Thailand is a country with a climate as diverse as its culture. Packing can be stressful with any travelling experience – especially when you’re heading to a far-off land very different from your own. But not to worry! We’ve assembled some fantastic tips on what to pack and how to pack it, so you can set off knowing you’re fully prepared for your adventure.
Don’t forget the usual suspects. These are things you should have for any trip, but as a reminder:
- Passport/visa (and copies)
- Travel insurance documents
- Credit/debit card
- Emergency contact details for credit card, bank & mobile phone provider
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Mobile phone
With the wide range of climates and cultures across Thailand, you’ll want to ensure you have clothing to keep you comfortable wherever you go.
- Light clothing
While climates vary throughout areas and seasons, the weather is generally hot and humid, so you’ll want to wear clothes made from light, loose-fitting materials such as cotton blends and linen.
- But not too skimpy!
Thailand is generally modest, especially in the South – and while Thai people accommodate tourists who aren’t in the know, it will be warmly appreciated if you follow dress-codes, generally covering shoulders and knees.
Thailand has many beautiful temples, such as those in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350, or the cultural hub Chiang Mai in the mountains of the North. While dress-codes elsewhere are more flexible, temples are highly sacred, and dressing respectfully is essential – long pants or dresses are advised, as well as covering shoulders.
This light and multipurpose item can be used to cover your shoulders in a temple, dry yourself on an idyllic beach in Koh Samui, or keep warm if your bus’s AC is a bit chilly.
For night-time outings, the dress-code varies by location. If you’re going to an upmarket club or restaurant in Bangkok, then – as with any cosmopolitan city – smart clothing is expected. On the other hand, if you’re hitting a beach-party in Phuket, shorts and flip-flips are perfectly fine.
- Slip-on shoes
Many places require you to remove your shoes before entering – so slip-ons will make life easier.
- Light raincoat
Thailand’s tropical climate means that sudden downpours are a possibility, regardless of season and heat – always have this on-hand!
Hiking-gear: Thailand has spectacular hiking destinations, such as Pai – where you can explore tropical jungles, caves and majestic waterfalls.
Dress to stay cool, but also to keep insects and scratches at bay. Long clothes made
- from sweat-wicking fabrics are ideal – they’ll keep you comfortable and they dry quickly if you’re trekking through rivers and waterfalls.
- Ventilated hiking shoes
Opt for these rather than heavy hiking boots. They’ll keep you cool while being a lot easier to pack and transport.
A must have, especially if you plan on night-walks.
For exploring the sea: mind-boggling oceans and reefs abound – check out Phi Phi Islands for incredible scuba diving and snorkelling experiences.
- Rash guard
If you’re going snorkelling or surfing, a rash guard will help to prevent sunburn.
Recommended for scuba-diving – but it’s probably better to hire one there if budget allows, so you can optimise luggage space.
- Light but sturdy back-pack
Necessary for day-trips and hikes.
- Various plastic or other waterproof bags
Use these to easily segment wet or dirty from clean clothing. Ziploc bags are a convenient way of ensuring that electronics stay dry and for storing sunblock or other liquids to prevent pesky leakages.
- Water bottle
Tap water should be avoided by foreigners, so fill up with filtered water at hotels to save costs on bottled water (and the environment).
- Universal power adapter
Thailand has several power outlet types, so these make life easier.
- Sunhat, sunblock, sunglasses
- Insect repellent
Pack like a pro
With your item list sorted, it’s time to fit it all in the suitcase! Here are some smart ways to save space.
- Plan ahead
Be sure to find out baggage limits for your flight, so you can prioritise what you take.
- Take dual-purpose garments
For example, pants that can be zipped off or rolled up to make shorts.
- Roll clothes
It takes up less space than folding and prevents creasing.
- Packing aids
Compression sacks can be used to vacuum-pack clothes, making them easier to fit.
- Don’t over-pack!
Throughout Thailand, you can find stunning clothing for incredible prices – or even get a few items tailormade. If space is an issue, prioritise what you need to take and buy the rest there. If you plan on doing a lot of shopping, take old clothing which you can give away to free up room for new luggage on the way home.
Keen to put your packing tips into practice? There’s still time to enter our competition for a chance to win a 5-stop trip through Thailand with Simply Asia. Get the details here: https://simplyasia.co.za/win/#s2w