December brings cooler weather and festive vibes to Thailand. From Christmas lights to New Year’s celebrations, December is a wonderful time to visit this diverse country. This December 2024 guide covers the best events, vegetarian food, attractions for couples, and more to help you plan your holiday getaway.
Weather and Crowds in December
Thailand’s weather is mild and dry nationwide in December, with average temperatures between 24-32°C (75-90°F). The cooler weather draws big crowds, especially around Christmas and New Year. Book accommodations well in advance and expect higher prices and busier attractions than other months. But the festive atmosphere makes it worthwhile!
Bangkok’s Big December Events in 2024
Bangkok goes all out for the holidays. Walk through colorful Christmas light displays at central landmarks like CentralWorld and Siam Paragon. Check out festive concerts, markets, and decorations around town. Ring in 2024 at mega New Year’s Eve parties at CentralWorld, Asiatique Market, and riverside rooftop bars.
Must-see events in Bangkok this December include:
- Dec 1-2: Let It Snow Festival at Siam Square with frosty decor, ice sculptures, and food stalls
- Dec 10: Big Mountain Music Festival at Bitec Arena with international DJs and live acts
- Dec 17-18: Bangkok Marathon through the city’s iconic sights
- Dec 24: Christmas Eve dinner cruises on the Chao Phraya River
- Dec 31: Amazing fireworks shows and concerts for New Year’s Eve
Top Attractions for Couples
Thailand boasts many romantic spots perfect for couples. In Bangkok, visit flower-filled Benjasiri Park, take a sunset river cruise, or have dinner in a candlelit restaurant like Paste. Chiang Mai’s Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls makes a dreamy day trip. Down south, stroll pretty Phuket Old Town or enjoy a snorkeling excursion with your beloved at Krabi.
December Festivals Across Thailand
While Bangkok hosts the biggest events, festive holiday fun happens nationwide. Chiang Mai displays ornate flower floats at its annual Flower Festival in early December. Phuket celebrates the colorful Phuket King’s Cup Regatta sailboat race. Pattaya puts on free fireworks shows along its beaches. You can also experience uniquely Thai celebrations like Constitution Day and Father’s Day honoring the late King.
New Year’s Destinations Around Thailand
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with gusto all over Thailand. In Phuket, watch fireworks in Patong after partying on the beach. Count down to 2024, overlooking the bay’s towering fountain show in Pattaya. On Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, ring in the new year under the stars at lively beach parties. Up north, Chiang Mai hosts a free concert with live bands in its historic old city.
Experience Thai Culture at Major Temple Festivals
December hosts important religious festivals at temples across Thailand that offer a deep dive into Thai culture and beliefs.
In Bangkok, Wat Saket holds its annual Temple Fair in early December, with ceremonies honoring the golden Chedi atop this holy hill. Join locals circulating the Chedi while releasing tiny birds from cages for merit. Later, browse amulets, flowers, and traditional treats at temple fair stalls.
Up north, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep near Chiang Mai hosts the Temple Festival with cultural dances, and processions. Or head to Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan to see its iconic Buddha image, Parinirvana, which will be paraded around the temple on December 5 for National Father’s Day.
Don’t miss the Phuket Vegetarian Festival in the south in late December. While not for the faint of heart, this nine-day Taoist celebration sees many acts of ritual self-mortification. Devotees known as “mah song” pierce their bodies with skewers and knives under a trance-like state, all to purge evil spirits and earn blessings. Beyond the bloody spectacles, enjoy street performances, firewalking, and lively street markets.
Immersing yourself in Thailand’s temple festivals provides a fascinating look into local beliefs. The palpable spiritual devotion offers cultural insight you won’t find anywhere else.
Must-Try Southern Beaches and Island Escapes
Trade temples for tropical paradise down south with a December beach getaway. Koh Samui, Phuket, and Krabi offer perfect places to unwind after a busy Bangkok.
On Koh Samui, you can lounge under swaying palms on Chaweng or Lamai Beach. Take a boat trip to the angular Hin Ta Hin Yai rock formations. Enjoy fresh seafood with your toes in the sand at beach bars like The Islander.
Phuket dazzles with over 30 stunning beaches along its Andaman coast. Highlights include the gentle waves of Patong Beach, secluded Freedom Beach, and the dramatically carved limestone karsts surrounding Ao Phang Nga National Park.
Nearby, Krabi also stuns with island hopping in Phi Phi Leh National Park, rock climbing in Railay Bay, and kayaking into breathtaking lagoons.
December falls in peak season, so book beach stays well ahead. But the clear skies and balmy weather are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing by the ocean. Connecting to Bangkok by air makes quick weekend getaways easy.
Insider Tips for Visiting in December
To make the most of your Thailand trip this December:
- Book hotels, flights, and tours early to secure the best rates.
- Contact the local agents to get Thailand visa from Dubai or your hometown.
- Pack light layers and sweaters for cool evenings, especially up north.
- Take advantage of holiday hotel buffets and set menus for value.
- Join locals releasing khom loi lanterns for good luck.
- Enjoy festive drinks like hot soy milk and mulled wine.
- Splurge on Christmas and New Year’s parties, but save on regular days.
- End your trip with a relaxing beach stay after a busy Bangkok holiday.
With cooler weather amid lush tropical scenery, December in Thailand offers the best of both worlds. Festive fun combined with Thai culture makes it the perfect time to visit. Follow these tips to experience magical Thailand in December 2024. The holiday spirit is sure to capture your heart.