Need we say anymore? Sliding on a pair of sandals on your way to the beach to sunbathe is certainly preferential to strapping yourself into your boots on the way to shovel your yard clear of snow before you head to work. While you may encounter some rain, you’re sure to have several days of sun, sand and sea – and enough gorgeous Instagram posts to make your family and friends insanely jealous. Isn’t that what travelling is all about?
Your chances of running into a Scrooge over in Thailand? Minimal – it is known as the Land of Smiles, after all. Instead, whatever you do on the 25th, you’re bound to have people who barely speak English still go to the effort of wishing you a variation of “merry Christmas”, giving you that warm, Christmassy feeling and helping you feel a little more at home on the other side of the world.
Christmas Day on the beach isn’t exclusively for Australians anymore. Thailand is home to some of the world’s best beaches, and with the 25th just another ordinary day in Thailand you’re sure to find plenty of space for a beachside Skype session with your family and to relax and enjoy Christmas in surroundings that are just a little bit more inviting than a table with ten people squeezed around it and a plastic chair you had to dig out of the garage. Swap snow for sand by spending Christmas in Thailand.
For millions of families around the world, it’s customary to spend Christmas morning (or one of the days near Christmas) enjoying a leisurely family walk. That doesn’t have to change in Thailand. Thailand is home to several breathtaking national parks with hundreds of trekking routes to explore and other activities to enjoy, such as rafting, rock climbing and much, much more. Take part in one of these and you won’t even feel guilty when it comes to over-indulging this festive period – don’t worry, we all do it.
Christmas. Is. Expensive. There’s no getting around it; even for those who endeavour to have a fuss-free, scaled down celebration, it still easily runs into the hundreds of dollars when it comes to buying food, drink, gifts and the like. While it can be expensive getting to Thailand, once you’re here it can be as cheap or expensive as you make it, with some hotels available at bargain prices and the cost of gifts and food unbelievably cheaper still. Which would you rather have – a fortune spent on one Christmas that just blends into the ones before it, or spending money on a Christmas you’ll truly never forget? Thought so – get those flights booked now.
Admittedly, you might struggle to find a turkey with all the trimming if you find yourself on a remote island on the big day, but if you’re in a big city, you won’t have to worry about finding a Christmas dinner. Most of the larger hotels will provide a high-quality Christmas dinner that’s bound to taste better than your Grandma’s over-boiled veg, and there are plenty of top-class restaurants all over Bangkok that will provide both traditional and modern Christmas meals.
If you’re one of the millions of people around the world that finds turkey dry and is of the opinion that brussels sprouts are an abomination, then Thailand could well be your great escape. Why have a meal you won’t enjoy and that you’ll struggle to digest, when instead you could have a delicious Massaman or Pananag curry? Think about it – are you really going to miss Christmas cake? Get over to Thailand for Christmas and enjoy fried ice cream or roti on the beach instead.
Spending Christmas away in a foreign land with an alien culture is an enriching life experience. Perhaps you’ll come to realise that Christmas is in fact all about material possession these days, and you’ll long for the times when it was about family and friends, and you’ll head back home determined not to be influenced so much by the advertisements and the buy-buy-buy culture of Christmas. Or, you’ll really miss opening hundreds of shiny presents and you’ll double down the following year – it really depends on the person. Whatever your motivations are for doing it, Christmas away from home provides ample time to reflect on the holiday and what’s really important to you – and Thailand is as good a place as any to get away from it all.
No longer will you have to go to you cousin’s-friend’s-sister’s-uncle’s-cat’s Christmas party and pretend to enjoy eggnog – it’ll be nowhere to be seen in Thailand. Instead, you’ll be enjoying drinking your way through the many delectable drinks that Thailand has to offer. From a wide range of craft beers available to enjoying a cocktail or two in a stylish rooftop bar, Thailand has high-quality drinks at shockingly affordable prices – so there’s no more pouring eggnog down the sink when you think no-one’s looking.
Bangkok truly is a global city, and so as you might expect you won’t be too far from a Christmas-themed shopping centre or a nicely-decorated restaurant or pub. The bigger cities in Thailand embrace Christmas with open arms, which can help you feel right at home if you’re beginning to miss loved ones on your trip. You may even see a Santa Claus or two greeting kids of all ages and backgrounds in Bangkok, and giving out gifts to those on the nice list – so be good on your trip!
Whilst some of the bigger cities in Thailand might have shopping centres with Christmas trees and decorations, you can guarantee that some of the smaller islands and cities don’t. Christmas can be a real assault on the senses, but Thailand is a welcome retreat away from the world of garish trees and tacky decorations, and instead you could enjoy stunning temples, traditional villages and local customs, all without a Santa hat in sight – perfect for the grinches among us.
“Already?!” we hear you cry in October, when you hear the first Christmas song of the year while trying to do your grocery shopping in peace. Yes, we know, it’s far too early – so why not avoid it completely? Heading down to a Thai beach or island this Christmas can see you totally avoid those annoying-yet-catchy Christmas songs you’ve heard a million times already, leaving you free to listen to whatever you desire – and if you actually feel like you’ll miss them, then don’t worry… that’s what the Internet is for.
One of the greatest things about travelling is the ability to connect instantly to fellow like-minded travellers and establish bonds overnight that feel like they were hardened over years of friendship. Thailand’s laid-back, mai pen rai way of life makes this fact especially true here, and nothing brings travellers together quite like missing Christmas and loved ones back home. By spending the day with others in the same boat – whether you’re looking for a Christmas dinner together, playing secret Santa or cracking open a cold on the beach – your Christmas can become truly special and a precious memory with people you’re unlikely to forget.
You know that feeling when you wake up the day before Christmas in a cold sweat because you forgot to buy somebody a present? By spending your Christmas in Thailand, not only can you buy yourself some time to get a present and have a valid excuse, there’s also some of the best shopping in the world here. Whether you’re looking for a designer handbag or a handmade handicraft, Thailand has you covered. The major cities have an abundance of boutique stores and huge shopping centres to shop in, and the smaller towns are full of charming trinkets that anybody would love to unwrap – and with the prices so low, you may need another suitcase.
And breathe. Christmas should be fun, but with weather, money and planning to worry about, we often forget about that part. Rather than stress about the “most wonderful time of the year”, leave it all behind, by waking up in paradise instead. Besides, it happens every year – so you won’t be missing out on much. Head to Thailand for Christmas – you won’t regret it.