Don’t Get Lost This Chinese New Year! All The Important Opening Hours And MRT Timings!

No Food, Closed Shops and an empty stomach.

This is my personal way of welcoming the new Chinese New Year. Its Monday and I am already facing my first main challenge this season. Not starving.
(Read: 10 Things You Should Never Do At Chinese New Year)

Like every year I am not involved in some Mahjong or/and food marathon but stuck at work, where the Japanese markets are without remorse and giving me plenty to do for not being reminded of the major holiday that is actually taking place these days.

This was 2008. One year ago, Lunchtime on Chinese New Year in the middle of the City Business District.

Like many expats, especially for those of you who are here for the first time during Chinese New Year, one might wonder about the general details regarding opening hours of shops, public transport systems and restaurants or other places.

To spare you the “Hungry Ang Moh” part, like it usually happens to me every year, standing at an empty Raffles Place only hearing the echo of my own “Why, why, why??” screams… you will find below the most important details about opening hours of all major institutions you might not want to abstain from this Chinese New Year.

Shops / Grocery Stores

Sunday, Monday – 25th and 26th January

  • • Most Chinese Shops will be closed the whole day. This includes the busy Orchard Road malls as well as the Newspaper selling street vendor.
  • • Supermarkets will be closed as well. NTUC/Fairprice the whole day, Cold Storage will have some of their major outlets be open half day.
    (Read: The Complete Guide To Singapores Grocery Stores)
  • • In general the rule is that everything related to Chinese will be closed.

Tuesday – 27th January

  • • Although Tuesday is officially still holiday, things will definitely get more relaxed and back to normal this day.
  • • Supermarkets will be back to normal operating hours and most shops will open for the usual “public holiday shopping madness”.

    Where in Europe shops are still closed every public holiday for people to spend their time together at home, in Singapore everybody will storm the streets for a day of shopping and mall sight seeing.

  • • Some Chinese and small shops however will be closed on Tuesday as well.


Sunday, Monday – 25th and 26th January

  • • Chinese restaurants or food stalls selling your favourite Chicken Rice will be closed the whole day
  • • However, everybody not celebrating the Chinese new year, means all Indian, Malay, European, Hawaiian restaurants should be open. You will just very rarely see any Chinese waiters this day

Tuesday – 27th January

  • • People will go out and shop so they will be out and hungry as well. Means most restaurants go back to normal operating hours on Tuesday
  • • Some Chinese restaurants will be closed however. Best to check directly with your restaurant of choice in case you are not sure


Sunday, Monday – 25th and 26th January

  • • Cinemas, Bars etc are open this day. There will be big business to catch and no one wants to miss out on this opportunity. If you are really thinking about catching a movie or having a good night out, make reservations, it will be very crowded for sure!

Tuesday – 27th January

  • • No change here, everything operates with business as usual

Public Transport

Sunday, Monday – 25th and 26th January

  • • East and West bound trains will run on an extended schedule until 2.12AM
  • • North and South bounded trains will run on extended schedule until 2.03AM
  • • There will be a free Shuttle bus from Raffles Place MRT and Tanjong Pagar MRT to China Town on Sunday, operating from 5PM to 1.30AM Monday morning

Tuesday – 27th January

  • • Again, Operating hours stay the same, but no extra shuttle buses will be out on the streets anymore, nor will be the trains have extended operating hours
  • • Find All The Details Here, On The Official MRT Flyer For Chinese New Year Operating Hours

(Read: What Everybody Should Know About Singapores Bus System)
(Read: What Everybody Should Know About Singapores Subway/MRT System)




Thanks for the info – I had been informed of this but seriously thought my friend had lost her mind-or at least the person had who told her such a thing :) Who would imagine the locals not going to a mall for 2 days…..


So, can you explain the real traditions around Ang Pao to me? Red envelopes. Married couples give to singles, unless they were recently married? Parents give to children? Is it really acceptable to ask/beg for an Ang Pao? And if you don’t give out Ang Pao, does that really mean you are not wishing somebody luck for the next lunar year? And as an expat, can we get away with pretending you don’t know about the local traditions? I have heard too many variations…
And while on the subject, what’s with all these auspicious days? And colours of cloths to wear on your first workingday?
You got to love this culture!


Tanja and Harmony, yeah, that was my reaction too, it is so common for the shops to be closed in Europe, exactly because of the “PUBLIC” holiday, and here its kind of reversed…anyhow, dont stay home harmony, there will be a lot going on :)


Joost, wow, so many questions :)

As far as I know the “real” tradition about the Ang Pow is simply to scare away the ghosts and bring luck to those who need it, which are the unmarried (searching for their partner) and the children (searching for the meaning of life). By giving out “presents (where money in even numbers is supposed to bring even more luck) in red packages (again “red” is since Nian the “ultimate” color to scare away ghosts) you do exactly that, bring luck.

About the “asking” for Ang Pow, I am not sure, usually the elders would give out Ang Pow without being asked, I guess its like self inviting yourself to your friends party, you would usually not do it…

About the auspicious days and working clothes… I have no idea what you mean :) Gimme more details!


Joost, I think (not completely sure if this is what you mean…) the auspicious days and colors of clothing… those might be related to fortune telling stuff…

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