Although Thailand is mostly Buddhist, Christmas is a special time in the country. After the monsoon has departed and the city has recouped from the lashings of rain, it is the December peak season that marks the return to normality for the big Mango. As you can imagine with Bangkok, the Christmas holiday is not something that is going to be underplayed.
So where to go and what to do for Christmas in Bangkok? For backpackers the Khao San Road areas still remains the centre of the city. All the bars in Khao San are filled with people celebrating. Many of the bars have live bands. The crowds are spilling out on the street. It is a good atmosphere that comes to a premature end at 1 am. Just because it is Christmas there is no special dispensation. Naturally, there are plenty of legal and illegal drinking options after 1 am both around Khao San and Sukhumvit Road.
For those looking for traditional signs of Christmas there are some impressive light displays around Sukhumvit. The most famous lights are to be found at the Peninsula Plaza on Rachadamri Road. It is the most popular location for Christmas lights in the city. The display usually features such details as a gingerbread house and reindeer barn. Other big hotels in the same area with impressive Christmas lights include the Grand Hyatt, the Intercontinental and the Erawan Hotel.
The largest Christmas tree in Bangkok is to be found outside CentralWorld. There are also beer gardens set up which have nightly concerts. This is a great spot to take the kids and have a well earned drink at the same time. And of course nearby are some fantastic shopping opportunities at MBK.
A modern and tropical take on Christmas decorations is provided at Siam Paragon. They have palms festooned with purple lights.
At night the river is a place to go as it lit up with the lights from the party and restaurant boats going up and down the river. You might even find a Christmas boat package that takes your fancy.
Naturally nearly every hotel and guest house catering primarily to Westerners throw on special Christmas dinners or lunches. They are often pretty good. Some hotels make you pay for a Christmas dinner when you book accommodation. It is a money spinner and a rip-off if you have made other plans.
One of the best Christmas meal experiences is at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok (123 Charoennakorn Road, Khlongtonsai, Khlongsan, Bangkok 10600). Reviews on Trip Advisor rave about the Christmas buffet.
If elegant and more boutique dining is your thing there are a few excellent options available which will need to be booked in advance. These include home dining at Nang Gin Kui, Bo.Lan in Sukhumvit and Eat Me in Silom. Indeed, although Michelin stars haven’t really made it to Bangkok, elegant dining definitely has. And since it’s not cold and wet outside you can really enjoy sophisticated al fresco Christmas dining in Bangkok.
Christmas is all about treating your loved ones. Not only does Bangkok hold a dizzying array of places to get Christmas presents for all the family but it also offers some fun nights out for the family. If you’re in Bangkok around Christmas time with your family then a great treat is to go to a show. There are a number of options. To avoid disappointment we include links for you to book online. The tours include hotel pick up and drop-off as well as English speaking guide.
Siam Niramit is one of the largest shows in the world. The show features over 100 performers and showcases traditional Thai culture. For 80 minutes the audience is treated to an entertaining overview of Thai history and culture. The show includes a buffet dinner. There is also a recreation of a Thai village to explore as well as elephant rides. Siam Niramit is recommended by www.bangkok4children.com.
For couples there is the Calypso Cabaret at the Asia Hotel. It is a lady boy (katoey) extravaganza with 50 different performances stretching over 4 hours. The highlight of the show is the ‘Stars of Calypso’ performing a Michael Jackson / Tina Turner spoof.
Rose Garden and Thai Village Show
Families will enjoy the Rose Garden and Thai Village Show. It is set in the Rose Garden Riverside Resort that features 20,000 rose bushes. The show presents a little of everything from, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), Thai festivals and Thai dancing. It provides a real insight into ‘Thainess’ ; as well as being fun.
Sala Rim Nam Restaurant
A perfect romantic Christmas evening can be spent at the Sala Rim Nam Restaurant on the Chao Phraya River opposite the world-famous Mandarin Hotel. Here you get to try Thai royal cuisine. This is truly some of the most refined food you will ever try. While enjoying the food, the lavish Thai pavilion and the sights on the river, guests are treated to a traditional Thai dancing show. This is a glimpse of how Thai royalty live, and a fine way to treat the special one in your life.
Christmas in Bangkok can be whatever you want. There are nightclubs, restaurants, shows and bars galore to experience. The city is also shopping heaven. What is important to make your Bangkok Christmas special is to spend a little time considering your options so as to avoid being disappointed.