Planning a trip to Thailand and wondering what to pack? We’ve got you covered. Although it can be tempting to pack some ‘just in case’ items, try to stick to essentials and things you know you will definitely wear.
Laundry is cheap and efficient in Thailand so there’s no need to pack a clean outfit for every day of your trip. If you use a small family owned laundry you’ll usually get your clothes back the next day beautifully washed, crisply ironed and fragrant-fresh. You’ll also be directly supporting the local economy so it’s win-win.
If you’re travelling to Thailand for the first-time, check out our tips here to help you get the most out of your visit and our Thailand travel advice page which covers most of the common questions travellers ask.
From your date of entry into Thailand, make sure you have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your passport. If you’re visiting Thailand for a two or three week holiday, passport holders from the UK and Ireland don’t need to apply for a visa in advance. But if you plan to spend a month or more in Thailand, check the latest visa requirements.
You’ll get a better rate changing money into Thai Baht in Thailand compared to the UK, but it’s still handy to have some cash with you when you arrive to pay for things like taxis or refreshments.
Sense of humour
It might sound twee, but a smile goes a long way in Thailand. The concept of sanuk is part of Thai culture and getting angry is not the best way to deal with any problems you may encounter on your travels. Read up on Thai etiquette and culture to help you get the most out of your visit.
Wherever your Thailand itinerary takes you, lightweight and relaxed fitting clothes are the most practical things to pack. Cotton and linen are good options in the heat and humidity. A lightweight jacket or jumper can be handy when the air-conditioning gets too chilly in airports and on long-distance trains and buses.
Clothes to pack include:
- Pair of trousers/dress (for rooftop bars and fancy restaurants)
- Polo shirt(s) or shirt with collar
- An outfit to cover knees and shoulders when visiting temples and royal sites
- Swimming costume/trunks
If you’re visiting Thailand during the green season you may encounter some tropical showers. Some travellers opt to bring a lightweight rain jacket, but they have a tendency to make you sweat. A compact umbrella is a more practical option. You can buy these cheaply in Thailand and they usually come with a UV coating so it protects you from sun and rain.
In Thailand, you’ll need to take off your shoes before entering temples, people’s homes and some shops. Shoes that are easy to slip on and off are practical. Thailand’s pavements are often uneven and not the best for walking so bring at least one pair of shoes/trainers with decent support and grip.
Footwear to pack:
- Comfortable walking shoes/trainers/tennis shoes
- Pair of loafers/smart(ish) shoes (for rooftop bars, clubs or high-end restaurants)
Although cheap sunglasses can be found at markets across Thailand, they won’t always offer good UV protection. You can buy genuine brand name sunglasses in department stores and opticians, but the prices are on a par with what you would pay in the UK or Ireland.
Accessories to pack:
- Quick-drying, lightweight travel towel
- Travel plug (if backpacking)
- Refillable water bottle
- Reusable shopping bag
- Some clothes pegs (useful for resealing bags as well as drying your smalls)
You shouldn’t drink the tap water in Thailand; hotels and guest-houses provide bottled water for you to drink. To cut down on waste and help support responsible tourism, bring a refillable water bottle with you. These can be filled up with filtered water for just a few Baht at machines you will see dotted around cities and resort areas. Organisations like Trash Hero have also teamed up with local businesses to provide water refilling stations.
Toiletries and medication
Thailand is great value for so many things, but there are some items that can be a better deal in the UK and Ireland. This is especially true for items like sunscreen if you get them when there is a 2 for 1 deal.
If you need to buy any toiletries in Thailand, you’re never too far from a 7-Eleven which is convenient for items like soap and toothpaste. For more choice and to find brands you may be more familiar with, many shopping centres in Thailand will have a branch of Boots or Watsons (the Thai equivalent of Boots).
Toiletries to pack:
- Hand sanitiser
- Shaving essentials
- Contact lens solution (if required)
- Menstrual products of choice (your preferred brand might be harder to find in Thailand)
- Hair products
- Insect repellent*
*Insect repellent is good value in Thailand, but it’s worth bringing at least a small bottle with you so you have some when you first arrive.
When carrying prescribed drugs or medicine in or out of Thailand, keep the medicine in the original, clearly labelled packaging. You should also carry with you a letter from your doctor or the qualified medical professional who prescribed the drugs. Always keep medications with you in your carry on bag.
Mobile phone SIM cards are available at airports and phone shops in shopping centres. Staff at many of these outlets are used to dealing with tourists and will be able to help you get your Thai SIM card up and running.
Electronics to pack:
- Portable power bank
- Travel adapter
- Laptop/tablet and charger
- Camera (plus memory cards, cables and chargers)
- Kindle and charger
- Portable hard drive/flash drive
- Waterproof dry bag
Always keep your electronics with you in your carry on bag.
What luggage to bring with you is very much a matter of personal preference. A backpack might be best if you’re likely to be cross-crossing Thailand jumping on buses, trains and boats. As a compromise between suitcase and backpack, a rolling holdall can be handy. It’s good for airport transfers, but equally practical on trains and boats.
In addition to your main luggage and carry-on bag, a small daypack is useful for sightseeing trips and days out at the beach.
To help you get around, these apps can be useful:
- Google Translate
- Google Maps
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