No snow? No problem. These Christmas markets in Asia are just as cool
From a sustainable themed bazaar in Manila to a light show extravaganza in Taipei, there’s snow way these markets are any less festive than their northern counterparts.
Ah, Christmas. That time of year when we envision fresh pine trees decked in lights and baubles, lounging beside fireplaces with a wineglass (or three) in hand, and strolling through snow-dusted festive markets abuzz with stalls filled with food, drinks and gifts.
But what if you’re living on geographical coordinates that don’t call up snowflakes in December? Fret not. Check out these Christmas markets that give you equally festive feels from classic Yuletide to avant-garde artsy.
BIZARRE XMAS FESTIVAL, KUALA LUMPUR (DEC 20 TO DEC 25)
Don’t call it a “buh-zaar”, it’s a “bee-za-ry”. And that pretty much sums up the kooky vibe of this Christmas market spread across a 300m-long street at the EkoCheras Mall. Grab interesting-sounding bites such as the Matcha Dirty Bun (don’t worry, it’s just a chewy bun coated in matcha powder and filled with Belgian white chocolate and matcha) from Muyoo, take on a fitness challenge or indulge in the creative atmosphere of digital art exhibitions and installations, live music, and “IG squares” for those FOMO shots.
CARRIAGEWORKS CHRISTMAS FARMERS MARKET, SYDNEY (DEC 21)
This market is a festive edition of the popular weekly Carriageworks Farmers Market, which supports over 120 producers throughout the region. Learn how to pickle cherries or pick up something for the Christmas table or as stocking stuffers. There are over 100 stalls selling gourmet produce and food-themed gifts such as fresh oysters, coffee, jams and cheeses as well as customised aprons, beeswax wraps and hand-printed linen.
CHRISTMASLAND, TAIPEI (UNTIL DEC 15)
Once a year, Taipei’s Banqiao district is transformed into a glittering extravaganza and fairytale playground with romantic light tunnels, carnivals and market fairs. Highlights in this year’s 8,800 sqm visual feast spanning Banqiao Station and New Taipei City Hall include giant lit-up Christmas trees and the largest light show in Taiwan with 12 interwoven laser beams creating a multi-layered 3D surround effect.
THE GREEN HOUSE CHRISTMAS FAIR, MANILA (DEC 14-15)
Zero-waste advocates and eco-warriors rejoice. This fair, held at the Alabang Lifestyle Centre, serves up plant-based food, sustainable threads, all-natural bathroom products, and even accessories and healthy treats for your furry pets. Interesting picks include handwoven bags by weavers from Samar, stylish comfortable dog leashes by Bullie and collapsible tumblers and lunch boxes from Project R – all local brands.
THE UNDERGROUND CHRISTMAS MARKET, WELLINGTON (DEC 14-15; DEC 21-22)
Located along Wellington’s picturesque waterfront, and under the Frank Kitts Park at Jervois Quay, the usually Saturdays-only Wellington Underground Market is a creative incubator of emerging local businesses, artists and designers. Its Christmas edition spreads over four weekends (including Sundays) before Christmas and features over 90 stalls perfect for scoring that one-of-a-kind present for your favourite people.