Planning a trip to Thailand, but not sure what to pack? I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful country a few weeks ago and have put together this Quick Guide on what to pack for a trip to Thailand, to help you.
If you’ve been to Thailand and have some suggestions, please share them in the comments below.
My overall advice is to pack light, because you can buy most things cheaply and do laundry very easily in Thailand, so you’re better off leaving space in your luggage. Thailand can be hotter than Magic Mike, so pack clothes that are light and breathable like cotton or quick-dry material.
Major cities have plenty of ATMs that accept foreign cards, but just remember you get charged a fee every time you withdraw, so it’s better to plan your budget ahead and take out what you need in fewer transactions. You’ll also need to notify your bank you’re going to Thailand or they’ll think you’re a fraudster and freeze your accounts. No Pad Thai for you.
If you are visiting the mountains, it can get cold at night. You may also like to pack a rain coat or windbreaker if you’re visiting during the monsoon season, which typically runs from June to October. Monsoon has been known to start as early as April, so don’t get caught out in the heavy rain.
Women may need to cover up their shoulders and legs at temples, especially the Grand Palace, so bring lightweight clothing to cover your shoulders and legs. A sarong (or two) can be used as a skirt and shawl.
Pack a pair of closed in shoes, because lord knows you’re going to need them if you’re fist-pumping away at the full-moon party. Closed in canvas shoes are also important if you visit a beach with particularly vicious reef. A pair of flip-flops are also essential for the beach and hostel showers. You may also need comfortable closed-in running shoes as there are great opportunities for trekking in Thailand.
You’ll definitely need a hat and sunscreen with high SPF to protect you from sunburn. I always recommend the Cancer Council’s sunscreen as you know it’s good quality. Remember, sunscreen is only as good as its user and it’s up to you to reapply during the day to ensure you don’t get burned. Similarly, a rash-shirt or sun-shirt is a good idea too. Remember, cloudy days mean U.V rays! Don’t be deceived if there’s no sun, you can still burn.
Malaria is a possible issue, so pack a strong insect repellent with DEET to avoid being bitten. It’s important you reapply mosquito repellent regularly. It’s also important you visit a doctor before you travel and ask about vaccinations or medicines you may need, for example malaria tablets.
Thailand is very humid, the hot season runs from March through to June, with the hottest months being April and June. No matter what time of year you visit, it’s still going to be lovely and warm. Pack a good deodorant to help with preventing excessive sweat. I use and recommend Rexona clinical protection.
You may find yourself feeling a little funny in the tummy if you’re travelling by boat, car, elephant and/or tuk tuk, so bring some motion sickness tablets with you. It’s also important to pack specific prescription medicines. It’s easy and cheap to get prescription medicines in Thailand, including under-the-counter stuff, but the brand names may different and it may not be worth the risk to mess around with your medicine.
Waterproof case or bag
Pack a waterproof case or bag for your phone, camera and other valuables to save them getting wet on the beach or if you get caught in an afternoon downpour. I went kayaking with a group once and we had to abandon our kayaks and swim through a cave, I felt a lot better knowing my valuables were safe from water in a plastic container.
If you are staying at a backpackers or hostel and tend to be a light sleeper, you’ll thank your lucky stars you packed ear plugs.
Power outages are common, especially if you’re visiting somewhere like Koh Lanta. Make sure you have a flashlight (and batteries) handy, to save you stubbing your toe during a power outage.
Plastic bags and tupperware
Pack some spare plastic grocery bags and zip-lock bags to put wet or dirty items in. For example, your not-yet-dry swimsuit, those muddy sneakers or your bar of soap. I also pack a few clear tupperware containers and use them to put my toiletries that are over 100ml, this stops any leaks ruining my clothes, I also store my jewelry and electrical cables/plugs in other small containers.
Uh oh, I hate to be that tourist, but hand sanitizer is essential no matter where you are, even if you’re in your home town. You never know when you’ll unexpectedly touch something sticky, hairy, wriggly or gross, so be prepared and have some hand sanitiser with you.
Some budget hotels and bungalows will allow their guests to use their own lock on the door, so pack one just in case. You may also want one for lockers or luggage story in a hostel or backpackers.
A small pocket-pack of wet wipes can be a blessing, especially when you’ve just slathered sunscreen and mosquito repellent all over your body and you can’t find a sink to wash your hands. Not just that, but it’s humid in Thailand so you may want to freshen up a little and get all that sticky-ickyness off you.
Pack your beloved brand-name essentials like cosmetics, electric toothbrush heads and feminine hygiene products. Also, pack your environmentally friendly products and products for sensitive skin, as it may be difficult to get your hands on these while you travel. Don’t waste money on travel minis, use refillable 100ml bottles.
Always keep a pocket pack of tissues with you, just in case you forget to grab some toilet paper off the communal roll before you go into a toilet stall at a local market.
Make sure you check the visa requirements before you leave Australia, just to be sure. I landed in Koh Lanta a few weeks ago and didn’t need a visa as I was staying less than 28 days.
It’s not advisable to drink the tap water in Thailand, so give your body a boost with an electrolyte drink, especially because of the humidity which you may not be used to. You’ll be especially happy to see an electrolyte drink if you experience stomach problems from eating food you aren’t used to. Though, I’ve never had a problem with Thai food and my stomach is notoriously delicate.
Watch my ‘One incredible week in Amazing Thailand’ video
Phoebe Lee is a writer, award-winning blogger and travel lover sharing helpful travel tips, insight and reviews for regular people. Follow her adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.