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10 Best places to visit in December for Malaysians

The year-end holiday season is a time of festivities and spending quality days with your loved ones. So much so that choosing the perfect destination is essential in ensuring that everyone has an unforgettable vacation. If you’re out of ideas for your next vacation this December, then let us inspire you with some of the best places to visit in December.

Snowy winter destinations to visit in December

1. Seoul, Korea

The capital of South Korea and the very heart of K-pop, Seoul is a city like no other. Here, you can find something interesting in every corner. From historical landmarks such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village to mouth-watering street food like ddeokbokki (spicy rice cake) and samgyeopsal (pork strips), Seoul is a stunning metropolis with something to offer every traveller. A vacation in Seoul doesn’t have to be expensive either, with plenty of possibilities to create a budget-friendly Seoul itinerary.

Just be sure to pack warm clothes if you’re travelling to Seoul in December, as temperatures typically range between 4 to -5 degrees Celsius.

Recommended for: Friends / Families

Estimated Budget: RM3,200 – RM 4,000 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

2. Kyoto, Japan

destination places to visit in December
Image credit: Takeshi Kuboki

Kyoto is another travel-worthy destination if you don’t mind its cold weather in winter. Sure, it may not be as well-trodden as Tokyo or Osaka, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it has nothing to offer. Kyoto is beautiful and should not be skipped if you’re visiting Japan. Noteworthily, Kyoto is home to several iconic locations such as the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Fushimi Inari Shrine, famed for its bamboo grove and iconic red pillars (torii gates) respectively. These are arguably the most photographed locations in Kyoto and are must-sees when you’re there.

Travellers visiting Kyoto in December should take full advantage of the Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro Illumination which is a 10-day event where popular locations, including the Togetsukyo Bridge and Bamboo Grove, will be lit up at night. The event will be taking place from 13 to 22 of December this year. And if that’s still not enough to entice you, then the Gion district surely will with its traditional wooden townhouses (Machiya) and teahouses (Ochaya) where geishas entertain guests.

Do note that there are no airports in Kyoto. Therefore, travellers looking to visit Kyoto may fly to Osaka International Airport which is about 50 minutes by bus away from Kyoto.

Recommended for: Groups

Estimated Budget: RM3,800 – RM4,500 (5 days, 4 nights)

3. Florence, Italy

If a European cultural adventure is what you’re after, Florence is undoubtedly one of the most historic and beautiful places in Europe, especially when the city is covered in snow in winter. Feast your eyes on a treasure trove of Renaissance art at The Uffizi, marvel at the beauty of the Duomo di Firenze, or be amazed by David, a masterpiece created by Michelangelo, the famed Renaissance artist. Florence truly is a haven for history buffs and art enthusiasts.

The weather in Florence in December is cool with temperatures dropping as low as 3 degrees Celsius, so pack your thick jackets.

Recommended for: Couples / Families

Estimated Budget: RM5,500 – RM6,200 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

Destinations with a moderate, cool climate to visit in December

4. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is the capital and the second-largest city of Vietnam. This historical city dates back to over a thousand years and today, it features a cool mix of ancient oriental and French-colonial architecture. The two main districts of Hanoi are the Hoan Kiem District (Old Quarter) and Ba Dinh District (French Quarter), both offering unique landmarks for travellers to immerse themselves in the Hanoian way of life.

Once you’re there, be sure to explore all the Old Quarter has to offer as this is where most of the city’s sights and popular shopping spots are located. Travelling in the Old Quarter is best done on foot but with the chaotic traffic, it can be a bit daunting if it’s your first time in Vietnam. But fret not – just watch how the locals cross the road and copy them.

December is a fantastic time to visit Hanoi due to its cool and dry weather with temperatures ranging between 15 to 22 degrees Celsius.

Recommended for: Families / Groups

Estimated Budget: RM1,800 – RM 2,500 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

5. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is another bustling metropolis that should be on everyone’s travel list. Travellers looking to get a bird’s-eye view of the city should make their way to the observatory deck of the iconic Taipei 101. But if the fast-paced city life is not your cup of tea, then take a day trip to Jiufen, the Santorini of Taipei, where life takes on a quieter approach. If that’s not enough, take a trip back in time by exploring Bopiliao Old Street where buildings date back to the Qing dynasty. There is more to Taipei than meets the eye – you’ll never know what adventures await you at every turn.

Taipei is dry and cool in December, with temperatures ranging between 15 to 21 degrees Celsius.

Recommended for: Families / Groups

Estimated Budget: RM2,700 – RM3,500 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

Sunny & warm destinations to visit in December

6. Queenstown, New Zealand

New Zealand makes an excellent destination all year round but visiting Queenstown in December is best for those who aren’t looking for a winter escape. On the contrary, it will summer in Queenstown, and the vibrant town will be buzzing with tourists from all over the world seeking an adventure.

Queenstown boasts a multitude of attractions that will surely leave you coming back for more. From scenic mountain hiking and boat riding to more adrenaline-packed activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping, Queenstown’s charm is simply irresistible.

But do not let this town stop you from exploring beyond its borders! Take a road trip to world-famous locations such as Milford Sound, Mt. Cook, and Lake Tekapo for more unforgettable moments. There is much to explore in New Zealand, all that’s required is an adventurous spirit.

While packing for your trip, keep in mind that while daytime temperatures reach a warm 20 degrees Celsius in Queenstown, it can get chilly or even cold at night.

Recommended for: Families / Groups

Estimated Budget: RM5,000 – RM7,000 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

7. Gold Coast, Australia

As Europeans put on their winter coats and head indoors, Australians do the opposite. It’s summer and the Gold Coast is one of the best places to visit in December. Be sure to pack a pair of swimwear because no trip to the Gold Coast is complete without getting into the water. You’ll find a bunch of water-based activities such as surfing, boat riding, whale watching, and scuba diving. Not sure how to surf? Sign yourself up for surf lessons from one of the surf schools and be guided by experts who are ever ready to teach someone how to catch a wave – after all, the Gold Coast is called surfers paradise for a reason. If a fun-filled adventure on land is what you seek, then Gold Coast’s natural attractions, world-famous amusement parks, and bustling shopping centres have got you covered.

The temperature is the Gold Coast is balmy in December, reaching a high of 28 degrees Celsius and a low of 20 degrees Celcius.

Recommended for: Families / Groups

Estimated Budget: RM4,000 – RM6,000 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

8. Krabi, Thailand

Krabi is a natural choice for those looking for a beach getaway in December. Beach bumming is a popular tourist activity in Krabi and for good reason! There is no shortage of charming white-sand beaches in Krabi. Among the more popular ones are Koh Poda and Railay Beach which offer travellers picturesque views and clear blue waters.

But that’s not all! Off the coast of Krabi lies a seemingly endless amount of islands, each offering a unique experience. Island hopping is a must in Krabi and boats for hire is in abundance here, so you don’t have to worry about finding one for your own. For more adventurous travellers, challenge yourself by hiking up 1,237 stairs to reach the summit of Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) for a bird’s-eye view of Krabi.

As for what to wear, you’ll be just fine in t-shirts and shorts or a summer dress as the temperatures in Krabi go up to 31 degrees Celsius in the daytime.

Recommended for: Couples

Estimated Budget: RM1,500 – RM2,000 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

9. Siem Reap, Cambodia

One of the best destinations to visit in December, Siem Reap is widely known for being the home of the legendary Angkor Wat. This religious attraction is one of the largest and oldest monuments and has been visited by over a million tourists worldwide, making it a must-see when in Siem Reap. Aside from all the temple runs you’ll be doing, be prepared to party till the early hours of the morning as the city doesn’t sleep come nightfall. Pub Street buzzes with excitement at night and is a tourist hotspot with bars, clubs, and restaurants. If nightlife is not for you, check out the many other things to do & places to visit in Siem Reap.

Siem Reap’s weather in December is dry and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 22 to 31 degrees Celsius, thus making it an ideal destination for a year-end vacation. 

Recommended for: Families / Groups

Estimated Budget: RM1,500 – RM2,000 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

10. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Who said you have to travel far and wide for an unforgettable vacation? Last but definitely not the least, Malaysia’s land below the wind, Sabah, is a beautiful travel destination to visit in December which should not be overlooked.

Once you’re there, hop on board the North Borneo Railway for a unique experience on a British Vulcan steam locomotive. Those seeking a cultural experience should visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of some of Borneo’s ethnic groups. Kota Kinabalu is also home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia. Hiking up the famed mountain is certainly possible and can be accomplished within two days through guided tours. After your hike, simply unwind at Tanjung Aru Beach with your loved ones where you will be treated to beautiful sunsets.

Kota Kinabalu sees warm and sunny days during the year-end period, but it’s advised to be prepared for wet weather as rains are still a possibility.

Recommended for: Families

Estimated Budget: RM1,800 – RM2,400 per person (5 days, 4 nights)

Now that you have some inspiration for your upcoming year-end vacation, it’s time to book cheap flights, hotels, and car rental with Skyscanner today. Download our free mobile app for easy browsing and booking on the go.