There’s always something special about Christmas in Thailand.
Sure, it’s a Buddhist country and, yes, it’s still boasting tropical weather, but the Thais know how to put on a good party, and the Christmas and New Year period is no exception.
Remember you’re not restricted to just Bangkok when you visit here — although there’s no doubt that our favourite Asian city is always fun this time of the year. Here’s a few spots to consider when it comes to spending Christmas and New Year in Thailand…
Where to Spend Christmas in Thailand
Whether you’re a tourist or already living in Bangkok, there’s always lots to do here (and there’s always time for a festive staycation). In December Bangkok’s luxury hotels and shopping centres get dressed up with impressive twinkling festive displays to get you into the holiday mood.
Get ready for some questionable Thai covers of Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas Is You to start blaring too.
Aside from the malls, there are a number of outdoor, floating, weekend and train markets in the city where you can browse for alternative Christmas gifts, including food. For those who like to attend a religious service as part of their celebrations there are always Christian churches open on Christmas day.
Glitzy international hotels such as the Grand Hyatt and the InterContinental tempt tourist tastebuds with all inclusive grand gala buffet dinners to celebrate Christmas and New Year, but be prepared to splash out.
For those on more of a budget, mosts restaurants in Sukhumvit also put on a pretty sumptuous Christmas meal for tourists and expats. Some of the most popular include The Robin Hood on Soi 33/1 and The Huntsman pub in the basement of the Landmark hotel.
Here’s our pick for the best hotels in Bangkok for Christmas in Thailand:
- 5* hotel in Rajadamri, Bangkok
- 1km from Siam Paragon
- Pool, gym, restaurants and wine bars within
- Special Christmas Eve & Christmas Day dinners (and Christmas Day brunch!)
- New Year’s Eve dinner, countdown celebration and New Year’s Day brunch
- 5* riverside hotel with incredible heritage
- Pool, gym, yoga lessons, Thai cooking classes, restaurants, bars and more
- Free shuttle boat
- Christmas Eve buffet and dinner, Christmas Day brunch and lunch
- New Year’s Eve gala buffet dinner and countdown, New Year’s Day brunches
Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand is a little cooler in December than cities further South, and offers more of an alternative New Year celebration.
As a less cosmopolitan city than Bangkok, you’ll see fewer festive decorations but, fear not — there are still classic Christmas tunes blasting out in some of the malls.
Larger hotels put on special events for Christmas and New Year, although these can be comparatively expensive. Many bars and restaurants open on both Christmas eve and Christmas day, with many offering Western Christmas themed dining experiences.
On the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road the ever popular Duke’s restaurant and bar puts on a fantastic American style spread on Christmas Day, but you will need to book early to ensure your place.
Chiang Mai is much calmer than Bangkok, and the majority of bars and restaurants close at midnight. However, if you’re looking for a good place to rock out on New Year’s Eve there are some fun venues where they know how to party.
The classic backpackers favourite Zoe in Yellow is guaranteed to keep the alcohol flowing till the early hours, or if live music is more your thing head down to Riverside on the east bank of the Ping River where expats and Thais mingle to countdown to the New Year.
Here’s our pick for the best Chiang Mai hotels to spend Christmas and New Year in Thailand.
- 5* hotel in Nimmanhaemin
- Rooftop infinity pool, all suites, restaurant and rooftop bar
- Christmas Eve entertainment and traditional Italian menu overlooking Doi Suthep mountain
- New Year’s Eve jazz night
- 5* resort in Chang Khlan
- On the bank of the Mae Ping river, overlooking Doi Suthep
- Spa, swimming pool, fitness centre, yoga classes, restaurant, bar and cigar lounge
- Christmas Eve buffet dinner and Christmas Day brunch
- New Year’s Eve Gatsby gala dinner
Koh Phangan might not be the first place you think of when it comes to Christmas in Thailand, but this party island actually has the best of both worlds during the holidays.
The tranquil beaches on the north of the island are the perfect place for those who would prefer to escape the party crowds. It’s a sharp contrast to the south where the build-up between Christmas and New Year is the most exciting and chaotic time of year on the island. It all kicks off with the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin beach on Christmas Day and doesn’t stop until the climax of the celebrations on New Year’s Eve.
If it’s a crazy Christmas you’re looking for then the area around Haad Rin in the south is for you. Several tour operators offer 7 night all inclusive Christmas / New Year Countdown Party Packages.
If you who prefer to celebrate in style, try the beautiful Anantara Rasananda resort situated on the pristine sands of Tong Nai Pan Noi beach in the Northeast of the island. It’s the perfect place to spend an alternative Christmas day having a massage, chilling out on the beach, swimming in the pool and drinking cocktails.
Here’s our pick of the best Koh Phangan hotels for Christmas and New Year in Thailand.
- 5* villa resort on Thong Nai Pan Noi
- Private pools and terrace, shared fitness room
- 1 minute walk from the beach
- Private boat transfers from Koh Samui airport
- Outdoor and private beach dining, champagne and wine lounge
- 4* resort 1 minute from Haad Rin Nok Beach
- Very close to the Full Moon Party
- Beach volleyball and kayaking available
- Each room has a private bathroom and balcony
Phuket in December is bliss, but the balmy temperatures make it popular with tourists and it can get very busy. Phuket is an excellent option for family friendly getaways and a lot of hotels and resorts cater for children, especially around Christmas time, however.
Spend time relaxing in the sunshine, party on Patong beach or explore the nearby Khao Sok national park or the culture of the island’s temples. Revellers will want to stay in the Patong area where the nightlife is buzzing. Kata in the South is quieter than Patong but there’s still a good choice of bars, restaurants and shops, and it’s popular with families.
Here are our top Phuket picks for Christmas in Thailand.
- 5* hotel on Nai Thon Beach
- Situated on a headland overlooking the Andaman Sea
- Spa, multiple pools, gym, bars, restaurants and bakery on site
- Traditional Christmas dinner, Italian Christmas, Christmas breakfast buffet, Christmas dinner barbecue buffet on Christmas Day
- New Year’s Eve gala dinner or 8-course gala dinner, countdown party, New Year’s Day brunch
- 5* resort on Kata Beach
- Villas with private pools, main infinity pool and spa
- Lessons in fruit picking, yoga and aqua aerobics available
- Restaurant and bar on site
Ko Samui is hard to beat for a winter getaway, and if you’re a couple looking for a lush romantic retreat to escape the Christmas chaos it’s an excellent choice. This island has everything – exotic rainforest, exceptional snorkelling and stunning sandy beaches.
For a full on luxury Christmas break, check into a resort on the secluded Northwest or South sides of the island. Here you will find hotels with sumptuous spas, fine dining and boutique resorts.
Choeng Mon Beach is a particularly beautiful location to lie back, relax and dream of a white sand Christmas.
Here are our top picks for a Koh Samui New Year’s in Thailand.
- 5* resort set within 16 acres of coconut plantations
- 13 minute walk from the beach
- 2 pools, cliff-top spa, beauty salon and tennis courts
- 2 restaurants and a bar on site
- Christmas Eve buffet dinner and White Christmas 4-course menu
- New Year’s Eve gala night and countdown party
- 5* resort on Thong Takian beach in Lamai
- Villas with private infinity pools
- Spa, gym, multiple restaurants and bar on site
- 20 minute drive from Koh Samui airport
Aside from being a charming province in its own right, mainland Krabi is also an excellent base from which to explore its neighbouring islands by boat.
Ao Nang is the most popular beach here, probably followed by Railay, where thrill seekers love to rock climb and deep water solo.
The stunning, secluded Tub Kaek beach faces the dramatic archipelago of 13 islands that rise dramatically from the calm Andaman Sea and it’s home to some fantastic boutique hotels.
On Krabi you’ll have to make the difficult choice whether to spend your Christmas day diving, kayaking, rock-climbing, sailing, or lazing about on the beach. If you’re up for something more typical most hotels will have some Christmas entertainments on offer.
Here are our picks for Krabi hotels in which to spend Christmas and New Year in Thailand.
- 5* private pool villas decorated with traditional Thai teak furnishings
- 19-metre infinity pool
- 3.1 km from Nopparat Thara Beach
- Complimentary airport transfer and local shuttle transfers to Ao Nang Beach
- Private chefs and in-villa massages also available
- 4* beach resort on Tub Kaek Beach
- Full service spa and swimming pool
- Mountain views from private balconies and tropical-style bathrooms
- Library and sun loungers
- Cooking classes can be arranged
Why not do away with tradition this year and spend Christmas and New Year in Thailand instead?
It’s Christmas away from home – and that means no hassles, no stress, no need for all that shopping or cooking – just pure fun, sun and relaxation.
Where would you like to spend Christmas in Thailand?