When you’re packing your suitcase for your trip to Koh Samui or Phuket, Bangkok or Chang Mai, just what exactly do you put in? What do you leave out? Which clothes are best for a hot, humid climate? Are there any special considerations you need to think about when packing your clothes for a Thailand vacation?
We’re here to help with our quick guide to what to wear in Thailand. Get tips for what to wear at the beach, at the pool, and at the temples. Pack these essentials and you’ll be ready to enjoy your vacation, whatever the weather and whatever activities you take part in.
For a longer list and more detail, see Koh Samui Sunset.
What to Wear in Bangkok
Bangkok is an international city and it has its fair share of very smart, upscale restaurants and bars so you’ll want to dress up if you are eating or drinking in these locations. Plus, many of the five-star hotels have dress suggestions for their public (non-pool) areas. But elsewhere you need to wear what is comfortable for you – casual trousers or a long skirt, comfortable walking shoes, a lightweight T-shirt or shirt are all essentials. Women should dress a little more conservatively than they would, for example, at the beach. For men, polo shirts are a good bet, as are loafers or running shoes, and collared shirts for dinner.
What to Wear in Koh Samui or Phuket
When you’re on the beach or at the pool, anything goes. But pack something to cover up for a walk around a beach town or to have lunch in a restaurant – a loose cotton top and a sarong, or a pair of shorts and loose shirt is ideal. Stick to natural fabrics that will give you comfort when you are walking around to and from the bar and the hotel. And you must pack a hat. Hats are essential for protection against the hot, hot sun.
Is There a Dress Code in Thailand?
On the whole, people in Thailand dress modestly and while there is no dress code it helps you fit in and enjoy better service if you err on the side of modest when you get ready to go out. Of course, it depends where you are – by the pool in Koh Samui your skimpiest bikini won’t raise any eyebrows. But walking down a street in rural Thailand or when looking around a temple, it helps to cover up a bit.
What to Wear to Visit a Temple
It is important to pay attention to the dress code in a Thai temple as you will cause offence if you do not respect it. Most temples have signs out front telling you about the dress, so you’ve got no excuse. Cover your shoulders and your knees (both men and women). Men can wear long pants, women pants or capris, a longer skirt, or longer shorts. If you don’t have anything, wear a pashmina or a scarf over your shoulders and a long scarf can also be used as a makeshift long skirt. Wear closed-toe shoes, preferably, and ones which are easy to take off as you will be removing them when going inside a temple.
Fabrics to Wear in Thailand
The natural choice is always better in terms of fabric, unless you are contending with the rainy season. Linen or a cotton/linen blend in an oversize cut is ideal for a shirt – male and female. If you are worried about too many creases in linen, pack a travel steamer. Light cotton is also a good choice for keeping you cool. If you are hiking you may want to look at quick-dry fabrics but give them a test-run before you take them into a tropical climate. If you want to snorkel a lot and you are prone to burning, a skin-protecting SPF fabric is perfect and will keep your skin safer as you go out on the boat. You can also get these clothing items for kids to wear as they will undoubtedly be in the sun most of the day.
What not to wear? Leave your jeans at home. You will suffer in the heat and it’s not a good look – even though Thais wear them all the time. Also avoid any fabrics or items that contain polyester. You’ll sweat and it won’t be pretty.
For more Thailand travel tips, check out PhuketOn. Find accommodation, sightseeing, activities and more at PhuketOn.
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