Pack Your Bags: Places to visit in Asia in December

Asia, the largest continent on our planet, is a captivating land of diverse cultures and an array of experiences for travelers. From revelries in Thailand to serene days in Kyoto, from thrilling adventures in the forests of Vietnam to exhilarating skydives over Palm Island in Dubai, Asia truly has something to offer every type of traveler.


Although each experience in Asia is best enjoyed at specific times of the year, there are certain months that offer an extraordinary abundance of experiences. One such month is December, nestled perfectly between winter and the holiday season. In December, you can immerse yourself in a snowy winter wonderland in Moscow or witness the vibrant Chinese celebrations welcoming the New Year. However, Christmas and New Year festivities are just the beginning of the unique experiences that await you in Asia during this time. The continent offers a plethora of remarkable sights and activities.


If you are planning a December trip and find yourself unsure of what to see and do, or even contemplating whether an Asian country should be your destination for the month, this article is meant for you. Join us as we guide you through everything you need to know about vacationing in Asia in December.

Reasons To Visit in Asia In December

There are numerous compelling reasons to visit Asia in December. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant celebrations or the incredible weather, you can pick a reason that resonates with you. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the top motivations for embarking on a trip to Asia during this enchanting month.

1. Dry Season In SouthEast Asia
2. Christmas Celebrations
3. The Russian Winter
4. The Hmong New Year
5. The International New Year

1. Dry Season In SouthEast Asia

Southeast Asia Welcomes Dry Season, Boosting Tourism

As we enter November, Southeast Asia is gearing up for its dry season, which typically lasts from November to April, offering respite from the heavy rains and high humidity characteristic of the region’s monsoon season. This shift in weather patterns is a boon for countries like the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, India, and Sri Lanka, which are known for their delightful sunny days during this period.

The dry season in Southeast Asia is synonymous with cooler temperatures, low humidity, and clear blue skies, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploration. Tourists can look forward to uninterrupted sightseeing, beach outings, and various cultural events that often coincide with this season.

In particular, the month of December sees a surge in tourism due to the pleasant weather conditions. Destinations such as Vietnam’s pristine beaches become a magnet for sun-seekers. Similarly, countries like Thailand and Cambodia, renowned for their rich cultural heritage and history, attract scores of tourists keen to explore without the hindrance of heavy rainfall or intense heat.

However, the dry season also means peak tourist season for many of these destinations. The influx of tourists from around the globe results in bustling streets, lively night markets, and vibrant local festivals, contributing to a unique and exciting atmosphere.

While this period provides a much-needed boost to the local economies, visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and environments. Sustainable and responsible travel practices can ensure that these beautiful destinations remain unspoiled for future generations.

As Southeast Asia welcomes its dry season, travelers worldwide are packing their bags, eager to experience the region’s sunny days, vibrant cultures, and breathtaking landscapes.

2. Christmas Celebrations

A Christmas Like No Other: Celebrations Across Asia

As the world gears up for the festive season, countries across Asia are preparing to celebrate Christmas in their unique and vibrant ways. The spread of Christianity among different cultures has resulted in a myriad of distinctive Christmas celebrations that stand out in their color and character, particularly in Asia.

In Japan, Christmas is often seen as a romantic holiday rather than a family-centric one. It’s common for couples to exchange gifts and enjoy a special meal together, often featuring a Christmas cake – a tradition that has become synonymous with Japanese Christmas celebrations. KFC also plays a surprisingly significant role in Japan’s Christmas festivities, with many families pre-ordering their ‘Kentucky Christmas’ meals weeks in advance.

On the other hand, in the Philippines, Christmas takes on a deeply religious and familial tone. Known as the ‘Simbang Gabi,’ Filipinos attend a series of nine dawn masses leading up to Christmas Day. After the final mass, families gather together for ‘Noche Buena,’ a grand feast that often includes traditional foods like lechon (roasted pig), bibingka (rice cake), and puto bumbong (purple rice dessert).

Major cities like Singapore, Tokyo, and Bangkok are known for their spectacular Christmas celebrations. Streets and buildings are adorned with dazzling lights and decorations, creating a festive atmosphere that permeates every corner of these bustling metropolises. Shopping malls and public spaces host carol performances, parades, and Christmas markets, where locals and tourists alike can soak up the holiday spirit.

In essence, experiencing Christmas in Asia offers a magical blend of tradition, culture, and festivity that is truly captivating. Whether it’s the romantic ambiance of Japan, the religious fervor of the Philippines, or the grandeur of Singapore, Tokyo, and Bangkok, Christmas in Asia should undoubtedly be on your bucket list.

3. The Russian Winter

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Embrace the Charm of Winter: Best Asian Destinations in December

As we usher in December, a plethora of breathtaking destinations in Asia come into the spotlight, offering unforgettable experiences for travelers. Whether you crave sun-soaked beaches or snow-filled landscapes, Asia’s diverse topography caters to all.

Among the top contenders is Bali, an island paradise known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture. As one of the best places to visit in Asia during December and January, Bali offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure (source: The Wandering Quinn).

For city enthusiasts, Bangkok is a must-visit. The Thai capital comes alive with high-spirited festivities, vibrant night markets, and grand Christmas celebrations, making it a hot spot for December tourism (source: Travel Triangle).

If tranquility is what you seek, Hanoi, with its serene landscapes and rich history, provides a peaceful retreat. Meanwhile, the adventurous can head to Pokhara, Nepal, for a taste of Himalayan trekking (source: Celebrity Cruises).

No December travel guide would be complete without mentioning the winter wonderland that is Russia. As the country embraces its coldest season, cities like Moscow transform into mesmerizing landscapes adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. The sight of the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral against a snow-covered backdrop is truly a sight to behold.

In conclusion, Asia in December is a tapestry of unique experiences, from the sunny beaches of Bali and the bustling streets of Bangkok to the snow-laden landscapes of Russia. So pack your bags and get ready to create some unforgettable memories this winter.

4. The Hmong New Year

Embracing Tradition: The Hmong New Year Celebrations

In the heart of Southeast Asia, in regions spanning North Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, the Hmong people, one of the largest ethnic groups in the area, prepare to celebrate their New Year with unmatched enthusiasm and vibrant traditions. Unlike many cultures that welcome the New Year on January 1st, the Hmong community celebrates their New Year at the beginning of December, marking the end of the rice harvest season.

The Hmong New Year, or ‘Noj Peb Caug’, is more than just a celebration; it is a time of rest and renewal after months of intense farming. The exact date of the festivities depends on the harvest date of rice, the staple food in these regions. As such, the New Year celebrations are eagerly anticipated, providing a much-needed respite from farming duties.

During this period, the Hmong people engage in a myriad of activities that bring together families, friends, and social acquaintances. From traditional music and dance performances to games like pov pob (ball tossing game), the celebrations are filled with joy and camaraderie.

One of the highlights of the Hmong New Year is the colorful attire worn by the community members. Women and girls typically don traditional outfits known as ‘Hmong clothes,’ characterized by their bright colors and intricate embroidery. This tradition not only celebrates the Hmong culture but also serves as a way for young men and women to attract potential life partners.

The Hmong New Year is indeed a spectacle to behold, offering a unique cultural experience steeped in tradition and community spirit. For those looking to immerse themselves in the richness of Southeast Asian culture, experiencing the Hmong New Year is a must.

5. The International New Year

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Revel in December: Discover the Best Cities to Visit in Asia

Asia, with its rich cultural diversity and stunning landscapes, offers a myriad of beautiful destinations for travelers. A visit during December is especially rewarding, with the added excitement of Christmas and New Year celebrations across the continent.

One of the must-visit destinations in Asia during December is Palawan, Philippines. Known for its turquoise waters and pristine beaches, Palawan is a tropical paradise that promises relaxation and adventure.

Singapore and Bangkok are also popular choices for December travel. These bustling metropolises come alive with festive decorations, vibrant night markets, and grand celebrations, offering a unique blend of tradition and modernity.

For those seeking a more tranquil retreat, Hanoi, Vietnam, offers serene landscapes and a rich history. Meanwhile, adventure enthusiasts can head to Pokhara, Nepal, for a taste of Himalayan trekking.

The International New Year is celebrated with great fervor across Asia. Parties in Bangkok last all night, while music festivals in Goa offer a distinct cultural experience. Traditional celebrations in China and star-studded performances in Seoul add to the festive spirit.

In conclusion, whether you’re looking for an action-packed adventure, a relaxing beach holiday, or a cultural exploration, Asia’s top cities in December offer something for everyone. So pack your bags and gear up for an unforgettable experience in the magical continent of Asia.

Places To Visit In Asia In December

1. Bangkok
2. Siem Reap
3. Ho Chi Minh City
4. Boracay Islands
5. Pokhara

1. Bangkok

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Discover the Magic of Bangkok in December

Bangkok, the vibrant capital city of Thailand, is a whirlwind of excitement and activity, making it a must-visit destination for your December vacation. The city truly comes alive during the holiday season, offering an array of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers.

For party enthusiasts, Bangkok is a paradise. The city’s nightlife scene is world-renowned, with a plethora of clubs, bars, and lounges that host grand parties throughout the holiday season. Whether you prefer the high-energy atmosphere of a dance club or the relaxed ambiance of a rooftop bar, Bangkok has it all.

But there’s more to Bangkok than just its vibrant nightlife. The city offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences that will captivate any traveler. Explore the hidden temples scattered throughout the city, each one a testament to Thailand’s rich cultural heritage. Don’t miss out on Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew, two of the city’s most iconic temples.

For a unique experience, take a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River. This river snakes through the heart of Bangkok, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline and its many riverside attractions. You can also embark on a dinner cruise for a romantic evening under the stars.

Bangkok’s markets are another highlight of the city. From the bustling Chatuchak Weekend Market to the unique Maeklong Railway Market, these places offer a glimpse into the local way of life. Here, you can find everything from souvenirs and handicrafts to street food and fresh produce.

In conclusion, whether you’re seeking exhilarating parties, cultural exploration, or unique local experiences, Bangkok offers something for everyone. It is indeed one of the best places to visit in South Asia in December.

2. Siem Reap

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Experience the Magic of Siem Reap in December

Siem Reap, a charming city in Cambodia, is often referred to as the gateway to the majestic temples of Angkor Wat. In December, Siem Reap becomes a hub of activity, offering a host of engaging events and delightful experiences for both locals and tourists.

One of the most anticipated events in December is the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon. This event attracts participants from around the globe, providing an opportunity to experience the magnificent Angkor Wat complex while promoting fitness and well-being.

For those interested in local culture, a visit to Phare, the Cambodian Circus, is highly recommended. This unique circus offers an exciting blend of traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, and contortion beautifully choreographed and performed in stories about Cambodian lives and society.

A sunset boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake provides a serene and unforgettable experience. As the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap is home to floating villages and diverse ecosystems that can be explored during your boat ride.

Siem Reap also offers cooking classes for culinary enthusiasts. These classes provide a hands-on opportunity to learn about Cambodian cuisine, its ingredients, and cooking techniques.

During the holiday season, Siem Reap’s hotels and restaurants host special events and gala dinners for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. These celebrations provide a chance to enjoy delicious food, live entertainment, and a festive atmosphere.

In conclusion, Siem Reap is a destination that promises a variety of unique experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a fitness enthusiast, or someone seeking a cultural immersion, Siem Reap in December has something for everyone.

3. Ho Chi Minh City

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Celebrate the Festive Season in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon, is a buzzing metropolis that attracts backpackers and tourists all year round. In December, the city takes on a festive spirit, making it one of the best Asian cities to visit during the holiday season.

As the festive season approaches, the city transforms into a vibrant wonderland. The streets are adorned with dazzling decorations, Christmas lights, and vibrant displays, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates locals and tourists alike. The city’s churches, particularly the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, hold special Christmas Eve Masses that are attended by thousands.

The presence of visitors from diverse cultures adds a unique charm to the city’s Christmas celebrations. You’ll find a blend of traditional Vietnamese festivities and Western-influenced celebrations, resulting in a unique fusion that defines Ho Chi Minh City’s holiday spirit.

The city’s weather in December is another reason to visit. With low humidity and pleasantly warm temperatures, it’s the perfect time to explore the city’s many attractions. From the historical landmarks like the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum to bustling markets like Ben Thanh Market, there’s plenty to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City.

In December, the city also hosts numerous events and parties to ring in the New Year. These celebrations are marked by live music performances, fireworks, and a joyful atmosphere that lasts till the wee hours of the morning.

In conclusion, Ho Chi Minh City in December offers a lively and festive atmosphere, pleasant weather, and a plethora of activities. It’s a destination that promises an unforgettable holiday experience.

4. Boracay Islands

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Experience the Timeless Charm of Boracay Islands in December

Boracay Islands, known for their stunning white-sand beaches and luxury resorts, offer a unique blend of opulence and simplicity that’s hard to find elsewhere. If you’re seeking a beach getaway in Asia during December, this Philippine paradise is an excellent choice.

One of the most striking aspects of Boracay is its timeless charm. Despite the presence of upscale resorts, the island operates as if it’s still 1975. You’ll see locals and visitors alike getting around on foot or by bicycle, adding to the island’s laid-back vibe.

The hotels and resorts are connected by sandy trails rather than paved roads, enhancing the island’s rustic charm. This also means that no matter where you’re staying, you’re never too far from Boracay’s stunning beaches.

Speaking of beaches, Boracay’s White Beach is often considered one of the best in the world. Its powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters, and stunning sunsets make it a must-visit. For those seeking a quieter beach experience, Puka Shell Beach and Diniwid Beach are great alternatives.

In Boracay, not only can you enjoy the luxury of your resort and the natural beauty of the beaches, but you can also indulge in affordable treats. The island is known for its reasonably priced alcohol, allowing you to enjoy a beachside cocktail or beer without breaking the bank.

However, when planning a trip to Boracay in December, it’s important to note that the first half of the month might still experience some rainfall. Therefore, scheduling your visit for the latter part of December will ensure you get the best weather for beach activities and outdoor exploration.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking a luxurious yet quaint beach getaway in December, Boracay Islands, with its stunning beaches, relaxed atmosphere, and affordable indulgences, is the perfect destination.

5. Pokhara

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Embrace the Winter Charm of Pokhara, Nepal

Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal is a dream destination for mountain lovers and adventure seekers. Especially in winter, Nepal transforms into a serene wonderland, making it one of the best places to visit in Asia. If you’re planning a trip in December, the city of Pokhara should be on your list.

Pokhara, known as the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, verdant valleys, and tranquil lakes. Despite the chilly temperatures in December, the lower altitude regions of Pokhara receive pleasantly warm sunlight during the day, perfect for exploring the city’s attractions.

Begin your journey at Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in Nepal. Here, you can rent a boat and enjoy the peaceful surroundings with the Annapurna range in the backdrop. Don’t miss the Tal Barahi Temple located on an island in the middle of the lake.

For adventure enthusiasts, paragliding in Pokhara offers an exhilarating experience. Soaring high above the city with panoramic views of the Himalayas is an unforgettable memory.

Pokhara also boasts a rich cultural heritage. Visit the Old Bazaar, a traditional market area that gives a glimpse into the city’s past. The nearby Bindhya Basini Temple, dedicated to the goddess Durga, is one of the oldest and most revered temples in Pokhara.

Despite its small size, Pokhara doesn’t fall short when it comes to holiday celebrations. Whether it’s Christmas or New Year, the city hosts various events featuring live music, festive decorations, and delicious food, ensuring a memorable celebration.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking a unique winter getaway in Asia, Pokhara, with its stunning landscapes, adventurous activities, and vibrant celebrations, is an ideal choice. Just remember to pack your warm clothes!

Activities To Try In Asia In December

1. Food Tasting
2. Visit To The Great Wall Of China
3. Ride The Ha Giang Loop In Vietnam

1. Food Tasting

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A Culinary Journey Through Asia: Unleashing a World of Flavours

Asia, the world’s largest and most diverse continent, offers an eclectic mix of cuisines that are as varied as its many cultures. Each region in Asia boasts unique culinary traditions, ingredients, and techniques that result in a wide range of dishes.

Thailand, known for its seafood-centric cuisine, is a paradise for food lovers. Its dishes, such as Pad Thai and Tom Yum Soup, are renowned for their vibrant flavors and use of fresh ingredients like shrimp, squid, and fish.

In the desert state of Rajasthan, India, the cuisine is a fiery affair. Rajasthani dishes like Laal Maas (red meat curry) and Gatte ki Sabzi (gram flour dumplings in curry) are famous for their spiciness and rich flavors, offering a taste of the region’s royal heritage.

Japan, on the other hand, is known for its ceremonial tea culture and minimalist, yet exquisite, cuisine. Sushi, ramen, and matcha tea are just a few examples of the country’s culinary offerings that have gained global popularity.

The Philippines, meanwhile, is famous for its street food. From skewered meats like Isaw (chicken intestines) and Balut (fertilized duck egg) to sweet treats like Halo-Halo, Filipino street food is a blend of the country’s history and modern influences.

In addition to these, Asia is home to numerous other regional cuisines, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and more. Each offers a unique gastronomic experience, reflecting the area’s history, geography, and culture.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Ithaca, NY at Asia Cuisine, or cooking up some Asian-inspired recipes at home, there’s no denying the allure of Asian food. Its diversity, complexity, and depth of flavor make it one of the most intriguing cuisines in the world.

So, if you’re a food enthusiast looking for a culinary adventure, Asia’s vast array of cuisines offers an endless journey of discovery and delight.

2. Visit To The Great Wall Of China

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Experience the Majestic Great Wall of China in December

The Great Wall of China, an iconic symbol of the country’s ancient history and architectural prowess, is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Stretching over 13,000 miles, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers breathtaking views and a unique insight into China’s past.

December presents an ideal time to explore the Great Wall. While the temperatures can be quite cold, the winter season brings with it a certain charm. The wall, often dusted with snow, offers a picturesque sight against the backdrop of clear blue skies. Also, as it’s off-peak tourist season, you’re likely to experience fewer crowds, allowing you to take in the stunning views at your own pace.

Several sections of the wall are open to visitors, each with its unique characteristics. Badaling, the most visited section, is renowned for its impressive restoration. For a more adventurous experience, the wild and partially ruined sections of Jiankou or Gubeikou offer challenging hikes with rewarding panoramic views.

A December visit also allows you to partake in Chinese-style holiday celebrations. Christmas isn’t traditionally celebrated in China, but in recent years, it has gained popularity, especially in larger cities. You may find festive decorations, Christmas markets, and special events taking place.

In contrast, the New Year (or Spring Festival) is China’s most significant holiday. Although it typically falls between January and February, you might start seeing preparations and decorations going up in late December. It’s a vibrant, festive time that offers a fascinating glimpse into Chinese culture and traditions.

To conclude, a December visit to the Great Wall of China offers a unique blend of historical exploration, scenic beauty, and cultural immersion. Just remember to dress warmly and prepare for potential winter weather conditions.

3. Ride The Ha Giang Loop In Vietnam

Embark on the Adventure of a Lifetime: The Ha Giang Loop in Vietnam

The Ha Giang Loop in Vietnam is often lauded as one of the most scenic road trip routes in the world. Known for its stunning landscapes, unique small villages, and epic mountainous terrains, this motorbike adventure is a must-try for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Located in the far north of Vietnam, on the border with China, the Ha Giang loop is a circular route that begins and ends in Ha Giang city. The journey typically spans four to five days, taking riders through breathtaking vistas of lush valleys, towering peaks, and winding roads.

The easiest way to access Ha Giang is to take a bus from Hanoi, which is approximately a 6-7 hour journey. Once there, bike rentals are widely available, providing you with the freedom to explore at your own pace. For those less confident in their riding skills, guided tours are also an option, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

The route takes you through several noteworthy locations, such as the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unique limestone formations and significant archaeological discoveries. You’ll also pass through quaint villages where you can interact with local ethnic communities and learn about their rich culture and traditions.

While the Ha Giang Loop is undoubtedly beautiful, it’s worth noting that it’s not recommended for beginner riders due to its challenging terrain and unpredictable weather conditions. However, with careful planning, adequate preparation, and responsible riding, it can be a rewarding adventure.

Visiting Vietnam in December allows you to enjoy cooler temperatures, making the ride more comfortable. Plus, the clear winter skies enhance the beauty of the landscapes, making them even more photogenic.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure during your visit to Vietnam, the Ha Giang Loop offers an exhilarating blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and pure adrenaline.

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