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Beaches, mountains, and hyper Bangkok – Thailand is a fun country to visit. Whether you are island hopping or gap year stopping, there’s something for every type of travel lover.
However, with all the excitement of planning the trip of a lifetime, we often get carried away with what to take and end up packing too much.
This Thailand packing list will detail what to wear in Thailand, including the travel essentials, toiletries, and electronics you can’t leave at home. We will also detail what to buy in Thailand!
Know Before You Go
Packing for Thailand shouldn’t be a stressful experience, but we advise checking out the weather forecast and this list of the top Thailand activities to help you work out your travel gear.
Weather in Thailand
The image of Thailand on socials would make you think it is sunny all of the time, but that isn’t accurate, unfortunately!
The best time to visit Thailand depends on which areas you plan to visit.
- May- late September/early October is bad for the West Coast islands like Phuket and Krabi.
- September-December is the rainy season for the east coast islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
- The north sees a drier season around November-May.
Top Things to Do in Thailand
- Rum buckets and scorpion snacks in Bangkok.
- Waterfalls and hot springs in Pai.
- Hiking, rafting, and ethical elephant visitrs in Chiang Mai.
- Temple hunting in Chiang Rai.
- Diving and snorkeling at Koh Phi Phi.
- Full moon party Ko Pha-Ngan.
- Expat life Koh Tao.
Thailand Packing List
Naturally, the number of items depends on your luggage size and duration.
For two weeks, consider the following.
Clothes – Female/Ladies
- Four vest tops (day).
- Three cami/dress vest tops.
- Shorts for a beach/city.
- Skirts. I actually prefer skirts to shorts.
- Black gym/yoga pants – Casual and disco pants in one item.
- Dresses – A little black dress is always a winner, matched with flip-flops and a scarf/shirt for the perfect Thailand outfit.
- Shorts for hiking.
- Overtrousers US / UK for downpours while hiking.
- A waterproof coat like my beloved Marmot US / UK, which folds into its own pocket, great for hiking/saves space. I am on my second purchase in ten years.
- Merino wool base layer like Icebreaker Merino wool base layer US / UK – keeps you cool in hot climates and warm in cold conditions.
If you plan to spend much time on islands, check out our beach packing list too.
Hybrid clothing is on point. Convertible dresses can be worn in twenty different ways. Saves space and looks unique in every photo you take!
Pack travel detergent. We washed our clothes with shampoo during our travels, and they stunk after a while.
What to Pack for Thailand (Male/Men)
Guys, you’ll want to look still suave while fighting the sweat.
Here are our tried, tested, and refined Thailand travel essentials for men.
- Five vesties.
- Five shirts/t-shirts (check out Bluffwork’s range for travel-specific shirts).
- Hiking pants – Convertibles work well for hikes.
- Merino wool base layer.
- Waterproof coat – Craig is now rocking the Mountain Equipment Rupal, but that might be a little bulky for Thailand.
Pro tip: You must cover up when visiting temples; some have clothes for you to wear there.
Hey lads! You might like our travel trousers guide.
Personally, I think the best shoes for Thailand come in a three-pack!
Flip-flops/sliders for beach days, hiking boots or covered shoes for treks, and fancier sandals for evening wear.
- A sturdy pair of flip-flops – Havaianas US / UK.
- A fancier pair of sandals for partying.
- Closed shoes like black trainers (go with everything) for scooter rides. Don’t attempt mopeds in flip-flops; you will scrape or burn your feet. Craig scraped, and I burnt mine.
- Gortex waterproof hiking shoes or boots or shoes that are lighter. I wear Salomon US / UK, which I trekked with to Machu Picchu. Craig wears Scarpa boots for treks and wading his way through monsoon roadblocks!
That’s it, don’t pack another pair. You are just wasting precious space.
How to Pack Your Travel Shoes for Thailand
The first packing tip is to wear your heaviest pair of shoes during travel/transit; that’s why I like my Salomon; they look nice and support my awkward feet.
Then squeeze your other shoes down the sides of your suitcase or backpack.
Most backpacks open like suitcases with the front opening like a clamshell so that you can get access to your shoes stored at the sides of the case easily enough.
It’s often worth popping your flip-flops in your day bag for accessibility. Hot feet are no fun!
Pack a heavy-duty bag for dirty/sandy hiking boots; if you can, double this bag up as a waterproof bag, which is useful for water sports.
When creating your checklist on what to bring to Thailand, pride of place should be a couple of swimwear options because, let’s face it, we book a trip to Thailand to get those vacation shots of the palm trees and turquoise waters.
So, let’s dive in.
- Pants/knickers/boxers – I pack extra because, well… sweat.
- Cotton trainer socks.
- Merino wool hiking socks US / UK – very important for hiking as they are breathable.
- Sports bra.
- Kaftan, sarongs, cover-ups – don’t go wild on these. One is enough if you are going all-inclusive or looking to book into a luxury hotel.
- Swimming shorts.
Top tip for bikinis – Pack dark bottoms and various shades of bikini tops for different looks.
Save space and buy a snorkel once you reach the beach destination.
- Large scarf – Scarves make great covers, blankets, bags, and curtains for hostel dorm beds.
- Day bag – I adore my Kanken and Osprey Daylite US / UK. Craig uses the Osprey Talon 22L US / UK hiking backpack.
- Tote bag – Stop the Thai plastic tide.
- Leave the bling, including engagement rings, at home.
- Bio-degradable glitter for Full Moon, BUT don’t go in the sea with it – respect the Thai marine life.
- Bamboo straw and cutlery kit US / UK.
- You definitely want to take headphones for bus/train/boat/plane journeys. They are also your best bet for when there’s a snorer in your company and great for hiding behind when you are too hungover to be social.
- GoPro to document all your adventures, and definitely splurge on the waterproof cover and floating hand grip.
- Waterproof phone covers are great for keeping your phone alive but still available for selfies.
- MagSafe and batter packs. We still love the Anker battery pack US / UK for phone and GoPro charging on the go.
- Craig never hikes without the JBL Clip US / UK. It has superb sound quality and is economically priced.
- Universal plugs with USB slots are space savers US / UK
For every item we travel with and the ones we’ve ditched over the years, read our travel gear guide.
Travel Toiletries and Medication
- Suntan lotion/sunscreen.
- Nice high-factor face cream like La Roche-Posay US / UK.
- Soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Solid versions save space, avoid spills, and tend to be plastic-free.
- Tooth tablets (no spill) or toothpaste.
- Make-up: keep this to a minimum. You’ll rarely wear it; even if you put it on, you can expect it to fall off your face in the heat! I like a palette that covers all bases.
- Mosquito repellent – you’ll need to decide if you want DEET or DEET-free products like Avon Soft Skin US / UK. We’ve used both, but nothing works if mosquitoes are like you.
- You don’t need a mosquito net; make sure you book accommodation with it.
- Malaria tablets – I cheaped out and took the (free) budget malaria tablets for our trip to Southeast Asia. I definitely didn’t feel myself; I bruised easily and felt a bit paranoid. For South America, I paid for Malarone and felt better. Others have had different experiences with both! Share your experience in the comments below.
- See your doctor for vaccinations.
- Well-stocked first aid kit with needles.
- Tubigrip for strains.
- Leukotape US / UK to cover heels during hikes. That stuff does not budge!
- Electrolytes US / UK for the hangovers. Rum buckets, ‘nuf said.
- Filtering/purifying water bottle.
- Don’t forget your travel insurance.
- Our review of True Traveller and World Nomads can be read here.
Thailand Packing Checklist
See here to download your checklist for things to pack for Thailand.
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Things To Buy In Thailand
You can pretty much buy anything in Thailand (7/11, Tesco, Pizza Hut), so don’t worry if you forget an item.
It is a rite of passage to purchase:
- Hareem elephant pants/trousers.
- ‘Same same but different’ vesties.
- Tiger balm.
- Thai silk blankets.
- Fakebans that look good but offer no protection.
- Thai lanterns, but don’t let them go/bad for the environment.
- And for the most permanent souvenir – a Sak Yant tattoo!
All of the above can be purchased at Thai markets and along Kho San Road in Bangkok.
I wish we had got a fake university card for cheap student discounts back home…
How to Pack for Thailand
One of the hardest parts of packing for Thailand is being strict on what you plan to take.
Pro tip – Pack once, then save time to re-pack because a third of what is in your bag/case should be left behind!
Backpack users should consider a separation system like packing cubes or large ziplock bags.
I did the latter for Thailand but now use packing cubes.
For space-saving, roll your tops and then place them in the cube/bag.
Do the same for your bottoms.
Roll valuables like sunglasses up with an item of clothing.
Suitcase users should roll or fold their items; the decision is yours.
I do believe that rolling creates more space, though!
Place shoes down the sides of the bag or make them fit into each other and pack them first.
Store items like socks, headscarves, etc, in the shoes.
Keep your flip-flops in your day bag.
Pack a clean pair of underwear, top, and swimwear in your carry-on bag, too, just in case your luggage goes missing.
Tripping with your partner?
Pack half of a bag each. That way, if one case goes missing, you still have half of your Thailand essentials.
You might also find our carry-on backpack guide useful.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is wearing shorts in Thailand acceptable?
Sure! But if you plan to visit any temples, you might want to pack a long pair of pants and a long-sleeved top.
2. What are the colors/colours not to wear in Thailand?
Nothing is off-limits, but research states that mosquitos prefer darker shades.
On the flip side, laundry store washing machines really don’t like white, so expect your gear to come back looking a little on the yellow side.
P2o suntan lotion definitely does like white, it stains it.
3. What medications can I take to Thailand?
I took malaria tablets and the pill with me to Thailand with no issues. It is wise to carry your prescription receipt with you in case you are questioned.
Like it? Pin it to your Thailand mood board!
Thailand is honestly a chilled destination with an infrastructure set up for tourists and backpackers. As long as you have your passport, visa, vaccinations, and the correct meds, you don’t have to overthink packing for Thailand because this country has everything ‘same same but different’!
Whether you are backpacking Thailand for a month or flashpacking to one or two destinations, you are in for a fun time, but do remember the hangover hydration tablets!
What have we missed, tell us in the comments below?