Traveling to Thailand is such an amazing experience, but making up your packing list can be challenging. Being such a diverse country, figuring out what to bring to Thailand can be pretty challenging. The chances are that you will spend a lot of time on the beach and backpacking around Thailand. Therefore I concentrated for this packing list on all those travel essentials for tropical destinations. That said there are probably some activities included in your Thailand itinerary wherefore you need different things to bring. Think about jungle trekking in North Thailand. Let’s just have a look what to bring…
I keep on saying it but Thailand is not only an island hopping destination and I would strongly advice you to rent a motorbike and discover the main land. Also hike up to viewpoints, but of course also party hard. Don’t forget that you are about to immerse yourself in a different culture so for some activities you need to think carefully about what to wear in Thailand. Think about visiting temples, local villages, etc.
I know this all sounds pretty hectic already but with this packing list for Thailand I am preparing you for a stress free holiday!
What is needed to travel to Thailand?
Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months upon entry then you are basically sorted. All European countries, USA, Canada and Australia can enter Thailand visa free for up to 30 days. For more info about traveling to Thailand click on the link and I point you in the right direction with 62 Thailand travel tips.
Do you need vaccinations for traveling to Thailand?
There is no need to show anyone that you have vaccinations when you travel to Thailand, but it is recommended to have the standard shots for childhood diseases like: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Injections against Hepatitis A and B are also recommended. Rabies only if you consider multi day jungle trekking tours.
In total I have spend more than 1 year in Thailand and visited the Land of Smiles 17 times! Therefore Im pretty sure Im a reliable source of information when it comes to Thailand travel tips. You can find almost 50 Thailand travel blogs on my website and I am more than happy to answer specific questions personally.
Backpack or suitcase for traveling in Thailand?
A very common question and for me a very easy answer. In my opinion backpacks are a little overrated. I have now traveled the world continuously for more than 7 years and been to almost 100 countries and never owned a backpack. Some of my travel friends swear by a backpack.
I leave it completely up to you, both are easy to travel to Thailand with. Most of the times you will go from taxi, to boat, to bus, to taxi to train, to hostel, to guesthouse, to taxi, to hotel, etc. No need to carry all your shit on your back when you ask me. Rolling it is just so much easier!
Traveling with a backpack comes in handy when you decide to check out accommodation on the spot instead of booking online. For longer hikes you will never bring all your stuff, only a day pack. Your big bag can be stored at your hostel/hotel for free.
Buy a local sim card or bring a portable wifi device
If your phone is unlocked you can buy a sim card in Thailand. This way you have a cheap data connection. Read the full article for finding the best local Thai sim card. If your phone is locked or buying a sim card is too much effort then I can strongly recommend you to buy a TEP Wireless portable Wifi device. For a couple bucks you can get unlimited internet in more than 100 countries around the world including Thailand.
40 Things to bring to Thailand
To order your packing list for Thailand I divided all things to bring into 6 categories:
- What to wear in Thailand
- Toiletries packing list
- Travel essentials for Thailand
- Backpacking essentials for Thailand
- Electronics for traveling to Thailand
- Standard travel essentials
What to wear in Thailand
The weather can be pretty unpredictable at times. Depending on the season you travel to Thailand you will need a jumper, swim wear, rain jacket and decent shoes and flip-flops. Thailand has a tropical climate so it’s hot and humid. This basically counts for every Southeast Asian country and this packing list also applies for Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Most of the times I have been island hopping in Thailand and I didn’t use most of the warm clothes I brought.
Because of the tropical climate I would strongly suggest you not to pack polyester and wool clothes. Let the clothes on your Thailand packing list be breathable and loose. Fabrics like cotton and linen work best for traveling in Thailand.
Looking for ways to travel around? Click on the link and I show you how to find cheap domestic flights in Thailand.
Also be aware that Thailand is a Buddhist country but some parts are Muslim and Hindu. I know this is a packing list for Thailand and there are hardly any Muslim communities, but most travelers also travel to South Thailand and there are some Muslim areas and islands. Showing skin is definitely ok on the beach in Thailand but may you visit villages and temples, please dress appropriate. More about it later.
I am not going anywhere without my Havaianas. Probably one of the first things I pack for Thailand. Apart from hiking to viewpoints and driving a scooter in Thailand I will mostly wear my Havaianas. Easy, comfortable and light to pack.
2. Comfortable Shoes
When you have read more of my travel blog you know that I am the last one telling you to add hiking shoes to your Thailand packing list. In all honesty hiking in Thailand is awesome and climbing to viewpoints in Koh Tao for example is a great adventure, but you can easily do that on Nikes. I swear by Nikes as travel shoes and wear them on all my travel adventures around the world.
3. Two pair of swimwear (minimum)
The Thai islands are all about summer vibes, so hitting the beach is probably on your Thailand itinerary. Going to fancy beach clubs is a new trend also in Thailand. Think about Baba Nest Phuket or Nikki Beach Koh Samui. Bring more than just one piece of swimwear. It’s not at all pleasant to get on a scooter in a wet bikini or swim shorts so you’ll be grateful for a dry one to change into. I also use them for traveling around, but I am a man! I love my swim shorts as traveling pants.
4. Warm jumper
If you’re planning on doing some of the famous jungle trekking tours in Chiang Mai or the hilly countryside in North Thailand you should be prepared for a colder night. Your tour company will also be able to provide you with (rain) jackets, but it feels better to have a layer of your own clothing underneath a jacket that’s been worn by hundreds of tourists before you, right?
Even if you are not the hiking type I advice you to put a hoodie on your Thailand packing list. What is you visit North Thailand amazing hills? Did you know that at night it cools down to like 15 degrees celsius (60 Fahrenheit). Or when the sun goes down on the islands and you are still wet. A scooter ride in Thailand can then be pretty damn cold with a hoodie.
5. Scarf or sarong
In the beginning I told you to also bring appropriate clothing for shrines, temples, etc. The rule of thumb is that you should always cover your shoulders and wear clothes past the knee. If you don’t want to give up on shorts and tank tops it is handy to add a scarf or a sarong to your things to bring to Thailand list.
A sarong is a great backing essential as it can also double as emergency towel or blanket for the beach or a picknick! Defintely put this on your Thailand packing list.
6. Rain poncho
A rain poncho is one of those items you must bring to Thailand. A rain poncho takes very little space in your bag and is big enough to fit over a daypack in case of unsuspected rain. Bringing an umbrella is useless: they’re heavy and take up a lot of space in your suitcase. Always bring your rain cover with you when exploring Thailand, you can’t predict the weather in this tropical country even in the dry season.
Best time of the year to travel to Thailand? The official rainy season lasts from June to November. The Andaman coast (Phuket) tends to get most rain in July and August while the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Samui) gets most rain in November.
7. Rain jacket
A very important thing to bring to Thailand in the rainy season is a rain jacket. Rain can last for a couple consecutive days. I am not a fan of traveling in the wet season, but it does has its advantages. What to wear in Thailand in the wet season: light rain jacket all day every day! LOL
One of mu biggest travel fails was celebrating New Years Eve in Bali. It was rainy season and it rained more than 72 hours straight! When it stopped raining I got sick for 3 days, then it started raining again. Now you know why I am not the biggest fan of traveling in rainy season. May be December is not the best time, but there are many reasons to travel to Bali.
That said I have lived, worked, partied and traveled around Thailand every month of the year except for March. On my trips to Thailand the rain never affected me in such a way that I got disappointed.
Some last tips on what to wear in Thailand
- Don’t bring too many fancy clothes!
Your first instinct when picking out outfits for a Thailand holiday might be to bring your best (after all you want to look great in the pictures). But you need to really think about what you’ll be doing. Driving a scooter around Thailand in rural areas? Hiking through the rice fields? Eating curries with a ton of turmeric (which, trust me, stains your clothes forever), sitting at street food restaurants along the street side.
I’m really speaking from a personal experience here: bring at least a couple old t-shirts and pair of shorts that you won’t cry over if they get wrecked. I always describe a trip to Thailand as uncomplicated and laid-back. Let these moods come back when you are thinking about what to wear in Thailand!
One of the things I miss about Thailand is to drop my laundry for just $1 per KG. Handing in a bag of clothes and getting them fresh back the next day for just a couple bucks feels great. But be careful not to give them your best clothes. Sometimes things go missing or it comes back with some stains on it. Shit happens!
- Beach parties in Thailand
Be careful wearing your best outfit, these parties can get messy. Just wear simple clothes especially to Full Moon in Koh Phangan. Click on the link to see if it is worth going! Bring some awesome festival clothes to that make you stand out!
What toiletries to pack for Thailand
8. Leak proof travel bottles
If you’re traveling on a budget, you should know that most homestays and hostels won’t have soap and shampoo. You can buy travel size toiletries ahead of time, but not all brands offer those.
An even better option is to get leak proof reusable travel bottles and fill them with your favorite products at home. They come in all kinds of shapes: for liquids, creams and even perfume atomisers.
9. Hand sanitiser or eco-friendly wet wipes
These two are always somewhere in my daypack. Hand sanitiser can be a life saver when on adventures. Especially on hiking and scooter trips these things come in handy.
10. Hanging toiletry bag
A good toiletry bag with many compartments makes staying organized on your Thailand trip so much easier. Bring one you can hang on the door. If you have a good one then you can store all your essential travel toiletries in this hanging toiletry bag. The art of packing…
11. Reef safe sunscreen
Don’t underestimate the sun! Always put sun cream on (yes, even if it’s cloudy) and don’t forget to re-apply after swimming. Please consider reef safe sunscreen and safe our planet. Factor 50 for my face is another thing I always pack for Thailand as my nose needs it.
12. Sunscreen stick
This is a mini version sunscreen with a high protection factor. Great if you are about to explore Thailand on a scooter or go hiking so you don’t need to bring a big bottle.
You must think that all travelers pack this for their trip to Thailand. But you will walk past many travelers that must have forgotten them. Also handy to put on your Thailand packing list is a mini version deodorant for day trips.
14. Lip balm
The sun is fierce out here! Bring something to protect your lips. Walking around with a burst lip doesn’t look sexy at all! So get your lip balm here.
15. Aloe Vera or After Sun
Although I am sure you are doing everything to avoid sunburns. At some point you will. Drinking a cocktail for sunset and having too much fun is common practice. After Sun and Aloe Vera are definitely products you should consider bringing to Thailand.
16. Mini bug spray
Hotels and home stays are mostly always squeaky clean, but some bugs still manage to get into your room sometimes. Add a mini bug spray for emergencies to your Thailand packing list.
Even though I hope you never gonna need Ibuprofen, I would always throw it in your bag when you are packing for your trip to Thailand. You never know when it comes in handy, may be even to cure a massive hangover.
One of those essential things to bring to Thailand! I am sure you have read about people suffering with funny stomachs. As you have read before even I got sick traveling in South East Asia. Luckily never while traveling in Thailand. In Bali though it got to the point that a doctor had to give me an injection. Food poisoning can ruin your holiday, but for the lighter versions Immodium should be just fine. Don’t forget this!
19. Ziplock bag
Pack some essential toiletries (moisturizer, purell, toothpaste, chapstick, deodorant) in your hand luggage and bring them on your flight. Then ziplock bags is an essential item for check-in luggage.
Travel essentials for Thailand
The following things that I recommend you to pack for a trip to Thailand kind of apply for every adventure in Southeast Asia.
20. Hydro flask
Especially in a country where single use plastics are beyond limits we travelers should give the right example. Try to avoid plastic bottles and bring a Hydro Flask when traveling to Thailand. You can bring it everywhere and can even fill it up with alcohol if you are desperate! Also perfect for hiking or scooter adventures or full moon party in Koh Phangan. Click on the link to see if it is worth it.
21. Waterproof bag
A waterproof bag is a great addition to your Thailand packing list. You can use it to pack your wet swim wear and towel when traveling, but it is the best way to keep all your electronics you bring to Thailand dry on boat trips. They also keep the sand out when at the beach. A dry bag is one of my favorite items on my travel packing list for Thailand.
22. Mosquito Repellent
No need to say that the this is a travel essential for Thailand. In a hot and humid climate you gonna love your mosquito repellent. Make sure to bring good stuff with a high DEET percentage (the higher the percentage of DEET the longer the protection). Mosquitos are mostly only active around sunset, so if I have the chance I mostly just cover up completely for those hours. Long sleeves, long pants is the best mosquito repellent!
Dengue Fever Note: only one species of mosquito carries the Dengue virus so not every bite is a reason to panic! The mosquito in question has very characteristic white striped legs and it’s easily distinguished from other species.
23. Travel adapter
Thailand mostly uses an American-style plug, but you can never be sure about it. In more upscale places they even use all-you-can-eat sockets, but the European-style two pin socket and plugs are also common. This is Thailand! So regardless if you come from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia or Europe I advice you to pack a travel adapter for your Thailand holiday. I carry an international travel adapter with me, that plugs into every socket around the world, very handy!
24. Power bank
Traveling nowadays is a synonym for taking photos and sharing it on social media. But also ordering a taxi, checking directions, finding the best restaurants, a day of traveling is pretty damn draining for a phone battery. Bring a good and reliable power bank and always keep it charged for emergencies.
As a full time travel blogger and phone addicted traveler this is one of my favorite travel essentials and will always be on my packing list.
Backpacking essentials for Thailand
If you don’t already have one, invest in a foldable day pack that will take very little space in your main luggage and fit the essentials for a day trip. It should be big enough for a bottle of water, some snacks, your quick drying towel, the dry bag and a guidebook.
Personally I love traveling with a little bigger daypack so I can also store my Macbook and camera gear in the same check-in luggage. I swear by my Pacsafe Venturesafe bag! I am using it for a almost 2 years now and it still looks new!
26. Money belt or small bum bag
I can’t travel without a bum bag! I have one with three compartments where I keep the money, credit card, my phone and the all-important mini hand soap. Even if you carry a daypack, I still recommend at least a basic money belt for cash and phone. Getting them out of your backpack and putting them back in every time you need to pay or take a photo is pretty annoying.
When people ask me if it is safe to travel to Thailand in reply in capital letters: YES! Theft is very uncommon, scams are more likely to happen to you. Click on the link to read more about it.
27. Quick drying towel
Most hostels and guesthouses have complimentary towels for guests but having to pay for rental still occurs. And even if you get towels in your accommodation, it’s handy to have an extra one for the beach! I recommend the quick drying type of towels because they’re very compact and practical.
What electronics to bring to Thailand
28. DSLR Camera
If you are up your game in taking photos bringing a DSLR to Thailand is worth it. There is no need to be afraid it will get stolen. Grab and runs don’t exist in Thailand at all. My DSLR camera of choice is a Canon 80D. A wide angle lens makes my camera gear set complete for a trip to Thailand.
29. GoPro Hero 7
Damn the new GoPro technology is amazing. A GoPro Hero 7 is totally worth investing. I recently bought one and I can’t wait to take it on my next trip to Thailand. With all the adventures around the country I am sure you are going to shoot epic content.
30. Memory cards
Even if you bring a Macbook or a external hard disk, bring enough memory cards. They are great for back ups and they don’t cost that much anymore nowadays. It is the worst thing ever when you reach somewhere and your camera says card full!
31. Waterproof phone cover
Although most smart phones are all waterproof nowadays I would not risk it at all. For just a couple dollars a waterproof phone cover is a great investment for a trip to Thailand. Island hopping is one of the best things to do, but protect your smart phone wisely!
32. Selfie stick
Definitely an unmissable travel essential for solo travelers. I love my selfie stick! It makes great photos and the newest one from GoPro also doubles as a tripod! Super handy.
33. Polaroid camera
As soon as the local kids spot your camera, they’ll run up to you and ask you to take a photo of them. While this is not a traveling essential, you can make the children really happy by taking photos of them with a Polaroid camera and giving them the print out as a gift.
Some standard travel essentials for your Thailand trip
Make sure it is valid for more than 6 months upon entry in Thailand.
35. Passport copies
Always handy to carry on you.
36. Laptop + Charger
An essential travel item for me, but can understand not everyone wants to bring his or her laptop to Thailand.
37. iPhone + Charger
Must have travel item for Thailand and in general. Making bookings, searching for info, ordering a taxi, booking domestic flights in Thailand, etc.) Don't forget your charging cable!
38. Wallet + Cash
Only essential financial travel items, leave the rest at home. I often get a lot of questions about bringing cash. I never really take more with me than just $200 or so. The rest I take from an ATM. There are multiple on every street corner. Check with which bank you are not paying for transfer fees as they can be up to $5 sometimes.
Goes without saying, you will probably wear them every day.
A padlock comes in handy in hostels when locking your valuables away.
Last 4 tips if you are packing for Thailand
1. Extra clothes in hand luggage
Missing luggage would be a nightmare on a trip to Thailand as you will most probably be backpacking around. Waiting for your suitcase to arrive in Bangkok can mess up your Thailand itinerary completely. I only experienced missing luggage once in Dubai but luckily I had some spare underwear and some other simple clothes in my check-in luggage.
2. Travel insurance
Don’t miss this essential travel item! I can recommend a travel insurance by World Nomads. It is a simple process and with just a couple clicks you find out exactly how much it will cost you. Try it out yourself below.
3. Use packing cubes
Gather all your items on your Thailand packing list and somehow try to fit them in your luggage. When this becomes a little challenging then packing cubes come in handy. They make you pack like a professional traveler. It lets you categorize your packing list items easily.
4. Start packing a couple days in advance
Gather all the items on your Thailand packing list a few days before your actual trip. I made the mistake of last minute packing multiple times and apart from forgetting stuff it simply is very stressful.
When you feel like you have packed too much stuff you probably have! Rethink about what you will actually be wearing and keep in mind that shopping in Thailand is a great thing to do too.
My packing list for Thailand
These are the clothes I packed for my last trip to Thailand:
- 7 loose-fitting simple t-shirts
- 1 slim fit shirt for clubbing
- 1 hoodie sweatshirt (wearing in the plane)
- 2 pair of long socks
- 5 pair of short socks
- 7 boxer shorts (so I only need to do laundry once a week)
- 1 pair of jeans (wearing in the plane)
- 2 pairs of short jeans
- 3 pair of swim shorts
- 1 sarong for the beach and visiting temples
- 2 pairs of Nikes shoes
- 1 pair of Havaianas (I put them in my check-in luggage)
- 1 light rain jacket
I sincerely hope this Thailand travel blog about what to bring was helpful for you. May there be items missing on the packing list you think I should include please leave me a comment.
Also if this was helpful for you would you like to help me out a little too? If you could share the link of this article somewhere on the internet that would be awesome. Every Tweet on Twitter, Pin on Pinterest or post in a Facebook Group helps me a lot. A small thing for you to do, which can make a big difference for me.