What to Wear in Thailand

Thailand temples

Thailand, with its mesmerizing landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant street life, is a destination that beckons travelers from around the world. However, the tropical climate and cultural norms call for thoughtful consideration when packing your bags. This comprehensive guide, infused with keywords and potential headings such as “what to wear to temples in Thailand,” “tourist outfits,” and “cute outfit inspo,” will ensure you’re perfectly attired for every Thai adventure, from temple visits to beach relaxation.

Understanding Thailand’s Climate and Culture

Before diving into the specifics of what to pack, it’s crucial to understand Thailand’s climate and cultural expectations. The country’s tropical weather means hot and humid days are the norm, punctuated by monsoon rains depending on the season. Additionally, Thai culture is steeped in respect and modesty, particularly in religious and traditional settings.

Bangkok Flower shop

Day-to-Day Traveling Outfits

In Thai travel short skirts and shorts are likely to be the standard attire. Always keep your feet covered with well-designed flats. Thai climate is cloudy and humid. So you’re sweating regardless of your outfit.

How Much Clothes Should You Pack for Thailand

Two changes of clothes a day is recommended. The bottoms should have a minimum of two changes of clothes. Since Thailand is hot with humidity, the clothes you wear during your visit will probably be sweaty by the time you return home. It’s not necessary to wear it out at lunch before taking to the bathroom. You may find washing clothes quite affordable, but the laundromat will typically be able to return your clothing within 24 hours. I would suggest bringing some more clothing and pants, as the bottoms often need washing after a couple of hours.

What to Wear to Beaches in Thailand

You can wear regular beach wear at Thai beaches. Tourists wear clean clothes, bikinis, swimsuits and even speedos in Thai beaches. You can use sand shoes, as most coastal coastlines have stones and coral. Europe tourists tend to wear sexy cut bikinis and speedos while Asians and China tourists generally cover the whole place and have umbrellas. The clothing choices at beaches in Thailand are also varied.

Thailand temple

What to Wear to Temples in Thailand

Visiting Thailand’s temples is a must-do, but it comes with a strict dress code. Temples are sacred places, and dressing respectfully is non-negotiable. Here’s how to blend in and show respect:

Don’t wear revealing clothing

Even if short skirts and shorts are acceptable wear they should never show in your butt. Men shouldn’t wear sweat shirts – especially those displaying their nipples – and wear shirts unbuttoned or un-fit. Ladies avoid tank tops or jeans with spaghetti straps unless you have an oversize shirt or sweater draped across the shoulders. Keep the dangerous Daisy Duke Shorts. And please, please do not wear pants that expose the cleavage.

Ensure your clothing covers shoulders and skirts past the knees. A “Miss Thailand dress,” known for its elegance and modesty, is an ideal choice for women. Men should opt for long pants and shirts with short sleeves.

One of the decent pieces of clothing that you can pack is a shawl. With this, you can cover it around your waist or wrap it across your shoulders and chest when visiting a temple. Don’t Dress Immodestly Men should avoid wearing sleeveless shirts or shirts left unbuttoned, which expose their chest or stomach when visiting a temple. Don’t walk in with really short shorts, also. If women are showing their shoulders, thighs, or cleavage, they will not be allowed to enter a temple . Most famous temples give visitors free wraps in case you’ve

Do bring lightweight clothing made of quick-wicking material

Natural materials like silks and cotton are excellent for cold weather. Various synthetic or semi-synthetic polyesters are known to be moisture resistant and quickly able to dry. It is generally crease-free after packaging and washing as well. They’re good! Cottons can be used in a mix as long as they have a thinner substance. Keep clothing in darker colors. Light colors show dirt. It can be difficult avoiding sweat from Thai food and grime from many surfaces.

Choose light, breathable fabrics to keep cool. While color restrictions are generally lax, opting for neutral or pastel tones can be a sign of respect.

Don’t walk around barefoot and pass on the high heels and boots

You’ll often need to remove your shoes before entering a temple. Slip-on shoes or sandals make this process easier and are respectful choices.

Do Not Walk Around Barefoot. In some countries, it is OK, but not in Thailand. It is offensive to have dirt built up on your feet in Thailand’s homes and offices.

Underwear To Bring to Thailand

Bring plenty of underwear for ten days. If you wear dirty clothing and do not have any washing machines you can always wash them by hand.

Tourist Outfits: Balancing Comfort and Style

When you’re not temple-hopping, your attire can be more relaxed but still should be mindful of the climate and local customs.

Daytime Explorations

Activewear offers stylish yet comfortable options for those active days exploring markets or historic sites. Pair activewear tops with lightweight linen pants or “cute outfits with shorts” for a casual, heat-friendly look.

Bangkok night

Evening Attire

Evenings might call for something a bit more refined, especially if you’re dining out or enjoying the nightlife. A “Thai dress” can be the perfect blend of comfort and style, embracing local fashion while keeping cool.

Thailand boats at the beach

Beachwear and Island Hopping

Thailand’s beaches are legendary, and your attire here can be more laid-back and playful.

What to Pack for Beaches and Islands in Thailand

If a tourist goes camping in Thailand it can almost always be packed as in a lot of destinations. I brought a few other items like the talc powder. I found Thai beaches much less hot than those of the Caribbean and Mexico. If you suffer from heat rash always bring prickly hot powder that’s also available anywhere in Thailand.

Swimsuits and Cover-ups

Bikinis and swim trunks are standard, but always bring a cover-up for when you transition from sand to café or shop.

Beach to Dinner

Opt for versatile pieces like a wrap dress or a lightweight button-up shirt that can take you from beach to a casual dinner setting.

What to Wear in Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai, the popular destination of North Thailand, is packed with hipster shops with countless temples and breathtaking scenery all over. In Bangkok the same rules apply. If you want to travel to more isolated places in Thailand, the jungle is definitely a lot fun to walk through, but it requires extra preparation.

Thailand beach swimmer

What to Wear in Phuket, Koh Samui, and all the Other Thai Islands

What to Plan For Phuket? Phuket is a very popular island in Thailand with more than 900 islands, and is the most popular in Asia. The island of Phuket is mainly surrounded by islands in Asia. Since these islands are usually the destinations that most travelers visit in Thailand, short shirts are absolutely okay, but don t display your booties! Decency remains extremely important. Obviously linen clothes and soft textiles are nevertheless essential. You’ll spend many hours on beaches, so you should wear Thai beachwear and have a towel to re-cover yourself after you go.

What Not to Wear

Don’t walk around town in bathing suits or go topless

A quick look around will make it impossible for a Thai person to run around a street without wearing shorts or a bathing suit. No one can walk without shoes. Wearing a bathing suit in a hotel without a cover-in will be deemed an inconvenient decision by most Thais. It also applies to cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The only area of Thailand where you should consider your choices of bathing suit is the deep south and neighbours of Malaysia.

While Thailand is relatively liberal, there are some definite don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Avoid overly revealing clothing, especially in rural areas and temples.
  • Graphic tees with offensive language or images are a no-go.
  • High heels aren’t practical given the terrain and are often frowned upon in sacred places.

Packing List Essentials

Creating a “Thailand packing list” is your blueprint for a versatile wardrobe that covers all bases.

  1. Lightweight Tops: Pack a variety of breathable tops, including t-shirts, tank tops, and long-sleeve shirts for sun protection. Opt for materials like cotton, linen, or moisture-wicking fabrics to stay comfortable in the heat.
  2. Bottoms: Include a mix of shorts, skirts, and lightweight trousers. Long trousers are essential for temple visits and cooler evenings. Women might consider capris or culottes as stylish, practical options.
  3. Dresses and Skirts: Bring along dresses and skirts that are knee-length or longer, particularly for visiting temples. Wrap dresses and maxi dresses are excellent choices for their versatility and comfort.
  4. Undergarments: Ensure you have enough underwear for the trip, considering the heat and potential for sweating. Breathable, quick-dry options are ideal. Also, pack a few sports bras or comfortable bras that can withstand a day of exploring.
  5. Swimwear: Include at least two swimsuits or swim trunks so you always have a dry one available. A rash guard can be a good addition for sun protection if you plan on snorkeling or engaging in water sports.
  6. Cover-ups: Bring sarongs or cover-ups for beach days, which can also double as scarves or shawls when visiting temples or cooler areas.


  1. Comfortable Walking Shoes: Opt for durable, comfortable shoes for long days of exploring. Breathable materials are a plus.
  2. Sandals/Flip-Flops: Suitable for beach days and casual outings. Consider sandals with a back strap for more stability during active days.
  3. Water Shoes: If you plan on engaging in water activities or visiting rocky beaches, water shoes can provide protection and grip.


  1. Hats: A wide-brimmed hat can provide essential sun protection during your explorations.
  2. Sunglasses: UV-protection sunglasses will shield your eyes from the intense Thai sun.
  3. Bags: A daypack is essential for carrying water, snacks, and other essentials. Consider a crossbody bag or a money belt for added security.
  4. Rain Gear: Depending on the season, a lightweight, packable rain jacket or a poncho can be invaluable.
  5. Scarves/Shawls: Useful for covering shoulders in temples, as a beach cover-up, or for chilly evenings.

Toiletries and Health Items

  1. Sunscreen: A high-SPF, water-resistant sunscreen is crucial for protection against the strong Thai sun.
  2. Insect Repellent: To guard against mosquitoes, especially if you’re visiting rural areas or traveling during the rainy season.
  3. First Aid Kit: Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any personal medications.
  4. Hygiene Products: Pack all your necessary toiletries, considering the availability of specific products in Thailand.


  1. Travel Documents: Ensure you have your passport, visa (if required), travel insurance information, and any other necessary documents.
  2. Power Adapter: Thailand uses Type A, B, C, and O plugs, so bring a suitable adapter for your electronic devices.
  3. Water Bottle: Stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle; many places have refill stations to reduce plastic use.

By carefully considering each category on this expanded packing list, you’ll be well-prepared for the diverse experiences and climates Thailand has to offer, ensuring a comfortable and respectful journey.

Cute Outfit Inspo

Looking for some “cute outfit inspo”? Think about combining functionality with style. A pair of high-waisted shorts paired with a flowy blouse can be both temple-appropriate (with a scarf to cover shoulders) and ideal for a market stroll. Accessorize with a local scarf to add a pop of color and support local artisans.

Thailand night market

Thailand Outfits: Embracing Local Styles

Incorporating local elements into your wardrobe can enhance your travel experience and offer a nod to Thai culture. Market stalls and local boutiques are treasure troves of unique pieces. Look for items like fisherman pants or a hand-painted “Thai dress,” which not only make for great souvenirs but also allow you to embrace the local vibe authentically.

Do wear comfortable, preferably water-resistant shoes

It is essential to wear comfortable boots. Since it often rains in Thai cities, rubber is a good option for this. Flip flops are absolutely acceptable and slip-on shoes are very comfortable. This protects your feet from street dirt and you don’t need laces if you’re getting them off. Always remove the shoe from your hands when visiting a temple. If you find that you see piles and boxes in your entrance hall it means you can take them out.


Dressing appropriately for Thailand isn’t just about adhering to cultural norms—it’s about embracing an ethos of respect, openness, and mindfulness. By following this guide, you’ll always pack clothes in a suitcase that’s not only practical and stylish but also culturally attuned, ensuring your Thailand adventure is as seamless and enriching as the country itself. Whether you’re temple gazing, beach lounging, or market wandering, your attire will be your companion in comfort, respect, and style.


1. What should I wear when visiting temples in Thailand?

Answer: When visiting temples, you should dress appropriately modestly to show respect. This means covering your shoulders and knees. Men should wear long pants and shirts with sleeves, while women should opt for long skirts or pants and tops that cover the shoulders. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, and remember to remove your shoes before entering temple buildings.

2. Is it acceptable to wear shorts in Thailand?

Answer: Yes, you can wear shorts in Thailand, especially in casual settings like beaches or markets. However, they should be avoided when visiting temples or more conservative rural areas. Opt for knee-length or longer shorts to blend in better and respect local customs.

3. What kind of footwear is best for Thailand?

Answer: Comfortable, breathable shoes are best for exploring cities and historical sites. For beaches and islands, sandals or flip-flops are suitable. When visiting temples, wear shoes that are easy to remove, as you’ll need to take them off before entering.

4. Do I need to pack warm clothes for Thailand?

Answer: Thailand is generally hot and humid, but it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater, especially if you’re visiting air-conditioned places, cooler regions in the north, or traveling during the cooler months (November to February).

5. Can I wear tank tops and sleeveless shirts in Thailand?

Answer: Yes, you can wear tank tops and sleeveless shirts in casual settings. However, they’re not appropriate for temples or more formal occasions. It’s a good idea to carry a scarf or shawl to cover your shoulders when needed.

6. What should I wear for a night out in Thailand?

Answer: Nightlife attire in Thailand varies depending on the location. In tourist-heavy areas and nightclubs, Western-style clothing like dresses and smart casual wear is common. However, it’s always a good idea to check the dress code of an establishment beforehand.

7. How should I dress for the beach in Thailand?

Answer: Beachwear like swimsuits, bikinis, and board shorts are appropriate for the beach. However, always bring a cover-up or a sarong to wear when you’re not on the sand, as walking around in just your swimwear away from the beach is generally frowned upon.

8. Are there any clothing materials I should avoid or prefer in Thailand?

Answer: Light and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen are ideal for Thailand’s tropical climate. It’s best to avoid heavy or non-breathable materials, as they can become uncomfortable in the heat and humidity.

By keeping these questions and answers in mind, travelers can ensure they pack appropriately and respect Thailand’s cultural norms while enjoying their visit comfortably.

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Birdie Bailey

of Birdyberry.

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