As the holiday season approaches, you might be seeking a unique and unforgettable place to celebrate Christmas.
While most people search for a winter wonderland, Christmas in Thailand is an experience like no other.
With its warm weather, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Thailand offers a perfect, albeit unique, setting to make your Christmas celebrations truly special.
In this guide, we will explore the best places to visit for a Thai Christmas and all the exciting ways you can celebrate Christmas in Thailand.
Do They Celebrate Christmas in Thailand?
But first, do Thai people celebrate Christmas? The answer is yes and no. Christmas is a Christian holiday, and only 1.2% of Thai people identify as Christian. So for the local people, Christmas is not celebrated.
That being said, the largest economic income for Thailand is tourism, and many Thai people recognize that tourists visiting Thailand will be celebrating Christmas.
Therefore you can expect to see shopping malls, hotel lobbies, and restaurants usually put up decorations and Christmas trees for the holiday season.
You may even see a few locals in Santa hats and reindeer antlers, but this is purely for the tourist’s delight.
It’s also worth noting that only Christmas Day is a public holiday in Thailand, and so Christmas Eve and Boxing Day tend to be treated like any other day.
Related Reading: Do Thailand Celebrate The Lunar New Year?
How Do They Celebrate Christmas in Thailand?
Aside from putting up decorations, you may find that some clubs, bars, and restaurants will put on Christmas events, and have holiday-themed cocktails.
In terms of parades, festivals, and major events, these are usually reserved for schools only, so don’t expect a huge Santa parade like you would see in New York City, for example.
However, for those visiting Thailand with kids during the Christmas period, you might be able to visit a Santa’s Grotto in a shopping center, and Santa may make an appearance at shopping mall events – though this is usually for marketing purposes only.
Generally, the Christmas period, and even Christmas Day, is pretty low-key in Thailand. You won’t see anything too extravagant.
Honestly, it can be tough getting into the “Christmas Spirit” in Thailand if you’re used to going all out on Christmas.
Places to Spend Christmas in Thailand
Now you know what to expect in terms of how to celebrate a Thailand Christmas, let’s look at some of the best places to spend the holiday season…
If you’re someone who loves to get into the holiday spirit and feel the mood of Christmas, your best bet is to head to the capital of Bangkok, where you can embrace the lively Christmas spirit.
The city comes alive with dazzling decorations, colorful lights, and festive markets. Take a stroll through shopping malls like Siam Square and Siam Paragon, where you can find the malls will be decorated in the most festive attire – plus you can indulge in some Christmas shopping.
Don’t miss the iconic Christmas Tree at CentralWorld – it’s a sight to behold!
2. Chiang Mai
For a more traditional and cultural Christmas experience, head to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.
Known for its ancient temples and charming old town, Chiang Mai offers a unique blend of Thai and Western traditions during the holiday season.
One of the reasons why Chiang Mai is a great place to spend Christmas in Thailand is because of all the expats and digital nomads who reside here.
Because there is such a Western community, many shops, bars, restaurants and malls put in the effort to decorate and play festive music – so the expats can feel more at home.
Plus you can wander down the Weekend Street Markets and pick up handmade crafts for presents.
If you’re dreaming of a sunny Christmas on pristine beaches, Phuket is the perfect destination for you.
I wouldn’t recommend Phuket for those who like to celebrate Christmas in a traditional manner. You won’t find any roast dinners or Jingle Bell songs playing here.
With its palm-fringed shores and crystal-clear waters, Phuket is where you can escape to a tropical paradise.
Spend your Christmas day lounging on the beach, enjoying water sports, or taking a boat tour to nearby islands.
There are usually lots of parties and promotions happening at Patong Beach on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but after that, it’s like any other day in Thailand.
4. Koh Phi Phi Don
If you want to escape the crowds and discover the serene beauty of Thailand, then Koh Phi Phi Don, a small island located in Thailand’s Andaman Sea, is a great place to spend Christmas.
This idyllic destination offers a tranquil setting for a peaceful Christmas getaway – though don’t expect much in the way of festivities.
Koh Phi Phi Don is for those travelers who don’t really care about the festivities and traditions of Christmas, and are just looking to take advantage of some time off.
You can relax on the pristine beaches, explore the vibrant coral reefs through snorkeling or scuba diving, and witness breathtaking sunsets.
Is Thailand A Good Place To Spend Christmas?
Now you know where to go for Christmas, let’s quickly highlight the important question; is Thailand a good place to spend Christmas?
The answer really depends on what you’re looking for.
If you want to celebrate Christmas in a traditional fashion, then Thailand is not the place for you. If you’re looking for a place to take advantage of some time off over the festival holidays, then sure, Thailand is a great place!
The good thing about Thailand during Christmas time is that it’s not hugely popular with tourists, since most travelers prefer to spend Christmas at home. This means no matter where you go there won’t be huge crowds of tourists.
Spending Christmas in Thailand is truly a remarkable experience, though unlike the ordinary.
Whether you choose to explore the vibrant cityscape of Bangkok, immerse yourself in the cultural traditions of Chiang Mai, or relax on the pristine beaches of Phuket, Thailand offers something for everyone.
We hope this guide gave you some ideas about what to expect from the holiday period in Thailand.