The Land of Smiles has it all: Vibrant culture, delicious food, a price tag that’s easy on the budget, warmth year-round, beaches, jungles, and mountains. The only thing it doesn’t have is snow, thank goodness!
If you’re like me Thailand is attractive for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to the lack of winter. That makes packing a lot easier, and a lot lighter!
Most of what you bring to Thailand will be lightweight and easy to roll up and stuff into a compression bag. That means you can bring more things, and take up less space.
The Ideal Thailand Packing List:
- 4-5 tank tops or light shirts
- 1-2 lightweight shirts with sleeves for temples
- 2-3 dresses – two long and one short (I bought all mine from ASOS)
- 2 pairs of lightweight cotton pants – buy them there at the markets!
- 2 pairs of shorts, at least one with pockets that button or zip (easy to carry money and a key on a night out)
- 1 silk scarf for covering shoulders (buy there)
- 1 lightweight rain jacket
- 1 fleece (if traveling up north during the winter or trekking. It does get cold!)
- 1 pair running shoes
- 1 pair cute sandals
- 1 pair comfy flip flops
- 1-2 hats for sun protection (I wear one in transit)
- 10 or so pairs of underwear and 2 bras
- 2-3 bathing suits
About the jackets
You might be surprised to see that I included a fleece on there. Before you stuff one into your bag, though, consider where and when you’re visiting Thailand. I learned the hard way while at a retreat near Chiang Rai in January, in the mountains in the far north of Thailand, that the weather can actually be quite cold at the higher elevations in the winter months! However if you’re just sticking to the south, like Bangkok and the islands, leave the fleece at home.
The rain jacket, on the other hand, is useful no matter where you go in the country. Rainy season in Thailand lasts from June until October but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time it rains. It’s a tropical jungle, so if you want to stay dry, bring a rain jacket! Just make sure it’s breathable and light, because it’ll be hot, too!
Toiletries and other essentials
I usually just bring enough shampoo and conditioner to fill a 100-ml/3 oz bottle and refill on the road. You’ll find 7-11s everywhere and almost all of them sell Pantene and Dove. You’ll also find Nivea, so you can refill lotions and buy deodorant as well – just double check that it’s not the kind meant to whiten your skin, which is unfortunately quite popular in Thailand.
I say unfortunately because their skin is beautiful just the way it is, and so is yours!
However I do usually bring my own face wash and facial moisturizer with SPF – two things I’m very particular about. I also advise you bring enough razors with you since Venus isn’t something I saw much over there, and the same goes for menstrual cups, though tampons are somewhat easy to find.
I also consider certain electronics to be essential as a digital nomad, though I realize not everyone is in the same boat. If you’re curious, here’s a listing of my camera gear and my favorite electronics bags.
In general, Thais tend to dress a bit more on the conservative side. While it’s fine to wear tank tops and shorts, consider leaving the crop tops and booty shorts at home.
The only time when it’s required and essential to cover up is in temples, when shoulders and knees must be fully covered in order to enter. This is the motivation behind adding cute maxi dresses to the list, along with buying lightweight pants in Thailand – you can be covered up without overheating.
I highly recommend traveling with insurance. Yes, Thailand is generally cheap, but insurance is helpful should the worst happen and you need to get home.
There are also insurance options to cover activities like SCUBA diving and hiking, two things that people often do when they travel to Thailand. The World Nomads explorer option is the one that I use and recommend.
I have some more good news, by the way. This Thailand packing list can all fit into a carry-on sized bag. For the entire first year that I traveled in Southeast Asia I actually did it carry on only, without wearing the same thing all the time! It’s totally possible. Click here to read more about that or watch the video above to see how I stuff a week and a half of clothing into one small bag.
I hope that helps make your Thailand trip easier and more carefree. If you’re still figuring out where exactly to go, what to budget, and how to get around, check out my Thailand guide which should answer all your questions!
Happy travels in one of the most beautiful countries on Earth!