Travel Tips

5 min read

Sunny Delight: Discover Maldives, Asia's December Paradise

December's a great time to explore Asia, with its cool weather and awesome festivals. Imagine walking through colorful streets, tasting delicious foods, and seeing sights that'll stick with you forever. It's all about finding the perfect spot to make your December unforgettable.

Tobi Miles
April 4, 2024
Sunny Delight: Discover Maldives, Asia's December Paradise

From snowy mountains to sunny beaches, Asia's got it all. You're in for a treat with places that aren't just beautiful but also full of fun activities. So, grab your bag and let's dive into the best spots to visit in Asia this December. You're about to discover some real gems that'll make your winter holiday special.

Key Takeaways

  • Hokkaido, Japan, is a winter wonderland, offering magical ice sculptures, ski opportunities, and tranquil hot springs (onsens), making early December the best time to visit for fewer crowds and lower prices.
  • Seoul, South Korea, celebrates with vibrant Christmas markets, where visitors can enjoy a cozy atmosphere, local crafts, and delicious street food in chilly but manageable December weather, with benefits like lower travel costs and fewer tourists.
  • Luang Prabang, Laos, offers tranquility with its stunning temples and cultural richness, with December providing the perfect weather to explore without the heat or crowds, making it an ideal time for meaningful cultural experiences and festival participation.
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia, comes alive in December with perfect weather for exploring the Angkor Wat temples and a festive spirit in the air, offering unique holiday vibes, lower early-month prices, and abundant activities from hot air balloon rides to night market explorations.
  • The Maldives presents a sunny escape in December with its peak dry season, offering crystal-clear waters for snorkeling and diving, festive resort celebrations, and tips for avoiding crowds by visiting early or less known islands, with advice on finding the best travel deals.

Magical Winter Wonderland in Hokkaido, Japan

When you're thinking about the best places to visit in December, Hokkaido, Japan, should be high on your list. This snowy paradise offers some of the best winter weather for those looking to enjoy cold-weather fun without battling the extreme chill found in some other winter destinations. With its powder-soft snow, it's a haven for ski enthusiasts and winter lovers.

Hokkaido's winter isn't just about the cold; it's about experiencing a magical winter wonderland. Imagine fields and mountains blanketed in white, ice sculptures that sparkle under the winter sun, and cozy towns with warm, welcoming lights. One must-see event is the Sapporo Snow Festival, which usually starts in early February. However, visiting in December, you'll catch the preparations and see some early displays without the bulk of the crowds that February brings.

To truly avoid crowds and enjoy some of the best weather before it gets too cold, consider visiting in early December. This timing ensures you can enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and even ice fishing with fewer people and lower prices. Speaking of prices, traveling to Hokkaido in December can be easier on your wallet. You can find deals on accommodations and activities since it's just before the peak season kicks in January and February.

For the fun activities, aside from winter sports, you can't miss out on the hot springs, locally known as onsens. Imagine soaking in natural, steaming hot water while snow falls around you. It's an experience that spells relaxation and is perfect after a day out in the snow.

Here are some top tips for your trip:

  • Bundle up: Hokkaido's winter is beautiful but cold. Make sure to pack warm layers.
  • Try local food: Winter is the best time for some of Hokkaido's specialties, like soup curry and seafood.
  • Stay flexible: Weather can change plans; having backup indoor activities can save the day.

Planning a trip to Hokkaido in December isn't just about seeing a place covered in snow; it's about experiencing the unique charm and serene beauty that winter brings to this region. The combination of fun activities, scenic landscapes, and the chance to avoid crowds and save on costs makes it a must-visit for anyone looking for a memorable winter holiday.

Vibrant Christmas Markets in Seoul, South Korea

When you're hunting for the best places to visit in December, Seoul, South Korea, should definitely be on your radar. Imagine walking down streets lined with twinkling lights, sipping on warm drinks, and shopping for unique gifts. That's what Seoul's Christmas markets are all about.

Seoul's December weather is chilly but not too harsh, making it great for outdoor activities. You'll need a warm coat, but the cold adds to the whole cozy Christmas vibe. The markets are outdoors, so bundle up!

One of the coolest things about visiting Seoul in December is avoiding the massive tourist crowds you find during spring and fall. Plus, travel costs tend to be lower right before the holiday peak season. You get to enjoy the city more and worry less about spending too much.

Let's talk about the Christmas markets. They're not just any markets. Picture stalls overflowing with handcrafted goods, local foods that'll make your mouth water, and performances that light up the night. Here are a few spots you've got to check out:

  • Myeongdong Christmas Festival: This place turns into a winter dreamland. It's perfect for finding gifts and trying street food.
  • Seoul Christmas Market: Set in Seoul Plaza, it’s famous for its festive atmosphere. Think crafts, Christmas carols, and delicious snacks.
  • Cheonggyecheon Stream: Besides shopping, you'll be right by this beautiful stream with its special Christmas light display.

Each market has its own charm, so why not visit them all? You'll get a real taste of Seoul's Christmas spirit.

When planning your trip, remember a few things:

  • Dress warmly. The temperature can dip, especially at night.
  • Cash is handy because not all vendors accept cards.
  • Weekdays are less crowded than weekends. If you can, visit during the week to really take your time and enjoy.

Seoul in December is full of fun activities beyond the Christmas markets. Ice skating at Seoul Plaza is a blast, and exploring the city's palaces with fewer tourists around is pretty special. They look magical with a bit of frost.

Eating your way through Seoul is another adventure. Hot, spicy foods are everywhere, warming you up from the inside. Don't miss out on Korean BBQ or hotteok (sweet pancakes) from a street vendor.

Tranquil Temples in Luang Prabang, Laos

When you're hunting for the best places to visit in December, Luang Prabang in Laos should be right up there on your list, especially if you're looking to avoid crowds and enjoy some peace. This place is like a hidden gem that's not only beautiful but also has some of the best weather during December. It's cool enough to wander around without breaking a sweat but still pleasantly warm in the sunshine.

Let's talk temples because Luang Prabang is famous for them. You've got golden stupas, serene monks in saffron robes, and a vibe that feels like it's straight out of a storybook. One of the go-to spots is the Wat Xieng Thong. It's one of the most important monasteries in the country and a masterpiece of Buddhist art. Imagine walls covered in detailed mosaics and gold that shines under the sun. It's a sight you won't want to miss.

If you're looking to dodge the masses, here's a tip: go early. The temples here start getting visitors as soon as they open. By heading out at dawn, you not only avoid big groups but also get to see the monks' alms-giving ceremony. It's a daily ritual where locals offer food to monks. It's quiet, respectful, and a truly unique thing to witness.

December also brings some cool festivals to Luang Prabang. Keep an eye out for local celebrations. They're not only fun but also a way to see how people in Laos celebrate their culture. It's all about colorful parades, traditional music, and dances that have been passed down through generations.

What about activities? Well, besides temple-hopping, you can cruise down the Mekong River, visit the Royal Palace, or explore the night market for some unique finds. And the best part? Prices in December are pretty reasonable before the holiday rush kicks in. You won't be breaking the bank while having the time of your life.

Lastly, a little local insight: don't forget to try the food. Laotian cuisine is amazing, and Luang Prabang has some of the best. From sticky rice to spicy laap, your taste buds are in for a treat.

Festive Spirit in Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you're looking for the best places to visit in December in Asia, Siem Reap in Cambodia should be high on your list. December brings out a special charm in Siem Reap, making it a fantastic time to explore this vibrant city.

Firstly, the weather in December is just perfect. It's the dry season, with cool air and clear skies, making it the best time to wander around the ancient temples of Angkor Wat without breaking a sweat. You'll thank yourself for choosing December as you explore these miraculous structures in comfort.

Speaking of avoiding crowds, early December is your sweet spot. Most travelers rush in closer to Christmas and New Year, so you'll find the first half of the month offers a more peaceful experience. Picture this: you're walking through the temple ruins at dawn, the cool air brushing against your face, with fewer people around. Sounds perfect, right?

Let's talk about the festive spirit. Though Cambodia doesn't celebrate Christmas traditionally, Siem Reap has a unique way of getting into the holiday mood. Hotels, restaurants, and shops are all decked up with lights and decorations. There's a joyful vibe in the air that's hard to miss.

December is also packed with fun activities in Siem Reap. Besides the iconic Angkor Wat, you can enjoy a hot air balloon ride for breathtaking views of the countryside. Or, visit the floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake for a glimpse into local life. Don't forget the night markets – they are a treasure trove of local crafts, foods, and souvenirs.

Here's a pro tip: take advantage of the lowest prices in early December. As the month progresses, prices for accommodations and activities may increase due to the holiday rush. Planning your trip for the start of the month can help you save a bit, giving you more to spend on experiences and gifts.

Local insights suggest experiencing Siem Reap's culinary scene. The city is known for its delicious Cambodian cuisine. From fancy restaurants to street food stalls, there's something to satisfy every palate. Make sure to try Amok, a creamy curry that's a local favorite.

Sunny Escapes in the Maldives

Looking for the best places to visit in December? The Maldives should be at the top of your list, especially if you love sun, sand, and sea. This island paradise is perfect for escaping the cold and enjoying some of the best weather of the year.

Best Weather and How to Avoid Crowds

December brings dry, sunny days to the Maldives, making it an ideal time to visit. However, it's also peak season, so if you're looking to avoid crowds, aim for the early part of December. The islands start getting busier closer to the holidays. Choosing less popular islands can also give you more space to yourself.

Fun Activities to Dive Into

The Maldives isn't just about laying on the beach. Here are some fun activities you can dive into:

  • Snorkeling and Diving: The clear, warm waters are perfect for exploring coral reefs and the incredible marine life.
  • Island Hopping: Take a boat from your resort and visit local islands to see the Maldivian way of life.
  • Water Sports: From paddleboarding to jet skiing, there’s plenty of action on the water.
  • Spa Retreats: Top off your relaxing holiday with a visit to a spa. Many resorts offer treatments right on the water.

Festivals in December

While the Maldives is a Muslim country and doesn't celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense, many resorts go all out with festive decorations and special dinners. It's a unique way to experience the holiday spirit in a tropical setting.

Cost of Travel: Finding the Lowest Prices

Traveling to the Maldives in December can be pricey, but there are ways to find the lowest prices. Booking your trip well in advance or looking for last-minute deals can save you a lot. Also, consider staying in guesthouses on local islands, which are often much more affordable than resort islands.

Local Insights

To get the most out of your trip, it’s worth knowing a few local tips:

  • Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting inhabited islands.
  • Try local cuisine, especially seafood dishes. They're fresh and delicious.
  • Learn a few words in Dhivehi, the local language. It's a great way to connect with residents.


Exploring the Maldives in December is like stepping into a slice of paradise tailor-made for those who love the sun, sand, and sea. With the right planning, you can avoid the peak season crowds and find your own tranquil spot among the less explored islands. Embrace the local culture, dive into the vibrant underwater world, and let the serene beauty of the Maldives rejuvenate your spirit. Remember, a little effort in respecting the customs and learning the local dialect goes a long way in enriching your travel experience. So pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable December getaway in the Maldives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit the Maldives for sunny weather?

December is the ideal month for a visit if you're looking for dry, sunny days perfect for beach activities.

Is December a crowded time to visit the Maldives?

Yes, December is peak season in the Maldives. The crowds increase, especially closer to the holiday season.

Are there less crowded places in the Maldives to visit during December?

Exploring less popular islands in the Maldives can offer more space and a less crowded experience during December.

What activities can you do in the Maldives in December?

Activities include snorkeling, diving, island hopping, engaging in various water sports, and enjoying spa retreats.

Do Maldives resorts celebrate Christmas?

While the Maldives is predominantly Muslim and doesn't traditionally celebrate Christmas, many resorts decorate festively for the holiday season.

How can travelers save money when visiting the Maldives in December?

Booking in advance or looking for last-minute deals can help lower costs. Staying in guesthouses on local islands is also a budget-friendly option.

What should travelers keep in mind about local customs in the Maldives?

Respecting local customs is important. This includes trying local seafood dishes and learning some Dhivehi phrases to connect with residents.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 4, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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