appropriate attire for visiting temples

Old Jul 21st, 2004, 02:34 AM
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appropriate attire for visiting temples

I've read so many different things about what is required for visiting the temples in Thailand. Some say no open toe shoes. Others say open toes are ok but must have at least a sling back. Some say no full length pants or skirt that is at least mid-calf. Others say below the knee is sufficient. Some say the rules only apply at the Grand Palace. Others say it is only Bangkok & elsewhere in Thailand you can wear what you want in temples as long as it is not revealing. Would like to get the final word from the experts on this forum -- It's summer here in the US so if I need to buy closed summer shoes or some long pants or a longer skirt, I want to do it now while the light weight summer clothes are still in the stores. What is the definitive word, or does it depend on who happens to be the guard that day? Heard a story about a woman who had open toe shoes & was given horribly hot & uncomfortable shoes to wear...
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 06:59 AM
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What is acceptable at "most temples" and what is acceptable at the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha compex are different. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace have the most conservative dress codes. You must have your shoulders covered, and be wearing a skirt that at least covers your knees. Long pants are also acceptable. Shorts are not acceptable, and a sign at the entrance (Nov., 2003) indicated that capris were also not acceptable. I usually wear long skirts or dresses as they are cool and comfortable. Shoes must have a back strap. The sign shows a shoe with a back strap and a closed toe, but apparently the issue with open or closed toes is subject to interpretation.

In other temples, be respectful and cover your shoulders and knees. Your footwear won't be an issue, and capris will be ok.
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 07:02 AM
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It can be confusing - but the Grand Palace is the most particular as to attire. You'll be fine with long pants or skirts even anything below the knee. So no long walking shorts. No sleeveless, backless, cap sleeve shirts. If you are wearing these, have a light-weight long sleeve shirt to put over these. If you appear in any of the "no-nos", you will be presented with clothing to cover yourself, either wrap around skirt of long sleeve shirts or whatever - not my preference.

Shoes - are a conflict - open toes, no open toes; open back no open back; some people wearing Teva-type sandles with open toes yet with strap in back seem to get in, but others don't. So in order to avoid this conflict and since there are many temples one visits in Thailand and shoes have to be removed, your best best are easy to slip-in/slip-off are best - go for loafers or any other slip-in type shoe.

In other areas of Thailand they might and might not be as restrictive as at the Grand Palace - when in Chiang Mai at Doi Suthep, I was okay with slacks, by my friend's skirt wasn't sufficiently below her knees and had to put on a wrap-around skirt.

Thereafter we made sure we dressed appropriately wherever we might come upon a temple, and since we were on a private tour, always had a change of clothing in our a/c car.

The only place you're safe with abbreviated clothing is at any of the beach resorts. That said, even short-shorts are frowned upon (except exactly on the beach or on a boat); even walking shorts are frowned upon for men. Men who wear shorts in Thailand are looked upon as being manual or field laborers and are better suited for little boys. However if you visit any of the floating markets, you'll find men in walking shorts.

Surprisingly, as hot and humid one might be in Thailand, clothing made of light weight material that actually cover the body is more comfortable than abbreviated clothing. And whatever you do, do not buy polyester, other synthetics or flimsy georgettes as these will make you very hot and uncomfortable - stick with cotton and linen, though some people do well with some silks. Happy shopping.
 
Old Jul 21st, 2004, 11:09 AM
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how about for men...
My first trip is in october, was planning on NICE walking shorts , nice POLO shirts and sneakers, all clean and well pressed. I would even carry a wrap around skirt in case i am not allowed to temples because of shorts. What do you think of wrap around skirts on guys.
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 03:01 PM
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I'd suggest that you not wear shorts. Read the response from Sandi. Buy yourself some nice full length light-weight cotton pants. Shorts are for resorts, not for cities and especially not for temples.
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 05:31 PM
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Is it ok for men to wear walking shorts at beach resorts?
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 07:03 PM
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sure
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:28 AM
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What about rayon? I think it's a synthetic, but it seems comfortable in the summer here in the east coat. Will it be cool enough in hot/humid Thai weather or is it more like polyester?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:22 AM
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I find rayon can be hot.

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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Rayon is a natural fibre that actually comes from "trees" - one often finds pareos (if not made of cotton or voile) made of rayon and this is quite heavy, besides it creases terribly - great designs and colors, but heavy to wear and in packing.
 
Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 02:18 PM
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Are jeans and athletic shoes ok to get into the Grand Palace? That's what I'm planning to bring...
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Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 06:06 AM
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Why would anyone wear jeans in very, very HOT and very, very HUMID Thailand - you'll be very, very uncomfortable. These may be fine on the plane, but in/around Thailand - big mistake.
 
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 11:43 AM
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This thing about men wearing shorts being looked upon as low class labourers would cause quite a 'laugh' at the local Soprts Club !! It is absurd! In Bangkok the huge majority of Thai men you see will be at work or going to/from work. They are not on vacation. At home some men wear long but lots, especially the under 40's wear shorts, and certainly for weekend trips many many wear shorts. Somewhere sometime some one must have written this in some guide book, after almost 17 years I can assure you that although I wear long trousers to work visiting family/friends/collegues in the evenings or weekends wearing shorts is totally 'normal'.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 11:45 AM
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I was not referring to temple visits just to the post above where it was inferred that people who wear shorts are looked 'down on'!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 04:30 PM
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I agree with JamesA on this topic. We just returned from Thailand and my husband and 18yo son wore shorts in Bangkok alot. I don't feel anyone looked down on us for how they were dressed, if you are clean and treat people with respect it is fine. They did wear long pants and we dressed appropriately for the Grand Palace. Also we went to the Vimanmek Mansion after the Grand Palace and they also had a dress code there. I did see a man wearing a shawl over his sleeveless T-shirt and a sarong over his shorts. You also have to remove your shoes here and do the tour of the mansion barefoot. These were the only places we went that had a dress code, in our experience.
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