Are you the early bird who likes to have holidays sorted well in advance? Then it’s time to start on your December vacation plans! Whether it is a skiing holiday in Seoul or a tropical beach party in Phuket, now is the time to start grabbing early offers and tick off the to-do list.
Seoul, South Korea
After Singapore’s weather pattern of hot-hotter-hottest, spend your December embracing the cold of winter. Bring out all your cute winterwear and head to this beautiful city surrounded by mountains.
This is the time of year when the ice-skating rinks open and you can learn how to swish along in graceful arches over ice. The most popular spot is the Seoul Plaza Skating Rink, which is quite centrally located. If you want to take it a step further and try out sledding, you’d find that too a short distance away from the city.
Closer to your travel date, look up lighting events, when entire neighbourhoods deck up in fairy lights and themed lighting. Last year saw a sea of bright white LED roses decking up the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Don’t forget to try some hot street food—just the thing you need to warm those freezing fingers. Try hotteok, which are Korean pancakes with sweet or savoury filling, and tteok-bokki, a kind of spicy rice cake.
Here are some stay options to look at.
- Apartment with panorama city view
This cosy HomeAway’s best feature is perhaps the large windows that go halfway around it. Following close would be the bedroom in the loft, with its soft lighting and wooden floors. The apartment is only a minute’s walk from Seoul Station and is close to several tourist attractions.
Average price per night per person: SGD 16
- Duplex apartment
When in South Korea, sample life in a traditional hanok. This three-bedroom traditional Korean house is located in the heart of Seoul, in a tranquil neighbourhood. The sunlit courtyard makes an ideal spot to enjoy your morning cuppa.
Average price per night per person: SGD 45
Bangkok can be particularly charming in December, considering this is the coolest the city gets, offering some respite from the heat. Though Thailand does not officially celebrate Christmas, you will find Bangkok charmingly decked up in fairy lights.
One of the best cities in the region to ring in the new year, you will be spoilt for choice on New Year’s Eve. The most popular spot in the city for watching fireworks and to party into the new year is in front of the Central World shopping mall. People start gathering in the early evening; there is a live entertainment and a beer garden.
The riverside is another popular spot to watch the fireworks display. Better still, there are special river cruises that take you on the Chao Phraya. Enjoy dinner while enjoying the pyrotechnics. Remember to book in advance.
You will also need early bookings if you’d rather take in Bangkok’s skyline from a height—Bangkok has several rooftop bars and restaurants that give you breath-taking views of the city. On New Year’s Eve, most of them host exciting parties.
We’ve sorted out accommodation options for you here.
- Apartment in central Bangkok
Just minutes away from train stations and shopping malls, this three-bedroom HomeAway is located on Bangkok’s bustling Sukhumvit Road. It also offers concierge services catering to anything from car hires to translation services. The spacious apartment can comfortably accommodate five, while also offering access to the shared pool and gym.
Average price per night per person: SGD 43
- Two-bedroom apartment on Soi 21
Cosy and welcoming, this two-bedroom HomeAway sits in the heart of Bangkok, making it your ideal base for a holiday of parties and fun. It is a few minutes’ walk from the Sky Train station as well as the underground train station.
Average price per night per person: SGD 47
The dreamy tropical holiday of laid back beach life and clear, blue waters – that’s Phuket for you. Come December and the little island erupts with energy. There is always a party going on at the boisterous Bangla Road in Patong. When the tourist season peaks in December, the party peaks too.
Here too, New Year’s Eve parties come with grand firework displays. The most attended ones would be on Patong Beach, while there are more at the other popular beaches like Kamala, Karon, and Kata. Phuket’s Old Town area comes alive with lights, fairs, and carnivals. Countdown clocks dot the island, including one at Promthep Cape, the well-known lookout point.
If you are visiting earlier in the month, catch the exciting Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, which attracts teams from across the world.
- Boutique pool villa by Intira
This three-bedroom property is located close to Rawai and Nai Harn beaches and Chalong Pier. The villa has a pool, shaded patio areas as well as sun decks. While located in a quiet and secluded neighbourhood, the property is still close to restaurants and shops—just a few metres away from the main Raway thoroughfare.
Average price per night per person: SGD 37
- Villa Chabah near Kamala beach
Set on a hilltop amidst lush green surroundings, this three-bedroom open plan villa is bright and airy. Just a couple of kilometres from the beautiful Kamala beach, the location is serene and calm. When you aren’t partying on the beach, you can lounge on the sun deck, gazing at the hills in the distance.
Average price per night per person: SGD 78
Come winter, Tokyo turns into a fairyland of snow, lights, and activities. The traditional Japanese gardens become even more serene on quiet winter mornings. Skating rinks open and people head to onsens to soak in hot spring baths.
You could make an entire evening of gaping at the beautiful illumination across the city. Some of the best will be at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Midtown, and Marunouchi Nakadori. Enjoy manga and anime? Don’t miss the Tokyo Comic Con—exhibits, stage events, cosplay—it will be more manga than you can imagine.
It’s not just cherry blossoms that create a wonderful sight in Tokyo. Early December will see autumn foliage across the city and yes, it is just as pretty a view. Also, don’t miss the Odaiba rainbow fireworks, which is held every Saturday in December.
- Roppongi stylish Japanese modern apartment
This two-bedroom HomeAway comes with the minimalistic beauty that you would associate with modern Japanese design. Brightly lit and fitted with a well-equipped kitchen, it is a short drive away from the hip and happening Roppongi Hills. It is also close to train stations and shops.
Average price per night per person: SGD 38
2. Three-story, three-bedroom house
Centrally located in the Akasaka neighbourhood, this three-bedroom HomeAway has some delights to make your holiday extra special—it comes with a dry sauna, a steam room, a roof-top terrace and even a grand piano! Areas like Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjuku are easily accessible. Train stations are at walkable distance and you would also have access to a concierge service.
Average price per night per person: SGD 58
Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island is a favourite getaway for those from mainland Korea, and in winter, it comes with the added bonus that it is relatively warmer than the mainland. Also known as the Island of Gods, it is home to South Korea’s tallest mountain, Halla-san and several UNESCO World Heritage sites. Winter hiking is a popular activity along the slopes of Halla-san.
The Jeju Winter Festival kicks off mid-December with several outdoor activities, traditional games and shopping events. Another favourite winter activity is tangerine picking—they are ripe and ready to be harvested in winter.
One of the most iconic images of Jeju is the tuff cone volcano of Seongsan Ilchulbong. On New Year’s Day, it is almost a ritual for Koreans to hike up the crater to view the first sunrise of the year. Called the Seongsan Sunrise Festival, it attracts large crowds from all over the world.
The island has several lava caves known as the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System. Each cave has its own unique geographic formation. In winter, you might even find it cosy in here. And here are some cosier accommodation options for your holiday.
- New studio for two
This spacious studio apartment is warm and well-furnished, and is at walking distance from the bus terminal. The balcony offers garden views, with Halla-San towering over it all in the distance. You will find markets, convenience stores, restaurants and bars within short distances from the apartment.
Average price per night per person: SGD 43
- Panoramic ocean view house
This beautiful sea-side HomeAway comes with large windows that frame the most gorgeous, panoramic views of the ocean. In the evenings, relax on the patio or on the lush green lawn, counting stars. Luxuriously furnished, it has all modern amenities, two bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen.
Average price per night per person: SGD 119
HomeAway is the world leader in vacation rentals. The HomeAway network of sites represent more than 1.2 million listings of vacation rental homes in 190 countries and is part of the Expedia group family of brands. Visit www.homeaway.com.sg or download the HomeAway Asia app to choose the ideal holiday homes and homestays for your next holiday.