Best Places to visit in South East Asia this Christmas & New Year’s Eve

During Christmas and NYE holidays, we love to travel to new places and get the most out of our free time. With drops in temperatures, we can have a relaxing time exploring new places in warm clothes. But not everyone would love to explore new places with colder climates.

If a white Christmas is not your thing, how about spending Christmas and NYE under the warm sun without worrying about cooking and shopping and decorating? How about splashing about on the pristine beaches of South-east Asia?

Top Places in South East Asia for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

1. Hanoi, Ho Chi Min – Vietnam

Hanoi, Ho Chi Min – Vietnam

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) transform into twin mega party cities during Christmas and NY; they are some of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia. There are innumerable parties on the beaches and plenty of fireworks and the booze runs freely. These two vibrant party cities are perfect for ringing in the new year, when a huge crowd of expats and visitors come to enjoy the festive celebrations.

In addition to the lively nightlife, don’t miss visiting the historic French Quarter in Hanoi, trying delicious street food, or seeing a traditional water puppet show. Ho Chi Minh City offers fantastic shopping opportunities and interesting museums chronicling the Vietnam War.

Best Things to Do

  • Wander through the Old Quarter and French Quarter
  • Sample iconic Vietnamese dishes like pho, banh mi, and spring rolls
  • See a traditional water puppet performance
  • Visit the War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Experience the lively nightlife scene

2. Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Phu Quoc is a tropical island paradise and one of the hottest up-and-coming destinations in Asia. It’s the perfect spot for a beach holiday over Christmas and New Year’s. Relax on the island’s pristine white sand beaches, enjoy swimming in the calm emerald waters, and watch vibrant pink and orange sunsets with a festive cocktail in hand. Stay at one of the luxurious beachfront resorts like the JW Marriott or InterContinental.

In your free time, explore Phu Quoc’s lush interior jungle by motorbike, visit a pearl farm, or sample freshly caught seafood at the night market. There’s plenty to keep you entertained for the holidays on this island nicknamed the “Pearl of Vietnam.”

Best Things to Do

  • Relax on Long Beach
  • Snorkel or scuba dive around colorful coral reefs
  • Tour a fish sauce factory
  • Ride through jungle trails on a motorbike
  • Enjoy seafood at the Dinh Cau night market

3. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

During the holidays, the iconic Phi Phi Islands in Southern Thailand transform into a lively party scene, with festive Christmas lights everywhere and tons of beach parties, floating lantern releases, booze cruises and fun activities like fire shows and glow-in-the-dark body paint. Dance the night away at beach bars like Slinky Bar or Sunflower Bar.

In addition to the pulsing nightlife, the Phi Phi Islands offer breathtaking limestone cliffs rising from azure waters that are perfect for snorkeling, cliff jumping, and island hopping by longtail boat. It’s an idyllic tropical destination for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Best Things to Do

  • Snorkel and swim in Maya Bay
  • Hike up to Phi Phi Viewpoint for stunning panoramic views
  • Take a boat trip to monkey beach
  • Enjoy fire shows at popular beach bars
  • Dance the night away at lively beach parties

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Spend Christmas Eve and Day exploring the magnificent temple complexes of Angkor, including the jaw-dropping massive Angkor Wat, the mystical faces of Bayon, and the tree-entangled Ta Prohm. Wander through these 12th century Khmer empire ruins and feel transported back in time.

Stay at one of Siem Reap’s elegant colonial-style hotels and enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner with new friends from around the world. Then count down to the new year with a festive celebration in Siem Reap’s exciting Pub Street area, with bars and clubs that stay open until the wee hours. It’s a one-of-a-kind way to experience the ancient and modern faces of Cambodia.

Best Things to Do

  • Marvel at iconic Angkor Wat at sunrise
  • Explore the ancient tunnels of Beng Mealea
  • Wander through the tree-covered ruins of Ta Prohm
  • Shop for handicrafts at the bustling Old Market
  • Bar and club hop on vibrant Pub Street

5. The 4,000 Islands, Laos

The 4,000 Islands, Laos

If you like the idea of swinging in a hammock on the sandy banks of the tranquil Mekong River this holiday season, the 4,000 Islands region of Southern Laos is calling your name. While some “islands” are merely a tiny patch of sand in the river, others have small villages, guesthouses, waterfalls, and opportunities to spot the rare Irrawaddy River dolphin.

Slow way down and embrace the relaxed pace of the Lao people on a visit to this sleepy, mostly undeveloped region. Explore by bicycle or boat, try Lao cuisine, and chat with the friendly locals. Christmas and New Years here may not offer wild parties, but provide a peaceful, back-to-nature experience.

Best Things to Do

  • Kayak through scenic waterways and small islets
  • Spot rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins
  • Visit the majestic Khone Phapheng Waterfall
  • Relax in a riverside hammock or deck chair
  • Explore traditional villages on Don Det Island

6. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

For a taste of old Britain with a tropical twist, spend your holiday in the Cameron Highlands hill station. Stay at one of the Tudor-style inns and experience Christmas dinners and tea parties at historic agricultural estates growing tea or strawberries. Go for festive walks through the mossy forests and watch thick clouds roll across the rolling green hills. You will also get to experience Malaysia Christmas traditions here.

The Cameron Highlands offer a cooler climate than the rest of Malaysia, making it popular for growing lush gardens. It’s an ideal spot for the holidays if you want to get away from the heat and hustle and bustle.

Best Things to Do

  • Tour the rolling tea plantations
  • Hike through dense jungle trails and forests
  • Visit colorful flower farms and strawberry fields
  • Have afternoon tea at a British colonial bungalow
  • Sample Malaysian fare at the weekend night market

If you want to experience a truly ‘British’ Christmas and NY, head to the Cameron Highlands. You can enjoy a fabulous stay at one of the beautifully decorated special Christmas suites at any hotel, and participate in Christmas dinners at tea and coffee estates. The Cameron Highlands are one of the top Malaysia attractions, well worth obtaining a Malaysia tourist visa for.

Also Read : Best Time to Visit Malaysia 

7. Ngapali Bay, Myanmar

Ngapali Bay, Myanmar

This lovely 3-mile crescent-shaped bay surrounded by dense tropical jungle and nearby fishing villages offers barefoot luxury. Spend your days swinging gently in a hammock on the deck of your thatched-roof bungalow, strolling the squeaky white sands, or swimming in the emerald waters.

At night, enjoy delicious freshly grilled seafood on the beach under the stars and twinkling Christmas lights. Burmese culture is on full display in Ngapali, with many local families celebrating Christmas with carols and holiday cheer. Ring in New Year’s here for an authentic cultural experience.

Best Things to Do

  • Enjoy seafood BBQs on the beach under the stars
  • Get lost wandering quiet fishing villages along the bay
  • Explore islands in the archipelago by traditional long-tail boat
  • Unwind with daily beachfront massages and spa treatments
  • Take a cooking class in Burmese cuisine

8. Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos

This charming UNESCO World Heritage Site dotted with golden Buddhist temples (known as wats) and French colonial architecture comes alive for the holidays. The festive spirit is palpable strolling through Luang Prabang’s Night Market near the banks of the Mekong River, where handicrafts, street food, and Beerlao flow freely.

Stay at one of the boutique inns in restored French villas and take part in Christmas Eve midnight mass at one of the city’s wats. Luang Prabang seamlessly blends ancient tradition with modern comforts for a magical holiday experience.

Best Things to Do

  • Cruise down the Mekong River at sunset
  • Learn to make Laotian cuisine at a cooking class
  • Explore the glittering temple wat complexes
  • Shop for handicrafts at the bustling night bazaar
  • Relax riverside with a Beerlao in hand

9. Koh Rong Samoem, Cambodia

Koh Rong Samoem, Cambodia

For a quiet, get-away-from-it-all holiday surrounded by tropical jungle and overlooking turquoise waters, the relatively undeveloped Cambodian island of Koh Rong Sanloem fits the bill. While amenities are simple, the natural beauty and remoteness provide the perfect backdrop for a peaceful Christmas adventure.

Stay in a rustic beachfront bungalow, hike through the jungle interior to secluded Saracen Bay, watch the sunrise with the gentle lap of waves as your soundtrack, and enjoy freshly grilled barbecue for Christmas dinner on the sand with new friends from around the globe. It’s back-to-basics luxury at its finest.

Best Things to Do

  • Snorkel or dive along scenic reefs
  • Trek through lush jungle interiors to reach hidden beaches
  • Camp out overnight under thousands of glittering stars
  • Enjoy a beachfront seafood barbecue as the sun sets
  • Swing gently in a hammock overlooking turquoise waters

10. Myeik Archipelago, Myanmar (Burma)

Myeik Archipelago, Myanmar

This pristine 800-island archipelago dotted with white sand beaches, towering limestone formations, and vibrant coral reefs offers intrepid travelers a Christmas unlike any other. With very few tourists and limited infrastructure, Myeik provides complete escapism in a tropical island paradise setting.

Rent a private boat to explore the islands, camp under the stars, swim, and snorkel in crystal clear waters, and soak up the stunning sunset views. Celebrating Christmas here is the ultimate in peace, tranquility, and natural beauty for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Best Things to Do

  • Island hop by private charter for ultimate flexibility
  • Swim, snorkel, and dive among vibrant coral reefs
  • Camp out under incredibly starry night skies
  • Boat through island lagoons surrounded by towering limestone karsts
  • Enjoy utter peace and tranquility Miles from civilization


A Christmas and New Year’s vacation at a Southeast Asian destination may not be the traditional Christmas you’re used to, but that’s the fun of it. Who said that Christmas must be spent in a particular way? Head out to these pristine beach locations and celebrate New Year’s Eve in Malaysia along with Christmas in your own way.

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