Dec 16 2011
Christmas might not seem to have a home in the land of palm trees and sunshine, but if you are spending the holidays in Bangkok don’t despair — there’s plenty of holiday spirit to go around!
Thailand might not have a religious tradition that justifies a Christmas celebration, but Thai retailers have gone the extra mile to make sure that Christmas has a home in the land of golden Buddhas. The lights and decorations in Bangkok rival that of any other city, with a particular Thai twist — gigantic snowmen, Christmas trees, and bejewelled St Nicks reign over shopping centres filled with people wearing sandals and shorts. It might still be 30 degrees Celsius at 21:00, but legions of people will be out snapping pictures in front of the Christmas bling.
Lots of places will be having Christmas Eve dinners and parties. Missing Christmas Eve pub drinks with mates back home? Try out Bangkok’s slew of British and Irish inspired pubs (try the Londoner, the Dubliner or the Australian); the Robin Hood on Sukhumvit is having a Christmas carvery with all the ham and Christmas pudding you can handle for 950 baht on Christmas Day. Food and drink specials abound, and bars on Khao San Road will be packed with red felt hats and ridiculous amounts of tinsel.
Don’t feel the need for Christmas-themed festivities? Head to one of the beer gardens set up around the city especially to take advantage of the great weather in December. The Chang Export beer garden outside of Central World will be pumping with live Thai bands, cheap towers of Chang, and some great Thai food (beer around 100 baht a litre, plates from 45-100 baht).
While Christmas Day itself is normally not a holiday in the Kingdom, this year it falls on a Sunday. Treat yourself to a fancy brunch, something that five-star hotels in Bangkok do very well. Try the Peninsula, the J.W. Marriott, the Athinee, or the Mandarin Oriental; the Peninsula is featuring a Christmas Day brunch on its River Cafe and Terrace for 2,400 baht per person with views overlooking the Chao Phraya, and unlimited sparkling wine. While a bit spendy for the budget traveller, most Bangkok brunches have free flowing booze and plenty of roast beasts, shrimp, crab, and lobster, which can make your Christmas morning feel extra special.
Who says Christmas is only fun in the snow? Slip on those sandals and get into the spirit of things.
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