While Thailand is a country that we suggest everybody should visit at least once, it is not your typical holiday destination when it comes to the attire that you should be wearing.
Thailand is a conservative country, so topless sunbathing, wearing short skirts, and walking around bare-chested is not recommended.
This guide will take you through what you should and should not wear when you travel in Thailand. Read through this short article to learn exactly what types of clothes you need to pack for your vacation and which ones you can leave behind in your wardrobe at home.
There is a fine line between wearing something that suits the hot climate in Thailand and not revealing too much. As soon as you land, the hot and humid climate will tempt you wear lighter and shorter clothes.
However, showing too much skin is frowned upon in Thai culture. It is deemed insulting, impolite, and disrespectful of the local traditions, religion, and culture.
It is recommended that men not wear shorts that are too short or vests that are tight or display their shoulders. Instead, go for knee-length shorts such as cargo shorts.
Avoid going topless while traveling in Thailand. Instead, opt for polo shirts or even t-shirts as long as there are no offensive slogans or images print on them.
As for women, showing too much skin is considered offensive. Although the locals will cut you some slack for being a foreigner, try to respect the conservative nature of the Thais by avoiding skirts and shorts that are very short.
Go for flowing dresses and knee-length or longer shorts if possible. Women are not supposed to show their bare shoulders either, and displaying cleavage will get you looks for all the wrong reasons.
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Both men and women should play it safe when it comes to footwear. You are probably going to be spending a lot of time walking around and exploring the sights, so go for comfort and durability over anything else.
This is not the destination for high heels apart from perhaps in the evening when visiting a swanky bar or restaurant. The roads and pathways may be uneven and broken, so avoid fancy shoes for your safety.
Men can opt for sandals, slip-ons, or even trainers/sneakers when out during the day. Flat shoes or sandals are fine for women. We suggest you think twice before walking around with bare feet.
The ground can get hot and, besides, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering somebody"s home, so if you walk around bare-footed, you will be bringing your dirty feet in instead.
Do remember to remove your shoes when entering indoor spaces — if you see a ton of shoes outside a place, you should remove yours before entering that place too.
Foreigners wearing beachwear on the beach is something that is begrudgingly accepted by Thai people. If you see a Thai person on the beach, they will be fully dressed in their everyday clothes.
However, they do understand that tourism is a significant part of their economy and are therefore accepting of foreigners wearing bikinis and swimming trunks on the beach.
It is important to note, however, that these clothes are considered acceptable only on the beach. A bare-chested man in tight-fitting Speedos or a woman wearing a bikini would get some not-so-amused looks when walking into town from the beach.
You should start covering up as soon as you think of leaving the beach. Men can throw on a t-shirt and long shorts or pants while women can toss a sarong or wrap over their swimsuit.
Finally, topless sunbathing is not deemed acceptable anywhere in Thailand, so if you are a female sunbather, please do not try this.
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When Visiting Temples
Temples are sacred and religious spaces in Thailand, so if there was ever a place to dress appropriately, it would be when visiting them.
Men should dress in a collared shirt and wear full-length pants. At the bare minimum, long shots may be considered acceptable. Never wear sleeveless shirts or have too many buttons undone.
There are three rules for women: do not show cleavage, do not show leg above the knee, and do not wear clothes that reveal your shoulders.
No smiles, tips, or begging will make any difference and you will not be granted entry. Sensible footwear is also called for here, and keep in mind that you may have to remove it to enter some temple buildings.
As a sign of respect, you should always bow your head when passing a monk. It is advisable for all tourists, especially women, to try not to touch a monk, as this is regarded as highly inappropriate.
On traveling to a bustling city such as Bangkok, there is a good chance that you might want to check out the nightlife.
Upmarket establishments such as rooftop bars and fancy restaurants expect their patrons to be dressed in format wear or smart casual wear.
Why would you go out in the evening and not dress up anyway? Smart trousers, shirts, and shoes are the way to go for men while a chic but not too revealing dress is great for women.
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Other Tips When Visiting Thailand
Now that we have covered the clothes that you should and should not wear in Thailand, we would like to share a few other tips with you to make your experience comfortable.
1. Thailand Is Not a Jeans-Friendly Country
While you might see Thai people wearing jeans, keep in mind that they are far more acclimated to the heat of their country than you are. As denim is a heavy fabric, it can make you sweaty and uncomfortable.
2. Shower Regularly
Thai people pride themselves on being very clean. This means wearing clean clothes at all times (changing multiple times a day) and washing and showering regularly.
To be honest, once out in the lovely but hot air of Thailand, you will feel the need to shower as the humid heat will have you working up a sweat in no time at all.
3. Carry Plenty of Deodorant
To add to the tip above, carrying adequate deodorant is a must. Thai people are not fond of body odor and, in fact, find it incredibly impolite. Who can blame them? Just make sure you are carrying plenty of deodorant. Baby powder is also effective as it helps keep skin dry.
Travel to Thailand With Us
At Asia Highlights, we have years of experience organizing thousands of vacationers’ trips to Thailand, and we welcome the chance to help you design your perfect trip.
Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodation, and activities that best suit your interests. Please feel free to call or e-mail us for more information.