What to Wear: Thailand

What to Wear: Thailand

Tristan is headed to Thailand on vacation this spring:
I am going to Thailand for 3 weeks in March and April, and need some serious help packing. The weather will be quite warm and muggy, so I’ll want wear light things to keep cool. But, I hear that Thailand is a pretty conservative country, so I’ll want to be respectful and dress modestly (we plan to visit temples, there are dress codes for covered knees and shoulders). I also don’t want to look glaringly American, if at all possible.

We will be doing a lot of walking, so good, comfortable shoes are a must. I don’t mind picking up a few new pieces for the trip, but I’d like to be able to get some mileage out of them here in the States, too. Any ideas for things I can pick up that are cool, modest, and versatile, things that won’t make me look obnoxious abroad, yet are snazzy enough to wear at home?
Dressing conservatively and also not dying of heat stroke can be a challenge. Take a few loose, comfortable clothes and plan on buying beautiful sarongs, tunics and other local pieces during your trip:

Tank – A layer with enough substance to wear alone when you’re at the beach or away from the temples. Layer with a tunic when you need to cover up.
Tunic – This tunic top from Gap is tissue thin and on sale. I bought the chambray version last weekend. The white material won’t block the sun, so don’t forget durable sunblock underneath.
Pants – Linen beach pants on sale from Victoria’s Secret.
Bikini – Bikini tops instead of bras always makes me feel like vacation.
Sneakers – When you’re really hoofing it around town, sensible shoes are a must.
Sandals – For days where you can expose your toes to the elements.
Sunglasses – From Forever 21.
Toss a bunch of basic cotton t-shirts, a couple more pairs of thin pants and few more past-the-knee skirts in to the suitcase too. You should be good to go for an adventure. Any Thailand travel tips to share with Tristan?

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There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Tristen at 7:24 pm

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help, these pieces are great.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,

  2. viet at 12:59 am

    yes, i second a scarf. it will seriously save you from tremendous heat, sun burn, and pollution. and you can use it to wipe all the sweat off of you.

    loose, thin, cotton blouses will also be super useful and also stylish. you can get some cheap but cute ones at H&M.

    i don't recommend anything tight. you will sweat all over it (includes leggings).

    enjoy! thailand is BEAUTIFUL 🙂

  3. P-Cute at 3:03 pm

    I lived in Thailand for just over a year, and one thing I always had on me was a cotton hankerchief. I sound like an old lady, I know, but it was so useful. Thailand is so hot and humid, and my hankies were the perfect thing to dab my forehead with. They are small enough to go everywhere with you. And, they do not use toilet paper as much as we do, so I suggest a little package of tissue as well ;). Have so much fun and enjoy the food!!

  4. Anonymous at 2:35 am

    You can buy light cotton top cheaply in Thailand so I won't too much before you go

  5. Towely at 7:37 am

    I would recommend barely taking anything. You can buy the items you need so cheaply once you're there, there's really no point. Even shoes if you have larger size feet are no problem and I would know, my ginormous feet are size 11

  6. Anonymous at 6:11 pm

    I second the loose clothing, a scarf which can couble as a cover, a towel to wipe the sweat or to keep you warm indoors (as far as I can remember the AC can be dreadfully cold) and a cotton hankie or thin face cloth (a nice cool hankie on the neck is a great way to cool off). I would also recommend shoes that are easy to slip of as you will have to do that when you enter temples, preferably ones that are not too expensive in case you loose them. Have a fun trip!


  7. Anonymous at 3:01 pm

    I live in Thailand currently. Totally agree with the (gross but necessary) "sweat mop" handkerchief mentioned by others. March and April are the hottest months of the year. Plan to break up your days in air con. Thais carry umbrellas to avoid the sun and I do too- a small, good quality umbrella is a great idea. a scarf is good for the switch to a.c. Very light clothes- long skirts, tunics, linens are best. Have to disagree with Towelry- it's very hard to find larger size shoes here. Enjoy Thailand! Candice

  8. Anonymous at 12:23 am

    Bring lots of sunblock. And unless you plan on doing laundry, lots of undies. I remember showering multiple times each day in Thailand, especially in April.

  9. lkthornton at 10:28 pm

    I am from Toronto Ontario, and will be visiting SF the second week of January. What to wear – Do I bring my lighter green wool ( called a transition coat here, before you would wear a full winter coat
    Do I bring my green hunters. Or do bring Cole Haan black buckle boots. Do I wear the boots with tights, or bear legs. I also have a quilted jacket with an inner fleece. I wonder if it is like fall in SF with darker colours. Or should I dress like a typical spring in Toronto. Your help would be appreciated.
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