A lot of people message me to ask do Thais celebrate Valentine’s day?They also want to know if they should buy their Thai partner a gift and the answer to both questions is most certainly yes!
Like other special festivals from the western world, Valentine’s has made its way to Thailand big time. From shopping malls to public transport you will see a flood of hearts and pink everywhere come the beginning of February.
Most of the messages I get are linked to buying gifts. I already wrote an article Ultimate Gifts for Thai Girlfriends and Wives which you should take a look at for a full run through. A quick look shows that for Valentine’s day the most common gifts are soft toys/dolls and jewelry.
I would also say that although the idea of flowers and chocolates might sound corny they will go down well. A lot of Thai people love the tradition of festivals and as such have the idea that chocolates and flowers are a certainty to receive on this special day.
Over the last 3 years I have bought my girlfriend chocolates, jewelry, flowers, Victoria Secrets bags and a teddy bear. All of these went down well and would be good examples of simple things you can buy.
After giving a gift you will be expected to take your special someone out for dinner. You can either go out somewhere special or take your partner to their favorite place. The Hollywood style Valentine’s image says you should go somewhere romantic but in the end your date might just really want to go to MK or BBQ Plaza!
I always go to an independent restaurant which has a nice atmosphere, a good mix of food and some live music. A really good example is the Waterside Resort Restaurant which is about 10 minutes north of Ladprao. It has a lovely restaurant built on stilts above a huge lake. It normally costs around 1,500 Baht for the two of us. They have a wine shop too if you’re into that kind of thing.
Another place to look at is Chocolate Ville which is a good restaurant and also has a huge number of decorations and things to do (think selfie opportunities). This place is always busy so you will have to call or message them on their Facebook page to reserve a table. It is a little bit far from central Bangkok but is a really special place and seems to be very famous among Thai people. Price wise it is around the same as the Waterside Resort for two people.
If you’re partner is anything like my girlfriend then they love snacks!
Every Valentine’s day we hit somewhere to get snacks. The best places to take your Thai partner to are the famous desert cafes like After You and Pancake Cafe which have branches in most major shopping malls. The alternative is to go to somewhere like Swensen’s which is an ice cream parlor with branches all around the country.
You can also go to your local cafe as Thailand seems to have more dessert shops per square kilometer than anywhere else I have been!
If you are looking to do something different on Valentine’s Day then there are a few things you could consider doing.
Food always goes down well in Thailand so don’t be afraid to go on a picnic. Sure the weather is hot but go in the evening to a park or the beach and you will have a romantic spot.
Visit a temple. Sure it might not seem fun for you but if your Thai partner visits a temple frequently then Valentine’s day is a good time to go. You can make merit for the future of your relationship and spend time in a quiet place.
Escape your town / city for the day. If you aren’t working then make a day trip to a local place on interest. There are lots of beautiful places to visit and even just a few hours in a different environment can be special.
How Much Should I Spend?
Most Thai people don’t really give expensive gifts, even on special occasions. We get a lot of messages from Thai men and women who are quite worried about how much to spend on their foreign partner. As such I think it is better to think of thoughtful gifts rather than expensive ones. In the end I think there isn’t an expectation of a certain amount being spent but your partner will want to see some thought has been put into it.
Normally I spend around $100 (3,500 Baht) on a gift, flowers and a meal out. I spend more on my girlfriend for her Birthday and we always think of Valentine’s as a day we can spend together rather than a gift giving day.
Even though we normally split the bill at restaurants I always pay on Valentine’s day.
Do Thais celebrate Valentine’s Day?
So as you can see Valentine’s Day is important in Thailand and your special someone will be expecting something on the 14th February.
Overall don’t be afraid to do something traditional as that is what a lot of Thai people like about these festivals. Flowers, chocolates and a meal out will be a winner!