At Christmas do you see yourself huddled round a fire playing games or sailing in bath temperature water in the Andaman Sea?
December is one of the most popular months to visit Thailand, and Phuket in particular. This is for several reasons including the weather, the wish to get away from it all for Christmas, and the lively festive atmosphere. The hustle and bustle may be a little bit much at times, but that is why the best way to do it is on board one of our luxury yachts – your perfect retreat after a busy day.
Picture the scene… you are on board your own private yacht with your family. It is Christmas morning, and the sun is shining down onto the deck, bouncing off the clear waters. You and the family wake, and start the morning with a dip in the ocean. You then take to the beach, to catch your Christmas breakfast and cook it upon a beach BBQ. Perfection.
It is the start of the peak season for tourists visiting the area, and without a doubt the biggest draw is the warmth and the sunshine which is best enjoyed aboard your own private yacht. Despite it being high season, it is actually cool season, which is great because humidity levels are lower than usual, and sightseeing is a little more comfortable when the temperatures aren’t sky high. At night it is still warm enough for a t-shirt or a dress which we think is the perfect level for a holiday. The change in the evening is more noticeable in the north of Thailand than it is in the south. It is also dry season and so those pesky showers are unlikely to occur. Ko Samui and Phuket are the most popular destinations in the region for the Christmas and New Year periods. Ko Samui’s weather is sometimes less stable, but Phuket is the one for consistent sunshine.
Although Thailand is a Buddhist country, the locals really have embraced Christian and Western Christmas traditions. So as you probably won’t expect, you will see Christmas trees and staff wearing festive hats and the like, which is great as it really helps remind you it is Christmas in the absence of the cold! You can probably even find a Christmas dinner in one of Phuket’s many hotels should the urge for one grab you. Transversely, if an authentic Thai experience is what you are after, there are no shortage of offerings there too. In Phuket you really can get the best of both worlds, it may sound a cliché, but here it is nothing short of the truth.
Christmas in Phuket really will be the most unforgettable Christmas you ever have. The Thai people are famed for their hospitality and warmth, and at this time of year that is accentuated to a new level. The island itself is the perfect choice for the Christmas getaway because it has a unique convergence of classic culture and modern magic. What better way to spend Christmas morning than a cheeky champagne toast on deck before perhaps taking a stroll along a white sandy beach as crystal clear waters kiss the shoreline. Taking your gifts onto the beach for the exchange could make a particularly memorable Christmas morning.The Christmas spirit echoes that of Buddhist culture, which is all about peace and unity and celebrating that. Phuket Old Town is a fantastic choice for a Christmas day wander, with its beautiful old Chino-Portuguese buildings, local food, and charming locals.
New Year is celebrated big style in Thailand, despite the traditional end of the Thai year happening in April. December 31st and January the 1st are both public holidays, meaning transport systems the days immediately before and after can be somewhat busy! Therefore we recommend that you sail to wherever you want to be to see the new year in rather than bother with local land forms of transport. Of course, seeing the new year in on board your yacht with your closest friends and family would be a magical experience – mooring up somewhere to see the fireworks. But if you fancy counting down to 2017 on land, you won’t be short of options in Phuket.
In Buddhist culture New Year is for ‘making merit’ at temples. So religious ceremonies are a big part of the traditional side of the holiday in Thailand. There are of course the more well-known style of celebrations too, with many areas putting on big parties with live music and fireworks. For the biggest hottest countdown event you may want to head over to Bangkok or Pattaya, but Phuket also has a whole host of festivities to make sure the last night of the year is one to remember (or not depending on how much you like to drink!).
As well as Christmas and New Year, December the 5th is a public holiday as it is the birthday of His Majesty the King. Due to the passing of the King this year the day will be marked in a different way. There are numerous events, and firework displays but the sale of alcohol and playing of live music is restricted somewhat as a mark of respect. December the 10th is another holiday for Thai Constitution day. So what better month to spend in Phuket than one with no less than four national holidays!
There is never a shortage of entertainment in Phuket which is another reason that it is a great choice for your Christmas vacation. There are hundreds of entertainment venues on the island, as well as some of Thailand’s best nightlife. There is also the famous Phuket zoo, the Sim Niramit, and the Phuket Fantasea. You will almost certainly want to check out one of the many caberet shows on offer too, and perhaps go and see some kickboxing which is now the national sport of Thailand.
As well as on land activities, you can also explore some of the many water based activities on offer on the Thai island. To switch it up a bit from the yacht, you could take a speed boat for a spin, maybe hop on a jet ski, or go parasailing. Something else which might make for a fun Christmas day activity would be to catch your own dinner! Fishing in the beautiful clear waters is a fun activity which, if done right, can lead to the freshest Christmas dinner you have ever had. You could also take a dip for a Christmas time swim, or go beneath the surface and share some of the festivities with some of the many exotic fish and breath taking coral and rock formations on one of Phukets many reefs. If above the surface is more your thing, then there is always surfing too. Or you could go for a trip to Kathu waterfall and spend your Christmas day basking in nature’s wonder – the possibilities are endless.
If you haven’t quite finished your Christmas shopping, or want to get a few extra bits for a loved one, then Phuket’s markets are the place for you. The island is well known in the region for its shopping and particularly it’s night markets. Chillva Market is one of the most traditional on offer, and it has a really culturally significant bohemian vibe. If you want to get something authentically Thai as a gift for a loved one travelling with you, or someone back at home, this is a great place to start. The market stalls are in upcycled shipping containers which sounds strange, but is really quite striking. Here there is also a stage where Thai artists perform, which is beside an amphitheatre and a pond which is a lovely setting to sit and eat some local food and look through all that you have bought.
Phuket’s weekend market has two sections – covered and open. In the covered section you will find second hand goods, outside you will find an array of new items from clothing and jewellery to electronic goods. A little busier than Chillva market, and with more of a western market feel. Phuket Walking Street is another good option, and it is situated in the charming Old Town which is ironic as it is one of Phuket’s newest market’s opening in just 2013. It is a bustling cosmopolitan street with a number of Thai shops and stalls to fulfil all your shopping needs. This particular shopping venue is very family orientated, and there are lots of toy stalls should you wish to treat the little ones to something extra before the big day. It is a magical experience to walk through the street, where technology really does meet history in a perfect combination of old architecture and bright colourful lights.
So you see, Phuket has it all this Christmas, all that’s missing is you! From the markets, to the beach, the nightlife, to the festivities, you really will have a Christmas to remember in Phuket. To book your perfect Christmas getaway, get in touch with the Simpson team today.