Between the colorful, exotic temples to the coconut palm tree-lined beaches, Thailand is a must-visit destination for any traveler or backpacker. Whether you’re planning to unwind on the tropical islands along the Andaman Sea or explore the vibrant urban life in Bangkok, you won’t be disappointed with what you’ll find in this stunning Southeast Asian country.
Before you head over to paradise, you’ll need to know what to pack for Thailand. What you add to your Thailand packing list will entirely on where and when you plan to travel. Some places may be scorching and muggy, while others experience torrential rainfall almost every hour of the day.
That’s why we put together the ultimate packing Thailand survival guide. Not only do we have the complete list of every item you should take with you on your trip, but we also have a few Thailand outfit ideas for both men and women. So if you’re wondering what to wear in Thailand at night or what to wear in Thailand in summer, then this guide is for you.
Top 21 NEEDS for Thailand – Thailand Packing List
#1 – World Nomads Insurance
No matter where you go in the world, travel insurance is absolutely crucial. It protects you against common travel mishaps like flight cancellations, lost luggage, and stolen personal items. Most importantly, travel insurance also covers any medical bills in case you need to see a doctor or visit the hospital during your trip. So, if you break your leg in a scooter accident or get food poisoning from eating street food, you won’t be stuck paying thousands of dollars in medical bills. World Nomads is one of the best companies in the industry and our travel insurance provider of choice. They provide comprehensive insurance policies for all types of backpackers, digital nomads, and jet setters.
#2 – Nomatic Travel Bag
Choosing the right bag for your trip is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your trip to Thailand. We are strong advocates for the super sleek Nomatic Travel Bag. Ideal for a 7-day trip, this carry-on has enough space for all your clothes, toiletries, and gadgets like laptops and cameras. We also love the versatility of the bag – you can wear it like a backpack, or convert it into a handheld duffel.
Thailand uses both American style outlets (flat prong) and European style outlets (round prongs). If you’re not sure which outlet your hostel or hotel uses, then it’s important to bring a universal travel adaptor. It’s also important to note that the voltage is 220 volts, which is higher than most American 110 volt electronics. If you’re planning on plugging in your American device, then you’ll also need the adaptor to convert the voltage. Or else you will burn out whatever you plug in.
Have your dates picked? Read up on hostels in Bangkok before you book!
Although Thailand isn’t considered a dangerous country, you should still take precautions to keep your valuables safe. You don’t want to risk getting pickpocketed or losing your credit cards while your shopping at the markets or hitting the beach. The Active Roots Security Belt looks just like a normal black belt, but it has a hidden zipper compartment where you can secretly stash cash, credit cards, and other important documents. No one will ever suspect a thing!
Editor’s Tip: make friends by staying at a cool hostel in Chiang Mai!
#5 – Waterproof Dry Bag
If you’re planning on spending any time on the beach, then it’s important to bring a dry bag with you. A dry bag keeps your valuable possessions dry from the different harsh elements you may encounter. It’s constructed with durable PVC materials that will protect your cash, credit cards, camera, and cellphone. Don’t risk dropping your phone in the water or getting sand inside your camera!
Koh Phangan is great! Koh Phangan’s hostels are great too!
#6 – Scarf or Sarong
Many travelers wonder what to pack for Thailand if they plan on visiting the temples. Generally speaking, you’ll need to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting different religious sites or shrines. That’s why it’s a good idea always to carry a scarf or sarong. If you’re just wearing a tank top or shorts, then you can use the sarong as an emergency cover. And if you’re at the beach, it can also double as a blanket!
Recommended Article: Looking for the best hostels in Koh Tao? Check out our EPIC Guide!
#7 – Skyroam Solis
Chances are, your domestic cellular plan won’t work while you’re in Thailand. If you want to stay connected (and not always rely on the hotel wifi), then you should invest in a Skyroam Solis. You can easily sync up to ten devices and receive lightning-fast data anywhere in Thailand. That way, you can search for restaurant reviews, look up directions to your favorite bar, or upload photos to Facebook and Instagram.
Editor’s Tip: make friends by staying at a cool hostel in Phuket!
You never know when you’ll be stuck in a torrential rainstorm in Thailand. One minute it might be sunny, and the next minute it’s pouring. A compact travel umbrella is always a good idea to have. This model is just 6.6 inches long and only weighs 7 oz so that you can keep it with you in your backpack or pocket. You’ll be ready to tackle whatever mother nature throws at you!
The weather in Thailand can be unbearably hot, so it’s important always to stay hydrated no matter where you go. The Active Roots Water Bottle is an essential item to add to your Thailand packing list. It keeps water and other drinks cold for up to 24 hours at a time, even in hot and humid weather! Not to mention, you’ll be saving the environment by cutting down your usage of plastic single-use water bottles. It’s a win-win situation!
Thailand is amazing! And the best hostels in Krabi will blow you away!
#10 – Rain Jacket
If you’re headed to Thailand during the rainy season, then bringing a light rain jacket is a must. Even if the weather is warm, you can still have several consecutive days of rain. That’s why you’ll want something durable, but also light-weight. The Columbia Stitchback jacket is a great option. Not only does it come with zipper pockets to protect your things, but the inside is lined so you’ll stay dry even in the strongest of storms.
Looking for the Party? We’ve got you covered with our guide to the best party hostels in Bangkok!
#11 – MasterLock
If you’re spending a few nights in a hostel, then you’ll need a secure lock to keep your bag and personal items safe and sound. Nothing is worse than coming back to your room after a day of sightseeing only to find out that your laptop or camera has been stolen! MasterLock has tons of lock options for different types of travelers. The combination locks are great for traveling because you don’t have to worry about carrying around a key.
Thailand is alive! And you’ll find these party hostels have some of the best events around!
#12 – Sunscreen
Getting a painful sunburn is a vacation killer! If you’re planning to spend any time outdoors (even if it’s cloudy and rainy), then you’ll need to protect yourself with sunscreen. It’s recommended to put on sunscreen with at least SPF 30, although 50 or higher is better. And if you get wet or go swimming, then don’t forget to reapply!
Editor’s Note: You can have a great time in Phuket staying at one of the top party hostels!
#13 – Insect Repellent
Insect Repellent is an obvious Thailand packing essential. It protects you against those painful, itchy stings and possible mosquito-borne viruses like Dengue Fever. It can also ward off other insects, like ticks, gnats, biting flies, chiggers, and fleas. Just one spray lasts up to 10 hours, so it’s easy to apply and continue with your day. When the sun goes down, and the bugs come out, you’ll be thankful that you’re slathered in insect repellent!
Looking to make friends in Thailand? One of these cool party hostels might be for you!
#14 – Skeletool
Ideal for almost every emergency situation, the Skeletool is a must-have item to add to your Thailand packing list. It’s a knife, a pair of pliers, and a wirecutter all in one! Imagine using your Skeletool to crack up a fresh coconut that you found on the beach. Or if you’re feeling lazy, you can also use the built-in corkscrew and bottle opener to easily pop open an ice-cold beer at the bar. Either way, you’ll be thankful to have your trusty Skeletool by your side.
MUST READ! You’ve got to visit these places in Thailand when you’re there!
#15 – Portable Charger
It’s easy to drain your phone battery, especially if you’re out all daying taking pictures of everything you see in Thailand. Unless you want to be stuck with a dead battery, it’s important to bring a portable charger with you. It provides more than enough power to charge your phone multiple times, especially when you need it the most. And because it’s so compact, bringing it with you on the go is really a no-brainer.
Our Europe packing list is a MUST READ
Between the white sand beaches and the lush green jungles, you’re guaranteed to see some amazing landscapes in Thailand. Capture these moments with a compact mirrorless camera, like the Sony a6000. This small but mighty camera is comparable with most DSLR cameras but without the hefty price tag.
No suitcase is complete without the Active Roots Quick Dry Towel. You’d be surprised at how many situations this travel towel comes in handy. You can use it at the beach, at a yoga retreat, or on a hike through the Thai jungle. Or, you can use it as your normal towel at your hotel or hostel. It’s made with micro-bacterial fibers that go from completely wet to completely dry in just under an hour. The Active Roots Quick Dry Towel will easily become your new travel companion!
Not sure what to bring? Have a look at our (must read) packing list for Mexico.
#18 – Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are a must-have for any travelers, especially if space is limited in your suitcase or backpack. Not only do they keep your clothes perfectly neat and organized, but it also makes packing much easier. You can keep your socks and underwear together in one, and your pants, shorts, and T-shirts in the other. Say goodbye to hunting around your backpack for that one item you can never find!
#19 – Travel First Aid Kit
With a travel first aid kit, you’ll be prepared for any minor emergencies that come your way. So if you get blisters on your feet while hiking or nick your finger on a piece of coral while snorkeling, you can take care of your injury right then and there. Not all superheroes wear capes, but they do carry around a pocket-sized first aid kit!
Don’t pack too much stuff! Here is our must read Iceland packing list.
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can stop your washing up routine! The Will Fairy Electric Toothbrush has three different cleaning settings, so you can easily reach all those small nooks and crevices around your teeth. The long-life battery also makes this electric toothbrush ideal for traveling. You’ll have over 30 days of brushing with just one charge, so there’s no need to haul around an extra cord while you’re in Thailand.
Our Bali packing list is a MUST READ
This travel book will easily become your go-to Thailand survival guide. Whether you’re looking for the best restaurants or the coolest secret beaches, you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about Thailand inside this guide book. There are even pre-set itineraries to follow if you haven’t made any plans yet for your trip.
Heading to Costa Rica? You have to read our Costa Rica packing list!
What to Wear in Thailand
Before you figure out what to pack for Thailand, you’ll need to consider your itinerary. Are you planning to hang out at the resort the entire time? Or are you interested in exploring some of the exotic temples and shrines in the area?
Once you figure out your itinerary, then you can decide what to take to Thailand.
It may come as a surprise, but Thailand is a relatively conservative country. Although it’s common to see undressed tourists wearing their beach clothes out and about, you should still consider bringing some modest outfits.
As a rule of thumb, beach clothes should be strictly used at the beach or pool. Everywhere else, you should wear shorts, shirts, and other light-weight items. It’s a good idea to stick to light-colored clothing or linen fabrics if you want to stay cool in the hot Thailand weather.
If you plan on visiting a religious site, then you need to know what to wear in Thailand. Men and women should cover their shoulder and their knees and ankles. You can also use a scarf or sarong to cover up. It’s considered disrespectful to show lots of skin when entering a Thai temple or shrine.
Seasons in Thailand (And how to pack for them!)
Summer – Summer is the start of the monsoon season in Thailand. It also happens to be the low-season for tourists, which means you can score great deals on flights and accommodation.
Although there will be periods of rain, there will still be plenty of hours of sunshine during the day. Since the weather can be unpredictable, it’s important to take a packable umbrella or light rain jacket with you at all times. You might also want to use your dry pack as a day bag so you can keep your cell phone and wallet dry if it starts pouring.
Despite the rainy weather, the temperature in summer is still quite hot and muggy. Most big cities and islands in Thailand will have temperatures that can reach up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. This means you’ll want to wear thin, breathable fabrics if you plan on being outside.
Of course, you can always just chill in your swimsuit by the beach if the temperature becomes too unbearable! However, you should be prepared to run straight back to your hotel if it starts downpouring.
Fall – The beginning of fall is still in the middle of the monsoon season, which tends to taper down towards the end of November. You can expect very heavy rainfall, and sometimes even flooding during the peak months of September. Bangkok and the southern islands will get the most rain, although it’s still possible to have storms in the north.
For this reason, it’s crucial to have a rain poncho, rain jacket, or umbrella with you in case you get stuck in a rainstorm. A durable pair of waterproof shoes or sneakers will also be helpful.
The temperature during the day is still very hot. Although it’s slightly cooler than in summer, most places can still reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to pack light-weight summer clothing if you plan to be outside for long periods of time.
If you’re in the north, the temperature tends to dip once the sun goes down. It’s a good idea to pack a light sweater and long pants to keep you warm in the evening or at night.
Winter – For many travelers, winter is the best time to visit Thailand. It’s also the busiest time of the year, especially during the holiday season. You can expect lots of sunshine, lots of tourists, and lots of good experiences by visiting Thailand in winter.
This is a great time to visit Thailand’s tropical destinations. Places around the Gulf of Thailand (Khao Samui, Khao Tao) and the Andaman Sea (Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi) have the best conditions all year. You can expect great weather almost every day.
Although the weather is still hot, there is very little humidity. Not to mention, winter is in the middle of the dry season, so there is practically little to no rainfall during this time, which means you can leave your rain gear back at home. It’s the perfect weather for hitting the beach or spending a day exploring the cities.
During the day, temperatures hover around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It tends to cool off in the evening, especially in cities like Chaing Mai or Pai in the north. You should bring a light jacket or sweater if you’re wondering what to wear in Thailand at night.
However, the southern cities and islands are pleasant in the evening. You can probably still get away with wearing what you did during the day.
Spring – Spring is still in the middle of the dry season, which means you won’t have to worry about flooding or rainstorms that often. The rainier weather starts in May when spring transitions into summer. At this time, there will be short bursts of heavy rainfall, although this eventually clears up to make room for the sunshine.
As spring progresses, the weather also starts getting hotter and hotter. Temperatures in March average in the high 80s, and this increases to the 90 or 95 degrees Fahrenheit in April and May. In some regions around Thailand, April and May are the hottest months of the year.
The humidity also increases compared to what it was in summer, which means you might consider packing clothes that are more breathable.
What shoes to pack for Thailand
When it comes to footwear, do you know what to pack for Thailand?
There are many different options for shoes depending on if you’re planning on lounging at the pool or trekking through the tropics. It’s important to consider the various activities you want to do when deciding what to wear in Thailand.
If you’re visiting the islands and beaches, then flip flops are the best shoes for Thailand. You’ll want to bring a pair that are rubber and waterproof, so it’s not a big deal if they get wet or dirty. You can also wear them if you’re grabbing lunch or shopping at the market in the city.
Flip flops or other slip-on shoes are also the best shoes in Thailand for visiting the temples. You’ll need to remove them before entering the shrine, so you’ll want something that can easily be slipped on and off.
You should also consider bringing a nicer pair of sandals if you plan on going out to dinner or a nightclub in Bangkok. They look dressier than ordinary flip flops and can still be worn during hot and muggy days.
For more adventurous activities, plan on bringing a pair of running shoes or hiking boots. You’ll need something durable to protect you while you trek up the mountains or search for secret waterfalls. The same goes for water-based sports. If you are spending a lot of time on the coast or in the water, you’ll want to have slip-on water shoes or athletic sandals like Tevas to protect you from sharp rocks and corals.
Females – What to Pack for Thailand
Ladies, you have a lot of options when it comes to Thailand fashion.
As most places are warm, you’ll want to make sure to pack a lot of summer clothing, like shorts, tank tops, skirts, and dresses. And if you’re going swimming in the ocean or hotel pool, then you don’t want to forget your swimsuits and bikinis.
If you’re going out at night, then you’ll also need to bring a few going out outfits. Thai street fashion is still rather casual, so a nice dress and sandals are sufficient enough. Some nightclubs are more strict with their dress code. If you’re wearing jeans, shorts, or casual beachwear, they won’t let you. If you plan on going to these upscale places, then you should also consider bringing a few dressier outfits.
It’s also a good idea to dress conservatively if you want to see the different temples in Thailand. Since these are religious sites, you will need to cover your shoulder and knees. Long, flowy paints and a t-shirt will do, or else you can use a scarf or sarong for cover.
- Bikini or swimsuit
- Beach coverups
- Sarongs, or shawls
- Tank tops
- Blouses that cover shoulders (for visiting temples)
- Waterproof shell or rain jacket
- Light cardigan
- Shorts and skirts
- Loose long pants (for visiting temples)
- Maxi dress
- Bra and bralette
- Sneakers or walking shoes that you can wear all day
- Flip Flops
- Nice flats or sandals for going out
- Waterproof shoes for water activities (snorkeling etc.)
- Daypack or small backpack
- Beach tote bag
- Packable umbrella (monsoon and rainy season)
- Shampoo, conditioner, other hair products
- Body soap and lotion
- Tampons and pads
- Face wash and moisturizer
- Contacts or glasses
- Medication (birth control, vitamins, allergies meds, etc.)
- Hand sanitizer
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Makeup (eye shadow, lipstick, foundation, mascara, eyeliner, etc.)
Males – What to Pack for Thailand
Guys, we got you covered too! We have a list of different Thailand packing essentials that you’ll need to bring with you on your trip.
Although it’s easy just to toss a bunch of beach clothes into your bag, there are a few other items you can’t forget to bring. If you’re visiting temples or going hiking, you’ll need to know exactly what to take to Thailand.
It’s important to respect local customs when visiting a Thai temple or shrine. This means covering up your shoulders and knees when entering the site. Jeans are heavy and can be very uncomfortable if it’s hot and muggy out. You can purchase linen or loose fabric pants if you want to keep cool while also dressing conservatively.
On the beach, you can pretty much wear whatever you want. Make sure to bring your swim trunks and flip flops or water-resistant shoes if you’re going to be in the water. The sun in Thailand is strong, so it’s also advised to protect yourself with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen during the day.
- Swim trunks or board shorts
- Button up shirts (flannel or casual)
- Thin windbreaker or rain jacket
- Linen or loose pants (for visiting temples)
- Jeans or chinos (for going out)
- Sneakers or walking shoes that you can wear all day
- Flip flops
- Baseball hat or sunhat
- Daypack or small backpack
- Shampoo, conditioner
- Hair gel or mousse
- Hairbrush or comb
- Body soap and lotion
- Disposable razor and shaving cream
- Contacts or glasses
- Medication (vitamins, allergies meds, etc.)
- Hand sanitizer
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
What NOT to Pack for Thailand
When deciding what to pack for Thailand, there are few items that you shouldn’t bring.
- Heavy clothes (jeans, boots, etc.) – Generally speaking, the weather in Thailand is hot and muggy. You won’t be very comfortable wearing thick jeans or bulky clothing outside.
- Expensive jewelry – Thailand isn’t the best place to show off your diamond earrings or gold necklace. Most people tend to dress conservatively, and you don’t want to draw attention to yourself by flashing expensive jewelry. Plus, you risk it getting stolen.
- Things with Buddha on it – Although many foreigners love wearing jewelry, clothing, or accessories with Buddha on it, this is actually very disrespectful in Thai culture. Do not bring or wear anything with the image of Buddha on your trip.
The Best Backpack to Pack for Thailand
Don’t bring that heavy four-wheeled suitcase with you to Thailand. It’s bulky and difficult to carry, especially if you’re planning on visiting multiple cities on your trip.
Instead, we recommend the ultra-chic Nomatic Travel Bag. This 40L bag can hold clothes for a 7 day trip to Thailand, with extra room for your toiletries and electronics too. The entire bag is also completely water-resistant, which is perfect for Thailand’s wet and unpredictable weather. Your clothes will stay nice and dry even if you’re stuck in the middle of a monsoon.
We also love that it can be worn either as a backpack or as a duffel bag. If your shoulders get too tired, then you can easily switch the straps to carry it like a duffel.
Best of all, the Nomatic Travel Bag is built to keep you organized. There are dedicated compartments and slots for your laptop, shoes, water bottle, and vital documents. It also comes with a built-in laundry bag, so you can keep your dirty clothes separated from the cleans ones.
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Thailand
We hope this guide has alleviated all your fears about what to pack for Thailand. With the right amount of preparation and planning, packing for an unforgettable vacation to Thailand is easy.
Thailand is an amazing country bursting with culture, history, and life. You shouldn’t have to worry about wearing the wrong pair of pants to the temples or shoes to the beach.
Whether you’re headed to the islands in summer or up the mountains in winter, you’ll know exactly what items you’ll need to bring with you on this once-in-a-lifetime vacation!