Art and culture

Where to Travel in 2020 Based on Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

Feng Shui master Thierry Chow recommends the perfect travel destinations for each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs

Thierry Chow, feng shui master

Around Chinese New Year, many flock to feng shui masters to have their fortunes told and garner tips on how to boost luck and avoid problems in the year ahead.

Thierry Chow is one of Hong Kong’s hottest young feng shui masters. The daughter of renowned master Chow Hon-ming learned at an early age that the key to the age-old philosophy lies in one word: balance.

There are five elements in the world of feng shui: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. All aspects of our lives – the colours we wear, the shapes of objects in our home and office, and even the places that we travel to and the months in which we travel – are represented by one of the five elements.

Some elements complement one another, but others clash. By balancing these elements in our lives, feng shui masters believe you can maximise your luck and happiness.

Here are Chow’s recommendations on where each of the 12 zodiac signs should travel to in 2020:

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig

What Is Tai Sui?

The Chinese use the term Tai Sui to refer to the stars that sit in opposition to Jupiter during its 12-year orbital cycle. This plays a major role in determining each zodiac sign’s year to come.


Born 1948‭, ‬1960‭, ‬1972‭,‬ 1984‭, ‬1996‭, ‬2008‭, ‬2020‭

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Bangkok, Singapore

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Fukuoka, Kenting

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Copenhagen, Dublin

Fire months (May, Jun): Rome, Paris

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Manila, Kuala Lumpur

Rat, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

Those born in the Year of the Rat will experience fan Tai Sui – offending the Tai Sui – in 2020, which might lead to many changes and uncertainties in your career and relationships. To counter that, it’s best to concentrate on positive energy and attend more joyful events.

Classic Singapore dishes and Fukuoka
From left: Singgapore (credit: courtesy of Cloudstreet‭); Fukuoka (credit: Porames Rojanatreekoon/Alamy Stock Photo‭)

Singapore‭ ‬

Besides classics like chicken rice and laksa, Singapore is filled with young chefs who are spicing up the restaurant scene with their culinary heritage. Case in point: chef Rishi Naleendra’s newly opened Sri Lankan-Australian eatery Cloudstreet.

Fukuoka‭, ‬Japan‭

After slurping down a bowl of rich tonkotsu ramen at Hakata Ikkousha, head to the hot spring resort town of Yufuin in nearby Oita prefecture to soak your troubles away.


Born‭ 1949‭, ‬1961‭, ‬1973‭, ‬1985‭, ‬1997‭, ‬2009

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Xiamen, Dubai

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Chiang Rai, Da Nang

Wood months (Feb, Mar): San Francisco, Vancouver

Fire months (May, Jun): Brussels, Amsterdam

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Jakarta, Davao

Ox, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

People born in the Year of the Ox will experience hup Tai Sui – the Tai Sui of union – which means it will be a prosperous year filled with celebrations. Be sure to stay present and focused.

Coastal city of Xiamen and Auro Chocolate in Davao, Philippines
From left: Xiamen (credit: Imaginechina‭); Davao (credit: courtesy of Auro Chocolate‭)

Xiamen‭, ‬China‭

This coastal city is home to Unesco World Heritage Sites like the Fujian Tulou dwellings and the Unesco heritage island of Gulangyu, as well as an up-and-coming arts scene.

Davao‭, ‬Philippines‭

Besides its beautiful beaches, Davao in the southeastern Philippines is also known for its booming chocolate industry, with brands like Malagos and Auro making their products from locally grown cocoa beans.


Born‭ 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Manchester, London

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Seattle, Chicago

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Tel Aviv, Bahrain

Fire months (May, Jun): Barcelona, Frankfurt

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Berlin, Los Angeles

Tiger, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

The Yik Ma star will shine for Tigers this year, meaning there will be plenty of travelling and moving around in the months ahead. Whether it’s to other destinations or moving homes or offices, be ready to be on your feet.

Third-wave coffee shop in Seattle, United States
Credit: ‬RR Abrot/Unsplash‭

Seattle, US

This Pacific Northwest city is the birthplace of Starbucks, plus a whole new generation of third-wave coffee shops like Elm Coffee Roasters and Milstead & Co.

Tel Aviv, Israel

If you want to keep moving there are few places better than this Israeli metropolis, thanks to its vibrant nightlife scene. Check out the intersection of Herzl Street and Rothschild Boulevard to find some of the city’s hippest bars.


Born‭ 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Milan, Las Vegas

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Zurich, Bordeaux

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Muscat, Madrid

Fire months (May, Jun): Lisbon, Monaco

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Geneva

Rabbit, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

It’s the year of ying Tai Sui – a year of trouble – for Rabbits, and so it’s good to keep an eye out for unstable finances and pay special attention to work relationships and business partners. Be mindful of your surroundings.

The Museum of Design Zurich, Switzerland
Credit: courtesy of Museum of Design Zurich

Zurich‭, ‬Switzerland‭

It might be small in size but the Swiss financial capital is home to more than 50 museums and 100 galleries – perfect to scratch that art itch. Our favourites? The Museum of Design Zurich and the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art.

Madrid, Spain

The Spanish capital is one of Europe’s most vibrant, thanks to an easily walkable layout and a vibrant culture of eating (and drinking) until the early hours. Grab the best caipirinhas in town at La Trocha on Calle de las Huertas.


Born‭ 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Delhi, Penang

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Stockholm, Bath

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Düsseldorf, Venice

Fire months (May, Jun): Seoul, Sapporo

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh

Dragon, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

Dragons will experience a year of wui Tai Sui, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for their career and relationships. Keep a focused mind and do not rush into making decisions.

Firkin Restaurant and Bar, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Credit: Shutterstock

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This southern Vietnamese city has plenty of French colonial architecture and charm – but its real appeal lies in its rapid development and exciting restaurant and bar scene. Go to town on the massive whisky list at Firkin.

Delhi, India

At Chandni Chowk (‘Moonlight Square’), one of the oldest and busiest markets of Old Delhi, visitors will find a plethora of shops selling spices, dried fruit, sweets and traditional handicrafts.


Born‭ 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Boston, Toronto

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Munich, Rotterdam

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Florence, Vienna

Fire months (May, Jun): Manchester, Naples

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Malaga, Brighton

Snake, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

Good news for people born in the Year of the Snake. It’s the year of the ‘nobleman’, which signifies good fortune in all aspects of life. If you run into any trouble, simply surround yourself with positive people, and they will be more than happy to lend a hand.

Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada and Manchester, United Kingdom
From left: Toronto (credit: ‬ Shutterstock‭); Manchester (credit: ‬Alan Novelli/Alamy Stock Photo)

Toronto, Canada

Toronto’s Harbourfront area is always buzzing with events throughout the year. On warmer days, it’s the perfect spot for a stroll with a view of Lake Ontario.

Manchester, UK

This northern English city boasts an amazing music and food scene, not to mention a charming network of canals which threads through the city. Grab a cocktail at Three Little Words, which sits underneath brick-lined railway arches.


Born‭ 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): New York, Washington DC

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Christchurch, Sydney

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Nashville, Orlando

Fire months (May, Jun): Prague, Dubrovnik

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Krakow, Oslo

Horse, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

A year of chong Tai Sui (Tai Sui of movements) means there will be some moving around for Horses. In addition to travel opportunities, there will also be some unexpected changes in your career or relationship.

Hudson Yards in New York, United States and Sydney by Kayak in Australia
From left: New York (credit: ‬ Shutterstock‭); Sydney (credit: ‬Mads Schmidt Rasmussen/Unsplash‭.)

Sydney, Australia

There are many ways to see Sydney Harbour – we recommend getting as close to the water as possible. Tour operator Sydney by Kayak allows visitors to take a guided paddle through the city’s waterways.

New York, US

Recently named New York City’s most expensive neighbourhood, Hudson Yards on the west side of Midtown Manhattan is exploding into the Instagram consciousness thanks to new landmarks like the honeycomb-like Vessel spiral staircase, and a seven-storey shopping and arts centre, the Shed.


Born‭ 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Austin, Oxford

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Paris, Salzburg

Wood months (Feb, Mar): London

Fire months (May, Jun): Hamburg, Malmo

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Cardiff, Edinburgh

Sheep, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

Like Rabbits, those born in the Year of the Sheep will experience some turbulence as it’s the year of ying Tai Sui. It’s best to be mindful and rise to meet the many challenges ahead.

Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France
Credit: Shutterstock‭

Paris, France

The French capital is home to a wealth of public green spaces, none so storied as the Jardin des Tuileries, place of many a Parisian promenade for centuries.

London‭, ‬UK

The UK capital has long shaken off its reputation for boring food. Check out new upscale zero-waste restaurant Ugly Butterfly, and order the fried chicken feet topped with caviar.


Born‭ 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Mumbai, Yangon

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Hangzhou, Xi’an

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Jinan, Shanghai

Fire months (May, Jun): Tokyo, Taipei

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Chiang Mai, Siem Reap

Monkey, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

It’s a year of unions as the Monkeys encounter wui Tai Sui. Your career and relationships are looking bright, and it looks like Asian destinations are on the cards for this year.

Outdoor market in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Tokyo food, Japan
From left: Chiang Mai (credit: ‬ Shutterstock‭); Tokyo (credit: Shutterstock‭)

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Head to the Sunday Walking Street for a dose of local street food, live performances and souvenirs. And rest assured: it’s more local handicrafts than knockoff Singha beer singlets.

Tokyo, Japan

With the 2020 Olympics taking place from 24 July to 9 August, there’s no better time to visit the Japanese capital. Our tip: Fuku yakitori, an amazing neighbourhood joint just west of Shibuya.


Born‭ 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Busan, Nagoya

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Bali, Manila

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Qingdao, Chengdu

Fire months (May, Jun): Jeju, Taichung

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Melbourne, Cape Town

Rooster, Chinese zodiac feng shui icon

Roosters will experience an unstable year of ying Tai Sui, leading to some uncertainty in their careers and relationships. You might get caught up in additional procedures and paperwork. It’s best to relax your mind regularly and avoid confrontations.

Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea
Credit: Jimmy Moon/Unsplash‭.

Busan, South Korea

This coastal city was recently voted as Asia’s Best Up-and-Coming Destination in the Marco Polo Club Members’ Choice Awards 2019. Don’t miss the Gamcheon Culture Village, a former mountainside slum that’s been transformed into an artsy neighbourhood.

Qingdao, China

This major city in Shandong province has a long colonial history – leading to a wealth of German-style architecture and making it the home of Tsingtao, one of China’s most famous beer brands. The century-old original brewery now doubles as the Tsingtao Beer Museum, showcasing the history of the brand – and offering all-important tastings for visitors.


Born‭ 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): York, Marseille

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): New Orleans, Rennes

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Miami, Montreal

Fire months (May, Jun): Fuzhou, Sanya

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Budapest, Frankfurt

Dog, Chinese zodian feng shui icon

Those born in the Year of the Dog will also benefit from the presence of the Yik Ma star. You’ll see plenty of changes and physical movements in life – including lots of travels abroad.

Architecture in Fuzhou, China and Frankfurt, Germany
From left: Fuzhou‭ (credit: Imaginechina‭); Frankfurt‭ (credit: Christian Salow/Unsplash‭)

Frankfurt, Germany

This German city might be best known for its futuristic high-rises but make time to head to the incredibly hip Bonechina, a bar with no bartender – instead your cocktail ingredients are laid out for you to mix your own.

Fuzhou, China

Explore Fuzhou’s Sanfang Qixiang (‘three lanes and seven alleys’) to take in historic architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties – and restore yourself with a bowl of fishball soup, which contains a lot more pork than you might expect from the name.


Born‭ 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Best Places to Travel

Water months (Nov, Dec): Guilin, Guangzhou

Earth months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct): Cannes, Stratford-upon-Avon

Wood months (Feb, Mar): Johannesburg, Adelaide

Fire months (May, Jun): Changsha, Chongqing

Metal months (Aug, Sep): Kathmandu, Phuket

Pig, Chinese Zodiac feng shui icon

After fan Tai Sui – offending the Tai Sui – in 2019, those born in the Year of the Pig will enter a recovery period where they can finally relax and refocus. Don’t rush into making any major decisions this year.

Ancient temples in Kathmandu, Nepal and mountain scene in Guilin, China
From left: Kathmandu (credit: ‬2018‭ ‬Emad Aljumah); Guilin (credit: Shutterstock‭)

Guilin, China

The Li river is one of China’s most beautiful sights. Hop on a cruise from Guilin to the nearby town of Yangshuo for the perfect waterside view.

Kathmandu‭, ‬Nepal‭ ‬

Ancient temples dot every corner of Nepal’s capital city. To get a real sense of local culture, check out nearby towns, like the sleepy Panauti.

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