Have a White (hot) Christmas in the Land of Smiles
Spending Christmas a thousand miles away from home can often be a bittersweet experience, especially if you’re seeing in the festive season in a country where Christmas traditions – and Christmas weather – are not part of the lifestyle. However there is an exception to this rule and that exception is Thailand. While the Land of Smiles may not be blessed with the capacity to produce a perfect Bing Crosby ‘white Christmas’, and while the sight of tinsel and fir trees might seem a little surreal against a backdrop of blazing sunshine, you can still savour plenty of festive cheer in this slice of South East Asian paradise. Spending your Christmas in Thailand is also a great way to meet with other tourists or expats and share your own holiday traditions from back home. To find out more about these delightful customs and to get a little taster of what the festive season is like in the Thai capital, check out our Christmas in Bangkok video!
Although Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, as December 25 approaches you will find a plethora of fun-filled Christmas celebrations and activities being held at this time of year, from the Jewel of the Andaman – Phuket – to northerly cities like Chiang Mai. These range from hearty Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners to festivals and fireworks.
Arguably one of the most Christmassy places in Thailand will be Phuket this Xmas 2014. The British International School Phuket (BISP) will be hosting a Christmas Fair on the 4th December, from 14:30 – 17:30, with a Santa’s Grotto, lucky dip, bake sale, games, crafts and face painting, guaranteed to be a delightful experience for families. There will also be a vibrant Christmas festival held on the 20th December from 17:00– 22:00 at the Surakul Sports Stadium in Phuket Town; billed as a ‘fun festive event for the whole family’, the festival will feature plenty of delicious food and drink, a mini concert and exciting games and rewards.
Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve, a Christmas BBQ dinner will be available at The Kee Resort and Spa (including carolling and live entertainment!) and at the Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong you can savour a Silver Christmas from 18:30 – 22:30pm and feast on seasonal favourites such as turkey and roast beef.
In the Thai capital Christmas is even more of a big deal and wherever you look you are likely to be confronted by sparkling fairy lights and probably a fair few Christmas trees as well. The Peninsula hotel tends to have the most dazzling display. While you are strolling through the city streets admiring the seasonal decorations and illumination, don’t forget to stop off at Central World Square where open-air beer gardens will be open throughout December, providing live entertainment and a great place to relax during the evenings. Even the Chao Phraya will be decked out in glowing seasonal fashion, as you will see if you venture to the riverside and witness the various floating restaurants and boats festooned with coloured lights, plying their trade on the water.
On the Eastern seaboard of Thailand you will find Pattaya, notorious for its nightlife and its beaches. During the festive season Pattaya will be hosting its own little celebrations and special dinners, such as the PSC Annual Christmas Party on December 10, from 18:30 (last orders at 23:45). There will be a lavish buffet, dancing and a raffle. A delicious Christmas dinner can also be enjoyed at Jameson’s Irish Pub, where they will be serving up tasty soups and salads, a traditional carvery and Christmas pudding with custard for dessert!
Up north, in Chiang Mai, Christmas will be celebrated in more active fashion with the running of the Chiang Mai marathon on December 21 – so if you’re looking for a truly alternative way to celebrate, strap on your running shoes and prepare to see the city from a new perspective, under your own steam – but be prepared for a bright and early start!
So, as you can see, there are plenty of fun and highly enjoyable ways to celebrate Christmas in Thailand. The snow might not be there but the festive spirit definitely will be, as fun-loving Thais are also eager to celebrate, even if a holiday is not necessarily part of their culture or way of life.