Currently planning where to spend Christmas in Thailand this year and escape from Bangkok – only problem is that everywhere is either full already or charging a small fortune. If you need a hotel for Christmas in Thailand, best book it asap.
Thailand has always been a popular holiday destination for Christmas, but it seems like the secret of Thailand’s hospitality and scenic beauty is well and truly out. Scouting around for hotels to stay in during the Christmas break, I’ve discovered that prices have skyrocketed across the board. Not only have they gone up by one third to half again of the usual price at some hotels, there’s also often a minimum stay stipulated and also a “compulsory gala dinner” on Christmas Day and / or New Year’s Eve. Spend the whole festive week at one of these places and it will be eye-wateringly expensive.
To try and find a good deal means scanning a lot of hotel listings – and one way I’ve found of minimising the hassle is to use a website like Agoda.com which has an Instant Booking facility. Simply go to their Thailand hotels page, select your dates and the area where you want to book a hotel. The hotels at the top of the results that come back will have green “Book” buttons next to them. This means they are available on the dates you’ve requested and are ready to accept Instant Confirmations. Therefore you can book the hotel immediately without the typical 24 hour wait only to find out they’re fully booked.
Of course, the big drawback of doing it this way is that it narrows down your choice quite a lot, as many hotels aren’t plugged into the Instant Booking widget. But that might be a blessing in disguise as the sheer number of hotels can be overwhelming.
Trying to find a hotel bargain during Christmas in Thailand is hard work – the higher rates, minimum number of nights and compulsory dinners during the Dec 20th to Jan 10th peak period doesn’t make it easy. To find somewhere decent without requiring a second mortgage, heading away from the beach altogether might be wise – Chiang Rai and the rest of the north of Thailand have lots of excellent hotels that enjoy amazing views and cool air, while Bangkok itself has a huge selection of hotels, although I’m trying to get away from it rather than stay here.
Looking to other countries, like Bali, is also a possible solution. While Bali also has price hikes at Christmas and is a popular destination, it’s nothing compared to the frenzy surrounding Thailand. For a $100 US a night you can get something spectacular, and for more modest budgets there’s still great places to stay.
Finally, bear in mind that Thailand is having a general election on December 23rd this year and the 24th will be a public holiday, declared to allow voters to return home to vote and then go back to their jobs in the cities. Therefore expect it to be busy on roads, trains and planes.