Pack with confidence and avoid baggage fees - clothing tips and packing checklists for your vacation

What to Wear in Thailand

Ko Chang

Ko Chang

General Packing Tips

  • There is an amazing choice of very smart hotels, bars and restaurants - often with a very western feel, and it is easy to forget that whilst the hotels may look the same as in the west the Thai people are conservative people.
  • They are quite modest dressers and it's an integral part of their culture, not a fashion statement.
  • In mainland Thailand, no matter how hot and humid it is don't wear sleeveless undershirt tops or short shorts when in public areas.
  • Neat, clean clothing makes you look good and is the best bet for good respect from the Thais.
  • If you are staying in a hotel it's a good idea to take a light sweater or a pashmina shawl as the air conditioning can be fierce at times.
  • If you are going to visit any temples you will have to take off your shoes. Wear shoes that can be easily removed because you cannot wear shoes in the Buddhist temples. Socks are considered poor form and tacky, but comfortable flip flops or sandals work well if sneakers or walking shoes don't appeal.
  • If you're planning to go elephant trekking or even a short ride on one, make sure you have long pants because you will get dirty and dusty - if not wet.
  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • If you need to take cigarettes with you, you are not allowed to take more than 200 into Thailand.
  • Always tip a little, it really makes a big difference to the locals and keep smiling, it will be appreciated.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Showing cleavage is also a bad idea and is thought to be in bad taste.
  • People seem to make more of an effort to dress smartly for dinner in the hotels and a smart top or dress and shoes will be useful. A wrap is also very versatile and can dress up any outfit.
  • If you are going to visit any temples wear shirts or blouses with sleeves and carry a sarong or wear a skirt. Also remember that you will have to take off your shoes. Wear shoes that can be easily removed because you cannot wear shoes in the Buddhist temples. Socks are considered poor form and tacky, but comfortable flip flops or sandals work well if sneakers or walking shoes don't appeal. We highly recommend Hotter shoes, and also the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range.
  • If you're here on business then a smart suit is the order of the day.  Thai women would normally wear a skirt suit rather than a trouser suit.
  • The humidity can play havoc with your hair - so think about accessories or a scarf to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • If you're here on business then a smart suit is the order of the day.

Pack for the Weather

  • November, December, January, February - the cool season when temperatures and rainfall are lowest, though for most tourists the temperatures will still seem hot.
  • March, April, May and June are very hot. As you can imagine, the humidity is very high here so be prepared. Lightweight natural fabrics work best and pack long pants and long-sleeved shirts to help keep the mosquitos from feasting on you.
  • June, July, August, September and October are the monsoon season so not peak times for tourists, but if you do go then be prepared! Pack a lightweight raincoat. It doesn't have to be warm; you can layer up underneath it.

Regions of Thailand

  • Northern Thailand, and its more famous stop offs; Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai enjoys hot daytime temperatures throughout the year although evening temperatures are a good deal lower from October, November, December, January, February and March when you will need to pack warmer layers or a pashmina for the evenings. Good sturdy walking shoes are vital. Make sure you take plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) and insect/mosquito repellent with you as it's very difficult to buy locally in the north and if you do happen to find some it will be expensive.
  • If your trip includes Thailand's islands such as Phuket, the key word here is ‘relaxed'. All types of dress are acceptable here and you'll see a huge variety. The weather's always hot, so you really don't need much and if you're backpacking, it pays to pack light. Our advice is to take a day pack with you and buy everything there – clothes and toiletries are just so cheap that it's really not worth carrying them from one country to the other and then back again.
  • Bangkok is a fascinating mix of cosmopolitan and chic hotels and the traditional, if staying close by the river opt for the water taxis over a hair raising tuk tuk or taxi ride.

Last updated 11 December 2014.

Get a Full Packing List for Thailand

Our Members can download a suggested packing list for Thailand which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

Join us here - it's free!

*
*
 
*
 
(min. 6 characters) *
*
*
 
Mo in United Kingdom
joined 55 minutes ago

Or Members log in here

*
*

Or

Mo in United Kingdom
joined 55 minutes ago

Your Thoughts



Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

Bestsellers For Thailand

Elephant Print Sarong / Scarf

Elephant Print Sarong / Scarf

This cute eye-catching print works well as a sarong or scarf

Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle

Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle

To purify and filter water instantly for safe drinking

Cabin Max Fold Away Day Sack

Cabin Max Fold Away Day Sack

Ideal addition to your cabin baggage, to be used in resort


Visit our Shop

Advice You Can Trust

Thanks so much for the very helpful email, will take your advice on board!

- Angela, UK