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Give me five

Updated: 2013-02-05 16:19
By Wang Ru ( China Daily)

Spring Festival is celebrated with a dinner with the family on the Lunar New Year’s Eve. But nowadays an increasing number of Chinese are traveling abroad to make the most of the Golden Week holiday. If you want to soak in the cultures of another country, try one (or more, if you want to) of these five cities that are worth the money and time.

Paris

The best time to visit Paris is from early summer to fall. But there are more than enough reasons to experience it in February, especially because celebrating Spring Festival is becoming popular in the fashion capital.

To begin with, you can partake of the celebrations in China Town in the 13th arrondissement.

For shopping lovers, there are Champs-Elysees and Galeries Lafayette. The January sales in Paris last five weeks from the second Wednesday of the month, so good bargains are available even in February. Also don’t forget the boutiques.

To experience Valentine’s Day in the city of romance, take a walk down to Le Mur Des Je T’aime (The Wall of Love) in north Paris where you’ll find “I love you” written in 311 languages on the 40-square-meter stone wall.

This is also the time of the year when “Paris is owned by its residents”, which gives you the perfect opportunity to experience local life. Choose a small restaurant or cafe to get a taste of authentic French cuisine.

For art buffs, there are exhibitions throughout the month. It is worth spending an entire day in the Louvre or other famous museums and churches.

New York City

There is always a reason to visit New York City, and any month is as good as another. The Big Apple, with its charming multicultural milieu, world-class museums and glamorous events, will not disappoint you in February.

But before visiting Central Park or going shopping in Fifth Avenue, make a dash for the Statue of Liberty, which reopened to the public in October after a one-year restoration.

NYC has some of the best museums and galleries. And the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum deserve at least a whole day each.

February offers rich sports, entertainment, music and dance performances in Madison Square Garden. You can enjoy the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show if you are a dog lover. For basketball fans, there is an NBA game of Knicks.

Other attractions like the Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center offer visitors different views of this great city. And a variety of parades and celebrations are held in NYC to celebrate Spring Festival.

Sydney

February is the last month of Australian summer and the temperature is mild. It is also one of the best months to be in the beautiful harbor city.

From the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge to historic sites, colonial buildings and cobbled streets, Sydney has them all.

Visit the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games sites, enjoy the cosmopolitan nightlife, take a cruise in the harbor, feel the joy of riding the inner city monorail, and emerge soaked and dazed from the world class aquarium, museums and art galleries.

Sydney also holds Spring Festival celebrations with parades. Dragon Boat races are held in Sydney’s Darling Harbor.

Bangkok

February is one of the best months to visit the capital of Thailand, for you can avoid its infamous heat and rain both.

The city may be congested and chaotic, but it is also full of hidden treasures. Part of Bangkok’s charm is that it is also the gateway to Thailand’s legendary beach resorts and a wonderful host to budget travelers.

On the banks of Chao Phraya River, visitors will find the Grand Palace as well as Wat Phra Kaew, the palace temple housing the Emerald Buddha, made entirely from translucent green jade. Slightly upriver are the exquisitely ornamented Royal Barges, still used for special floating processions.

Venice

If you are planning a holiday in Europe, take a trip to Venice to be part of the world-famous carnival, which this year may be celebrated from Feb 2 to 12.

For any first-time visitor, the first thing to do is to take a gondola to immerse in the sites, sounds and smell of the City of Canals. The city in its entirety — along with its lagoon — is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

After having been awed by the canals, bridges, architecture and artworks, join the iconic Venice Carnival to be bowled over by Il Ballo del Doge (The Doge’s Ball), the most elegant and exclusive Venetian masquerade ball.

The ball is held in the 15th century Palazzo Pisani Moretta, situated on the Grand Canal, and attended by about 400 guests dressed in period costumes and masks.

Give me five

Give me five

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