There’s nothing quite like visiting a new city at Christmastime – from bustling shopping centres to feasts of regional cuisine. Cities across Asia celebrate with their own unique blend of Christmas tradition and local flavour to create magical experiences for all.
Whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland or a warm-weather escape, you’ll find plenty of reasons to be merry with a Christmas trip to Asia.
Here are seven spots to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Visit Disneyland and get lost in the Magic Kingdom
With a mild winter and buzzy atmosphere, Hong Kong is a perfect place to spend the festive season. The city’s WinterFest celebration lights up the harbour with dazzling choreographed light displays.
If you want to get out of the city, then make some lasting memories with a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. There’s plenty to explore for adults and kids alike, including the opening of World of Frozen, the park’s newest land which brings hit films to life in a Nordic-inspired winter wonderland.
Fans of Frozen will love meeting Queen Anna and Elsa, exploring Arendelle and three new attractions. Stay in the middle of the magic at Disney's Hollywood Hotel.
Wander Tokyo's streets and soak up the festive vibe
While Tokyo is known for its neon lights year-round, the Japanese capital takes on an especially magical glow around Christmastime. Catch ‘Illuminations’ – a collection of light displays that feature music and moving elements – all around town from November to late January.
A typical Japanese Christmas includes a meal of KFC fried chicken and strawberry sponge cake. Or for a taste of a European-style Christmas, be sure to check out one of Tokyo’s festive markets.
The German-themed market in Meiji-jingu is an idyllic stop for mulled wine and handmade ornaments. For stunning city views and a central location, stay at THE BLOSSOM HIBIYA.
Discover Singapore's unique Christmas flavours
Festive activities, world-class Christmas shopping and some of the most delicious food in the world can all be found in Singapore. Don’t miss the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay, a fairytale-esque annual event with carnival games, themed rides and a market for gifts.
While Singapore’s climate stays relatively toasty throughout the year, you can get your fill of chilly adventures at Snow City. This indoor snow centre is perfect for families, with a snow slope for tubing, a snow slide and even bumper cars on ice.
Spend your holiday at the iconic Marina Bay Sands – a five-star hotel within walking distance of Christmas Wonderland.
Embrace the Christmas spirit in the heart of Bangkok
Combine sightseeing and Christmas gift shopping with a visit to one of Bangkok’s many shopping plazas. centralwOrld, the ninth largest shopping mall in the world, gets decked out for the holidays with a Christmas tree and a different themed village every year.
Head to the Icon Siam shopping centre – located on the riverfront – to see Christmas trees, decorations and seasonal shows. From there, you can catch the sparkling city from a different perspective with a Nighttime Boat Tour of the Chao Phraya.
Enjoy a stay at the charming Daraya Boutique Hotel, located just a few minutes away from some of the best shopping centres in the city.
Create lasting memories as Sapporo transforms into a magical snowy paradise
As the largest city in Hokkaido – Japan’s coldest, most northern prefecture – Sapporo is uniquely positioned for festive cheer. Step into a Bavarian wonderland at the Munich Christmas Market, complete with German sausages, hot mulled wine and both Japanese and German shopping stalls.
After the market, wander over to Sapporo White Illumination, a twinkling light exhibition that takes over the city in December. After a long day of exploring, cosy up at THE KNOT SAPPORO. Guests love this chic, modern hotel for its comfort and location.
Immerse yourself in frozen fantasy at the Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival
Visitors come from across China and around the world to visit Harbin’s famous Ice and Snow Festival. The festival features ornate, architectural ice sculptures carved by master artists. It’s a particularly stunning scene at night, when the sculptures are illuminated by multi-coloured lights to serene effect.
The festival’s grand opening isn’t till January, but you can visit and see the sculptures being carved from mid-December. Enjoy views of the city skyline and the frozen river from The Ritz-Carlton, Harbin.
Embrace Seoul's Christmas glow that blends tradition and modernity
Christmas in South Korea is often seen as a romantic holiday, making it a great destination for couples at this time of year. But no matter who you’re travelling with, you’ll find plenty of Christmas lights, shopping and wintertime fun.
Go ice skating at one of the many outdoor ice rinks – in particular, check out the twinkling lights of the Grand Hyatt Seoul’s ice rink. One of the most beautiful light displays in the city can be found at Myeongdong Cathedral.
Here, you can wander sparkling cathedral grounds and pay a visit to the ‘wishing trees’, where people share their hopes for the new year. Stay at the comfortable Hotel28 Myeongdong for a spot that’s centrally located, yet off the main street so you can enjoy a silent night’s sleep.