They call it the most wonderful time of the year.
And whilst we’re a long way away from the Christmas lights on London’s Oxford Street or the snowy Christmas shopping sprees in New York City, there’s no reason why we can’t immerse ourselves deep into the spirit of that wonder even here in Bangkok.
The city is brimming with sweet activities and sights to see this time of year, from festive decorations to exclusive nibbles, bites, and parties. Here, we’ve put together the ultimate checklist to teleport you right onto a sleigh ride (or a tinsel-clad tuk tuk ride) to get you knee-deep in the festive vibes this December. Consider us a Santa of sorts, and thank us later.
[Hero and featured image courtesy of W Bangkok]
1. Play all the festive music
There’s nothing like a kickass soundtrack to ease you into the season. Sure, it’s not snowing in Bangkok quite just yet (and we kind of hope it stays that way!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t sing along to sleigh bells ringing as you slay to the track, and jingle bells jingling as you wiggle to the melody. There is something about festive music that can lift your spirits right up.
Yet whilst a bit of Michael Buble or Louis Armstrong is definitely becoming a tradition at this time of year, festive music doesn’t have to be restricted to Christmas tracks only. This season is all about having a good time. Throw a party, host a dinner, and play that ‘Get Psyched’ playlist. It’s the end of the year — you may as well dance it away while you’re at it.
2. Party it up
There is no time like the end of the year when it comes to a kickass party.
Whilst there are plenty of happenings across Bangkok from bars to clubs and beyond, the biggest event of the season — if not the year — is undeniably Southeast Asia’s wildly successful version of Coachella: Wonderfruit. Head out of town for the five-day festival for chill vibes, great music, and plenty of style inspo, as the coolest cats in the region gather for a weekend of hot tunes and good times. Taking place in The Fields at Siam Country Club, it’s a hub for creatives and free spirits, and inarguably the best way to get into a carefree and celebratory state of mind for 2020. Unmissable.
3. Take festive ‘grams
Can you even say you did Christmas if you didn’t take a snap by a Christmas tree? Of course you can’t.
Bangkok is notorious for getting daringly decked out in festive decor, from department stores to malls or even independent restaurants and bars. Take yourself on a seasonal scavenger hunt of sorts, as you uncover and explore the best in this temporary tinsel town. An idea? Go on a mission and make it a full album of all the Christmas trees (or Christmas cocktails, if you’re more drink-savvy) you spotted across the city. We challenge you.
4. Put together the perfect wish list
Let’s not kid ourselves. One of the best things about the festive season is the gift-giving.
Whether you’re strolling the streets of Siam seeking inspiration from window-shopping, or you’re more of an online shopper, it is almost akin to ho-ho-holiday homework to come up with the perfect gift wish list. New year, healthier you? Maybe think about a juicer, or a year-round gym membership (and stick to it!). Looking for a style revamp? Maybe try out some cool new Thai designers. Feeling tech-savvy and photo-inspired? iPhone 11, do we hear you calling?
5. Buy the best gifts
Following on from the previous point, of course you also need to buy gifts for all your loved ones. How does the saying go? “There’s no gift greater than the gift of giving”? Exactly.
Whether you pick up something crafty and creative from our favourite weekend market at Chatuchak (a great one if you want to treat friends from abroad especially), or seek something more high end from one of Bangkok’s many unique boutiques, we’re lucky to live in a city that offers such a vast plethora of gift ideas.
6. Have an amazing Christmas dinner
What is the festive season without a big feast?
This 24 and 25 December, head on over to The Kitchen Table on the second floor of the W Bangkok for Oh Meaty Night! — a fun ‘family style’ sharing dinner with a special menu from Tipsy Cow. A surefire hit with all meat lovers, the exclusive Christmas menu includes everything from potted hot-smoked salmon and foie gras pate, over to barbecued treats and a butternut squash and sage soup. A must-eat during the Christmas season, the mains will be accompanied by homemade festive sides and sauces, spanning all apple sauce, ginger cranberry sauce, oven-roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, and cranberry and walnut stuffing, amongst others. In the company of your loved ones, it’s sure to be a joyous evening — in your heart and in your belly.
Oh Meaty Night! takes place on 24 and 25 December 2019 from 6pm-10.30pm at The Kitchen Table, 2/F, W Bangkok, 106 North Sathorn Road, Bang Rak. It is priced at THB 2200++ for food and free-flow soft drinks, and THB 3000++ for food and free-flow cocktails, wine, beers, and bubbles. Book online to get 15% off.
7. Write a Christmas card
Sure, in a world of texts and tweets, the traditional Christmas card has perhaps gotten lost in the — for lack of a better expression here — mail. We don’t really send letters or cards anymore because we’re addicted to the fast world of an instant message and the internet, yet there’s no denying that nothing feels quite as nice as to receive an actual letter in the actual mail that has actually been handwritten by a real, living person.
You’re already using Kerry Express for all your Instagram shopping, so why not use it for sending out Christmas cards, too? Your friends and family will think you’re really, really cute. It’s the thought that really counts; and if there’s any season for a throwback of sorts, it is this one. Don’t know where to get started? We love the cheeky and colourful cards over at ban.do — very millennial.
8. Bake cookies (or just eat them)
Baking cookies is always a fun way to gather friends or family around the kitchen table together and to try your hand at baking (and more importantly: decorating). Give your gingerbread men a tropical Thai touch by drawing bikinis or swimming trunks onto them, or spruce up a recipe or two by adding local ingredients into a classic recipe. Pineapple cookies, chili-laced chocolate, or ginger biscuits, anyone?
If you’re still seeking inspiration, you’ll never go wrong with New York’s Milk Bar cookie recipes — who have also very famously partnered up with model Karlie Kloss for her cookie brand. Not so much a cookie person? Try this Pumpkin Pie Custard with Cornflake Crumble by the amazing Chrissy Teigen instead.
9. Spend time with your loved ones
Perhaps what is most warming about the festive season is that sense of togetherness. Whether it’s with colleagues from work, friends from not-so-much work, or family from near and far, this time of year calls for putting aside all your differences from January to November, and coming together if only for an evening in December. Scattered around a dinner table with wine or all over a sofa with snacks at home, take the time out to show someone you care, and that they matter to you. This month is all about being merry, and being many.
And you can always continue your grudges from January to November 2020.
10. End the year with a bang
This 31 December, head to Paii at The House on Sathorn for a festive New Year extravaganza. The colonial mansion dates back to the 1800s, and boasts one of the most stunning neo-classic settings in the whole city. Whether you sit indoors at Paii itself or outdoors at the courtyard, enjoy Paii’s modern Thai seafood offering by way of an exclusive 6-course dinner by Executive Chef Joe. There’ll also be live acoustic music through the evening and long into the night.
An insider’s tip? Definitely stay on beyond dinner, as guests are also invited to later count down into 2020 in the garden. There’ll also be live acts from bands and a special guest DJ until 1am, so you’re sure to welcome the new year with a bang. After all, nobody spells the most wonderful time of the year with a big bold ‘W’ like the W Bangkok.
Paii’s New Year’s Eve Dinner takes place on 31 December 2019 from 6pm-12am at Paii, The House on Sathorn, 106 North Sathorn Road, Bang Rak. Book online to get 15% off.