Dec 08 2012
Old Saint Nick looked a bit thin last year thanks to the tropical heat (or mistaking chillies for candy canes), but he was still sighted in Bangkok riding in trains, ho-ho-ing beneath highway overpasses and soaring above the skyline in a magic flying-elephant-powered tuk tuk. Here’s where you can catch up with Santa for Christmas 2012 in Bangkok.
If you really want to spread that Christmas cheer, take part in Santa Cause 2012 on December 15 and 16. Organised by the young, bighearted crew at Bangkok Vanguards, Santa Cause took off in 2011 when the Vanguards “sent gifts and Xmas joy to over 1,000 children” in impoverished communities that were hard hit by the 2011 Bangkok floods. This year, the event is billed as “the largest and most energetic Christmas flashmob this country has ever seen.” Considering more than 120 volunteers have already signed up, we believe it.
Santa Cause meeting point is the big Christmas tree at Central World Plaza in the Siam Square area at 09:00, and you can take part in just one or both days. To sign up for this fun event that’s also for a great cause, visit the official Santa Cause Facebook page. If you would like to donate toys or other gifts before the event, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 085 833 9218.
Being one of the world’s great shopping cities, Bangkok is an excellent place to pick up unique Christmas gifts on the cheap. For souvenirs, toys and inexpensive, quirky knick-knacks, take a wander through Chatuchak or Chinatown. Terminal 21 is a safe bet if seeking stylish but reasonably priced jewellery and designer clothes for that special someone, while Peninsula Plaza is worth a look if hoping to impress with a high-end gift. Peninsula also puts together the most tasteful Christmas tree display in the city, but searching for the gaudiest tree in Bangkok is always a hilarious way to spend an afternoon.
No Christmas would be complete without a turkey dinner with all the fixings, and the Sukhumvit area offers plenty of choices for stuffing yourself. If you’re on a budget, a lively turkey buffet for 799 baht per person at Bully’s Pub comes recommended, as does Bourbon Street Bangkok‘s all-you-can-eat spread for 899 baht. Also on Sukhumvit at Soi 33, the Londoner Pub offers a kid-friendly, English-style Christmas dinner for 1,400 baht per person, and over on Sukhumvit Soi 14, the Black Swan doesn’t hold back on its Christmas spread for 1,850 baht — reservations required. Alternatively, just about every large-scale hotel in the city puts together a Christmas dining package, with the ritziest found at places like the Peninsula and BanyanTree.
If wanting to celebrate the “Christ” side of Christmas, Bangkok has an abundance of churches. The multi-denominational International Church of Bangkok is holding a candlelight service at 18:30 on Christmas eve. The Anglican-Protestant Christ Church Bangkok offers carolling on December 16 at 18:00, a midnight mass on Christmas eve and a Christmas Day service at 10:00. Services will also be held in the morning on December 23 and 30 at the Evangelical Church of Bangkok, and finally, Bangkok’s many Catholic churches will hold a range of services throughout the Christmas week.
*First photo supplied by Bangkok Vanguards.
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