THE Christmas season is upon us! With the big day just a month away, it’s time to get the break out the mulled wine, put together your list for Santa, and get the carols playing loud and proud.
While more than half of us in the Asia Pacific may be sweltering in tropical heat, that doesn’t mean we can’t get in the festive spirit with some of the region’s best and jolliest Christmas markets.
Christmas Wonderland Festive Market – Singapore
Held at the spectacular Gardens by the Bay in central Singapore, this annual yuletide fair is a true feast for the eyes. The striking light installations make for a truly magical setting. Pair this with the carol singers and scheduled “snow” storms (soapy foam that showers the crowds like real snow) it’s easy to feel like you’re transported to Santa’s village.
Speaking of the big man, kids can visit the resident Santa at the fair to let him know their holiday wish list. There’s also an ice rink, musical performances, carnival games, and quaint market made up of wooden chalets where people can buy handicrafts, and Christmas food and drinks. Bring on the gluhwein.
Tokyo Christmas Market
Christmas markets in Japan have the added benefit of frosty weather and the chance of real snow. Emulating German markets seen across Europe, the Tokyo fair goes all out with a giant 14-meter high Weihnachtspyramide (Christmas pyramid carousel) as the center feature.
Held in Hibiya Park, the fair is conveniently located right in the center of the city. Unfortunately, this also means it gets busy, so you might struggle for a seat to enjoy the live performances and fun workshops for all the family.
Winterfest – Hong Kong
Hong Kong puts on a real show for the festive season. The dazzling Symphony of Lights and Hong Kong Pulse Light Show’s light up the cityscape even more than usual with well-known landmarks erupting into spectacles. All of this is set to music performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for a truly atmospheric experience.
The celebrations continue right up to New Year’s Eve when the Winterfest also becomes the city’s countdown spot where they welcome the new year with fireworks and plenty of festive treats.
German Christmas Market – Sapporo, Japan
This Germanic festive market has been held in Sapporo since 2002, when the city marked the thirtieth anniversary of its sister-city ties with Munich, Germany. Stalls selling Christmas items, hot wine, and German food cover Odori Park for a month, so you have plenty of time to get your Christmas fix.
Organizers put on open-air concerts (so be sure to wrap up warm), but there’s also indoor workshops and tented food stalls if you want to escape the snow. In late November, the Sapporo White Illumination also begins in Odori Park making the city’s winter nights sparkle.
Christmasland – New Taipei City, Taiwan
The sprawling fair transforms the entire Banqiao area, connecting attractions throughout the urban neighborhoods of New Taipei. At the center is a huge Christmas tree made entirely from lights, illuminating the Xinban square where visitors enjoy fun-packed rides, concerts, carnival parades and stalls selling Christmas knick-knacks.