Santa came for a visit on Christmas even though it’s a Buddhist country. Most of the kids were delighted! Others (particularly PreK) were a bit frightened. They made sure to use their manners and “wai” (bow) after receiving candy from Santa.
This is definitely the cleanest city I have visited in SE Asia! It definitely has some interesting laws but they do keep the city clean and safe.
I have a friend in Singapore so I was excited to spend the weekend of Thai Father’s Day visiting him. He lives right off of Orchard Street which is a busy shopping street. Since it was Christmas time, there were lights, decorations, and Christmas music everywhere. It made me really feel the “Spirit of Christmas” even though I was so far away from home and the temperature was in the 90s instead of around freezing.
For most of the trip I just wandered. I had plans to meet up with them for dinner or lunch so was on my own to just explore the neighborhoods. I wandered through Clarke Quay and Chinatown then down to the waterfront. I grew up surrounded by water so any city on the water makes me feel at home.
The centerpiece of the waterfront is the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It consists of three towers with what almost looks like a boat on the top connecting all three. At the top is a 360° viewing platform, a Ku De Ta, and the hotel pool. My friend commended that I grab a drink at Ku De Ta (this is a chain restaurant/bar prevalent in SE Asia) rather than paying for the viewing platform as it was the same view and same price but one got you a drink and a nice place to sit.
Across the street was the Gardens by the Bay. Wow! Beautiful! It was an oasis within the city. There was a Christmas market setup in the center and it even “snowed” in the evenings. There is a sky bridge, a Flower Forest, and a Cloud Dome that you can pay to utilize. I simply walked around the gardens. I found a very random baby statue and other various garden spaces.
They like to decorate early around here. Apparently they haven’t heard about the “no decorations before Thanksgiving” rule as the decorations at the local mall were up in late October. They have their “Merry Christmas” sign lit up and their “Happy New Year” sign ready to go on December 26. Rumor has it they will have pictures with Santa at some point. They have a few kiosks setup for a Christmas market but they are not occupied yet. Should be interesting to see how the Christmas spirit comes alive in Thailand.