There isn’t any single Thailand packing list that is perfect for everyone. Varied budgets, destinations, trip durations, and travel styles create different packing situations. No matter your style, bringing too much is a sure way to put a damper on the trip. Avoid blowing your funds on useless travel gadgets and use this list to get your head thinking in the right direction!
What Types of Clothing for Thailand?
Keep in mind that Thailand is a tropical country where you rarely need any cold-weather clothing or jackets. Laundry is very cheap and you can purchase anything you need over here, so pack less than you think you will need.
- Bring One Jacket or Fleece: Long-haul transportation such as night buses and trains crank up the air conditioning. You’ll definitely be glad you brought something warm when you see frost start to form on the windows! A thin rain jacket will also come in handy for unexpected showers that can pop up even during the dry season.
- Bring Conservative Clothing: Although temples in tourist areas are increasingly more lax, you can show respect by covering your shoulders and by wearing long pants when visiting sacred places. Avoid shirts with offensive images or messages. Read more about temple etiquette in Thailand.
Pack Less Clothing: You really do not need as much in Thailand. Packing less leaves suitcase room for local shirts and wearables that can’t be purchased at home. Finding tall or broad sizes can sometimes be a challenge in markets that cater to Asian body sizes.
Shoes for Thailand
Leave those heavy shoes and high heels at home: The default footwear in Thailand is the ever-useful pair of flip-flop sandals. You’ll find plenty of cheap sandals on offer in Thailand, but they may only last for the duration of your trip. If you plan on doing some trekking, bring a pair of hiking sandals or lightweight hiking shoes.
You’ll be expected to leave your shoes outside of temples as well as some restaurants, shops, and bars. Sandals without straps are easier to get on and off quickly. Expensive sandals that stand out in the shoe pile have a greater chance of mysteriously walking away while you’re inside.
Must-Have Items to Carry
Whether you purchase them locally or bring them from home, you’ll certainly want each of these items with you:
- Sunscreen: Prices are essentially the same that you’ll find at home.
- Sunglasses: They’ll probably take some abuse, so cheap sunglasses are best.
- Mosquito Repellent: Dengue fever is a serious problem throughout Thailand. Mosquito coils can be purchased locally to keep mosquitoes away from your bungalow porch or balcony.
- Toilet Paper: You’ll find it on tables in restaurants but not always in the restrooms!
- LED Flashlight: Power outages are a common occurrence.
- Hat: Expect the sun in Southeast Asia to be far stronger than it is at home.
- Waterproof Bag: Unexpected rain, even during the dry season, can take the fun out of carrying books and electronics to the beach. Consider investing in a waterproof day bag. Alternatively, dry bags — the same kind used by scuba divers — can be purchased at shops in the islands for around US $10.