Although Bangkok is neon-bright from one end of Sukhamvit to the other, and Silom and Ratchadamri the same, it is still the capital city of Thailand and as such the celebrations are a bit more formal than in the resorts along the coast.
Christmas Beyond Bangkok – in Hua Hin, Thailand
Of all the resorts, the best celebrations are to be found in the royal town of Hua Hin, just two hours from Bangkok, where the large local population enjoys the festive season and celebrates in great style. Father Christmas (and even a Mother Christmas) can be seen walking along the Beach Road on Christmas Eve; every hotel has its own Christmas tree, a cheery old man in a red suit and white beard (often the well padded gardener from the hotel); and there is even turkey and Christmas pudding with custard on the menu, to complement the Thai offerings.
Hilton, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Evason, boutique hotels and golf clubs, all offer Christmas Dinners and extravagant cocktail parties over the period, but my own favourite is The Dusit Thani Hua Hin Hotel, just a few minutes from the busy shopping centre, right on the beach: perfect for that early morning stroll along the water’s edge on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Best Hotel for Christmas Celebratiions – Dusit Thani Hua HIn, Thailand
The Dusit celebrations invariably kick-off on Christmas Eve with a complimentary cocktail party in the magnificent marbled reception lounge, hosted by the General Manager, Mr. Victor Sukseree. Children in their best party outfits gather to await Santa Claus who arrives with a loud clanging of the great brass bell he carries and a loud traditional “Ho, Ho, Ho” greeting. As waiters circulate with cocktails, wines and canapes, Santa distributes gifts to one and all.
The Hotel Dusit Thani Hua Hin is probably the most popular hotel in Hua Hin and those who have spent earlier Christmases here are waiting for what is now an annual event – the arrival of the Boy Marching Band along with local Thai schoolchildren to sing carols.
With wavering voices they sing “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night”, their Thai accents lending a special charm to the tradtional Christmas melodies, and then they wend their way through the hotel, entertaining the guests with carols old and new. The band in their smart purple and white uniforms march efficiently, wheeling and turning like toy chocolate soldiers on a paradeground: and Father Christmas smiles benignly on all..
The beauty of this particular hotel’s entertainment is that it is not sophisticated, it is not choreographed and catalogued. It is just local school children singing carols, local boys playing trumpets and marching up and down, and young holiday makers and not so young holiday makers who are open to the magic of Christmas – of only for a little while.
When you celebrate Christmas in Thailand – it’s easy to believe in Santa Claus.