Bangkok A Merry un-Christmas in Bangkok
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Bangkok A Merry un-Christmas in Bangkok

Bangkok begins to light up before the Christmas season around the Loi Krathong, the festival of lanterns which happens every November. While Christmastime is not a traditional festivity, there’s still the spirit for giving (and shopping) around Thailand – a charm of its own.

Although Christmas may be a relatively recent cultural import, travellers will still find plenty festive cheer in Thailand. The festive season starts at the end of November with the Loi Krathong festival, when thousands of paper lanterns are released into the air. Within a few days, stunning seasonal decorations transform the luxury shopping centres – a place for both locals and homesick expats to enjoy, indulging in traditional sweets with a side of retail therapy. If you’re planning to celebrate in the tropics, here are some of the best ways to do it.

Winter Wonderland

When it comes to the weather, the Christmas season is often the nicest time of year in Bangkok, with plenty of sunshine and lower humidity than other months of the year. Still, while the temperatures may be less punishing than in the brutally hot months of March, April and May, they won’t exactly have you singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or “Let It Snow.” For those who equate the holidays with cooler climes, a quick trip to Snow Town should help you get your wintery fix. Alternatively, sign up for an ice skating session at one of the city’s many rinks. An hour or two of gliding across the ice at The Rink Central World is the perfect way to beat the heat and get into the spirit of the season.

Shop ‘Till You Drop

For spectacular holiday decorations, look no further than the grand atriums of Central Embassy and Central Chidlom, where teams of designers deck the halls in high style every year. From fanciful angels to towering faux-Christmas trees, these luxury shopping centres pull out all the stops for truly impressive results. These places are also the perfect spots to find just the right gift for that certain special someone. In addition to all the latest collections from the big-name international luxury labels, expect to find more unusual offerings from Thailand’s famous fashion designers and other surprises.

Stock Up on Sweet Treats

If you have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, you may want to load up your pantry with exceptional Christmas treats from the best bakeries in town. Forget the stodgy, brick-like fruitcake and opt instead for a buttery Dresdner Stollen brimming with candied fruit and nuts from the Siam Kempinski bakery or tuck into sweet offerings from Peninsula Bangkok and the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, both of which boast exceptional bakeries. Upscale chains such as Dean & Deluca and Paul also offer plenty of seasonal cookies and other festive confections.