surprised what you can learn there. The National Art Gallery hosts a wide variety of paintings, exhibits and monuments. In particular, the ‘Century of Light’ gallery features exciting exhibitions from Javanese artist Raden Saleh and Philippine artist Juan Luna, both famed artists who achieved wide acclaim in Europe. The exhibition explores how Saleh and Luna developed their work living between two diverse cultures and societies. This is particularly relevant to Singapore’s promotion of multi-racialism. Learning about the different cultures of Singapore is also a very interesting and smart thing to do this Chinese New Year. 1. Visit a friend celebrating Chinese New YearYou can learn the most about Chinese culture by actually visiting a friend who celebrates Chinese New Year! Other than it being a decent time to catch up with long lost friends, sharing a meal together and learning more about the Chinese culture, you’ll also enjoy a few games of Ban-Luck, otherwise called Chinese black-jack. A perk of visiting is indulging in the flavourful, homemade Chinese food which includes favourites like lohei and peng cai. You might be even be lucky to receive an angbao filled with some money. Just make sure not to open the envelope at the table. So even if you don’t enjoy any of these, worst comes to worst, you can always stay at home and ‘Netflix and chill’. Remember, these long weekends don’t come frequently. Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone celebrating the new Chinese New Year!