Thailand Packing List: What to Bring (+ Leave Behind!)

What should you take on your trip to Thailand? I visited the Thai islands in high season (January) and this is my advice based on that 2-week trip.

You already know that you should bring your passport, shampoo, razors, clothing, etc. The list below is my recommendations of the unconventional things you should pack!

What to Bring

  • 3 pairs of shorts – 2 denim, 1 workout/moisture wicking
  • 3 short sleeve shirts or tank tops
  • A power adapter and outlet strip – for charging all your electronics!
  • Clothing with light material like linen because you’re going to be SWEATY.
  • A comfy backpack! I recommend this one.
  • A daypack or beach bag – throw your towels and sunscreen in here.
  • Lots and lots of SUNSCREEN! It’s really expensive in Thailand!
  • At least 3 bikini sets – you will wear bikinis DAILY.
  • A pillowcase for dirty laundry. Find out how to do laundry in Thailand here.
  • ACTIVATED CHARCOAL – this stuff saved us (watch us eat spicy Thai food below). When you’re eating foreign food you might not get sick but you will most likely get diarrhea. Charcoal helps stop that so you can actually leave your hotel room. I recommend buying one with coconut so it’s giving you some vitamins at the same time.
  • Any medicines you might need including over the counter stuff like Tylenol. One weird thing about Thailand is that you have to get a prescription for ALL medicine. Check out the other weird things about Thailand here.
  • A quick-dry towel like this one – these are great for the beach and you may even need it for showers if you’re staying at a hostel.
  • Travel insurance – use this guide to decide if you really need it.
  • Hand Sanitizer! At least 3 of those little squeezy 1 oz. bottles.
  • Something to organize your toiletries like my favorite hanging organizer.
  • GoPro Hero 7 Black – or a similar waterproof camera for documenting your water-ventures.
  • A dry bag for beach days where you need to keep your phone dry.
  • Hiking shoes for those who plan to adventure through the jungles.
  • SUNGLASSES – bring 2 pairs in case you lose one.
  • Dramamine to prevent motion sickness for those CRAZY long-tail boat rides. Be sure to get the non-drowsy one!
  • Speakers to play music on while you hang out in your hotel room – preferably Bluetooth, portable, with a long-lasting battery.
  • A light jacket – “A JACKET IN THE TROPICS?!” you say. Yes, it does rain in Thailand. It also gets cold on trains, buses, and planes.
  • A sarong or kimono to cover your shoulders – you can’t show knees or shoulders in temples, so it’s nice to have a light sarong.
  • Tampons/pads/yeast infection meds– this is for the ladies. It can be difficult to find these items at local stores (see note about medicine above) so it’s best to have some on hand.
  • A clothesline – this is really cool and the perfect way to dry your wet bathing suit.
  • Hair ties! Like, a bunch.
  • Granola bars – my favorite travel snack, these were awesome on the plane because our entree options were a fruit plate or FISH NOODLES. ON A PLANE!!!
  • Deodorant and thigh chafe balm – you’re going to walk miles a day and be sweaty! Enough said.

What to Leave Behind

  • Hats that are hard to pack – I bought a sun hat in Thailand for $5 USD and wore it for two weeks, then left it in the hotel room when I was done. It was perfect, I didn’t have to worry about my nice hat getting bent in my suitcase and I was still shaded from the hot Thailand sun.
  • Fancy dresses – there’s really nowhere to wear them, everyone is in beach attire all the time. Bring a sundress instead.
  • Heels of any kind – the streets of Thailand are rough and wearing heels there is just asking for a broken ankle.
  • Uncomfortable shoes – you’re going to walk A LOT and there’s no room in your bag for shoes you hate wearing anyway.
  • Hair dryers, straighteners, curlers, etc. – humidity makes everyone’s hair a MESS! Don’t waste valuable packing space bringing these because your hair will uncurl/curl/dry in about 10 minutes. Also, most hotel rooms have hair dryers with the appropriate voltage already.
  • Water bottles – I bought a silicone foldable water bottle to bring with me thinking I could fill up my water bottle at a water station of some kind. This is not the case, you can’t drink the tap water in Thailand so you usually end up buying a plastic bottle instead. I used my silicone water bottle 0 times.
  • Expensive or valuable jewelry– you’re going to lose them or damage them. Worst case scenario it makes you a target for petty theft. It’s just not worth it.
  • Jeans – bring one pair for the plane if you must, but you really don’t need them. I found denim shorts to be fine.
  • Books – get them on an e-reader or your phone! These are heavy and not necessary.
  • Anything too revealing– just because it’s an island doesn’t mean you should dress in a skanky way. The Thai people are pretty conservative, so women should avoid wearing low-cut shirts, crop tops, mini-skirts, etc. Men should avoid unbuttoned shirts or baggy pants.
  • Don’t bring too many clothes – it’s much easier to re-wear your clothes or buy new ones.
My favorite cheap travel accessories!

Can I Buy Clothes in Thailand?

Thailand has a ton of street markets where you can purchase anything from swimming trunks to fake Rolex watches to hand-carved soap. We found that the quality of the knock-off products is generally not very good but can work in a pinch. My elephant pants ripped within a month of buying them and Dallas’ shirts shrunk 2 sizes in the dryer at home. So you can easily buy items in Thailand, but it’s easier to bring key pieces with you.

Ready to Pack?

Thailand is a stunningly scenic country filled with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met! Be sure to avoid the 7 deadly sins of travel while you’re there so your trip can be smooth and mishap-free.

If you have something to add to this list, drop us a comment below!

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