Whether it’s as part of an office Christmas party or a few customary drinks in the pub on the day itself, millions of people around the world enjoy a tipple over the Christmas holidays – and it should be no different in Bangkok. Instead of dingy pubs with sticky floors, you can enjoy your drink with some of the finest views around in Bangkok’s well-fêted rooftop bars. What’s more, there’s no need to wrap up in a scarf or gloves, as Bangkok’s average temperature in December is around 26°C – not bad at all, unless you were planning on making a few snow angels on the way back from the pub.
Home cooked Christmas dinners are great, though there’s often too little time to fully appreciate them before you’re up and scrubbing the pots and pans. In Bangkok, there are a tonne of top-quality restaurants serving Christmas dinners to expats and travellers alike, meaning you won’t miss out on your yearly pigs in blankets after all. From turkey with all the trimmings, to stuffing and cranberry sauce, Bangkok’s status as a world city means you won’t be going without – and you won’t have to suffer through the rigmarole of the washing up – sorry Mum.
If you came to Bangkok to avoid anything related to the C-word (that’s Christmas), then it’s entirely possible. Whether it’s because you can’t stomach turkey or because you don’t like the after-effects of brussel sprouts, the beauty of Bangkok is that whilst you can easily find it, you can just as easily avoid it all. Thailand has a plethora of food choices to try, from spicy soups to delectable curries, so there’s no need to limit yourself to roast meats and boiled vegetables. Depending on your flight home, you might just be back in time for leftovers anyway!
Believe it or not, there are in fact places in the world where shopping centres don’t resemble scenes from zombie movies in the latter stages of December – and Bangkok is one of them. Bangkok is still very busy, but with Christmas being an ordinary day for them, their shopping centres such as Siam Paragon, MBK and CentralWorld will seem positively peaceful in comparison to those back home, so you can enjoy them at your leisure. From designer goods to handmade crafts, Bangkok has enough shopping options for anyone’s taste and anyone’s budget – making it an ideal place to either treat yourself or pick up a present for that relative you inevitably forgot about.
A Christmas Day celebration in Bangkok offers the chance to spend it in places other than your Grandparent’s living room for once and you should take full advantage. There are plenty of options to consider; will it be Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand’s golden grand palace (if you squint, kind of looks like it has Christmas trees and fairy lights?) Or will it be Khao San Road, the backpackers’ paradise full of cheap eats and cheaper drinks? Or maybe you’ll just want to spend it in your hotel suite with the room service, a movie and your family. There’s a lot to consider and you won’t be snowed in here, so seize that day and have a Christmas you’ll never forget.
Despite Thailand being an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, there are still plenty of churches that you can visit over Christmas if your faith is important to you. Whilst there are some in the Thai language, there are plenty of English-speaking Christian churches in and around Bangkok for plenty of denominations, from Catholic to Orthodox.
If you’re not fussed about heading to church, don’t forget that Thailand is home to a number of jaw-droppingly beautiful temples, such as Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun and Wat Pho, and they’re certainly worth an hour or two of your time.
Whether you’re a solo traveller in need of some companionship on Christmas, or a group who just want to have fun, don’t forget there are hundreds of others just like you in Bangkok. By heading to backpacker or hostel-heavily locations, or going on tours such as the floating market, you’ll meet plenty of people who will no doubt be feeling the same as you do and who’ll prove to be decent substitutes for your family. Whether it’s to spend a meal together or to have a drink and a chat, you’ll be glad you did it, and you’ll have interesting stories about Christmas ’17 when you return home.
This article was originally published by Kelly Iverson on Nov 22 2016.