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

What to Wear in Thailand

Island beach, in February

Island beach, in February

Big Buddha Phuket, in March

Big Buddha Phuket, in March

On the beach, Phuket in March

On the beach, Phuket in March

Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist temple, April

Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist temple, April

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, in August

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, in August

Damnoen Saduak floating market, in November

Damnoen Saduak floating market, in November

Golden Temple, Bangkok in November

Golden Temple, Bangkok in November

Maeklong Railway Market, November

Maeklong Railway Market, November

Phi Phi Islands, in December

Phi Phi Islands, in December

Temple at Chiang Mai, December

Temple at Chiang Mai, December

Ko Chang

Ko Chang

General Packing Tips

  • As there is an amazing choice of very smart hotels, bars and restaurants - often with a very Western feel - it is easy to forget that the Thais are conservative people.
  • They are quite modest dressers and it's an integral part of their culture, not a fashion statement.
  • So neat, clean clothing makes you look good and is the best bet for gaining respect.
  • In mainland Thailand, no matter how hot and humid it is, don't wear sleeveless tops or short shorts when in public areas.
  • If you're staying in a hotel it's a good idea to take a light sweater or a pashmina as the air conditioning can be fierce at times.
  • When visiting any Buddhist temples you will have to take off your shoes, so choose styles that can be easily removed. Socks are considered tacky, but comfortable flip flops or sandals work well if sneakers or walking shoes don't appeal. We love Hotter shoes, for lightweight comfort plus style.
  • If you're planning to go elephant trekking or even take a short ride on one, make sure you have long pants because you will get dirty and dusty - if not wet.
  • When trekking, merino wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • Wear plenty of good sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunhat and good sunglasses - and don't forget your insect/mosquito repellent.
  • Some unusual Thai laws you might want to bear in mind - it's illegal to leave your house if you're not wearing underwear, and you must always wear a shirt when driving a car!

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Avoing showing cleavage as it 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 nice top or sundress and shoes will be useful.
  • A wrap is also very versatile and can dress up any outfit, as will some simple costume jewelry.
  • If you are going to visit any temples wear longer sleeves, and wear a long skirt, pants or take a sarong with you. Also remember that you will need to remove your shoes. The Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range is good.
  • The humidity can play havoc with your hair - so think about accessories or a scarf to keep it looking neat and tidy.
  • If you're here on business then a smart suit is the order of the day. Thai women normally wear a skirt-suit rather than pants.

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 and February is the cooler 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 too so be prepared. Lightweight natural fabrics work best, and pack long pants and long-sleeved shirts to help keep the mosquitoes 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 and travel umbrella.

Regions of Thailand

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Northern Thailand and its more famous stop offs of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai enjoy hot daytime temperatures throughout the year, although evening temperatures are a good deal lower from October to 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 you plan to hike up to higher altitudes in the northern hills, do check the likely weather conditions before your trip and be prepared for cool temperatures (even snow on occasions). You may need some warmer layers, which you could pick up at the markets in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai if you don't want to carry them for your whole trip.

Other Things To Pack

  • 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.
  • Carry plenty of coins so you can always tip a little, it really makes a big difference to the locals.
  • A bag or soft-sided rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when traveling around the country, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Combine your main bag with a day sack or beach bag that will carry your daytime essentials.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. You might want to consider a solar powered charger too, as a back-up for your battery.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (230V).
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! You'll find a wide selection of silks (scarves, clothing, purses, ties), or why not have something handmade? The Bangkok tailors can create or reproduce almost anything for you.

Last updated 21 July 2015.

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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

Unisex Canvas Breezy Safari / Sun Hat

Unisex Canvas Breezy Safari / Sun Hat

Popular outdoor activity hat with ventilated mesh sides

Water-to-Go 750ml Filtration Water Bottle

Water-to-Go 750ml Filtration Water Bottle

Purifies and filters 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


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Advice You Can Trust

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

- Angela, UK