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Guide to Spending Christmas / New Year Holidays in Southeast Asia 2024/2025

By CindyUpdated Jan. 25, 2024

Are you tired of seeing the same places on Christmas and New Year's Eve? Do you want to see new landscapes, new environments, and to meet new people? Discover the best destinations to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Southeast Asia here.

Whether you're looking for an epic countdown party complete with a majestic firework display to boot, or something a little more subdued and family-friendly, Southeast Asia will have something for you.

Reasons for Celebrating Christmas in Southeast Asia

There are countless reasons to celebrate the holiday season in Southeast Asia. We round up the best reasons to visit the region at Christmas / New Year time.

1. Take a beach break from winter.

Embrace a winter getaway by trading sub-zero temperatures for the warmth of Southeast Asia. With December temperatures averaging 24–30°C (75–86°F), it's the perfect escape. Imagine Christmas morning in flip-flops on the beach instead of feather-down jackets in a snowy landscape. Share envy-inducing photos with your northern-hemisphere friends and family while planning your family trip to Southeast Asia. 

Check out how to plan a trip to Southeast Asia>>>

spend christmas and new year in thailand

2. It is more affordable than you might imagine.

Although flights from the Americas or Europe can be costly, once you're there, you can manage your expenses. Experience luxury living for just $50 a day in many cities. Compare this to European or American destinations, where $50 might not cover a dorm bed.

Let us know your budget and we'll help you tailor-make a trip for you.

3. Enjoy the festive spirit of another culture.

Rather than sticking to the same old Xmas retreats, spending Christmas / New Year in Southeast Asia provides you tremendous opportunities to try something new during the holidays, from counting down to midnight with warm sand between your toes, gazing out at misty mountain tops to watch the first sunrise of the year, to releasing a paper lantern into the night's sky as you make a wish for the year ahead.

spend christmas and new year in southeast asia

4. Still, soak up the festive spirit as you would at home.

You may be halfway around the world, but that doesn't mean you'll miss out on all the Christmas sparkle of home.

In many cities of Southeast Asia, such as Bangkok, you'll see dozens of Christmas trees and sparkling decorations, and you'll even hear carols being sung in some coffee houses and shopping malls. Many hotels and restaurants usually have special Christmas dinners, buffets, and feasts to cater to guests who wish to dine out on Christmas Eve.

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Top 5 Destinations For Christmas Holiday In Southeast Asia

1. Celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve in Thailand

You can head to Thailand this December for the perfect combination of holiday cheer and interesting activities. Whether you want to be in the city to watch the fireworks amongst the skyscrapers or kick back on a beach with a cocktail in a coconut, here are some great spots to spend your Christmas and New Year's Eve.

spend christmas and new year in southeast asia

In Bangkok, you can take a picture with a 30-meter Christmas tree (supposedly the tallest in Southeast Asia) at Central World shopping complex, witness an eye-popping firework display at a rooftop restaurant while relishing a deluxe New Year's Eve meal, or join a street party at Khao San Road to toast the arrival of the new year...

You can simply escape to the lush tropical islands of Phuket where you can spend your Christmas / New Year soaking in crystal blue waters.

Or go to experience one of the wildest outdoor parties in Ko Phangan. Paint yourself up, and drink buckets of alcohol from dusk until the first dawn of the new year to welcome the new year with over 20,000 young people.

See the Best Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Thailand, or How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand — 7 Easy Steps.

2. Celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve in Vietnam

Vietnam also has lots to offer when it comes to Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.

spend christmas and new year in southeast asia

In the capital city Hanoi, don't miss the famous St. Joseph's Cathedral. Nowhere is the Christmas spirit more pronounced in Vietnam than there, which is especially beautiful with neon lights, big Christmas trees, and stars. Take a stroll around Hanoi's Old Quarter dressed in holiday decorations and feast on the special atmosphere at the Christmas markets in Hang Ma.

If you want to experience a warm, cheerful, and authentic New Year celebration, Hoi An can be a great option. Walk around the ancient town lit up by thousands of colorful Chinese silk lanterns, drink freshly-pulled cold beer and watch lanterns float down the river. Feast on street food and watch the fireworks at midnight.

In Ho Chi Minh City, book a rooftop bar or a cruise on the Saigon River in advance to enjoy the magnificent fireworks display at the city's iconic Bitexco tower.

See How to Plan an Awesome Trip to Vietnam.

3. Celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve in Cambodia

If you happen to be in Cambodia on New Year's Eve, then you're in for a treat. Cambodia hosts many special events that comprise breathtaking parties, dance performances, and delicious food to usher in the new year uniquely.

spend christmas and new year in southeast asia

In Phnom Penh, head to the Tonle Sap riverside where you can find a strip of restaurants, bars, and hotels that allow you to see the full view of firework displays. Take a cruise along the river to observe the festivities from a different perspective. Bassac Lane is packed with live music amid bars and other stores that you can go to celebrate with family and friends!

In Siem Reap, you can be a part of the best nightlife parties at Temple Town's Pub Street to celebrate the new year's arrival.

The beautiful coastal town of Sihanoukville is bursting with crowds who come to enjoy time on the beach and party hard. This is definitely a place to go if you're looking to get a bit crazy and then nurse your hangover on the beach the next day. There's usually a giant beach party where locals and tourists mingle, dance, drink, and count down to a new year together!

See Top Things to Do in Cambodia, or more places to celebrate New Year in Southeast Asia.

4. Celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve in Indonesia

Indonesia, with its diverse islands, offers a range of Christmas experiences. Bali is particularly famous for its beautiful beaches and cultural attractions. Celebrate Christmas in a tropical paradise, attend local festivities, and explore the unique Indonesian customs.

In Bali, you can: 

  • Relax on the beautiful beaches and attend beachside Christmas parties.
  • Experience a unique Balinese Christmas Eve celebration with traditional performances.
  • Attend festive events in Ubud and enjoy the vibrant cultural scene.

In Jakarta, you can 

  • Explore the city's shopping malls adorned with festive decorations.
  • Attend Christmas Eve services at historic churches.
  • Enjoy a mix of international and local Christmas cuisine.

5. Celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve in Malaysia

Malaysia, known for its diverse culture, is a great destination for a multicultural Christmas experience. Cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang showcase a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditions.

Kuala Lumpur:

  • Visit the iconic Petronas Towers adorned with festive lights.
  • Attend Christmas bazaars for shopping and entertainment.
  • Explore the cultural diversity with festive events in Little India and Chinatown.


  • Experience the George Town Light Festival with stunning light displays.
  • Indulge in Penang's diverse street food during the holiday season.
  • Attend Christmas Eve services at historic churches.

Essential Tips for Spending Christmas / New Year's Eve in Southeast Asia

1. Think beyond December to avoid high prices.

The Christmas/New Year's holiday is the most crowded and expensive time to vacation almost anywhere, including Southeast Asia. Airfares and hotel rates shoot up. It is not uncommon for flight prices to double and hotel prices to triple.

According to our experience, the peak time is from December 22nd to January 3rd.

If you have a longer vacation time around the festive season, planning your trip to begin at the end of November / beginning of December or end in the middle of January to February can save a large amount of money. Even adjusting your dates by a day or two can sometimes make a difference. For example, flying in on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve or flying home after the first week of January can often be cheaper.

2. Settle for less expensive cities or towns if possible.

Hotel prices climb quickly in the days leading up to Christmas and New Year's Eve. This is especially true in popular destinations, such as Bangkok and Phuket.

Luxury hotels and beach resorts often impose minimum-stay restrictions (usually more than 3 nights), and a compulsory dinner on the day of Christmas and New Year's Eve.

If possible, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day, you can settle for less expensive cities or towns to save a massive sum. For example, you could celebrate New Year's Eve in Chiang Mai instead of Phuket.

3. Book in advance.

If you are very sure about holidaying this Christmas or New Year, plan early and book in advance. Booking far ahead is an opportunity to earn massive discounts on the prices of hotels and flights.

Some special experiences such as a romantic New Year's Eve dinner on the Chao Phraya River cruise in Bangkok also require reservations in advance.

If you don't plan far enough ahead, you'll find everything decent is sold out. We have developed many unique and authentic experiences that could make your festive break special. Let us know your interests and we'll take care of everything from planning to booking.

4. Work with a Local Travel Expert.

Working with a local travel expert like us not only means some discounts on travel expenses like accommodation, but also means better experiences, from choosing a place where you can experience fireworks without any crowds to selecting a spa resort that offers a romantic New Year's Eve dinner.

A private tour with us is our guarantee of a brilliantly memorable Christmas / New Year trip.

5. Give yourself a few buffer days.

Delays during the holiday season are inevitable. If you need to attend a holiday gathering or an event that you can't miss, don't leave it down to the wire. Give yourself a buffer between when you plan to arrive and when you need to be there.

Ready to start planning your Christmas / New Year's Eve vacation?

Want to take the stress out of planning a Christmas / New Year's vacation? Have questions about your vacation budget? Our Southeast Asia travel planning service is the easiest way to arrange your holiday.

Just let us know your interests and requirements, and we'll tailor-make a unique and perfect tour for you.

We'll take care of the hard stuff, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy your time with your loved ones!

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