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Thailand is a must-visit destination for round-the-world travelers, especially for the cheap prices and beautiful beaches. Even if you don’t pack enough, there are always knockoffs available on Bangkok’s Khao San Road. While most people imagine the humidity of the beaches around Phuket and Ko Phi Phi, the mountains near Chiang Mai bring a totally different experience for travelers. Be sure to plan your trip around Songkran in April, where locals and tourists alike have water fights in the street.
The temperatures soar to the high 90s Fahrenheit in the summer and April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand. If you wait until July to visit, the rainy season begins, which can often derail your travel plans.
3 dresses – For nice dinners and using as swimsuit cover ups. Try the Infinity Skirt on for size.
2 pairs of shorts – Better suited for hiking and more adventurous activities. I would leave the jeans at home.
2 tank tops or T-shirts – Those sweltering days will be best spent in light shirts.
2 bras – I usually pack one nude bra and one black bra and it seems to fit my wardrobe well.
5 pairs of underwear – Maybe less if you have access to laundry facilities or are packing ExOfficio underwear.
1 light jacket – If you’re visiting the mountains, it can get a little chilly at night.
1 windbreaker/rain jacket – If you visit in July, the monsoon season begins.
2 swimsuits – Following the wear one, wash one pattern, two should last you the entire trip.
Towel – If you’re going to be visiting the beaches around Phuket, be sure to bring a travel towel or a Turkish travel towel. Or you can buy one when you get there.
Sarong – Good to use as a beach cover up or towel or to cover your shoulders in temples.
Closed toed shoes – If you wear flip flops at the Full Moon Party you will only wake up with one! Closed toed shoes like Toms are less likely to get lost.
Flip flops – For a day at the beach or for hostel dorms.
Nice flats or sandals – For a night out when flip flops won’t do.
>> Read more about different types of shoes for travel.
Shampoo/Conditioner – Travel sized and TSA friendly.
Soap or Body Wash – I brought body wash instead, but soap is usually easier to pack if you’re flying carry-on only.
Toothbrush/Paste – Also get a snap-on case so you don’t get anything on your toothbrush.
Deodorant – Keep yourself smelling nice!
Razor – You only need one to keep those legs smooth.
Brush – Travel sized worked for me.
Hair ties – Necessary to keep the hair off your neck on those hot days.
Motion Sickness Medicine – Tuk tuk, boat and bus rides can make even the strongest stomach a little queasy!
Birth Control – You can never be too safe.
Diva Cup – The last thing you want on your trip is to be tied down by lady products. The Diva Cup is ideal for this trip since you will be active and won’t always have time to change.
Prescriptions – While prescription drugs in Thailand are super cheap, you may want to pack anti-malarial pills.
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Protection from the Elements:
Sunscreen – The sun in Thailand is relentless, so don’t forget to pack sunscreen with high SPF.
Hat – Keep yourself from getting sunburned and spending the day inside!
Sunglasses – I brought two pairs, just in case I lose or break one.
Bug Spray – To prevent getting bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito, pack a strong insect repellent, like Ben’s 100 Tick and Insect Repellent with Deet.
Laptop – Thailand has plenty of cafes with WiFi for those digital nomads who need to get work done.
Camera – Show off all the great scenery of Thailand.
Underwater case – This keeps you from worrying about your camera getting wet on a trip to the beach.
Chargers – Don’t forget the necessary adapters for your electronics.
Lock – If you’re staying in a hostel, it’s always a good idea to have a lock for your backpack.
iPod – Necessary lounging on the beach and long bus rides.
Travel Clothesline – This saves you the hassle of finding a dryer or lugging around wet clothes.
Water bottle – Stay hydrated, especially if you plan on consuming a few buckets.
Books or E-Reader – Bring English language books, which can be slightly harder to find. Perhaps a copy of Alex Garland’s The Beach?
Ear Plugs – If you’re a light sleeper and are staying in Bangkok’s backpacker district, you may want some good foam ear plugs to drown out the drunken antics of your fellow travelers.
Eye Mask – The long-haul flight can be rough, so get some shuteye on the way.
Passport and necessary visas – Visas are not necessary for US citizens if you’re staying for one month if you arrive by air and fifteen days if you arrive by land.
Deck of cards – What better way to make friends at your hostel than over a drinking game?
Travel insurance – Between Bangkok’s floods of this year and the Red Shirt protests of 2008 and 2010, you never know what’s going to happen, so it pays to be prepared with travel insurance.
More Thailand Travel Tips
ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in the bigger cities, so it’s easy enough to take out baht directly. However, if you feel more comfortable changing over money beforehand, check the current exchange rates to make sure you are getting a good deal. Just be sure to let your bank know you will be overseas.
The further you go from the “tourist” spots, the less likely you are to find English speakers. However, you shouldn’t have any problems communicating in bigger cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket.
Booking ahead? Click here to search for accommodation deals, or try an AirBnb!
Have any packing tips to share? Do it below in the comments!
P.S. If you like this post, you may be interested in the following:
- What I Wish I’d Brought to Thailand
- Thailand Travel and Packing Guide
- How to be a Responsible Tourist in Thailand
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Pretty good list! You should take into account the culture difference though – people in Thailand are big on modesty – most people wear long pants all year and t-shirts at the minimum. While they are well acquainted the farang (white foreigner) in their shorts and tanks, you will make a better impression on people if you show respect for their beliefs. And especially when you are going to tour the Wats, many require long pants/skirts and covered shoulders. When I went I wore really light quarter sleeve blouses and mostly shorts, but had a pair of long pants for days I knew I was hitting up temples.
At the temples I went to, they had stuff you could rent to cover up if your clothes weren’t acceptable. I also bought a pair of cheap harem pants/hammer pants (loose leg pants with elastic ankles) to cover up at temples as well. I wouldn’t pack 3 dresses as I wouldn’t wear them that often (not really a dress person) but skirts would be a better option esp if they are below the knee bc then they are temple-appropriate and light and airy for touring.
Thank you! I was looking for a packing list specifically for women, this really helped me a lot! 🙂
Glad this helped you out! 🙂
You really don’t need to worry about English books, there’s plenty of little stores where you can buy and exchange English (and even other languages) books for decent prices in the larger cities (in Bangkok you can find anything really). But yeah, an e-reader is still the most practical option (and a lot lighter than all those books)…
I agree with most of this, but the anti-malaria meds are unnecessary. Malaria has little-to-no prevalence in Thailand; I’ve lived here almost 3 years and don’t know of anyone who’s gotten it. And there’s plenty of insect repellent available here, no need to pack it.
I would also suggest:
-A good facewash (as the smog in Bangkok can invade your pores like none other)
-A small umbrella for rainy season (jackets work too, but the humidity makes them just stick to you)
-Tums/Antacids just in case your stomach doesn’t agree with all the street food
-A Thai/English phrasebook – just knowing simple things (hello, thank you, how much?, where, the numbers) can not only help you avoid looking like just another annoying tourist, but can also be very helpful in a lot of situations. It’s also polite, and the Thais appreciate when farangs try to learn some Thai, even if your pronunciation is completely off; it’s the effort that counts. 🙂
So helpful, thank you!
I’m going to Cambodia for 3 weeks, but I’m curious as to what people sleep in, that also helps prevents bugs if possible?
A mosquito net, you can purchase travel ones that pack small.
A very important item not on your list is 2 pair of anklet socks to wear on your feet inside temples. You must remove shoes to enter wats, who wants to walk barefooted where thousands of other feet have trod? Have a pair of low-cut black socks in purse, pack, or pocket. Slip on the socks when in the wat, take off when putting on saldals.
Also, capris are much more suitable for Asian countries, shorts are only OK at the beach. Modesty is highly prized in SEA.
This is great. I agree modesty is important but it also just depends on what kind of trip you are taking. I wouldn’t worry too much about sunglasses as they are super cheap and prevalent in Thailand (I bought a pair I have had for a year for 30 baht).
This is a great list… but I would also add that three dresses is too many. If you rent a scooter (which is a TON of fun), you’ll want more capris or shorts. The two dresses I brought with me I have to wear specifically on days I won’t be driving/riding a scooter.
Capri pants are an absolute MUST, and you should also pack a pair of sneakers in case you go on a day trip to the forest or a national park. Wet wipes or an antibacterial hand gel will also come handy.
This list is exactly what I was looking for as I am hopefully heading to Thailand in January next year 🙂
I was just wondering what time period the list is designed for? Eg A week or two?
I will be going for about 3 weeks and have read that laundry is cheap but was just wondering anyway 🙂
Hi Lysha, We firmly believe you pack the same amount of clothes for 1 month as you would 1 week since you can wash and re-wear. Our lists are generally targeted to that style of travel.
Not a bad list, but I would probably cut it down, knowing that with all of the markets in Thailand, it is hard not to buy tops, skirts and dresses. One jacket for rain/chill should do it with something underneath for the tops of mountains… It’s Hot in Thaialnd most of the year.
Also, with regards to temples, especially the Royal Palace and Temple of the Jade Buddha in Bangkok, shoulders must be covered – as well as heels. So either shoes with heels or your own pair of socks. Renting their big shirts is something I can cope with, but not socks.
My best tip – since you are reared to take your footwear off to enter the temple, a packet of wet wipes for dirty feet afterwards makes you everyone’s best friend.
Have a great trip!
Whoops – that should read ‘ required’ to wear footwear in temples! sorry.
Mykel Rollins says
So I am a bigger gal size 18-20 will I be able to find clothes there?
Mykel I’m guessing you might encounter some difficulties with the one-size-fits-all dresses and beachwear sold at the stalls of local markets, but I’m sure you’ll be OK at MBK as there are hundreds of shops there. Finding shoes for my size (I’m a 39) was also a problem but I did manage to find some nice pairs.
Keara Jackson says
Hi Mykel, how was your trip? Did you find it hard to buy anything to fit your size? I’m a UK 18-20 too and am really anxious about travelling.
Hi Mykel, Did you find it hard to buy anything to fit your size? I’m leaving in a few weeks time, and EVERYONE SAYS just buy what you need, but what if I don’t find my size
Travel insurance (at least mine from world nomads) doesn’t cover protests, civil war, etc. Unfortunately!
If you bring a deck of cards, do not play in public. Gambling is illegal in Thailand and sadly, playing cards is not well see.
This is a pretty good list, but there are some important items missing:
1. A light cotton scarf (handy when sweating, and for covering up on impromptu temple visits)
2. A pair of non slip sneakers made of waterproof material (i.e. leather, not fabric); sandals are not appropriate for trekking or visiting caves, waterfalls etc
3. Ankle socks (carry them in your bag and put them on when removing your sandals before entering temples, for hygienic reasons)
4. A pair of comfy clam diggers (3/4 pants) and a pair of long shorts (on-the-knee); short shorts are only appropriate for the beach; jeans are not suitable for hot, humid climates
5. Anti-bacterial wet wipes (you’ll be needing them constantly)
6. Diarrhea stoppers; these will help you get through long flights or train rides until you can reach a doctor/pharmacy
7. A neckroll
8. A pillow case (I always use one when staying in budget hotels)
This is a great packing list! Super helpful. What did you all use for a daypack? I was thinking about a crossbody type bag to use as my purse. Any ideas?
Kathy H says
I am now packing for 40 days in Asia, May 8,2014 to June 18 . Thailand, Laos,Vietnam, Cambodia,China, Tibet.
This was a wonderful list. Can you give any suggestions about luggage, if the size is one and a half inches bigger then suggested size, will I have trouble? What is the dress code for eating out in fine restaurants?
Thank you Kathy
Hi this has been so helpful! I am going to sea dec 2014 for 3 weeks and am looking at only taking a rolling / convertible backpack type carry on but I read that Singapore air which my carrier only allows one carry on at 45 ” linear BUT max 15 lbs. Even the lightest bag is going to be at least half that ! How does one handle this?
Go for a backpack instead – one without many compartments, as those are generally lighter than rolling suitcases.
K stakim says
What size backpack did you take?
Really helpfull list, even as a guy (:
I’m traveling to Phuket. Want to know. Do I take bug spray from home or can I buy it there? How do I know which one? It’s my first time going.
This was so helpful, including all the comments. Feeling less stressed about it all now. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)!!!
Great! Wishing you a stress-free packing + travel adventure 🙂
Thanks so much for this post! Headed to Thailand soon and definitely was needing some guidance on what to pack!