Spending Christmas in Bangkok: What to Do and Where to Go

A woman drinking milk tea. Show a Thai woman how Christmas is celebrated.

It is once again the most wonderful time of the year. Stores advertise holiday sales and there’s Christmas music all over the airwaves. Depending on where you live, you might start to feel a winter chill creep in. You might start to feel celebratory and there might even be a slight skip in your step.

And why is there said skip in your step? Because you’re dating a beautiful woman who hails from Bangkok, Thailand and you’re going to be spending the Christmas season with her. Your tickets are booked. Your bags are packed. Your accommodations have been handled.

The only thing left for you to do is to get on the plane, fly to her, and then start enjoying yourself as soon as you land.

There’s just one hiccup; you don’t know the city and you’ve got no idea as to how the Thai people celebrate Christmas.

In Thailand, Christmas is purely a commercial event. Given that the predominant religion in the country is Buddhism, whatever religious elements associated with the holiday are ignored. If you do observe its religious aspects, then you’d be hard-pressed to find like-minded people.

Now, what exactly are you supposed to do in Bangkok when you get there? And where are you the places to which you need to go during the Christmas season?

Shopping

Well, there’s always shopping. Bangkok is a city that is well-known as a shopper’s paradise and you probably want to get your girlfriend some stocking stuffers or some gifts that she can put under her tree. So, where are you supposed to buy these gifts?

Icon Siam: So there’s a lot of shopping at Icon Siam, which is to be expected given the sheer size of the mall – 10 floors and over 5.5 million square feet of retail space. But it’s not just the shopping that you need to check out. There’s also the amenities.

The ground floor has SookSiam, an area that’s made to look like a traditional Thai food market where you can buy Thai food and drinks from a wide array of stalls and small restaurants. There’s even an indoor river and boats selling food and drinks to simulate a floating market. There are even cultural events so you can see some Thai dancing or a Muay Thai match if you so fancy.

A shot of Bangkok taken from a park. There are plenty of (non-) winter wonderlands in Bangkok.

CentralWorld: Speaking of large shopping centers, CentralWorld in Siam is the ninth largest shopping complex in the world with nearly 6 million square feet of retail space spread out over 8 floors.

There’s also an ice rink on the second floor, so you can show off whatever moves you’ve got to your girlfriend. Or you can hold each other’s hands while you both learn how to skate.

Chatuchak Weekend Market: If you want to find a gift that’s both cheaper than what you might find in a mall, you can head to Chatuchak Weekend Market. With more than 15,000 stalls you’re sure to find almost anything. Just make sure to bring cash as a lot of vendors don’t take bank cards and ATMs are few and far between.

MBK Center: If you want to find your girl a Christmas gift at prices closer to what you’d find at Chatuchak Weekend Market but in a place where you can reliably find an ATM, MBK Center is your best bet. With over 2000 shops, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for your partner without breaking the bank.

Basically, think of it as a street market but inside of a mall. Keep in mind though that, like practically all street markets, there are a lot of knockoff items.

Other Activities

But other than shopping, what else are you supposed to do in Bangkok on Christmas? What other activities can you do with a Thai woman to celebrate the season?

Asiatique: Asiatique Night Market is a lot of things all at once. It’s a middle of the road shopping mall, a street market, and a riverside lifestyle experience all in one. Located just south of Bangkok’s Chinatown, people can see shows, have a meal, or do some shopping at Asiatique.

If you want to take a break from shopping and dining, you and your lady can take a seat in one of the Ferris wheel’s pods and take in a view of the city.

Christmas Dinner: Christmas ham, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes. You’re probably used to eating food like that on Christmas. But you’re not likely to find such a meal in Bangkok. For one thing, Thai food is characterized by a spiciness that’s not present in American fare. For another, turkeys are native to North America, so they’re not exactly a staple in the rest of the world.

A beach in Thailand. A white Christmas can have an entirely different meaning in Thailand.

But if you do want to find a meal that’s similar to what you might find at home, your best bet is a Christmas buffet at an upscale hotel. The Mandarin and the Peninsula often have special buffet menus for Christmas.

You can take your lady to one of them and you can show her what it’d be like to celebrate the season in the United States, which is a scenario you’d undoubtedly like to make into a reality sooner rather than later.

Dream Of A White Christmas: When most people think of a white Christmas, most people probably picture snow. They probably picture themselves bundled up in a Christmas sweater, sitting next to a crackling fire, with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

But you can have a white Christmas of an entirely different nature. There are plenty of beaches and islands that are within commuting distance of Bangkok. You can try a place like Bang Saen, a beach town around 67 miles east of Bangkok.

In Bangkok, Christmas is not special. For the most part, it’s just another day. Sure, shopping malls and other areas where tourists congregate might put up Christmas decorations and put some Santa hats on their mannequins, but it’s not given the same reverence as it gets in the west.

So it’s on you to make it special. It’s on you to show your girlfriend exactly why Christmas is such a special holiday in your culture.

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