Wintery winds infuse Pattaya with Christmas spirit

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Christmas may not be a recognized holiday in Thailand, but thousands of tourists and residents got into full spirit for the Dec. 25 occasion, with wintery winds bringing a touch of the North Pole to the Eastern Seaboard.

Main roads from Naklua to Jomtien Beach were fitted with Christmas trees while hotels, nightclubs and beer bars across the area were a sea of red Santa hats, with plenty of would-be elves decked out in red-and-while miniskirts as well.

Beautiful young voices fill the air at the Pattaya Orphanage.Beautiful young voices fill the air at the Pattaya Orphanage.

Merry-makers brought in the holiday with fireworks, while some even sang carols and hung stockings in hopes they’d wake up with a special gift in the morning.

Christmas week was an important milestone for Pattaya this year as it tries to recover from the perception gap world travelers had about the impact the country’s flooding crisis had on the city. While business certainly has picked up, businesses along Walking Street were perceptibly quieter than past years with surprising amounts of room to stroll along the main drag and as many as half the seats available inside the avenue’s bars on Dec. 23 and Christmas Day itself.

Santa joins the choir at the Montien Hotel Pattaya.Santa joins the choir at the Montien Hotel Pattaya.

Mother Nature certainty did its part to make it feel like Christmas, as strong winds that inspired arctic shivers blew into town just after midnight Dec. 25 and blew strong for the next 36 hours, plunging temperatures into the teens and replacing visions of sugar plums with hot cocoa in the heads of those awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Boys will be boys at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort’s Christmas celebrations.Boys will be boys at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort’s Christmas celebrations.

Thai style Christmas celebrations at Joy’s Paradise bar in Jomtien.Thai style Christmas celebrations at Joy’s Paradise bar in Jomtien.

Santa pays a visit to a fun table during the Pullman Pattaya Aisawan Resort and Spa’s celebrations of Christmas.Santa pays a visit to a fun table during the Pullman Pattaya Aisawan Resort and Spa’s celebrations of Christmas.

Santa’s helpers visit some honored guests at Jomtien Garden Hotel.Santa’s helpers visit some honored guests at Jomtien Garden Hotel.

Good times had by all at the Sea Max Condo Christmas party.Good times had by all at the Sea Max Condo Christmas party.