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The 35 best places to go in Asia in December for a fulfilling journey

30/01/2024 31.351

If you are looking for places to go this December for a winter retreat, this guide about Asian tourist attractions will be helpful for you. Read on to learn more about the best places to go in Asia in December.

Best places to go in Asia in December

Asia is a vast continent that spans across 48 countries and is home to more than half of the world's population. As you embark on the Asia travel itinerary for a winter retreat, these top 35 best places to go in Asia in December will definitely make your trip worthwhile. This article will explore more about where to travel in Asia in December, the weather, and activities that you can enjoy in each destination.

1. Thailand – one of the best places to go in Asia in December for outdoor exploration

Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is known as the "land of smiles" and is one of the cheapest countries to travel in Asia. Thailand's December average temperature ranges from 19°C to 31°C, providing ample sunshine and clear skies for beach adventures and water sports, with minimal rainfall in the central and northern regions.

Best places to go in Asia in December

1.1. Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi is a group of islands where you will stay on Phi Phi Don to enjoy numerous activities such as swimming on Long Beach, kayaking to Viking and Monkey beaches, going on boat tours to small islands, and enjoying the beaches in May Bay. Luxury resorts in isolated areas offer private beaches and amazing facilities for travelers who want a more upscale experience. 

1.2. Phuket

Phuket is an affordable destination that offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, ziplining, golf, and exploring local culture. Prices can be higher during the winter, but compared to Western destinations, Phuket is still a lot cheaper. 

This beautiful island also provides tours to the nearby Phi Phi Islands and James Bond Island. Especially, you can take your time enjoying Thai delectable cuisine, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking local cuisine.

1.3. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand's second city, is also among the best places to travel in Asia for travelers. During December, Chiang Mai is a popular destination for tourists to visit temples, national parks, and night markets. Elephant Nature Park, Thailand's ethical elephant sanctuary, is also worth a visit for travelers. 

The month also features several holidays, including King Bhumibol's birthday on December 5th and Constitution Day on December 10th, honoring the late Thai monarch and celebrating Thailand's constitutional monarchy.

2. Malaysia – an Asian destination that experiences the peak season in December

Among Southeast Asia travel destinations, Malaysia is known for its stunning beaches and islands, making the country one of the best places to visit in Asia in December. In December, the country’s tourism peaks thanks to ample sunshine and an average temperature of 30°C. You can expect a little rain during the day too, but it is generally not much. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

2.1. Ipoh

Ipoh, a small town in Malaysia, is known for its authentic old-town feel, colorful street art, and cave temples. Visitors can explore Mural Art's Lane to see the street art or head to Market Lanes for souvenir shopping. 

Ipoh boasts numerous temples, including Perak Cave Temple, Kek Lok Tong, and Sam Poh Tong, which attract travelers who love exploring culture. The iconic Ipoh white coffee, served with sweetened condensed milk and egg tarts, is also a must-try when you come to Ipoh. 

2.2. Malacca

December is the perfect time to discover Malacca, a fascinating location in Malaysia, with ruinous forts and red buildings from the colonial era. 

Coming here, travelers can visit sites such as the Taming Sari Revolving Tower, Stadthuys, Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese Temple, and Sultanate Palace. At night, you can enjoy the lively Jonker Walk Night Market, which is considered a treasure trove of antiques, handicrafts, and gifts. 

2.3. Langkawi

Langkawi, renowned for expansive parks, iconic structures, and natural beauty, boasts an archipelago of around 99 islands. 

Visitors can enjoy pristine beaches like Tanjung Rhu, Datai Bay, and Pantai Cenang, historic sites, excellent diving spots, budget-friendly shopping, and vibrant nightlife. You can take a Langkawi Cable Car ride to the top of Mount Mat Cincang to see the breathtaking vistas of islets, waterfalls, and rainforests.

3. Vietnam – where to go in Asia in December for favorable weather conditions

Vietnam is known as the "Land of the Ascending Dragon" due to its unique shape resembling a dragon stretching from north to south. Vietnam temperature in December varies across the three regions, so in your Vietnam travel, it is best to plan your trip ahead of time. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

3.1. Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is one of the best places to go in Asia in December. Phu Quoc weather in December makes it possible to travel thanks to its calm sea and average water temperature of 28°C. Here, you can indulge yourself in a variety of water sports, including swimming, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

Fishing excursions can be enjoyed at locations like Vung Ong Doi, Hon Dam, or Gieng Tien. Visitors can also enjoy the Phu Quoc Cable Car, visit Ho Quoc Temple, and have fun at Grand World Phu Quoc or VinWonders Phu Quoc. 

3.2. Nha Trang

The weather in Nha Trang in December offers a mild climate, with an average annual temperature of 26.3°C, which is an ideal condition for you to explore the city and nearby islands. In Nha Trang, visitors can enjoy water sports, snorkeling, and relaxation on beautiful beaches while taking in the stunning scenery of Ninh Van Bay. 

Travelers can also visit the National Oceanographic Museum to experience an underwater tour of Nha Trang's biodiversity. If you are keen on cultural exploration, Ponagar Cham Towers offers a fascinating exploration of Cham architectural and spiritual heritage.

3.3. Hoi An

Hoi An weather in December experiences moderate humidity and average temperatures between 19°C and 26°C, making it an ideal time to explore the town's attractions and outdoor activities. When coming to Hoi An, visitors can enjoy the town’s monthly Lantern Festival, with colorful lanterns, cultural performances, and local food stalls. It would also be ideal to take an excursion from Hoi An to places like Cam Thanh Hamlet, Da Nang City, or My Son Sanctuary. 

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Best places to go in Asia in December

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4. Nepal – among the best places to go in Asia in December for winter activities

Nepal is one of the countries in Asia that is loved by nature lovers. December brings with it a brisk winter appeal that covers Nepal's vast landscapes. The nation surrounds itself with colder temperatures, with days comfortably falling between 15°C and 20°C. Nevertheless, Nepal is among the best places to travel in Asia in December. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

4.1. Bandipur

Tucked down in the central region of Nepal, Bandipur provides you a chance to learn about the Newari culture, historic structures, and temples.

Bandipur offers a nice winter environment that makes it possible for travelers to take in the stunning views of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu mountains. You can explore Siddha Gufa, the biggest cave in Nepal, and engage in trekking and cultural events to make Bandipur an unforgettable trip.

4.2. Mustang

Nestled in Nepal's Himalayan area, Mustang is a popular winter getaway spot, with lush, dry scenery and remarkable rock formations and steep gorges, complemented by the Tibetan local culture. 

Mustang beckons exploration with its historic walls enclosing its city, Lo Manthang, and the sacred Muktinath shrine. Trekking lovers are drawn to the Upper Mustang and Annapurna circuits because they offer a cultural extravaganza characterized by regional customs and traditions in this alluring area.

4.3. Kalingchowk

Known as a "winter wonderland," Kalingchowk is a calm haven from the bustle of the city. This well-known hiking location, tucked away among gorgeous mountains, is a winter sports enthusiast's paradise. 

Renowned for the holy Hindu temple, Kalingchowk Bhagwati Shrine, and the scenic hill country scenery, Kalingchowk provides expansive vistas of the Himalayas. Particularly in December, Kalingchowk stands out as an increasingly popular destination thanks to its cable car services, trekking options, and vibrant local culture.

5. India – a suitable choice in Asia in December for sun seekers

India, known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant festivals, is one of the best places to go in Asia in December. This is a good time to visit India due to its warm and dry days, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 27°C across major tourist cities. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

5.1. Kerala

Kerala justifies its reputation as "God's own country" with its mesmerizing combination of breathtaking scenery, a vibrant culture, and mouthwatering food. Kerala is a mountain lover's paradise with its serene beaches, migratory bird-friendly backwaters, mild hill regions, and ancient sites like Bekal Fort. Therefore, Kerala offers a unique winter getaway with trekking, animal safaris, and houseboats. 

Travelers also enjoy less-crowded, cleaner beaches here than those in Goa. Coming here, you can explore other the Kerala’s attractions, like the scented spice plantations of Wayanad and the tea estates of Munnar.

5.2. Rajasthan

Rajasthan, a popular travel destination in India, is home to energetic towns like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer. Every city has a different color, from the Golden City, Jaisalmer, to the Pink City, Jaipur. You can learn about the rich history by exploring the opulent palaces, havelis, and forts in these cities. 

In addition to the architectural wonders, Rajasthan also offers a vibrant cultural experience. Visitors can witness traditional folk dances, enjoy local music performances, and savor the delectable Rajasthani cuisine.

5.3. Goa

Goa, tucked away on the calm Arabian Sea coast, appeals as the perfect getaway destination. You can enjoy the calm of the coast as you stroll down the palm-lined beaches and cool yourself in the crystal-clear seas. 

The best times to go are in December and January, when there is a bright sky and temperatures in the 30°C. Goa offers a range of experiences to suit different travel tastes. For instance, you may find frenetic beaches in Palolem or more serene beaches in Agonda.

6. Bhutan – an ideal place in Asia to explore ancient temples in December

The tiny nation of Bhutan is well-known for its colorful culture, mysterious monasteries, and massive mountains. In December, Bhutan’s weather is mild enough to go on excursions around, making it one of the best places to go in Asia in December. There is very little snow in Bhutan, with most falling on high mountains on the northern border with Tibet. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

6.1. Punakha

Once the capital of the country, Punakha attracts tourists with its natural beauty and rich cultural tapestry. In Punakha, you can spend time relaxing, whether you choose to explore riverbank retreats or meander across walking bridges. 

Although the town has a rustic appeal, being close to Wangdue, Haa Valley, and Gangtey allows visitors to explore wildlife refuges and beautiful mountain views, making it a great starting point for nature lovers. 

6.2. Paro

Situated in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, Paro offers a charming view of untamed landscapes, snow-capped mountains, and historic monasteries that date back to the 7th century. 

Paro provides a unique combination of modern recreation and cultural exploration, with colorful cafés, museums, and bike routes in addition to famous sites like Taktsang Monastery. Paro also offers a variety of exciting activities for those seeking adventure, including stargazing, rafting, hiking, and trekking. 

6.3. Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing is a major trade town with many businesses and banks’ headquarters. Conveniently located near Indian cities like Jaigaon and Siliguri, Phuentsholing draws consumers looking for low-cost, cross-border items. This vibrant town offers a rare window into the peaceful coexistence of Indian and Bhutanese cultures because of its cultural richness and economic significance.

>>> Explore a list of the 16 best countries to visit in Asia!

7. Cambodia – where offers nature engagement experiences in Asia in December

Cambodia is another recommendation regarding the best Asia destinations to travel in December, where the ruins of the ancient Khmer civilization sit amidst bustling cities. December in Cambodia is a popular month for traveling due to its dry, sunny weather, low humidity, and cool temperatures of an average 26°C.

Best places to go in Asia in December

7.1. Mondulkiri

Mondulkiri is a northeastern area known for its mild atmosphere and wealth of natural resources. Magnificent waterfalls set against lush hills, overlapping mountain ranges, unspoiled rainforests, and vast pine forests are just a few of the stunning characteristics that make up the region. 

You will get a chance to explore the unique combination of a small population and a variety of regional cultures and languages, such as Khmer, Laos, and Vietnamese. Mondulkiri beckons as an appealing ecotourism destination.

7.2. Banlung

Banlung is a fascinating travel destination that appeals particularly to those who love the outdoors and the natural world. You can take trips into the forest to see a variety of exotic flora and fauna and explore the tranquil volcanic lake of Yeak Laom, which is encircled by breathtaking scenery. You can also take a trip to Banlu Tun, where talented ladies knit traditional fabrics as well. 

7.3. Koh Ker

Koh Ker, a once-remote temple region located 120 kilometers northeast of Siem Reap, was the capital of the Khmer Empire from 928 to 944 AD.

Prasat Thom is notable for its imposing temple pyramid, which rises thirty meters above the surrounding forest. You can explore other ancient structures like Prasat Krahom, Prasat Prang, and Prasat Ling, or explore the serene Yeak Laom volcanic lake with its beautiful surroundings. 

8. The Philippines – an excellent option in Asia in December for beach lovers

The Philippines is known for its breathtaking scenery and cultural diversity. With its immaculate beaches, the Philippines is one of the best places to go in Asia in December. The Philippines experiences stable temperatures throughout the year, with December temperatures ranging between 25°C and 32°C in most areas.

Best places to go in Asia in December

8.1. Caramoan

Caramoan is the perfect tropical getaway if you're searching for immaculate beaches, white sands, breathtaking rock formations, and marine life. The remote Caramoan Islands are nestled in the Philippines' Bicol region. As most of the islands are deserted, you may spend the day exploring several peaceful spots on the island without worrying about the tourist crowd because there are mainly local people in the area. 

8.2. Sagada

Nestled in the peaceful mountains, Sagada emerges as a favored retreat in the Philippines, drawing visitors especially during December and January. 

While December offers great weather, January ensures a quieter experience for spelunking and trekking with fewer tourists. For those venturing to Sagada, a three-hour journey southeast leading to Batad, renowned for hosting the Philippines' most exquisite rice terraces, is a great idea. 

8.3. Palawan

The Philippines' Palawan Island is a great place to go for a tropical vacation, especially in December and January when there are clear skies and sunny days. 

In Palawan, you can go on island-hopping trips and adventures, such as going on a TAO Philippines excursion from El Nido to Coron to capture the spirit of Palawan, with the chance to admire the blue waters, colorful coral reefs, isolated beaches, and relaxing times spent fishing from a boat. 

9. Japan – one of the best places to go to in Asia in December for winter landscapes

Japan is no doubt one of the best places to go in Asia in December. If you don't mind the cold, December is a fantastic time to visit Japan because the weather is usually pleasant and the tourists aren't too crowded. Depending on the location, December temperatures in Japan might range from 3°C to 12°C on average.

Best places to go in Asia in December

9.1. Yamagata

Located in Yamagata Prefecture, Ginzan Onsen beckons as a charming hot spring hamlet. Here, you can admire the beauty of snow-covered scenery while indulging yourself in the hot springs, delicious food, and rich customs of Japanese culture.

In the nearby Zao Onsen area, you can also witness the awe-inspiring Zao Snow Monsters phenomenon, the winter sculptures formed by rime ice-covered trees, while enjoying world-class skiing and snowboarding at the renowned Zao ski resort. 

9.2. Nagano

Situated in the northwest of the city amidst wooded mountains, the city of Nagano attracts tourists due to its well-known shrines like Togakushi Shrine and Zenkoji Temple. 

Visiting the Togakushi Ninpo Museum and the fabled Togakure Ninja School will be an interesting attraction for individuals interested in the history of ninjas. Furthermore, the Jigokudani Monkey Park also offers an exciting experience that lets guests witness Japanese macaque monkeys, also called snow monkeys, in their native environment.

9.3. Hokkaido

Hokkaido is one of the best places to go in Asia in December, as coming to Hokkaido in December is like being in a winter wonderland. Situated in the northern region of Hokkaido, Japan, Niseko is a well-known worldwide destination for snow lovers and snow sports enthusiasts. 

December also heralds the start of the Sapporo Snow Festival preparations, a well-known festival that displays intricate snow sculptures in Odori Park. You may see the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival in December, with illuminating streets, a charming canal, lanterns, and snow candles.

10. The Maldives – a recommendation for beach vacations in Asia in December

One of the best places to go in Asia in December is, without a doubt, the Maldives. Known for its stunning beaches, islands, and underwater adventures, the Maldives is an ideal choice for family and romantic getaways. In December, the Maldives experiences a cooler climate with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

10.1. Meeru

Meeru Island is a real paradise that satisfies all wishes for a dream vacation. Luxurious overwater bungalows and quaint garden rooms offer guests a unique lodging experience. The stunning lagoons on the island, decorated with calming blue-green tones, provide an enchanting scene. 

You can enjoy a romantic holiday with golden beaches surrounded by deep green palm trees while leisurely swimming in the beautiful seas. In the forests, you have chances to go hiking or trekking with your friends and family.

10.2. Biyadhoo

Biyadhoo Island beckons for a wonderful December vacation in the Maldives, particularly for divers and fans of water sports. The island, which is part of South Male Atoll, is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. You can explore the underwater world with confidence and safety with a training program that takes care of novice divers and provides guides to help you with directions.

10.3. Malé

Malé Island, the nation's capital, is the next stop on our tour of the top locations in the Maldives in December. 

The island's unique beauty captivates despite its small size. This is the most populated and commercial center of the Maldives and is home to cultural places and tourist attractions such as the Grand Friday Mosque, the National Museum, and a unique fish market. You may get a good sense of the local environment by taking walks on the beach in the evening and going to the local markets in Malé.  

11. Indonesia – a great choice for sightseeing tours in Asia in December

Indonesia is also one of the Asian destinations that offer a natural paradise for both adventure seekers and nature lovers. In December, the country enters its rainy season, so there aren't many tourists, and costs are frequently lower. Whether you want to visit Bali's temples or look for Komodo dragons on Komodo Island, there's a lot to do and see in Indonesia in December.

Best places to go in Asia in December

11.1. Riau

The Indonesian Riau Islands, regarded as a peaceful land, are home to beautiful beaches and unique diving reefs. The Riau Islands are a hidden treasure for travelers who seek the beauty of nature. On these islands, which are part of Tanjung Pinang, you may take a tour to see sights such as Bawah Island, Penyengat Island, Trikora Beach, and Pulau Rano. There's kayaking, snorkeling, island hopping, and immersive touring to choose from, along with deliciously fresh seafood for the picky eaters.

11.2. Bali

Bali is well-known worldwide for its magnificent beaches, exquisite food, historic temples, exciting nightlife, and world-class coral reefs. Known as the "Island of Gods," Bali is among the best places to go in Asia in December.

Beyond its breathtaking scenery, Bali provides chances for yoga, meditation, and a wide range of adventurous pursuits, including surfing, rafting, diving, and snorkeling. For a genuinely captivating experience, you can visit well-known locations like Pura Tanah Lot, Mount Batur, Uluwatu Temple, Kuta Beach, and the Nusa Islands.

11.3. Jakarta

Indonesia's main city, Jakarta, is a vast metropolis full of amazing adventures with mouthwatering food, energetic retail areas, and a captivating skyline. If the beaches are too cold to enjoy in December, indulging in the city life in Jakarta is an ideal plan. You can go and see the magnificent churches, mosques, national monuments, and art galleries scattered in the city. 

The vibrant nightlife of Jakarta is also an interesting experience you must not miss, when bars, cafés, and nightclubs provide top-notch entertainment for both residents and visitors from outside. 

12. China – where to go in Asia in December for mountain and forest adventures

Though the winter in China is not anything near comfortable, which can be as low as 2°C, China attracts local and international tourists thanks to the benefits of traveling during December. There are definitely fewer crowds, hotels and flights are cheaper, and you can have a more authentic experience with the local daily life. 

Best places to go in Asia in December

12.1. Chengdu

Sichuan Province's capital, Chengdu, is one of the best cities to visit in Asia. You can visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see the pandas, or see the enormous Leshan Giant Buddha, the biggest stone Buddha in the world. Conquering the snow-capped summits of Mount Emei will bring you wonderful views from the Golden Summit. For those who love the outdoors, a trip to Jiuzhai Valley, well-known for its emerald lakes and waterfalls, is also a good plan. 

12.2. Huangshan

Huangshan, or the Yellow Mountains, mesmerizes tourists with its snow-capped peaks and the charm of the "Four Wonders.” If you trek over these mountains, you will get to see the legendary "Absurd Stones" and "Strange Pines” and lose yourself in the captivating 'Sea of Clouds’ that will take your breath away as you reach the top. 

After a fulfilling trek, you can relax in the "Hot Spring" to revive yourself and take a day excursion to Xidi or Hongcun Ancient Village, where you can learn more about Hui-style culture.

>>> Explore this complete guide to Asia tours for your travel!

Asia in December reveals a rich and stunning tapestry of locations, each giving a distinct experience for all traveling types. Whether you're looking for snowy vistas, tropical paradises, or cultural immersions, Asia in December has a wealth of options that will ensure a memorable and satisfying travel experience. We hope this article has provided you with a glimpse of the incredible diversity and beauty of the best places to go in Asia in December.

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