Christmas in Bangkok, like everywhere else, means big business. This is the time of the year when the city's hotels enjoy maximum occupancy, and when shopping malls dazzle and delight visitors with decorations, displays, events and promotions that are designed to make consumer goods fly off the shelves. Shopping, in fact, along with eating and partying the night away, takes high prominence on everyone's agendas.
The real show-stopper, however, is the Christmas lights. Buildings, trees, bridges, lamp poles and sometimes even tuk-tuks and pavement food stalls are adorned with colourful, twinkling lights, turning Bangkok into a fairy wonderland. In fact, if you stand still for long enough, chances are good that somebody might even decorate you with lights (kidding!). But that Thai people's love of creative lighting and festivities get the better of them, that's a fact.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
Let's take a Christmas lights walking tour
A stroll along Rachadamri Road (get off at Rachadamri Skytrain station), past The Four Seasons Hotel (great tree!), The Peninsula Plaza (the most photographed Christmas lights feature in the city) - complete with a gingerbread house and reindeer barn - The Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, The Erawan (mall) and Amarin Plaza, is a delightful 'Christmas lights walking tour' for the whole family to enjoy.
From the intersection of Rachadamri and Rachaprasong Roads, make a right turn and continue walking for about 100 metres (past Amarin Plaza and McDonalds) until you get to an escalator which will take you up to the skywalk. From here you can gawk at the impressive tree in front of the InterContinental Hotel on the other side of the road, before making your way (still on the skywalk) past Gaysorn and down the stairs to CentralWorld Square, where local beer brands have set up beer gardens with nightly live concerts throughout December.
With refreshments out of the way, make a note to have a look at the Christmas tree inside CentralWorld as well (the largest one, mentioned earlier, is at CentralWorld Square in front of the mall and next to the beer garden). Then it's time to continue our do-it-yourself walking tour. With the skywalk connection between CentralWorld and the Offices at CentralWord, you can walk all the way to Siam, above the traffic, until you get to the so-called 'Pride of Bangkok', the massive Siam Paragon. The palm trees in front of this gigantic mall are beautifully illuminated with purple lights, making for quite a contemporary, space-aged effect. Right next to Siam Paragon are Siam Centre and Siam Discovery, with another beer garden set up between the latter two. The whole area around Siam Square is drenched in a festival mood with more Christmas trees and lights to check out.
If you have any energy left at this stage, the famous MBK can be reached with another skywalk from the second level of Siam Discovery, with equally impressive decorations adorning the outside and inside of this shopping monument. This 'walking tour' is just one of Bangkok's areas that undergo a seasonal metamorphosis. Other areas worth taking a taxi to are Chinatown, Khao San Road, Ratchadamnoen Road and, of course, the famous riverside. Here, it is not so much the area that is all 'tarted up' with lights, but the floating restaurants and party boats that transport revelers up and down the Chao Phraya River.