Wondering how Christmas is celebrated around the world? As a region that’s predominantly Buddhist, Christmas hasn’t traditionally been part of Asian culture. However, things are changing due to the influx of foreign travellers and expats in recent years. Christmas might not be of religious importance to the locals, but you’re sure to find somewhere to celebrate!
Here are our top pics for the best places to celebrate Christmas in Asia…
1. Bali, Indonesia
Despite being a Hindu island, Bali is a great place to spend Christmas in Asia. With 10 million foreign tourists visiting per year, Christmas has slipped into the culture and you’ll find plenty of other expats to celebrate with. Many restaurants like Ubud’s Hippie Fish serve seafood Christmas dinners complete with live music.
2. Palawan, Philippines
Do Asians celebrate Christmas? In the Catholic nation of the Philippines, they most certainly do! You’ll see Christmas trees and festive details all around the Philippines from September (yes, they start early!). What better place to celebrate than Palawan, one of the most popular and beautiful islands?
In the diverse city of Singapore, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for – including Christmas! The fancy malls like VivoCity will be well-stocked with trees and decorations, plus you’ll easily find plenty of restaurants serving Western Christmas feasts.
4. Hong Kong
Just like Singapore, you’ll never run out of options in Hong Kong. The big difference is that Hong Kong gets chilly, so you’ll have to wrap up all cozy! Perfect for hot chocolate or mulled wine.
The city is known for some of the world’s best for shopping – ideal if you need to pick up some last-minute gifts! Head to Pacific Place for Christmas decorations for that festive feeling.
5. Langkawi, Malaysia
In the Muslim country of Malaysia, Christmas isn’t widely celebrated. But in more touristic areas like Penang and Langkawi, you’ll find plenty of celebrations going on for visitors. If you visit the idyllic beaches of Langkawi, you’ll be able to celebrate in paradise.
6. Seoul, South Korea
Fun fact: South Korea is the only East Asian country to recognize Christmas as a public holiday. So if you were wondering ‘Do Asians celebrate Christmas?’ the answer is yes, and you can join them in Seoul!
For a quirky event, why not head to Gangnam for the annual Harry Potter Christmas party?
7. Tokyo, Japan
What better place to celebrate the holidays than dazzling Tokyo? Whether you find a Christmas-themed restaurant on the 25th or dig into sushi, you’ll have a very memorable December in the Japanese capital. Don’t miss the European markets at the base of Tokyo Skytree!
8. Delhi, India
Having been a British colony for many years, the concept of Christmas has been adapted into Indian culture. Connaught Place in central Delhi is renowned for its bright lights and vibrant celebrations during Christmas and New Year.
9. Koh Lanta, Thailand
Around tourist destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the islands, you won’t be short of places to celebrate Christmas. Koh Lanta restaurants serve Christmas-inspired meals from roast dinners to Time For Lime‘s Thai-inspired menu with iced mulled wine.
10. Cebu, Philippines
As a Catholic country, anywhere in the Philippines is a strong contender for the place spend to spend Christmas in Asia. Cebu island has plenty of amazing places to visit like Mactan, Oslob, Moalboal and more. Backpacking between beautiful beaches and hidden waterfalls sounds like an ideal Christmas to us! You’ll have the whole country celebrating right with you, too.
11. Taipei, Taiwan
Christmas markets aren’t common around Asia, but there’s one impressive exception: Taipei. In the capital, you’ll find a French-style Christmas market selling strudel, bratwurst and mulled wine. Visit New Taipei City Plaza for all the festive feels.
12. Shanghai, China
Ice skating in December under the skyscrapers? For a memorable Christmas experience, you can’t beat Shanghai with its many outdoor skating rinks and Christmas markets. Times Skating Rink is one of the best.
Where will you be spending the holidays? Did we miss anything here? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image: @d_asiaticos