Let there be light

Christmas festivals to get you celebrating

As the holiday season ramps up, parts of Thailand are transforming into centres of celebration for Christmas and New Year. More accurately, there will be more IG-worthy places for a limited period of time. Malls have set up Christmas trees while a number of light installations around the country are set to give visitors a little light in the otherwise dark and difficult period we've all been through these past couple of months. If you're looking to visit one of these places for some holiday cheer but don't know where to start, Guru has you covered.


CHRISTMAS TREES

CentralWorld

  • Rama I Road

(Photos: CentralWorld)

It's a no-brainer to have this on the list. CentralWorld's Christmas tree has always been a hotspot for all Bangkokians when December rolls around and this year is no different. The space outside the mall on Rama I Road has once again been transformed into a Christmas wonderland, and like every year, many people have already started flocking to get their annual year-end photos for their socials. CentralWorld is celebrating the holidays and welcoming the new year with the "Forwarding Happiness 2022" theme, apt considering the year we've had. There's no shortage of IG- worthy spots like the luminescent "Field Of Stars", a light fixture display that makes it seem as if you're in the middle of space with stars surrounding you. A giant teddy bear is decked out in a Santa outfit waiting to be cuddled and photographed. Of course, there's the centrepiece: a giant tree that towers above everything, which definitely deserves a spot on your feed. Unless you're lucky, don't expect that there won't be any crowds here. Your camera skills will be tested if you're vying for a picture without any people in the background. Or maybe it's your Photoshop skills.

Central Chiang Rai

  • Rop Wiang, Chiang Rai

(Photos: Central Chiang Rai)

Made from 2,000m of natural fabric handcrafted by villagers of the North, Central Chiang Rai's "Mok Panwa Christmas Tree" is a sight to behold. The 14-metre-tall tree is designed to reflect the local community's culture and is the first and only tree in Thailand made by Doi Tung. The tree's unique design sets it apart from the usual ones we see designed with plastic ornaments but that doesn't mean it doesn't look "Christmassy". This is especially evident at night when the tree is lit up in all its glory. If you visit between Dec 25 and Jan 2, you can head to Kasalong Square to check out the Chiang Rai Dancing Flowers 2021's numerous floral displays. After you're done taking photos, you can also check out the Doi Tung handicrafts and a number of other items that you can buy.

Central Embassy

  • Phloenchit Road

(Photos: Central Embassy)

Central Embassy's tree this year almost has a minimalistic feel to it though that doesn't lessen the festive vibes. The tree designed by Klein Dytham Architecture has been touted as "Southeast Asia's first 22-metre Giant Reflective Christmas tree", which is decorated with lights and adorned with bright red gifts and giant baubles with touches of greenery around. A number of golden reindeer are strewn around the tree, each of them also draped with Christmas lights. You can choose to either get a shot from ground level with one of the reindeer and get the tree from the ground up or you can take one from the walkway that connects the mall to the BTS. On Dec 18, Central Embassy will also have a special event where they transform the mall's centre into a festive Christmas garden. The mall also promises a Christmas food market and special workshops. Oh, and there's a giant calendar at Open House that visitors can check out as it counts down the days to 2022.

Samyan Mitrtown

  • Rama IV Road

(Photo: Samyan Mitrtown)

The Sam Yan mall is jumping into the fray of decking out their surroundings with Christmas cheer. Samyan Mitrtown has set up a beautiful tree outside complete with lights, neon signs and a lot of baubles, which make it worthy to be featured on your IG. You can also snap some photos at the "Playground", which has colourfully typography on the ground, and then afterwards you can go over to the "I Love Mitr" sculpture for even more shots. These are all found outside of Samyan Mitrtown but make sure you don't miss their colourful and discotheque design in the tunnel that connects the mall to the MRT. Flooded with blue and purple lights reminiscent of a concert, the tunnel has disco balls hung on the ceiling that makes you want to dance to Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up as you walk through it. Disco balls aren't really Christmassy but it's still a vibe. As you go up on the escalator, you'll also see white cloud-like spheres drenched in blue and pink light which makes it seem like you're ascending to some sort of disco heaven. Christmas in disco heaven doesn't sound too bad anyway.


LIGHT FESTIVALS

Thailand International Lantern And Food Festival

  • Muang Boran, Samut Prakan
  • Until Dec 6

(Photos: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

A gorgeous array of lanterns and a wide number of cuisines from all around the world can be enjoyed at Muang Boran during the Thailand International Lantern and Food Festival. The location itself, also known as Ancient City, is already a fascinating place to visit with their replicas of Thai architectural feats and original structures. It's been a tourist attraction for years but it's a completely different experience when you visit during the International Lantern and Food Festival. Colourful lanterns illuminate the structures and pathways of the outdoor museum and will definitely provide you with beautiful content for your socials. At the same time, you can also feast on delicacies from all around the world so you don't exhaust yourself from all your photo-taking.

Nasatta Light Festival

  • Nasatta Thai Heritage Park, Petchkasem-Damnoen Saduak Road, Ratchaburi
  • Until Jan 30

(Photo: Nasatta Thai Heritage Park)

The Nasatta Light Festival returns to tantalise visitors with a vibrant and beautiful display of light installations all around the massive cultural heritage park in Ratchaburi. It would be safe to assume that you'll be taking photos when you visit any of the places on this list, but Nasatta offers something a little extra with the opportunity to be able to rent out traditional Thai clothing. That along with the delightful light displays should make for great content for the 'Gram. In previous years, the light festival had a tunnel adorned in lights, a field of blue LEDs and dandelion-like structures strewn across the park. It's safe to say that you won't run out of photo spots when visiting. At the same time, you can also enjoy the somewhat colder breeze while going around the park and taking your photos. You can visit the Nasatta Light Festival until Jan 30 of next year.

Awakening Bangkok 2021

  • Sam Yan and Charoen Krung
  • Dec 17-26, Jan 14-23

(Photo: Awakening Bangkok)

The famous light installation festival is coming back to illuminate the streets of Bangkok. The fourth year of Awakening Bangkok sees not just one but two editions of the event happening in the coming months. From Dec 17-26, a prelude will be held in Sam Yan while the main event in the usual location of Charoen Krung will happen in 2022 from Jan 14-23. The organisers have an open invitation for those who want their art featured in the events. Unfortunately, the submission for the Sam Yan event has already closed but there's still time to submit your piece to be featured in the Charoen Krung event as submissions close on Dec 10. The main event at Charoen Krung will be held under the theme "Re:vive", and aside from the luminous displays that will be featured, there will also be music and food to make it an all-around party. And yes, their signature Silent Disco will be making a comeback so get ready to film TikToks with people wearing headphones dancing to complete silence.

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