For the vast majority of the Thai population, Christmas is just a day like any other, which is perfect if you have come abroad to escape the excesses of turkey and mince pies and James Bond on the TV again. All local tour companies and activity centres will be operating a normal schedule, so you can, if you wish, choose to spend Christmas Day diving, kayaking, rock-climbing or simply pick-nicking on your favourite island without the spectre of Santa Claus looming on the horizon. Shops and banks will also be open for business as usual.
Travel agents and big hotels, on the other hand, often assume that you wish to celebrate as if you were at home. Most attempts to stage festivities for guests are pretty hit-or-miss affairs, usually following the formula of a buffet meal, with a few games, a band and schoolgirls doing some Thai dancing – although there are exceptions. Guests are usually tied in to these expensive evenings when they book over the popular Christmas period, but there are many alternatives, particularly in the western-owned restaurants.
Below we round up some of the best options for a proper Christmas feast at Krabi restaurants this year (2014) – click on the photos to contact the restaurants directly for reservations:
Whereas Christmas passes virtually unnoticed in Thailand, New Year (both 31 December and 1 January) is a public holiday and an excuse for wild partying. ‘Pi mai’, as the new year is known in Thai, is one of the year’s biggest celebrations, uniting all ages and religions, and the bars, restaurants and hotels in Krabi will be rising to the occasion. If you are not tied in to a Gala Dinner, we would advise heading down to the nearest beach, where you will be able to see all the fireworks from the hotel celebrations, as well as float your own fire balloon for good luck in the coming year.