Happy Chinese New Year (or as it’s called in China Spring Festival or Lunar New Year)! Officially beginning today, this year is represented by the horse, one of the 12 animals that preside over different years according to the Chinese Zodiac. Each of these animals is said to have its own attributes that affect the health and success of those born in the year of that zodiac. In 2014, a year of the horse, we can’t predict what fortunes will come your way but we can suggest places around the world that you can travel to in celebration of the year of the horse.
Named after the White Horse Rapids (which were labelled for their resemblance to the mane of a white horse), this Canadian city holds the Guinness World Record for the city with the least air pollution in the world. This could be due to its extreme northerly location in the province of Yukon, known for its icy winter temperatures that sometimes dip below -40°C. There are benefits to visiting this snowy vista though, namely spotting the beautiful phenomenon known as the Northern Lights.
Big Rocking Horse, Australia
This year is not just the year of the horse: the element associated with the horse in 2014 is wood. There doesn’t seem to be a more appropriate attraction to visit than The Big Rocking Horse, located in the South Australian town of Gumeracha. Towering above a toy factory and wildlife park, this 18 metre high wooden novelty is one of many ‘Big Things’ that line the roadsides of Australia. We wouldn’t recommend travelling all the way to Australia just to see this, but Adelaide (which is a great place to visit) is just a 45 minute drive away, and nearby attractions include the German village of Hahndorf, scenic Mt. Barker and many quaint wineries.
Spanish Riding School, Vienna, Austria
This list wouldn’t have been complete without the inclusion of some actual horses; the world-renowned Spanish Riding School in Vienna promises to be a memorable equine experience. The show stars Lipizzaner stallions that have been highly trained to perform classical dressage movements, almost as though they are dancing. The institution has been going for over 440 years, making it the oldest of its kind in the world.
Being a cowboy, Texas, USA
Watching horses is truly spectacular but for those who are a little more hands-on, riding a horse is a more authentic equestrian activity. Although there are plenty of places around the world where you can ride horses in stunning scenery, we think that being a cowboy (or cowgirl) in Texas is the ultimate horse riding experience. Not only can you saddle up and ride for a day, but you can also herd cattle, visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and camp out under the stars as a true cowboy would. Yee haw!
Seahorses, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Mexico
If real horses aren’t your thing, perhaps seahorses will tickle your fancy. At the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in Mexico, a snorkelling excursion will give you the chance to get up close and personal with plenty of exotic sea life, including seahorses. These little marine creatures have some pretty unique features; they are one of the only animals in the world where the male becomes pregnant with the young and they are monogamous, which means they only have one partner for life. So although they are not real horses, we would still love to see one of these in the wild.
You may not have time to get to China to celebrate Chinese New Year but there is still plenty of culture to be soaked up all throughout the Year of the Horse. Why not check out our deals to Hong Hong now?