Christmas on Koh Samui

Christmas Tree and presents

Christmas Tree and presents

I’ve always loved Christmas. It’s tradition in my family to all get together on 1st December, have a few drinks and put up the tree and decorations. We play Christmas carols and generally do our best to get into the festive spirit (which might include whiskey and mince pies).

I guess I ruined that when I started travelling and it became more of a text message thing. ‘I’m putting up the tree today, how about you?’ and later on, Skype meant we could share what our trees looked like.

Is that it?

Is that it?

Last year I was teaching in Hat Yai in the far south of Thailand and was looking forward to seeing how Christmas would be celebrated in a predominantly buddhist country. But actually I learnt that Hat Yai is mostly muslim or chinese so the way Christmas happened was really strange.

For starters, a tree only went up in the shopping centre over the road from me, around the 20th December. That is WAY too late for me. I had complained way back in October that I didn’t have a tree and my best friend had posted me a small one, complete with baubles and this had been sitting proudly on my fridge since, yes, you guessed it, the 1st December.

A few Christmas carols could be heard when shopping but it totally lacked the festive spirit that I needed at this time of the year and this was ruined further when the few ‘Merry Christmas’ signs that WERE up, were left up until mid February and and just fell down through neglect.

My friend Samantha and I  in Hat Yai.

My friend Samantha and I in Hat Yai.

Luckily there was a good group of ‘farangs’ in the city and we all got together at a local hang out on Christmas Day where we were treated to roast turkey with ALL the trimmings. We all wore Christmas hats and generally had a good time but couldn’t stay out too late, because Boxing day isn’t a holiday in Thailand (neither is Christmas day) and we all had to teach the next day.

But that was last year where Christmas was a bit of an anti-climax for me. I am now living on the island of Koh Samui and wasn’t expecting too much this year because of my experience last year but boy was I in for a treat!

Tesco Christmas tree

Tesco Christmas tree

I walked out of the Tesco one evening in late November to be greeted by a huge lit up Christmas tree. I was so shocked I think I stared at it for a full minute before a security guard came to ask me if I was ok.  And since that day, I have been awed and amazed at the festive spirit here on this island.

I guess it makes perfect sense. Hat Yai isn’t exactly the tourist hot spot of Thailand but Koh Samui has to cater for international guests each and every day and part of that is making them feel at home over Christmas. Half way through November home-bakers started taking orders for mince pies and Christmas cakes, end of November hotels and resorts started to advertise their Christmas lunches available on both 24th and the 25th, at the beginning of

Even if there were no trees, there were still lights.

Even if there were no trees, there were still lights.

December (much to my delight), trees in all shapes and sizes started to go up and driving around the tourist areas at night was an absolute treat.

 

 

 

 

Mince Pies made locally.

Mince Pies made locally.

Snowmen, trees, fairy lights in all the trees, candy canes and best of all, Christmas Carols.

I’m lucky that I grew up in South Africa so I’m used to hot Christmases so it’s not strange for me to see Christmas trees on the beach and fairy lights around palm trees but all I can say is that looking around here was what I WANTED Christmas to feel like in Thailand.

Hot, festive and with loads of decorations and lights.

 

Enjoying a fancy Christmas lunch at Poppies Resort on Koh Samui.

Enjoying a fancy Christmas lunch at Poppies Resort on Koh Samui.

Hope you all had a good one. Where did YOU spend Christmas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Christmas on Koh Samui

  1. Verleice Setchell says:

    I love this story Col and it brought back so many memories.I am just so happy that you enjoyed this Chrismas because it was always a day you looked forward to. Lone and miss you.

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