This will be our first time celebrating Christmas in Thailand. Also our first time celebrating in a place where Christmas day is not a public holiday, where for most people it will just be another day of the year. It is going to feel different but I believe Christmas is what you make it. I can imagine for some travellers or expats living in foreign countries that Christmas could be a time of year that isn’t special and just a reminder of what you don’t have and the people you aren’t with.
I’ve found that getting into the Christmas spirit is quite easy in Bangkok. Christmas decorations are everywhere, and it seems that everyday there is a new display somewhere. We recently came back from a few days away and the windows of our apartment lobby had been spray painted with a Merry Christmas message. A lot of the department stores, supermarkets, hotels, malls and much more have put up big Christmas trees and lots of twinkling lights. I think maybe Christmas for most Thai people is just a novelty and a reason to get dressed up or have you picture taken with the many trees. But I’m happy with that if it means I feel like Christmas is all around me.
We made this video of some of the Christmas trees, decorations and lights on display this year in Bangkok.
Christmas is what you make it
We are fortunate that Nic’s family will be in Bangkok for Christmas this year. However, if you aren’t able to celebrate with your family then make the day a special one for yourself. A few years ago we celebrated Christmas just the two of us in Arequipa, Peru, a town where we knew no one but we still had a memorable Christmas – enjoying the quickest Christmas mass ever (it was over in 15mins and all in spanish) and treating ourselves to a not so budget meal. We found that by doing something a little different from the normal travel day we were able to make a special memory for ourselves.
This year we have our own apartment so we bought ourselves a little Christmas tree to bring the festive spirit to the apartment. With Spotify I’ve been able to create a Christmas playlist filled with Christmas carols so the apartment is often filled with music. One of my Christmas traditions is to watch Love Actually a couple times before Christmas, we recently got a copy so I’ll get to do that as well. It definitely feels like Christmas.
What to do in Bangkok for Christmas?
You could treat yourself and maybe your friends to a fancy Christmas lunch or dinner at one of the many hotels offering special Christmas feasts. The Bangkok Post has been advertising multiple places offering this so check it out for some ideas. I can imagine that there will be lots of other people celebrating Christmas at these places so it should feel pretty festive.
You could join in the festivities at one of the local churches in Bangkok. There are a number churches that offer English language services and have special Christmas services as well. Some of the options include:
Assumption Cathedral – is the most well known Catholic cathedral in Bangkok. It will also be having a fun fair on Christmas Eve from 6.30pm onwards. The cathedral is located on Charoen Krung Soi 40.
Christ Church Bangkok located on Convent Road, Bangrak.
Evangelical Church of Bangkok located on Sukhumvit Soi 10.
Or maybe you could go visit local temples and marvel at the Buddhist culture and create a memory of the time you spent Christmas at a Buddhist temple.
Whatever you choose to do this Christmas we hope that it is memorable for you.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy happy new year.