Feeding Elephants | Thailand Packing List

Thailand Packing List: Tips, Pics + Free Printable Checklist

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Beaches, mountains, and crazy Bangkok – Thailand is a fun country to visit. Whether you are island hopping or gap year stopping there’s something for every type of traveller. However, with all the excitement of planning the trip of a lifetime, we often get carried away with what to take. This Thailand packing list will detail the travel essentials, toiletries and electronics.

Know Before You Go

Here’s a look at the weather forecast for Thailand and a list of the top Thailand activities which will help you prioritise your travel gear.

Weather in Thailand

The Insta-perfect picture of Thailand would have you thinking that it is sunny all of the time but that is fake news, unfortunately!  The ideal 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 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 elephant washing in Chiang Mai.
  • Temple hunting in Chiang Rai.
  • Diving and snorkelling 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 – Ladies

  • Four vest tops (day)
  • Three cami/dress vest tops
  • Shorts for beach/city
  • Skirts (I actually prefer skirts to shorts, dumpy thighs!)
  • Black gym pants (double up as disco pants)
  • Dresses – little black dress is still a winner
  • Cardigan
  • Hoody
  • Shorts for hiking
  • Overtrousers for downpours while hiking
  • A waterproof coat like my beloved Marmot (folds into its own pocket) (for hiking/saves space)
  • Merino wool base layer (keeps you cool in hot climates, warm in cold conditions)

Hot Springs in Pai

Convertible Clothes

Hybrid clothing is on point. This dress 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 stank after a while. Click here to see the range.

Clothes – Men

» » Pro tip: You will need to cover up when visiting temples, some have clothes for you to hire there.

Travel Shoes For Thailand

  • Naturally a sturdy pair of flip-flops (I swear by Havianias).
  • A fancier pair of sandals for partying.
  • Closed shoes like a pair of black trainers (go with everything) for scooter rides – don’t attempt mopeds in flip-flops you will scrape or burn your feet (Craig scraped, I burnt).
  • Gortex waterproof hiking shoes or boots (shoes are lighter, I wear Salomon), Craig wears Scarpa boots for treks and wading your 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

Wear your heaviest pair of shoes (that’s why I like my Salomon, they look nice as well as support my awkward feet) during travel/transit and squeeze your other shoes down the sides of your suitcase or backpack. Most backpacks open like suitcases now (front opening like a clamshell) so you can get to your shoes easily enough. It’s often worth popping your flip-flops in your day bag for accessibility. Hot feet are no fun!

Invest in a heavy-duty shoe bag for dirty hiking boots, you can double this bag up as a waterproof bag which is useful for watersports.

Scooter Rides Thailand

Underwater/Swimwear

  • Pants/knickers/boxers – I pack extra because, well… sweat.
  • Cotton trainer socks.
  • Merino wool hiking socks – very important for hiking as they are breathable.
  • Bras.
  • Sports bra if top heavy.
  • Bikinis/costumes.
  • 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 (they are economical!)
  • Swimming shorts.

»» Top tip for bikinis – pack dark bottom, a variety of bold coloured bikini tops offer lots of variety.

Buy a snorkel there.

Travel Accessories

  • Sunglasses.
  • Headscarf/hat.
  • Large scarf – travel hack: scarves make great covers, blankets, bags and curtains for dorm beds (read our hilarious tips for dorm users post).
  • Day bag (I adore my Kanken).
  • Tote bag – stop the Thai plastic tide.
  • Leave the bling (including engagement rings) at home.
  • Glitter for Full Moon BUT don’t go in the sea with it – respect the Thai marine life.
  • Bamboo straw.

Electronics

  • 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 (like Harry Potter’s invisible cloak).
  • This is the trip you want a GoPro for and definitely splurge on the waterproof cover and floating hand grip.
  • These waterproof phone covers are great for keeping your phone alive but still available for selfies.
  • We love Anker battery packs for phone and GoPro charging on the go.
  • Craig never hikes without the JBL Clip. Superb sound, economically priced (makes for a great gift too).
  • Universal plugs with USB slots are space savers.

Travel Toiletries + Medication

  • Suntan lotion.
  • Nice high factor face moisturisers like La Roche Posay.
  • Cleanser.
  • Soap and solid shampoos save space, avoid spills and tend to be plastic free.
  • Razor.
  • Toothbrush.
  • Tooth tablets (no spill).
  • 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 which covers all bases.
  • Mosquito repellent – you need to decide if you want DEET  (like Off!) or DEET-free products like Avon So Soft. We’ve used both, nothing works if mosquitoes like you.
  • You don’t need a mosquito net, just 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 on both! Share your experience in the comments below.
  • See your doctor for vaccinations.
  • Well stocked first aid kit with needles.
  • Tubigrip for strains.
  • Leukotape to cover heels during hikes (that stuff does not budge!)
  • Electrolytes for the hangovers (rum buckets, ‘nuf said).
  • Filtering/purifying water bottle like the Water 2 Go (15% off using TSA15 at checkout) or Life Straw.
  • Don’t forget your travel insurance. Our review of True Traveller and World Nomads can be read here.

Thailand Packing Checklist

Click here to download your Thailand packing checklist.

Thailand Packing List Checklist

Things To Buy In Thailand

You can pretty much buy anything in Thailand (7/11, Tesco, Pizza Hut) so don’t stress 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.
  • Thai lanterns (don’t let them go/bad for the environment).
  • Massages (super cheap).
  • 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…

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This Thailand packing list details the essential travel gear for your Thailand itinerary. Free downloadable checklist included.

Final Thoughts

Thailand is honestly a care-free country with an infrastructure set up for tourists and travellers. 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’!

What have we missed, tell us in the comments below?

Gemma and Craig full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 10

  1. Chang Mai is on my bucket list on my travels to Asia! Hopefully I get to go very very soon. I’ve mainly traveled to eastern Asia and never the southern parts (I love China, especially Sichuan).

    Don’t know if you know anything about this, but what are some of the best cuisines to eat in Phuket? I heard that the food is very unique to each city so I was looking for more details!

    Thanks and best wishes!

    – Jackie

    1. Post
      Author

      I absolutely love Thai food – highly recommend the cooking class. You get heaps of courses and the sticky rice with mango is a dream. I’m not familiar with what is special to Phuket unfortunately. I had Pad Thai and Massaman curry in most locations. Now I am salivating!

  2. Thanks, this was really useful! I always overpack! Loved what you said about the Harem pants being a rite of passage 😂

    1. Post
      Author

      Just back from overpacking for Iceland! Hahaha, it’s what makes writing these guides so easy – others can learn from my mistakes.

    1. Post
      Author

      Just back from Iceland and I definitely overpacked. Didn’t need the padded winter trousers for September! Lesson learned.

  3. I’ve visited Bangkok before but it was such a short visit I didn’t get to see anything outside of Bangkok. So Chang Mai is the next part of Thailand on my list and the fact they have a Tesco!! enough said

    1. Post
      Author
  4. This is a great post. We also overpacked for our 8-month journey around SE Asia. We realised early on that we didn’t need so much stuff so left some of our clean and neatly folded clothes behind (in hope that someone else can use them) and travelled with just 40l backpacks (around 8kg) for the rest of the trip. And even then we felt we had too much stuff. And we also left our mosquito net behind because everywhere we stayed throughout SE Asia, there was one.

    Recently I travelled to Cancun for a work trip and my colleagues couldn’t believe when I rocked to the airport with just a rucksack when they all struggled with 20 kg luggages stuffed with clothes they probably didn’t even wear. We were only there for a week! Some of them told me they wish they knew how to pack light.

    Travel can teach you a lot of life lessons 😀
    Kristina x

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s a really nice way to get rid of stuff. I did similar in Austin (party, festival clothes before moving on to South America) but I’m not confident they were picked up! Agree, we never needed our moz nets either. Our electronics seem to take up so much room though. Laughing at your Mexico trip! My Mum is a terrible packer for those kind of trips too. You really don’t need that many shoes when your feet bloat up in the heat!

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