The most wonderful time of the year is here! Christmas is considered one of the most eagerly-awaited festivities across the world thanks to the infectious vibe characterized by catchy carols, lively holiday decorations, and endless merriment. While it is not considered a public holiday in Thailand, the locals and residents still embrace various Christmas traditions, particularly in some of the major cities like Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai where tourists and expats usually flock to during the holidays.
Christmas, being a Christian celebration, is not part of Thailand’s local practices because of its predominantly Buddhist population. Despite this, the holiday spirit is still alive among the Thai people who love to have fun and celebrate. Buddhism is a highly tolerant religion, allowing its believers to welcome practices and activities regardless of origin. Despite the cultural and religious differences, the Thais welcomed this special Christian holiday while still standing strong in their faith.
Christmas with a twist
Thai people love to gather, have fun, and celebrate, and what better time to do this than the festive Christmas season, right? The concept of sanuk is one of the most important aspects of the effervescent Thai culture, allowing them to embrace the celebrations and merriment that Christmas brings. This season provides them with the perfect opportunity to have fun, reconnect with friends and loved ones, or simply relax and recharge.
Spending Christmas in Thailand provides tremendous opportunities to try something new during the holidays. While in most parts of the world, this season is mostly associated with the cold weather, predictably hectic schedules, and expensive gift-giving, Thailand offers a completely different take on this holiday by providing a more relaxed ambiance complemented by the warm Asian hospitality and a distinctly tropical vibe. Spending Christmas in Thailand provides memorable and rejuvenating holiday experiences, allowing individuals from all over the world to take a step back from their busy daily lives, immerse in the cheerful holiday vibe, and prepare for the coming year at the same time.
The festive vibe is in the air
Many aspects of Western Christmas are widely observed during the festive season in Thailand. Expats and tourists won’t ever miss out on the holiday spirit while staying in the country. Impressive lighting ornaments, towering Christmas trees and sparkly decorations draw crowds in major shopping malls. Staff in bars and hotels can be seen wearing red and donning Santa hats. Christmas song playlists are can be heard playing through sound systems in coffee houses while choirs can be heard singing classic Christmas tunes in some malls. While gift-giving is not customary to Thais during the season, Christmas gift baskets and presents and can be easily found in stores. Those looking to partake in a classic Christmas dinner won’t have to look far. Many restaurants and resorts across Thailand usually have special Christmas dinners, buffets and feasts to cater to guests who wish to dine out on Christmas eve.
Holidays in the tropics
Over the years, more travelers have opted to trade their sweaters for swimsuits and head over to Thailand’s charming tropical islands like Phuket and Koh Samui for an elevated and special holiday getaway. These island destinations provide a one-of-a-kind respite away from the usual cold and snowy holiday destinations from other parts of the world. Some even choose to take it up a notch by renting out private, luxury villas for a well-deserved lavish getaway. These sophisticated holiday homes offer the perfect setting for a completely novel yet homey vacation. Families get to observe their classic Christmas Day traditions while indulging in completely new experiences complemented by vast spaces, top-of-the-line amenities, freedom, and an ultimate sense of privacy.
Related article: 12 Reasons to Celebrate the Festive Season with a Tropical Villa Vacation
Thailand’s island destinations have something to offer to everyone, even for those who prefer to keep it simple and lowkey. A plethora of resorts, holiday homes, and vacation rentals are available everywhere as well as a wide array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. What can be more delightful than spending the holidays basking in the tropical sun, taking a refreshing dip in the open sea, hearing the gentle waves crash on the shore, exploring the fascinating local culture, and indulging in exquisite Asian flavors? A Christmas vacation that’s one for the books, indeed.
Not one – not two – but three New Year celebrations
Look back on the year that has been, and say Sawatdee Pii Mai to welcome the upcoming one with Thailand’s New Year celebrations: first is the traditional New Year on the 1st of January, second is the Chinese New Year which is usually celebrated in January or February, and Songkran, which is Thailand’s traditional New Year that marks the start of the new Buddhist year. Also known as the Water Splashing Festival, Songkran is known for the all-out water wars which both locals and tourists take part in to celebrate the culture and religion of the Thais. This Southeast Asian kingdom offers more than just firework displays and wine toasting for the New Year, it offers a completely immersive cultural experience that absolutely anyone can partake in.
So, should you spend Christmas in Thailand?
While spending Christmas in Thailand may not be the top-of-mind option for some, there’s no doubt that this fun-loving and breathtaking nation offers more than what can be expected from a non-Christian nation: a unique holiday experience that is all about spending time with your loved ones, taking the time to relax, and indulging in a whole lotta fun under the tropical sun!