Christmas in Asia: 10 Best Destinations to Feel the Festive Spirit

10 Christmas Destinations in Asia That Light Up During the Holidays

For anyone looking for a place full of holiday cheer!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And if you’re hitting the road instead of staying home during the holidays, then you might as well make your way to destinations overflowing with Christmas spirit. All over the world, big cities and small villages alike transform into dazzling places fit for holiday festivities. Magical Christmas destinations in Asia get decked out in twinkling illuminations, gigantic holiday trees, and over-the-top light shows. And if it’s the quintessential white Christmas you’re dreaming of, the winter festivals in Asia are the stuff of fairy tales. 

Keep reading to find the best places to find holiday cheer this Yuletide season.

Also read: 10 Best Winter Destinations in Asia for Your Next Holiday

Best places to spend Christmas in Asia

1. Seoul – South Korea

seoul christmas festival south korea

Seoul Christmas Festival | Image credit: Mark D

While magical any season, Seoul truly transforms into a holiday wonderland in December. The streets come to life with buildings adorned in colourful décor and twinkling lights throughout the capital. Revelry and cheer crop up from everywhere but there’s no doubt that the main event is the Seoul Christmas Festival at Cheonggye Plaza. Here you’ll find glittering holiday-themed illuminations, Christmas trees, and charming photo hotspots.

Christmas markets spring up in various places in Seoul, from a European-inspired one in Seongbuk District to a vibrant bazaar in Itaewon. Get into the spirit of the holidays by watching The Nutcracker ballet or showing up for Lotte World’s festivities featuring parades, performances, and even a full-fledged Santa Village. Every winter, an ice-skating rink even emerges at Seoul Plaza.

garden of morning calm christmas destinations asia

Garden of Morning Calm | Image credit: Christopher Ooi via Canva Pro

Travellers with more time to explore can even visit the Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong just outside the borders of Seoul. The spellbinding display of the Lighting Festival every winter makes this part of South Korea one of the most arresting Christmas destinations in Asia. 

Also read: Things to Do in Gangwon During Christmas

2. Tokyo – Japan

shibuya blue cave lights

Blue Cave Illumination | Image credit: Nagatoshi Shimamura

Christmas isn’t a public holiday in Japan, but that doesn’t keep the city of Tokyo from sparkling with holiday spirit during the merriest season of the year. The celebrations rival the best Christmas towns in Asia and the world, with bustling holiday markets and brilliant illuminations lighting up the entire city.

marunouchi illumination japan christmas in asia

Marunouchi Illumination | Image credit: zu-kuni via Canva Pro

Roam the streets to soak in the festive atmosphere, especially at popular light-up displays like the Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illumination in Roppongi, Blue Cave in Shinagawa, and the Marunouchi Illumination. The city is also known for its jolly German-style markets at places like Tokyo Solamachi and Roppongi Hills, where you can enjoy last-minute shopping, Christmas carols, and delicious German food and drinks.

Finally, don’t let the holidays pass without indulging in fried chicken at KFC. It may sound strange, but fried chicken during Christmas is actually an offbeat Japanese tradition!

Also read: 13 Unique Things to Do in Tokyo and Osaka for Every Kind of Traveller

3. Sapporo – Japan

sapporo market

Sapporo Christmas Market | Image credit: yoppy

The capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo is a picture-perfect place to spend a white Christmas in Asia. Against a backdrop of pretty lights and gently falling snow, the picturesque city embraces the cosy atmosphere of winter. 

The Sapporo White Illumination and holiday market at Odori Park is a must-visit, whether you’re browsing for gifts, sipping on hot wine, or just basking in the festive vibes. If you’re looking for a European-style Christmas market in Asia, this one’s your pick. We also recommend making time to visit Jozankei Shrine for the Jozankei Onsen Snow Light Path, where thousands of snow candles light up during the wintertime.

sapporo white illumination christmas destinations in asia

Sapporo White Illumination | Image credit: kinpouge05 via Canva Pro

The city is also known for hosting one of the best winter festivals in Asia: the Sapporo Snow Festival. Typically held in February, this popular week-long event features spectacular snow and ice sculptures in three Sapporo sites, including Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsu Dome. Be prepared for crowds; the Snow Festival attracts over 2 million travellers every year!

Also read: 15 Alternative Things to Do in Sapporo, Hokkaido

4. Singapore

christmasland in singapore asia

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay | Image credit: Christmas Wonderland Official Website

Singapore is dazzling enough the rest of the year, but it turns up the magic every year during the holidays. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised — the Lion City is famous for top-notch entertainment, after all! During the yuletide season, this gleaming urban playground puts together the merriest setting you can imagine so you can end the year with a bang.

christmas markets gardens by the bay

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay | Image credit: Christmas Wonderland Official Website

Shopping hotspot Orchard Road is at the centre of the action, with brilliant illuminations and Christmas carols for the festive season. Multiple other light shows ignite the streets of Singapore, but a definite standout is Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay. Besides snapping photos of the mesmerising light displays, travellers can indulge in carnival games, enjoy live performances, and meet Santa Claus.

Also read: Holiday Season in Singapore: 17 Best Things to Do & Places to See!

5. Manila – Philippines

parol philippines christmas destinations asia

Local Christmas lanterns | Image credit: michael_swan

No one celebrates Christmas in Asia as long as Filipinos; in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, the holiday season starts as early as September. That means you’ll get to soak in the merriment for longer when you’re in the country! Not many travellers linger in Metro Manila when exploring the Philippines, but few places are more vibrant than this buzzy capital when it’s the Christmas season.

ayala triangle lights and sounds show christmas

Ayala Triangle Gardens | Image credit: Arthur Parado

Manila is famous for its massive number of shopping malls, and each one is awash in festive vibrance: towering Christmas trees, fairy lights everywhere, and Christmas tunes played on a loop. Even jeepneys blare familiar carols all day long! The devout troop to churches before dawn for Simbang Gabi (Night Mass), a nine-day series of Masses leading up to Christmas. Meanwhile, local events to look forward to include the Ayala Triangle Lights and Sounds Show in Makati and the dazzling fireworks display at SM Mall of Asia 

Also read: Christmas in Manila: 8 Places and Activities to Experience the Holiday Spirit

6. San Fernando, Pampanga – Philippines

giant lantern festival christmas philippines

Giant Lantern Festival | Image credit: Ramon FVelasquez

Once you’ve seen San Fernando during the Christmas season, you’ll find it impossible to imagine a more devoted place to the holidays. Every year, this city in Pampanga hosts the Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul), a famous event showcasing massive parols (local Christmas lanterns) handcrafted by residents of local villages.

san fernando pampanga philippines

Nights of Lights Christmas village | Image credit: The Orchid Gardens Resort Complex Official Facebook Page

San Fernando’s various holiday festivities will keep you busy through the season, from the bright installations at Capital Town Pampanga to the new Christmas village at Orchid Gardens Resort Complex. It’s not a shock that this city in Pampanga is hailed as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Although it doesn’t attract as many foreign tourists as other parts of the country, San Fernando is certainly one of the must-visit Christmas destinations in Asia.

7. Taipei – Taiwan

taipei christmas destinations in asia

Taipei at Christmas | Image credit: Philippe Yuan

As with most countries in East Asia, Christmas isn’t a public holiday in Taiwan. Despite that, Taipei overflows with holiday spirit once December hits. Make a beeline for Banquiao District in New Taipei City, where you’ll find the dazzling Christmasland. This glorious event involves spectacular illuminations, fun activities, and elaborate Christmas trees — the works!

taipei 101 holidays

Christmas & New Year celebrations at Taipei 101 | Image credit (L-R): Winston Chen; Kuan Liao

And Taipei’s festive spirit doesn’t stop at Christmasland. Ji-Qing Christmas Alley is a must-visit for holiday lovers. Here, residents decorate their homes elaborately, a neighbourhood tradition that has grown to draw the world’s attention for the past two decades. Take to the streets on New Year’s Eve, preferably at Taipei 101, where the fireworks show is a spectacle worth braving the crowds for. 

Also read: 25 Taipei Souvenirs that You Should Definitely Buy & Bring Home With You 

8. Hong Kong

hong kong disneyland fireworks

Hong Kong Disneyland | Image credit: Giovanni Cheng

Although it’s another country that doesn’t celebrate December 25 as an official holiday, Hong Kong deserves a place in any list of festive Christmas destinations in Asia. If your idea of celebrating involves neon light shows, holiday markets, and world-class dining opportunities, then this urban playground won’t disappoint.

symphony of lights victoria harbour

Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour | Image credit: Chris Hoare

Be dazzled by the Symphony of Lights, a neon lights show projected on the iconic Hong Kong skyline across Victoria Harbour. Holiday offerings also include a slew of yuletide events, like Christmas Town and Christmas Wonderland at West Kowloon Cultural District. Meanwhile, families can spend a day (or two) at Hong Kong Disneyland to explore the theme park’s array of holiday-themed activities, performances, and fireworks.

Also read: Back to Hong Kong: 8 Cool Attractions Even Frequent Visitors Haven’t Been to Before

9. Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

pavilion kuala lumpur

Pavilion Mall | Image credit: Eirien

Maybe Kuala Lumpur isn’t top of mind when thinking of Christmas destinations in Asia. But if you haven’t been to the capital of Malaysia during the holidays, then you’re missing out. This is your chance to see what’s up in this vibrant tropical city during December!

Catch the extravagant holiday displays in the many shopping centres of KL, from Pavilion Mall to Suria KLCC to MidValley Megamall, then step out for the charming Christmas bazaars around the city. Best of all, local cuisine in Malaysia is among the best in Asia, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for a feast on Christmas Eve.  

Also read: A Foodie’s Guide to Malaysia: Where and What to Eat in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, and Melaka 

10. Goa – India

goa beaches christmas destinations in asia

Arambol Beach | Image credit: Andrey Khrobostov via Canva Pro

If it’s a party you’re craving for your Christmas in Asia, then look no further than India. Find wild parties and music on the beautiful shores of Goa; you’ll come across the best seaside ragers at beaches like Anjuna and Arambol Beach. Revellers troop to Vagator Beach yearly for the Sunburn Festival, a three-day event known as one of Asia’s biggest EDM festivals.

church panjim

Church of the Immaculate Concepcion in Panjim | Image credit: Josephdesousa

Since Goa is home to a relatively large population of Catholics, there’s plenty of holiday cheer on the streets. Wander the alleys to enjoy the sight of India’s beach and party capital all lit up in twinkling lights, colourful decor, and poinsettia flowers. Some travellers even partake in traditional activities like carolling and Midnight Mass.

Also read: 16 Dazzling Christmas Lights Around the World You Have to See

We’re looking forward to spending the holidays exploring these Christmas destinations in Asia — maybe we’ll even see you there. Ran out of time to fly out for Christmas? Well, it’s never too early to plan next year’s festivities. Happy holidays!


Featured image credit: zu-kuni via Canva Pro

About Author

Celia Grace Nachura
Celia Grace Nachura

There are very few things Celia won’t do for a good story, but her favourite ones always involve the beach, animals, or any type of outdoor activity. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and can usually be found typing away at home with her cute dogs at her feet. Away from work, she spends most of her time trying out every hobby she can get her hands on, from running to crocheting to baking (she’s pretty okay at most things that don't involve cooking).

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