When deciding what to wear in Thailand, it is good to know that the people in the ‘Land of Smiles’ are fairly conservative, modest, and tend to dress accordingly. If you are looking for what to wear in Bangkok, at temples or at the beaches, continue to read this Thailand dress code guide. It includes what clothes to pack for Thailand, how to stay cool and comfortable in Thailand’s hot and humid climate, and dos and don’ts of what to wear in Thailand.
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Dress Code for Thailand
You should follow the proper dress code in Thailand while traveling as a tourist. In Thailand, while visiting any temple you wear a dress that covers your shoulder, pants that cover your knees. No shoe is allowed inside any temple.
Thailand is not that conservative country like Malaysia and in most cases(except temples and monasteries)there is no dress code at all. However, it is advisable to dress properly to gain respect from the locals.
What to Wear in Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand, where you see some of the best temples in Thailand. Most of these Thai temples have strict dress codes.
For Women: So, what to wear in Bangkok for females? In general for Bangkok sightseeing maxi dress, skirt, linen shirt, airy pants are perfect for the climate in Bangkok. These are really cool and you can stay modest in religious places like temples or monasteries. Make sure that your shoulders are knees are covered properly in temples.
For Male: However, for men, collared shirts, polos are highly recommended for a comfortable Thailand trip cheap. Try to lightweight dress in Bangkok to get rid of hot and humidity.
What to Wear in Thailand Beaches
Travelers from all around the world come here to see some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. You will notice here that most Thais are often fully covered at the beach. Although it’s normal among foreign tourists to wear only swim shorts and for ladies to wear two-piece swimsuits or bikini. Just make sure that you wear swimsuits only at the beach not while you are walking down the street or going back to the hotel.
For Men: The male tourists can wear a swimming trunk or shorts and it is pretty common here in Thailand. Especially the Muay Thai boxers look very cool and you can buy them as a souvenir from Thailand.
For Women: The female travelers should try swimsuits that are not overly exposed, especially at the places that are adjacent to Malaysia.
Topless sunbathing is a BIG NO and unacceptable. Don’t go nude. It will not go to lock you up, but it can make locals nearby very uncomfortable. Always keep a cover-up handy and have your swimsuits covered up while returning to hotels.
What to Wear in Thailand Temples
You MUST follow some certain dress code for Thai temples. The basic rule is to cover your shoulders and knees and it is applicable for both sexes. It is compulsory to maintain proper clothing in the temples of Thailand, religious building or government buildings.
For Female: While visiting temples, opt for long loose pants, leggings or sweatpants, long maxi skirts etc. Women can wear a sarong or a large scarf to cover their shoulders and knees. Although at many temples, you can rent sarong, it’s better to bring a sarong to avoid hygienic risk. You can wrap it around your waist or drape it across your shoulders and chest to cover your body properly.
Just keep in mind, your shoulders and knees must be covered anyway while entering a Thai temple, it doesn’t matter how you are covered.
For Male: Men are also expected to follow the dress code for Thailand temples. Collared shirts and pants are highly preferred. You can wear t-shirts(half sleeve or long sleeve) and shorts(that come to knee) also in Thai temples.
Men will not be allowed to go into the temple with sleeveless shirts, extremely short shorts or a shirt that doesn’t cover your chest. Women shouldn’t go to the temple if their shoulders, cleavage or thighs are showing.
What to Wear in the Streets & Restaurants of Thailand:
Thailand is a tropical country of southeast Asia and most of the time you will find the weather in Thailand as hot, sunny and humid. You will surely sweat no matter what you wear here. So you may think to stuff your suitcase with the sleeveless, see-through shirt, bikini and those tiny shorts. Wait… It’s not like that. Here are my helpful suggestions on what to wear in Thailand for daily activities.
For Men: Polo shirts, button-down collared shirts, and golf or Bermuda shorts are the best options for daily outfits. T-shirts with good quality and cargo pants are also very trendy and helpful in Thailand while strolling along the streets or market. Packing a pair of linen shirts and semi-casual pants will come in handy for an evening out in bars or restaurants.
For Women: Make sure not to bring any tight-fitting items in Thailand. Else your dress will stick to you in the heat. Women can keep skirts, maxi, loose tops with sleeves and light pants or leggings in the Thailand packing list. However wearing short dresses is not restricted in Thailand, but it would be disrespectful if you wear clothes that show your cleavage or knee. Top with skirt or leggings would be perfect in a Thai restaurant.
What Shoes to Wear in Thailand
You should give priority to comfort first, style and fashion second while selecting your shoes for Thailand trip. You have to walk a lot in Thailand while going for beach hopping or exploring the city. So choose wisely.
I will suggest bringing 1 pair of running shoes/sneakers/walking shoes (can be used for trekking on a muddy trail or a long walking day around the city), 1 pair of comfortable sandals(best for beach hopping), 1 pair of flip flops or sip on and 2-3 pair of socks.
You have to take off your shoes while entering any Thai temples. In such cases, flip flop or slip-on can be very handy and comfortable. Lastly, never go anywhere barefooted.
What to wear in Thailand: Dos and Don’ts
- Wear lacy and sheer fabrics to deal with Thailand’s weather
- Collared shirts, full or half sleeve t-shirts
- Dressier shorts and ankle-length pants
- Airy tops that cover your shoulders
- Comfortable close-toed shoes
- Swimsuit with a cover-up
- Go topless sunbath
- Wear tank tops, seethrough shirts, crop tops
- Go barefoot
Tips on What to Wear in Thailand
- Backpacking in Thailand is fun but remember, you are traveling to a new country. Respect their culture and heritage. Dress properly and wear modest clothes, especially at the Thai temples and the beaches.
- Bring sufficient covering(sarong, scarf) when visiting sacred and holy sites.
- Be ready for the scorching sun with terrible humidity. Bring along a hat, umbrella, sunscreen and shades to keep cool.
- Opt for light makeup that won’t sweat and stain your clothes.
- If you plan to visit Thailand for a long period of time do laundry frequently: There are many self-service laundromats in Thailand. Take advantage of the laundry services provided by your hotels or hostels.
Thailand Packing List
What to pack for the Thailand trip? Ok, this Thailand packing list is an average collection for all types of travelers. It depends on what are your needs, your time to visit, location and duration of the trip etc.
If you are going on a solo trip to Thailand, probably you have to bring extra swimwear. Love to hike or long motorbike ride? You may want a hiking boot or scarf. All I want to say, packing list for Thailand varies from person to person.
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These choices of what to wear in Thailand will help you started planning your Thailand packing list. Remember to modify this list based on your personal needs, where you plan to visit in Thailand and what season you are traveling. Figuring out what to wear in Thailand doesn’t have to be hard of confusing! Just make sure what you bring is modest, lightweight and flowy.
Happy Traveling… 🙂