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There’s a happy vibe in the air. People have started making arrangements for the festive season.

But you don’t have to stay home for the holidays! Asia is an unexplored and underrated continent as far as Christmas tourism is concerned, and with a diverse range of countries, Christmas is celebrated in different ways throughout many different regions.

If you’re thinking about an Asian Christmas, we’ve put together a list of our favorite destinations to spend the holiday this year. For international travel over the holidays, make sure you buy the best travel insurance policy that offers you adequate coverage and safeguards you and your family.

Where to Celebrate Christmas in Asia This Year

The Philippines

It’s the third-largest Catholic country in the world and celebrates Christmas with great zeal.

Christmas celebrations in the Philippines begin from September and continue till Christmas. The markets and streets are decorated so breathtakingly and the festive ambiance will ensure that you’re filled with the spirit of the Yuletide.

The best thing about the Philippines at Christmas is the Giant Lantern Festival. It is held in the beautiful city of San Fernando.

A 9-day series called Simbang Gabi’ is one of the major highlights of the festival that witnesses the participation of the entire nation with great exuberance.


In the multi-ethnic country of Singapore, Christmas is one of the biggest festivals ever. The beauty of the city is enhanced with public Christmas decorations and the famous Orchard Road puts on quite a show.

The shopping district of Singapore, Orchard Road is the center of the biggest Christmas celebrations in the city. The malls are decked up with the beautiful lights, and a ‘light-up ceremony’ is celebrated, approximately a month before the festival.

A Christmas countdown pulls in huge crowds, with displays of pyrotechnics that light up the sky as the clock strikes 12. A Christmas Village is also designed so to offer a healthy dose of entertainment for all the family members such as food, fashion, DIY workshops, bouncy castles, music and live gigs.

Christmas in Singapore

Photo credit: CC by Wenjie, Zhang via Flickr.


If you’re looking forward to making your Christmas super-special with your significant other, you should visit Japan. Here Christmas is celebrated a little differently compared to its traditional rendition.

Couples can book date nights at the top restaurants of the country and cherish the moment. They pamper each other with great food, good wine, and presents. The streets as well as major landmarks are lit with fancy lights that make everything look dazzlingly beautiful.

Families in Japan celebrate Christmas in a unique way. They order buckets of KFC in the comfort of their homes. It is a tradition established in the early 70s after the KFC’s super successful campaign for Christmas called ‘Kentucky for Christmas’.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers a merry visual treat during Christmas. Among the top Christmas celebrations is  ‘Disney’s Sparkling Christmas’ celebration where leading Disney characters don festive apparel, and march in a festive parade through the park which is adorned with glittering Christmas lights.

The magnificent Harbour City is breathtakingly beautiful during the festival as the surrounding buildings are bathed in lights. The reflection falling in the water looks surreal.

Taking the Harbour cruise during the evening is one of the best things one can do in Hong Kong especially during Christmas.

Hong Kong Christmas

Photo by Hans Põldoja CC via Flickr.


Only 30 percent of the Indonesian population are Roman Catholics, so different locations in Indonesia have different Christmas traditions.

These range from cooking a traditional meal to shaking a leg to the traditional music instrument known as Tifa’.

Due to a booming expat population as well as a highly competitive tourism industry, Bali gets a special mention. You can either celebrate Christmas in peace in a beautiful villa facing the ocean in Lovina, Amed and Sanur or you can be a part of the lively celebrations in Seminyak and Ubud Villas.

Buying gifts in Bali won’t be a problem because you can find amazing gifting options in Matahari Shopping Center.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a place with so much to offer at Christmas. The beauty of the Kandy tea plantations, Yala National Park Safari and relaxing beaches of, Bentota, Mirissa and Galle will make your Christmas a memorable one.

Sri Lanka will offer you an offbeat experience which will be inked in your memory forever. Words can’t justify the beauty of it’s locations.

Wrapping it Up!!!

When it comes to Christmas celebrations, there is no rulebook. You can celebrate it the way you want to.

We wish you Merry Christmas in Advance.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. Hi Megan, thank you so much for writing this post. It is important to talk about other ideas of Christmas other than snowwhite mountains and mulled wine markets. If you have special people to celebrate Christmas with it does not matter where you do it :-)

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Eva! I agree that if you’re traveling with your closest friends and family, it doesn’t matter where you do it. Though these Asian destinations would definitely make for a memorable holiday!

      Happy holidays :)

  2. Good places to celebrate Christmas. I have to admit when I celebrated Christmas in Asia back in 2011, I went to the Maldives and had a blast. No shopping malls, no Christmas songs, no santa, no rubbish British television, just sun, sea, sand and snorkeling. It was the best ever. :D :D Then the following year I got to do all the above and thinking to myself, when can I spend Christmas in Asia again? Am I really a hambug? :P

    • The Maldives sounds like it would be an amazing place to escape Christmas! We included them in our guide for countries who don’t celebrate Christmas a couple of years ago. Dying to travel there myself one day!

      Hope there’s an amazing Asian Christmas in the works for you this year as well!

  3. Great post, and some refreshing ideas here! I would LOVE to see the pyrotechnics in Singapore, that city really knows how to pull out the stops. But the Disney parade is also quite tempting. The one thing I cannot get my head around is KFC for Christmas dinner – I need to go and get some marketing tips from whoever masterminded that campaign! We will be in Koh Samui over Christmas and I am struggling to believe it’s only a month away when its so warm in SE Asia right now. We may have to line up some more Christmases in Asia after reading this though! :)

    • Thanks Sarah – glad we could set you up with some new ideas for this year! Haha the KFC dinner threw me off when I first heard about it too – not something you expect right! That’s true advertising success for you!

      Koh Samui over Christmas sounds incredible – wishing you a wonderful holiday over there!!

  4. This is a cool angle for an article! One would wonder how they celebrate Christmas in the Far East as I’m sure it has a different feel. I’m sure it’s spectacular in Japan!

    • Thanks Maram! I just got back from Japan, and while I won’t be there on Christmas itself, there were definitely celebrations already a foot – pretty spectacular, the cities get right into the festive (and decorative) atmosphere :)

  5. Interesting, Meg! I never thought of visiting SEA just for the Christmas cheer. But you are pointing out so many reasons to give this a try, I feel tempted now. Shopping in Singapore with the Christmas lights on, the Christian traditions in the Philippines and Disney in Hong Kong – looks like there are many great reasons to visit in December!

    • Glad we could set you up with a couple of ideas!

  6. I definitely agree that with your statement that “Asia is unexplored and underrated”. I’ve been several times and a friend just came back from Hong Kong and now looking to go back. I never really thought about going to Asia for Christmas as it is long ride from the East Coast of the U.S. However, one day, I would love to experience Hong Kong and Singapore during that time of year. The atmosphere as to be phenomenal.

    • So glad you’ve enjoyed your trips to Asia so far Nathalie :) If you do have the chance to pick a destination in the region for Christmas, can highly recommend it. Will be a memorable holiday season for sure!

      Happy travels :)

  7. We usually don’t consider going to Asia for Christmas, so true. And it seems like there is a lot to experience during the festive season after all.
    I was immediately drawn to the Giant Lantern Festival in Philippines, of course. :) Have seen so many photos of the festival and can only imagine what it would be like to see it in person.
    As for Singapore, I’ve stayed in Orchard Road during my visit to the city years ago and I remember it vividly. It would be lovely to see it again all decorated and bright, Singapore style. :)
    And it so happened that I’ve been to Bali during the Easter holiday and it really was lovely. It must be even more beautiful in December.
    Thanks, you gave me few ideas and stirred up few memories. :)

    • Definitely a lot to experience, and many different countries to choose from. I love that Asia is such a diverse region – so much to do!

      Hope you have the chance to take in the Giant Lantern Festival in Philippines at some stage, and so glad you had a fabulous trip to Singapore on our first visit. Maybe a Christmas visit could be in the works one year soon!

      Happy holidays :)

  8. Although I haven’t spent Christmas in Singapore I arrived a few days later and spent New Year’s Eve. The city was still decked out with decorations and lights everywhere.

    Orchard road was lit up as so was Clarke Quay. It was quite over the top in places.

    I love the idea of Hong Kong. I am sure that it must be awesome to see the lights shows at that time of the year.

    • New Years Eve in Singapore is something I haven’t experienced yet, but I imagine it would be just as crazy as Christmas! Glad you got to see everything still out on the streets even arriving a little after the holiday.

      Hong Kong would be a great place to spend your next Asian Christmas. And maybe New Years too! Happy holidays :)

  9. I’ve never been to Asia, but it looks like a great destination for Christmas. Haha, I wanna go to Japan and eat a whole big bucket of KFC! I’m also dying to go to Hong Kong and take a ride around the bay. Gorgeous.

    • Christmas would be a great introduction to Asia – so much festive spirit and cheer! Haha yes the Japanese tradition of KFC is a quirky one – that’s some mighty good adverting / marketing on the part of KFC there!

      Hong Kong is one of my all time favorites. Happy holidays!

  10. I love Christmas lights, so Singapore sounds right up my alley! We spent Christmas in Japan when I was a kid, and I remembered it being so magical (we even had snow!). I would love to go back there and celebrate Christmas as an adult and book a special date night or maybe a KFC! That tradition is so so funny and random – what a brilliant marketing campaign! And being a big kid, a Disney Sparkling Christmas in Hong Kong would be so wonderful and exciting! Thanks for the inspiration and Merry Christmas! x

    • Singapore would be your dreamworld then … so many lights!! Orchard road goes nuts, you would love it!!

      Haha the KFC tradition was definitely a stroke of brilliance in their marketing that year – totally agree that it’s a random tradition to have stuck lol!

      Sounds like you’ve now got your Christmas holidays sorted for a couple of years to come :D

  11. First of all thank you so much for writing this amazing post. In 2019 i am looking forward to celebrate christmas in Japan where i have never been before as far as paris concerned, i have been there for few times it was amazing experience.

    This is the time for Asis and as you are suggesting Singapore. I would take it into consideration while booking tickets.

    • You’re welcome Sidharth, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post :) I hope you have an amazing time in Japan this year, it really is a very special place for Christmas (don’t miss KFC for the local experience :D!)

      Depending on where you’re flying from, you might be able to easily work in a long stopover in Singapore on the way to or from Japan. Could get two destinations in one trip :)

      Thanks for reading!

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