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Reader Question: Moving to Thailand for a Year – What should I not forget to bring?

We get loads of reader questions on any given week, and we do our best to answer each one, or at least take it to the HPL community to get an answer.

A recent question we received was from a girl moving to Thailand for a year and wondering what things she absolutely could not forget to bring.

Having only traveled to Thailand briefly, I took this question to the HPL Facebook page for some answers. Here’s what we got!

Katy Whyte – I lived in South Korea for 2 years and it was pretty difficult to find nice/comfy/etc shoes, since my feet are larger than the local population’s. I hear that that SE Asia has the same potential issue. Happy travels! xK

Heather Fairfield – Larger-sized bras, larger- sized shoes, and tampons if you use those. I lived in the Phillipines for two years and could only find pads in stores. I imagine Thailand wont be much different.

Jennifer Trumbore – It may depend where, but we definitely couldn’t find tampons in Chiang Mai (at least easily).

Georgi’n’a Youngdiva cup?

Jessica Brewington – Check the electrical voltage of the country. They may have a different voltage or different outlets. If so, make sure your electrical equipment is dual voltage and insure you that you have the right adapters for the outlets.

Supranee Kook – We pretty much have everything in the big city, especially in Bangkok.

Bernice Fei – must be a BRA!!

Karisabroad – Bras, tampons, facial makeup and cleansers. Microwave EZ Mac.

Ami Rathje ParkDeodorants and lotions tend to all have whitening in them since they are very into light skin. You may want to stock up on those. I live in BKK. Let me know when you get here and I can help you find things. Yes, as you probably already know, make sure electrical devices are dual voltage.

Heels and Wheels – I second Ami. I found finding face wash to be a worry in some parts of Asia because so many have whitening in them. Also, I seem to remember not being able to find tampons in certain areas.

Mandi Mccormac – It depends, what part of Thailand?

Melissa Hogan – I’ve heard it can be hard to find good bras if you have a larger chest. – This is true. I’m a B in the US and the woman told me I have D cups. Haha! Amazing!

To Travel Too – You will be able to source most of your needs , pack really light as if you can get all you want, that which you cant you will find you not need of you most certainly will adapt given your skills.

Hannie Hafiz – Thailand has everything.

What about you? Any tips you can share in the comments below?

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jessica says

    I lived in Thailand for a year, and I wish I had known to pack sunscreen. It’s very difficult to find. I think because Thai people don’t use it; they tend to wear long sleeves to cover up from the sun instead. I could only find very expensive, small bottles in more touristy areas.

  2. Devon says

    I’m planning to study abroad in Singapore for 6 months & following this blog obsessively. Thanks especially for this post!!

  3. Mary says

    I lived in Bangkok for three months. I found it hard to find large dress shoes (I wear a size 11 US). I could find tampons and western style lotions at Boots. I also bought a lot of things at Tesco Lotus. Sunscreen and tampons were cheaper at Costco (N. America).

    I Saw one 34DD bra at MBK. It was bright green with big pink flowers on it. I was glad I brought extra from home. The plus size staff at my school would have clothes made at the tailors, it was very affordable.

  4. Alessandra says

    Bring breathable fabrics. The humidity was killer in Bangkok. It’s about 40c degrees during the day and still about 35c at night. Go for light cotton dresses.

  5. This Battered Suitcase says

    I would definitely agree with the tampons, as well as the face wash and/or lotion. I regretted taking so much stuff with me to Thailand when I went the first time – I ended up buying tons of cute and cheap stuff there, so I didn’t need the sundresses, tank tops, etc. that I had brought from home.

    One other thing – a ladyboy stole my bathing suit (true story) and so I had to buy another one while in Thailand. It was VERY difficult to find one that fit properly! So perhaps bring a back-up suit just in case?!

  6. Mary says

    A few more things:

    Flat sheets (if you care about that).

    UV hair products, or you can buy a hat once you get there. I know a woman who has lived in Thailand for years, but she always buys UV hair spray stuff when she’s in N. America.

    For work:

    Two professional looking shirts & a knee length skirt to wear while your uniform is being made.

    For big/ wide feet @ work:

    One pair of work shoes that are wider or a size larger than you normally wear. There were a few of us that had our feet swell, and it took months before they went back to their regular size. Don’t worry about other types of shoes. I only had trouble finding work shoes.

    If you’re plus sized:

    Lots of swimsuits. I’m not plus sized, and I could find bikinis that were fine (DD), but the plus sized girls had a hard time finding bottoms.

    This video is also helpful:

  7. Kaylin says

    I found that Thailand (or at least Bangkok) had a lot wider range of clothes and shoes than I expected after having been living in Korea 6 months prior to visiting BKK and barely being able to fit into ANYTHING in Korea (I’m US size 12 and US women’s shoe size 10.5/11). However, most of the clothes and shoes I saw in my size were casual (clearly tailoring to the tourist market, sundresses, sandals, etc) so probably dressier clothes and shoes would be harder to find in bigger sizes. Also bring plenty of bras if you are bigger than a B! Boots pharmacies in Thailand have a lot of western toiletry products if you find you forget something on that end (deodorants, toothpaste, bug spray, etc).


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