Ultimate Thailand Packing Guide

Ultimate Thailand Packing Guide

First off, congratulations on booking your trip to Thailand! Thailand was the first Asian country we visited, and we fell in love instantly! One thing we learned is that packing for Thailand is very different from other places we’ve visited. With that being said, I wanted to create a Thailand packing guide of items that can be easily overlooked for women and men! This guide will not include the traditional 2 shirts, 3 pants, a bathing suit, etc …. but items that are easy to forget or items that are hard to get once you are in Thailand.

Longtail boat ride in Krabi, Thailand with limestone cliffs
Longtail boat ride from Railay Beach

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Toiletries to Pack for Thailand

1. Sunscreen

In Thailand, it is almost impossible to find sunscreen without whitening agents in it. Basically, the products are designed to make skin white which is a cultural thing. We always use Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 or Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer since they are both safe for coral reefs.

2. Shampoo and Conditioner Bar

My lush shampoo bar is by far my favorite toiletry. It helps reduce plastic waste, uses more sustainable ingredients and takes up less space in my bag. On top of that, it also eliminates all worries about having unwanted liquid leaks!  I’ve used both Godiva and Seanik shampoo bars. I also just started to use their pink conditioner bar. So far, I like it.

3. Deodorant

Believe it or not, deodorant is not a popular item across Asia and is usually more expensive to buy if you do find it. I use Tom’s of Maine Natural deodorant. I mainly use it because I like to use natural products that are not tested on animals. It works well enough, but sometimes I have to reapply more than once a day.

4. First aid Scar Reducer/ Neosporin

If you end up with some scratches, it’s almost impossible to find a cream that will help reduce scarring. It’s always good to just have a little tube! BTW- this advice was given to me by a Chiang Mai ex-pat who stockpiles them every time he’s back in the states.

5. Wet Wipes

If you are used to western toilets like me, you are used to always having toilet paper. Well, this is not the case in Thailand. The toilets here will either be squat toilets or toilets with a water hose. What do both of these toilets have in common you ask? NO TOILET PAPER. Therefore wet wipes will be your best friend!

 

6. Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer

Another thing Thailand bathrooms tend to lack is soap, so bringing hand sanitizer is a must! In general, I bring this on all my trips.

Accessory Thailand Packing Items

1. Reusable Waterbottle

Since the water is not safe to drink, a reusable water bottle such as Lifestraw or a water sterilizer such as Steripen will help reduce waste and can even save you money.

2. Bug Spray

You will definitely want to bring bug spray with you that has DEET. We used OFF Deep Woods Repellent that has 25% DEET.

3. Camera Bag

My LowePro Camera bag backpack became one of my favorite traveling accessories. It not only carries my camera and several of my lenses but also has room for my computer and cosmetic bags. It also has a weatherproof cover attached which was not only perfect during the rainy season in Thailand, but overall great to keep on so I didn’t have to worry about people trying to open the zippers! Win, win!

Wading to the Ferry in Indonesia with my LowePro Pack
Wading to the Ferry in Indonesia with my LowePro Pack

4. Quickdry Towels

Quick Dry Towels was one thing we wished we had packed with us! We now bring our Dock and Bay towels everywhere! They are extremely compact, dry super quick, and are sand resistant. We have 2 size (L) which I think is a good size. On top of that, Dock and Bay package their towels in eco-friendly packaging.

5. Universal Adapter

Not only is universal adaptors great for Thailand, but just for general travel as well! This universal adaptor allowed us to visit the UK, Europe, and Southeast Asia with no problem!

Women Thailand Packing Guide

1. Sandals

In Thailand, it’s required to take your shoes off at temples and even entering into some stores. It is best to have sandals that easily slip off. We visited Thailand during the rainy season (May through October) so we wanted to find shoes that were also water-resistant.

I got Teva sandals for rainy days. They were so comfortable since we did so much walking. While they might not be the cutest, you will actually find tons of people with similar sandals (so you won’t stand out). They have a really good grip in Thailand’s slippery pavements. These sandals also worked perfectly as water shoes for when you have to wade through the water to the longtail boats! Overall, they are also not as bulky as other water-resistant sandals.

If you want something a little cuter, you can get Birkenstock sandals that are waterproof. I have the regular sandals that I love and hear good things about the waterproof option.

What shoes to pack for Thailand
Wearing Teva Sandals at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

2. Shawls & Long Dresses/Skirts

Thailand has a conservative dress code, especially when entering temples. I would recommend keeping a shawl in your bag to either cover your shoulders. I would suggest packing long dresses and skirts. Not only do they follow the dress code for temples, but they are also much cuter and 100% better than wearing pants!

 

Thailand Packing guide should include a shall and long skirt for temple attire
My go-to shawl to cover my shoulders and long skirt to cover knees when entering places of worship

3. Feminine Products

If it’s that time of the month, its almost impossible to find tampons if you use them. Make sure you pack plenty, just in case. Many women have switched to menstrual cups for traveling. I haven’t personally tried them yet.

4. Raincoat

Don’t travel to Thailand without a raincoat (especially during the rainy season!). It is not uncommon for rain in your forecast since Thailand is a tropical climate. You will be glad you have it!

Men Thailand Packing Guide

1. Shoes

For men, we got these Croc boat shoes that my husband found very comfortable. They were easy to slip on and off and worked well wading through water to the longtail boats! We did find they ran a little big and had to return twice for a smaller size. He wears a 9.5 US in Nike. He got wound up with an 8US.

2. Clothing

Although Thailand is crazy hot, it is best to pack lightweight T-shirts where your shoulders are not showing. In most temples, everyone’s shoulders must be covered. If you visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok, you will need to wear pants. I would recommend buying a pair of the “elephant pants” and putting them in a little drawstring backpack just in case you need them again.

Whatever you do, do not buy them by the Grand Palace. They are over-priced there! Pack lightweight shorts and you will not find a need to pack jeans. It’s hot!!

Things You Should Know Before Visiting Thailand
Elephant pants for men visiting The Grand Palace

6. Camera Gear

I often get asked about what kind of Camera gear I use so I figured I would add it in. I currently use the Canon EOS Rebel 7Ti and the GoPro Hero 7. What I love about my Canon Rebel 7Ti is that it gives me the option to edit the settings in live view. This lets you see how different settings in manual will come out without even having to take the photo. Because of this feature, I have been able to learn so much about different camera settings!

If you are in the market for a camera, I recommend just getting just the body (camera with no lens) since the kit lenses usually won’t fit your needs. I spent extra to get a kit with 3 lenses and I never use any of them. My Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD has been my go-to lens all my travel shots.

Thailand Packing List Wrap-up

This wraps up my packing guide for Thailand! For other Thailand guides click here!

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13 thoughts on “Ultimate Thailand Packing Guide”

  1. This is an extremely helpful list! I’ve been wanting to start using shampoo and conditioner bars so I’ll have to check out your suggestions. Do you like one brand more than the other?

    Reply
  2. As a current expat in Thailand, I have to say I agree with this list. Thankfully, the pharmacies here in Thailand are amazing and I found that medicines can easily be found. Hand Sanitizer is hard to find and sunscreen is ridiculously expensive. Great comprehensive list!

    Reply
  3. Super helpful list – one of my best friends went to Thailand a few years ago and I was so jealous. It’s been a dream of mine for a while.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for this guide! I pretty much used all of these things when I was in Bangkok so this is useful for a first time traveler there

    Reply
  5. Very useful guide for first-timers to Thailand, especially those who are not familiar with the South East Asian weather 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  6. What a thoughtful list! Some of the items did give me a double-take since I’d not have thought of it – Quickdry Towels and shawls for instance, so useful yet I’d never remember them!

    Reply
  7. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing, especially for including a quick men’s guide as well! This will be great when my Husband and I travel!

    Reply
  8. YES to bringing sunscreen! China is the same thing, sunscreen, lotion, etc all contain whitening products – and even if they label doesn’t say it, I’m still skeptical haha. I also love my quickdry towel, it’s probably one of the most useful travel products I’ve invested in.
    Overall, I like that this is a good list of things that people might not think about before going to Thailand – very useful!

    Reply

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