Christmas In Chiang Mai, Thailand

This was the first Christmas of our family travel adventure but soon realised that it would be different from our normal celebrations back in the UK.

We were lucky enough to visit Disneyland Hong Kong for Annabel’s birthday at the start of December.

The city and Disneyworld were beautifully decorated ready for Christmas.

You can read all about our Disneyland Hong Kong experience here

We felt really excited as there hadn’t been much in the way of a build-up to Christmas in Chiang Mai yet.

But we wondered if Thailand would give us the Christmas we longed for?

Christmas-in-Chiang-Mai

Having Fun At Disneyland Hong Kong

Christmas-in-Chiang-Mai

Meeting Goofy At Disneyland Hong Kong

There’s no denying it, we were used to our Christmases back in the UK before we left to travel full time.

There’s something quite comforting about knowing exactly how it’s going to be.

But spending our first Christmas-in-Chiang-Mai, Thailand would be an all-new experience.

We’d arrived in Chiang Mai in October 2016 without knowing how long we’d be staying, but when it became clear we’d be there for Christmas our minds turned to how it would unfold.

Obviously, Thailand doesn’t celebrate Christmas, being a Buddhist culture but they do get into the spirit of things with the shopping malls decorated with Christmas trees and lights but this year would be a bit different.

The King of Thailand had not long died and the country was in official mourning for one year.

This would mean that most celebrations ( while not being banned as such ) were dumbed down.

One of the big expensive stores in a shopping mall ( Central Festival), were selling decorations, and we got very excited to see their displays even if we couldn’t afford to buy anything.

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Decorations On Sale At Central Festival

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Snow Men In Chiang Mai

After searching Chiang Mai we managed to find an artificial tree in a stationary shop of all places.

We bought some tree decorations and candy canes and the hotel owner agreed to us being able to decorate our room.

It looked lovely and made our room all Christmassy feeling.

We even found a funky looking Santa at one shopping mall who Annabel had her picture taken with.

Christmas-in-Chiang-Mai

Our Christmas Tree

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Funky Santa

Being on the road means, it’s quite often hard to buy gifts, but we did have the idea of buying Annabel a MacBook, as she was going to be doing a lot more online work as we travelled, so it felt like a good investment.

Sue needed a new camera and with all the electronic and camera shops in Chiang Mai, it wasn’t difficult to find the best model for her.

On Christmas Eve we always try and do something special.

On this occasion, we met up with some English friends ( we’d met in Chiang Mai ) and ate some lovely homemade mince pies, that had been sent to them from a family member in the UK.

There’s a Marks and Spencers in one of the shopping malls, that sold Christmas puddings and mince pies but they were so expensive that buying them was out of the question.

So sharing homemade mince pies was just the treat we needed.

After meeting with our friends we went to an ice rink in the Central Festival shopping centre and had a skate before having Starbucks hot chocolate.

Who says you can’t make things Christmassy wherever you are.

Christmas morning we awoke to prezzies under the tree and had great fun opening them to see what we’d received.

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Guess Who Got A MacBook For Christmas

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I Did

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a proper festive dinner, but where on earth would we find a turkey dinner in Chiang Mai.

So some of the swish hotels in Chiang Mai serve Christmas dinners, and it’s really expensive but I did find a good deal.

The Meridien hotel’s main Christmas dinner was on Christmas Eve, which was out of our price range but if we went on Christmas day it was much cheaper, so we booked a table for the early evening and found that there were only a hand full of people there.

We’d managed to find some Christmas crackers and took those with us to pull.

Yes, we were the only ones in the restaurant with paper crowns on !!

They served a buffet of cooked meats including turkey and pork as well as roast potatoes and vegetables.

It was all very posh, but lovely to have a change from going to the street food stalls in town.

Their desserts were to die for, and I think we may have tried all of them between us.

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Christmas-in-Chiang-Mai
Christmas-in-Chiang-Mai

We Even Found Christmas Crackers

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Yummy Turkey And Pork

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The Desert Counter

Overall Chiang Mai didn’t feel very Christmassy but I think we made the most of it and managed to have a great time nonetheless.

But what about New Year in Chiang Mai?

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New Year’s Eve Show At The Three King’s Monument

Despite the official mourning period for the king’s death, the city of Chiang Mai was going to put on some New Years Eve celebrations.

In the centre of town was a stage event with dancers, music and other performers and out at the Old City gate, there would be a lantern launch at midnight.

There wouldn’t be any fireworks this year due to the Kings death.

The centre of town was packed with people celebrating at the bars and clubs, as we made our way to the event in town.

Annabel met Miss Chiang Mai and we listened to the many speeches given.

Come midnight we went and watched the hundreds of lanterns being launched into the New Years sky.

We had such a good time at Le Meridien hotel on Christmas day, that we booked to go there again for New years day, to have a lovely meal.

Chiang Mai turned out to be a great destination for this time of year.

It may not have been what we were used to but we loved the feel of the city during the festive period.

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With Miss Chiang Mai

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Lantern Lighting

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Mass Lantern Launch At Midnight, New Years Eve