We just celebrated our 5th Christmas in Thailand, and the second of which we spent here in Chiang Mai.
If you usually celebrate Christmas in a place that actually has winter ( as in snow), you’re probably wondering what it’s like to celebrate the holiday season here in Thailand. To be honest, I do miss the white Christmases that we had when we lived in Italy, the UK, and South Korea, but even though Thailand is a Buddhist country, many Thais ( and of course expats) celebrate Christmas, to some degree.
Every year, the department stores ( like Maya, Gad Suan Kaew, Central, etc) have a Christmas decorations and do a great job decorating. Christmas lights are also sold at most hardware stores, and at places like Big C and Makro ( top floor).
Restaurants in Chiang Mai are typically open on Christmas day, and many have a special set menu available or some type of holiday dish.
Nic’s family restaurant in Hang Dong does a fantastic job with creating holiday menus and events, especially on Halloween and Christmas. This year, they had Santa swing bye for the kids to chat with, and their set menus had both vegetarian and gluten-free options available.
If you happen to be in Chiang Mai during Christmas and don’t have the ability to bake holiday goodies, I suggest ordering a cake ( or two!) from Butter is Better and California Wraps. Both have gluten-free options too. Sadly, I haven’t found mince pies anywhere in town, but I’ll keep asking as I’m sure I’m not the only Brit looking for them!
The only thing that’s hard to find in Chiang Mai during the holidays is good, Christmasy wrapping paper. We bought our from Makro and it’s not the best, but we managed to use two sheets to wrap a large lego set Santa brought for Kaya.
When it comes to shopping, the malls have a plethora of different toys, clothing, and pretty much everything else. We usually shop at small stores and our local Wednesday market ( at Kad Farang) and ‘Santa’ got Kaya’s lego sets from a small shoe slash Lego store in the Mali Market, located in Hang Dong. The store is near the Pancake House and looks like it only sells shoes but it has an excellent assortment of legos inside.
The Wednesday market at Kad Farang has several toy stalls, including one that is across from Wine Connection ( in the parking lot). We purchased Shopkins-like toys and other stocking stuffers there, and have previously ordered a Scooby Doo lego set from the owner, who is extremely friendly and willing to look for special items.
Coffee shops also make sure to get festive during Christmas. While we always go to independant cafes, I do enjoy going to Starbucks for a holiday coffee in December. They sell some really nice mugs too! Cafe Kantary also got festive and has two hot cocoa specials with a mashmallow snowman, as well as Christmas cookies. And their decorations are by far the best I’ve seen at any place in Chiang Mai! The above Instagram photo with Kaya is taken outside their Kad Farang cafe.
Have you spent Christmas in Chiang Mai? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!