Southeast Asia has proven the world that it’s a beautiful summer destination. And just as beautiful as it is during the sunny days, the region is also a good place to spend Christmas as most of the countries here have grand Christmas celebrations to spread holiday cheer!
Looking for best places to spend Christmas in Southeast Asia? We’ve got you covered!
1. CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES
There’s nothing in the world quite like the holiday season in the Philippines. Preparations begin months in advance, that’s as early as September! Families celebrate the holidays together at home, and decorations often contain Christian themes and symbols. There are also lots of light shows performed during the Christmas season at different parts of the country. No wonder, the Philippines is the best place to spend Christmas in Southeast Asia.
Best places to celebrate in the Philippines
This island needs no introduction as this is a world-famous beach! Boracay has been listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Best places to eat in Boracay
Jonah’s Fruit Shake & Snack Bar, Spice Bird, Los Indios Bravos, and Halowich
What to love in Boracay
You’d never run out of things to do in Boracay— from island hopping, water activities, bar hopping to just chilling at the beach. Everyone loves Boracay’s pristine beaches because of its fine white sand and clear blue water.
Where to stay in Boracay
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La Union has been a favorite weekend destination for many Filipinos who want to escape the bustling city life. Most people come here to surf, while others enjoy LU’s best food spots.
Best places to eat in La Union
Gefseis Greek Grill, Halo Halo De Iloko Balay, Makai Bowls La Union, and El Union Coffee
What to love in La Union
Though the beaches aren’t white sand, you can still relax here or surf the big waves. Aside from the beach life, people come here for the Instagram-worthy cafes in the area!
Where to stay in La Union
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If you’re looking for a place that offers a mix of modern city living, old traditions, and island life, Cebu is the place to be. One should not miss touring the city and Northern (for a relaxing tour) and Southern (for a thrilling adventure) parts of Cebu.
Best places to eat in Cebu
House of Lechon, The Pyramid, The Oriental Spice Gourmet, Rico’s Lechon, and Big Jel’s Cebu
What to love in Cebu
Cebu may not be the capital of the Philippines but you’d see the modernity and progress of the province. Tourists can enjoy many activities Cebu has to offer— from the city tour, island hopping at Bantayan Island and even swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob.
Where to stay in Cebu
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Aside from being famous for its undeniably delicious cuisine, Pampanga is also known for its Christmas celebration. Every year, they hold a Giant Lantern Festival where huge and colorful lanterns are paraded together with the dynamic street dance performances.
Best places to eat in Pampanga
25 Seeds, ESTOS Kitchen + Cafe, Piccolo Padre, L.A. Bakeshop, and Al Bacio Ristorante
What to love in Pampanga
When in Pampanga, you’ll never feel out of place as the locals are friendly. There are also many tourist spots to visit and the Kapampangan cuisine is something anyone should never miss!
Where to stay in Pampanga
Being the central business district of Metro Manila, Makati has everything to offer. From the fine dining restaurants, best party hubs, or just a place to unwind and be one with nature, then Makati is the place to be. A must-visit place in Makati during December is the Ayala Triangle Gardens where you can watch the annual Christmas Light Show.
Best places to eat in Makati
Tapenade, Wildflour Café + Bakery, Early Bird Breakfast Club, Blackbird Makati, and The Wild Poppy
What to love in Makati
You can feel the festive environment during the Christmas season, there are many good hang out places especially in Poblacion, nice restaurants to try, and establishments and museums are walking distance.
Where to stay in Makati
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2. CHRISTMAS IN INDONESIA
Indonesia may be one of the top summer destinations but it could also be your best bet to spend Christmas in Southeast Asia! Indonesia has about 17,000 islands and because of this, it’s hard to know which vacation-worthy spots should be visited first. From volcano climbing, island hopping and white-water rafting in Bali to temple hopping in Yogyakarta and searching for Komodo dragons in Komodo— you wouldn’t run out of things to do here. Indonesia definitely deserves to be on the top Christmas destinations in Southeast Asia.
Best places to celebrate in Indonesia
Dubbed as the Island of the Gods, Bali gives its visitors a dose of sun-kissed skin, sandy cheeks, spirituality and cultural pleasure all in one! This place also never disappoints to amaze tourists with its Balinese culture and architecture.
Best places to eat in Bali
Motel Mexicola, Bali Asli, Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen, and Chandi
What to love in Bali
What’s not love in Bali? It has everything we need for island life! Bali has many beautiful beaches, temples, and Instagram-worthy cafes.
Where to stay in Bali
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Jakarta is also the best place to spend Christmas in Southeast Asia because of its charismatic beauty and tons of activities that you can enjoy with your friends or family.
Best places to eat in Jakarta
Bunga Rampai, Naughty Nuri, Hakkasan Jakarta, and Smarapura Resto
What to love in Jakarta
Jakarta offers some of the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in Southeast Asia. Aside from these, you’ll also love Jakarta’s natural landscapes, cool mountainous climate, and rich culture.
Where to stay in Jakarta
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Yogyakarta is the historical epicenter of Javanese art and culture. This place is the Cultural Hub that you should visit next.
Best places to eat in Yogyakarta
Abhayagiri Restaurant, Canting Restaurant, Mang Engking Soragan Castle, and Via Via
What to love in Yogyakarta
One thing to love here is the contemporary art scene that really sets this historic city apart from others. You’d also love the shopping districts here as you’ll find the best bargain buys!
Where to stay in Yogyakarta
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The city of Surabaya is not as well known on the tourism scene as other places in Indonesia. For most foreign visitors, the city is merely a transport hub but for locals, Surabaya is the bridge to the birth of the Indonesian nation because this is the place where the battle for independence began.
Best places to eat in Surabaya
BU Kris, Domicile Kitchen & Lounge, Layar Seafood, and Soto Ambengan
What to love in Surabaya
Its historic Arab Quarter, like mazy old Arabic town centers, is a fascinating complex of lanes, and the city has one of Indonesia’s biggest Chinatowns and some disintegrating but impressive, Dutch colonial architecture.
Where to stay in Surabaya
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Dubbed as the “Paris of Java,” Bandung has its old-world charm that captivates the hearts of the tourists. Bandung is also popular for being home to some of the best known indie rock bands in the country.
Best places to eat in Bandung
Dapur Dahapati, Batagor Kingsley, Tahu Susu Lembang, and Martabak San Francisco
What to love in Bandung
You’d fall in love with Bandung’s lush mountainous backdrop and its abundance in greenery. Another thing you’d admire is Bandung’s art deco buildings of Dutch colonial heritage.
Where to stay in Bandung
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3. CHRISTMAS IN SINGAPORE
While it’s not snowing in Singapore, that doesn’t mean the Yuletide season will be less fun. In December, the city’s streets are turned into a whimsical land with its Christmas decorations. Singapore also offers a lot of festivities and amusements for everyone— from parties, concerts, art exhibits and of course, shopping bargains! That being said, Singapore is in the list of the top Christmas destinations in Southeast Asia.
Best places to celebrate in Singapore
Gardens by the Bay
When in Singapore, you should never miss Gardens by the Bay. It’s an iconic sight in Singapore thanks to the photogenic Supertree Grove and impressive indoor waterfall. This place surely will make your Christmas in Southeast Asia a December to remember.
What to love in Gardens by the Bay
Everything! You can spend a day and not get tired of walking around to see the spectacular views of the different gardens and parks, and the best shopping spots are found here. This place is surely a feast for the eyes.
When it comes to shopping, Orchard Road in Singapore is a must-visit. With its seemingly endless row of malls, Orchard Road is surely a shopaholic’s haven.
What to love in Orchard Road
Aside from its popular retail scene, there are other things Orchard Road has to offer. You can enjoy its green parks, a view of the presidential palace, and sidewalk cafés.
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore is Southeast Asia’s only Universal Studios theme park. The theme park is 20 hectares, that’s about the size of 25 football fields combined.
What to love in Universal Studios Singapore
The theme park offers some of the world’s most thrilling rides. If you’re feeling too adventurous, experience the thrill of the world’s tallest dueling roller coasters – Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN vs. CYCLON.
Haji Lane may be one of the narrowest streets in Singapore but it will surprise you in so many ways! There’s an abundance of fusion restaurants and bars all around. Also, it’s hard not to notice the incredible artwork on the building walls.
What to love in Haji Lane
This place is best for indie-minded shoppers interested in trendy, youthful, affordable brands. Art lovers will also find this place more amusing rather than plain. Haji Lane is a great photo wall for the Instagrammers as it has so much vibrancy and quirkiness in the area.
Joo Chiat is known for being one of the first heritage towns in Singapore. This town is a mix of old and new. From traditional heritage shophouses to hipster bars and shops, this is definitely an area not to be missed when you are visiting Singapore.
What to love in Joo Chiat
You’ll be amazed at how colorful and lively the place is. Every corner in Joo Chiat is Instagram-worthy and perfect for your OOTD shots! You can also find the cheap and authentic street food here.
Best places to eat in Singapore
Latteria Mozzarella Bar, Alley on 25, and Brotzeit
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4. CHRISTMAS IN MALAYSIA
Just like other top Christmas destinations in Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s celebration is filled with warmth, cheers, and excitement. During the Christmas season in Malaysia, everyone can enjoy the best bargain buys, music festivals, night parties or just a chill day.
Best places to celebrate in Malaysia
This place never fails to amaze tourists with its colonial architecture, countless natural attractions, jaw-dropping skyscrapers, and dazzling skyline. But more than these things, Kuala Lumpur’s locals are what also make the city a must-visit.
Best places to eat in Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Alor Night Food Court, JOLOKO, Serena Brasserie, and Devi’s Corner
What to love in Kuala Lumpur
You’ll be amazed at the traditional and whizzy modern skylines and skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur. Though you’ll see the modernity of the city, they manage to progress without losing their rich culture.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
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Langkawi is off the grid for most tourists but others won’t let their Malaysia trip go by without visiting here. It has 99 islands, enough to call the attention of those in-the-know.
Best places to eat in Langkawi
Pia’s the Padi, Orkid Ria Seafood Restaurant, The Cliff Langkawi, and The Gulai House
What to love in Langkawi
Langkawi’s heavenly islands always amaze its visitors as the views are breathtaking. The place is rich in tapestries of culture, wildlife, and vibrant rituals.
Where to stay in Langkawi
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Penang is best known for its glorious and mouth-watering street food. Some say Penang is Asia’s next foodie city.
Best places to eat in Penang
Kheng Pin Cafe, Gerai Gerai Padang Brown, Air Itam Asam Laksa, and First Famous Federal Restaurant
What to love in Penang
Forget the city but never miss trying Penang’s street food! Aside from its famous food scene, you’ll also love Penang’s street art and its unique blend of architecture.
Where to stay in Penang
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Together with George Town, Melaka has been named by UNESCO as Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca. It is rich with heritage buildings, ancient landmarks, and colonial structures— the imprints of British, Dutch and Portuguese forces left behind.
Best places to eat in Melaka
The Baboon House, Geographer Café, Veggie Planet, and Seri Nyonya Peranakan Restaurant
What to love in Melaka
Explore and get lost to Melaka’s historic streets as it brings you back to the past. The place has an amazing architecture that mesmerizes tourists. Thus, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Where to stay in Melaka
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If you’re looking for a very laid-back and relaxed city in Malaysia, consider visiting Kota Kinabalu (KK). This place is ideal if you’re looking for an adventure as it has a lot of things to offer whether it be diving, tanning at the beach, wildlife watching or Mt. Kinabalu trekking.
Best places to eat in Kota Kinabalu
Little Italy, Brass Monkey, Kohinoor North Indian Restaurant, and Welcome Seafood Restaurant
What to love in Kota Kinabalu
KK is easy to get around, but more than this, you’ll love the friendly locals, breathtaking fiery sunsets, lively arts, and music scene and a rich culinary spectrum spanning street food to high end.
Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu
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If you want to make the most out of your Christmas vacation, choose to Travel More and Pay Less when you book quality budget accommodation with ZEN Rooms. Book Smart!