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Packing for Thailand can be hard, you probably what to visit Thailand to party and go island hopping in Thailand, but you also want to visit the temples of Chiang Mai and go trekking in Jungle, and different outfits are needed for each of these sides of Thailand.
I’ve been to Thailand many times and I’ve seen the mistakes that people make when they are packing for Thailand, I’ve also made plenty of Thailand packing mistakes myself and I’ve slowly come to learn the best outfits for travelling to Thailand, what to wear in Thailand to stay cool but look good, and perhaps most importantly, what not to pack for Thailand!
Whether you’re backpacking Thailand for one month, or if you’re on holiday in Thailand for two weeks, in this Thailand packing list blog post I’m going to share what to take to Thailand, what to wear in Thailand as a female and what to pack for Thailand as a female.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THAILAND
First up, have you got travel insurance for Thailand yet? I am covered with World Nomad’s who I really recommend! They are designed by travellers, for travellers with excellent customer service and a range of cover options.
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Strappy Tops, Tank Tops and Crop Tops are the best tops to take to Thailand because they are small and good for the sweaty humid weather during the day and in the evening. On the islands of Thailand you do not need to worry about covering up too much so small, lightweight tops are suitable. At least 1 t-shirt is a must pack item for Thailand because this will come in handy when visiting temples especially when planning what to wear in Bangkok to see the Grand Palace for example.
Dresses and Playsuits that can be worn during the day and in the evening are great to pack for a trip to Thailand as they are easy to throw on over swimwear but can be dressed up when you want to go out for dinner and / or drinks in Thailand later on.
Denim Shorts are a female packing essential for Thailand because they look good, they go with all tops, can be worn during the day and in the evening. You can get a bit sweaty in them though so also pack lightweight, airy, baggy shorts because again, these can be worn during the day in the cities, on the beach, and dressed up at night!
Do not bring jeans with you to Thailand, you will not need them! Baggy trousers are the best trousers to pack for Thailand and ideally 3/4 length trousers. Trousers are needed when going into Temples because you need to cover your knees and they are good for overnight journeys but apart from this and when planning what to wear on a flight to Thailand you probably won’t wear them any other time in and will live in dresses and shorts. Elephant pants are a popular Thailand outfit and Thailand backpacking essential because they are comfy and are available to buy all over Thailand.
If you plan to go on serious hikes or rock climbing etc, pack accordingly, however, if you think you’ll do the odd walk, hike or activity pack a lightweight sweat-resistant top or t-shirt, sports shorts, sports bra and some leggings, but if you are minimalist packing for Thailand leave the leggings at home as you’ll probably be too hot for leggings anyway.
With regards to all of these items PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure that they are lightweight. Thailand gets super sweaty because of the humidity even on the islands when there’s a breeze and a dress with two layers, for example, is too thick and this is what not to pack for Thailand! One layered items made from cotton are the best types of clothes to pack for Thailand for women!
Also, know that most of the clothing you will need and want to wear in Thailand can be purchased there so make sure you leave time at the start of your trip to go shopping in Thailand! The best places to shop in Thailand are markets like Khao San Road when you arrive in Bangkok, Chiang Mai Night Markets and all of the islands are filled with shops for tourists like Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Phi Phi. I know it’s really fun shopping for your holiday in Thailand at home and ordering things online but often the dresses, shorts and trousers we think are really light and breezy when at home are not when you get to Thailand so especially if you are backpacking Thailand and South East Asia, don’t buy or pack too much at home and instead buy it in Thailand. It’s also so much cheaper!
The best time of year to visit Thailand is in the high and dry season which is November to May before it goes into wet season however it can still rain outside of wet season. Packing a small fold away rain jacket is a great idea just in case!
Generally Thailand does not get cold but if you’re on an AC bus or if you go up North and are getting up before sunrise, you’ll be thankful for an extra layer. A lightweight jumper or hoody is fine and should be on your Thailand packing list.
Swim wear of course is a must, especially if you’re visiting the southern islands of Thailand and when thinking about what to pack for Phuket, but even if you go to North Thailand you’ll still want to add this to your Thailand checklist as there are rivers, lakes, waterfalls and pools to swim in there so add plenty of bikini’s and swimsuits to your packing list for Thailand without feeling bad, they’re only small after all!
It’s your choice of how many bra’s you pack for Thailand but personally I find two bra’s enough (plus a sports bra) and I have recently switched to these non-wired bra’s from Marks and Spencers which are not only much more comfortable to wear all day but when it comes to packing the one I’m not wearing, they are so tiny and fold away much easier than underwired bras. I think the best bra for travelling is non-wired and a bralet design!
I live in sandals in Thailand, more on that below, so socks are only needed when I wear shoes or for the odd overnight journey to keep my feet warm which is why I suggest only packing 2 pairs.
I usually pack about 10 pairs of underwear as this means I don’t need to do washing too often but getting laundry done in Thailand is so easy and cheap so the amount you pack is up to you. I find black underwear the best when travelling long term as often things can get stained and dyed in the laundry in Thailand so you’re safe with black!
For me, my PJ’s in Thailand are a tank top and shorts which does me well, you don’t need any fancy pj’s for Thailand! Just something cool and comfy!
Or Thongs, or Jandals, whatever you call them in your Country! These shoes are a must pack for a trip to Thailand because you will live in them! The best flip flops for travel, I think, are Havaianas because they are a quality brand and last a long time, you can buy fake Havaiana’s in Thailand but the real ones are better! In Thailand, you have to take your shoes on and off a lot in not only temples but shops, restaurants and some accommodation so slip on shoes like flip flops are best shoes to take to Thailand.
A nice pair of sandals for the evening is a good idea if you are thinking about what to wear on holiday to Thailand and when packing for thailand as a female. However, for me, because I always backpack around Thailand with limited space I do not take these. If you do pack them, remember that you only need one extra pair. Do not take heeled shoes, not even when you’re thinking of what to wear in Phuket on a night out for example because no tourists wear heels. It’s flats all the way! Also, consider that in the evening you’ll be walking on the beach a lot so even in the evening basic flip flops are best rather than fancy sandals!
Do add trainers to your list of what to pack for Thailand, they’re perfect for activity days and walking around Bangkok for example. They make your feet feel much less vulnerable with all the city traffic!
Whether you pack a basic cap or a stylish straw hat, pack a hat to help keep the sun off your head because the sun is strong in Thailand!
A good quality pair of sunglasses are needed. Fake RayBans can be bought in Thailand but they are not good for your eyes! My favourite sunglasses are these SunGod glasses which are high quality and stylish! I’ve had my pair for over a year now and I love them!
A day backpack is great for day trips in Thailand or just to take to the beach instead of a small beach bag. If you are limited on space or packing carry on for Thailand only, a packable day pack is a great idea as it folds up so small but is 20L when in use.
I have a small cross-body handbag for the evenings to dress up an outfit and carry my purse and phone in. If you are concerned about safety, a Pacsafe Antitheft Cross Body Bag is a good idea however I have never felt like I have needed one.
You’ll only need a Dry Bag like this on day trips involving water and I only used mine twice in my 3 weeks in Thailand on snorkelling trips however both times I was so glad I had it and therefore I recommend a dry bag as a must pack item for Thailand. I could carry my phone, purse and camera’s in the bag between boats and islands and know they would not get wet! Plus they roll up small so take up no extra weight in your main bag.
Take whatever electronics for Thailand you want but if you are looking to buy a new camera, the best camera to take to Thailand is a GoPro for sure! It’s great for all of the water activities but also land activities such as zip-lining, 4×4 jeep trips, quad biking. There are so many things to do in Thailand and so many activities are adrenaline fun activities and the GoPro is perfect for them! If a GoPro is too expensive which I do understand, a cheaper action camera like this is a great camera for Thailand.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THAILAND!
Have you got travel insurance for Thailand yet? I am insured with World Nomad’s who I really like because they designed by travellers, for travellers, you can even purchase insurance with them once you have left for your trip. Whilst you’re thinking about it, get a quote from them here!
If you are tight on space and or want to help reduce your plastic consumption and pack sustainably for Thailand, take shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bottles. I use the Lush bars which I recommend.
This is a Thailand travel essential because there are mosquitoes everywhere- on the beaches, in the jungle and in the cities. Bug Spray can be purchased cheaply in Thailand or you can buy some strong spray whilst at home and have it ready for your first day in Thailand. Additionally you’ll need something for the bites that do get you. I purchased this Bite Away Pen on Amazon which you press on a bite and it stops it from itching straight away, it’s magic and I really recommend it. Otherwise Tiger Balm which can be bought all around Thailand is a good thing to put on bites.
Sun Cream is another thing you need to think about when packing for Thailand. Sun Cream can be purchased all over Thailand but it’s expensive, about £10-£15.00 a bottle. I’d really recommend you buy sun cream at home and bring enough with you instead of buying it in Thailand to save you money. The best SPF for Thailand is 30 and above as the sun is strong in Thailand. If you are conscious of being a responsible traveller, purchase some reef safe suncream before travelling to Thailand, the reef will thank you!
As a female essential for Thailand and the best way to travel on your period, consider a menstrual cup, you can buy sanitary towels and tampons in Thailand but tampons especially can be hard to get in some places and are expensive when you do find them so by having a menstrual cup you don’t need to worry about this and it’s waste free and helps you travel sustainably in Thailand. This is the travel menstrual cup I use and recommend.
Of course, you will also need all of your other usual toiletries however note that you can buy everything you need in Thailand so don’t take huge, heavy bottles and if you forget something it’s ok.
I wear make up on evenings out in Thailand so I do recommend packing it but it’s always so hot and sweaty in Thailand and a lot of the time it sweats off in a few hours so don’t pack too much make up!
This is great to put around your shoulders or legs when entering temples. It’s also great to use on the beach instead of a towel which will save room in your bag. It’s also good for overnight journeys as a blanket. You can buy sarongs all over Thailand so if you don’t have one, buy one in Thailand.
If you are staying in hotels in Thailand you won’t need a quick-dry towel but if you are backpacking Thailand and staying in hostels you will as towels are often not provided. Do not fill up your backpack with a big towel, get a small foldable quick-dry towel!
One or two international adapters will be needed on your Thailand travel checklist. I have been using this 2 in 1 international adapter and power bank. It works in the Thailand plugs with no extra adapter needed, it has 2 USB ports which I use to charge my phone and camera during the night and when I wake up not only are they charged but so is the power bank which I use for extra charge during the day, genius!
*For more backpacking essentials for Thailand, read this post of 20 things I take on all my backpacking trips including a washing line, re-usable water bottle and good locks!*
Now you know what to add to your Thailand packing list and what to take to Thailand, what bag is best to take to Thailand?
Plenty of people take a suitcase to Thailand, especially holiday makers who are spending 2 weeks in Thailand and that’s fine, the locals are used to this, however I personally think this isn’t a good idea, even if you are going on an expensive holiday to Thailand staying in nice hotels with transfers booked, you will still be getting on and off boats and in and out of buses and taxis.
For example, recently I saw so many people getting off the boat on Railay Beach,which is a great place for holiday makers and dragging their suitcase through the sand and this not fun, and if you are staying in bungalows and huts the pathways will probably be very narrow with steps which are hard to wheel big suitcases along.
My recommendation is a backpack because of the ease of carrying it and moving around with it whether you are a backpacker or not. I’ve been using the Osprey Farpoint 70L S/M Backpack which works well as the best backpack for Thailand and a good backpack for women because it was great for my backpacking trip around Thailand. If you want a smaller backpack because you’re wondering how to pack light for Thailand, they also do a Women’s 40L Backpack!
I also love this 45L Pacsafe Carry On Backpack which has extra security but is also just a great size and design for backpacking India with!
I use this waterproof cover over my backpack in Thailand which fits the Osprey backpack perfectly and I actually use it more so that the bag doesn’t get too dirty or ruined in transit which does happen a lot in Thailand!
One of the all round top packing tips to help keep your clothes to pack for Thailand tidy and keep all of your backpacking gear together, is to use packing cubes like this.
Try to envision how hot and humid it is there when buying and packing clothes so you only take clothes to Thailand that are suitable!
Do not pack too much– firstly you’ll have to carry it all, secondly you really do not need a new outfit for everyday even if you are on holiday in Thailand and if you are visiting the islands you’ll pretty much live in bikini’s and beach wear!
Remember you can buy everything you need in Thailand!
Don’t forget that you need travel insurance for Thailand!
Get a free quote here while you think about it:
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
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