|by Kate Appleton||China, Hong Kong||116|
Each winter, Chinese New Year celebrations bring business to a halt for three days: Costumed dancers and drummers parade through the streets, fireworks burst over Victoria Harbour, and locals turn out for horse races, sales, and temple prayers. Festivities begin on February 7, 2008 for the Year of the Rat, which is luckier than it may sound (those born in the Year of the Rat, the first sign of the Chinese zodiac, are typically considered ambitious, charming leaders).
Chinese New Year is a tricky time for visitors to navigate Hong Kong, so it's safest to opt for a tour package. If you book by October 31, you'll lock in a price of $1,029 per person for Globus's Chinese New Year in Hong Kong package. It covers five nights at the Harbour Plaza, reserved seats for the parade, a dinner cruise during the fireworks show, a cable car ride to Victoria Peak, and a trip to Stanley Market—the place to find silks, paintings, and toys. Note that airfare and arrival/departure fees are not included.
You can find details on another Chinese New Year package, which does include airfare, in the November issue's 40 Best Deals section: Party Like It's 4705.
A photo of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline taken during an afternoon ride on the Star Ferry (Kate Appleton).