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Attire Question for Wats

Old Mar 16th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Attire Question for Wats

Hi, I've been trying to search for this topic and it seems like there is a lot of contradicting info - so just wanted to get it all clarified since we will be leaving in 2 weeks and i am trying to pack!

It seems like Grand Palace is the only place that requires closed shoes, no tanks, no shorts. What about the other wats in Bangkok???

How about the following places. I thought maybe it would be ok to wear tanks and shorts since they are ruins rather than wats:
Ayutthaya
Phitsanulok
Sukothai
Lampang
Chiang Rai
Chiang Mai
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Tanks and shorts are really only appropriate for beaches and resorts. You won't see Thai wandering around Bangkok in tanks and shorts.

In general, to show respect, you should wear something that covers your shoulders and down to your knees. Capris are probably ok (expect at the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha) but long pants (or a skirt if you are female) are better.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 10:40 PM
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Yup. That's it. Easy on/easy off shoes. Maybe socks if you don't want to get dirty feet.

Cover knees and shoulders. If you're a woman, consider bringing a wrap to put around your shorts while inside. That's what I did.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 05:25 AM
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Last year when we were at the larger wats they provided the women with wrap skirts and shirts to place over your clothes. You had to make a small deposit of which was returned after the tour of the wat.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 07:42 AM
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By tanks - I guess I meant sleeveless women's tops - the type that are not strappy. I understand this isn't appropriate for temples, but what about the other places I mentioned where we are visiting ruins.


And about the shoes - do you have to wear shoes with straps in the back for every Wat? I have these very very comfy shoes that are just a strap in the front. Can I still bring them along to wear to the other wats?

From what i read in these posts it seems like Grand palace is the more strict one. so I am wondering about the other wats in bangkok as well as the other places I listed above.

This is all so confusing!
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 07:51 AM
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Not really confusing. Closed shoes for the Grand Palace only. Cover knees and shoulders everywhere else except beaches.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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The attire required for temples or wats sometimes depends on who is doing the checking - some are more liberal than others. To be safe - and culturally appropriate - waer som ething that covers your shoulders and knees & avoid strappy tops. You might carry a shawl that you use on your shoulders if you wear sleevless tops. In fact, having it in your day bag will help avoid any problem if you decide at last minute to visit a sacred place. Many temples will also provide somneting to cover with - for a small rental fee.

As for ruins - generally anything reasonably modest works fine - walking shorts, capris, etc. and sleeveless tops should be OK.

Most sandals are OK - I can't having any problem with open-back sandals becuase all footwear needs tgo be removed before entering a temple. Again, a conservative checker be stict.

The whole question of clothes was one of my biggest concersn before traveling to Thailand so feel free to reply back if you have other questions.


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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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Sleeveless is fine as long as you have something to cover up in wats, etc. I've also worn strappy sleeveless tops just walking around shopping or to restaurants for lunch and never felt out of place. Longish shorts are also okay outside of temples. By longish, I mean an inch or two above the knee, not too short. You'll be fine as long as you aren't half naked. I've seen plenty of Thai women wear sleeveless tops and many wear very short skirts, much shorter than any of my shorts.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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My somewhat dated Lonely Planet says: "Shorts (except knee-length walking shorts), sleeveless shirts, tank tops (singlets) and other beach-style attire are not considered appropriate dress in Thailand for anything other than sporting events." It also says that Thais are sometimes too polite to turn away improperly dressed foreigners from wats, even though similarly-dressed locals would not be allowed in. Thailand is a Buddhist country, where modest dress is valued.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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The dress I was referring to is not for wats. I thought I made that clear.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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yeah you are right - this is the only part of this trip that is confusing me. Esp since we are part of a tour and they have restricted us to ONE suitcase that 44lbs..so I can't overpack..I need to know exactly what is acceptible and stick to it!

So i think the plan will be to keep a shawl in our backback or purse. Backbacks are allowed right? Or will we have to check those in or something?

As for shoes..I guess I will bring sneakers for the Grand Palace..but have my open heeled, open toes shoes for everyplace else. So all other wats ok definitely ok with flip flop type of shoes, right?

I guess aside from that I should be ok?
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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laurieco - I guess I wasn't clear. The direct quote from Lonely Planet does not refer to dress for wats, it refers to dress everywhere but sporting events and beaches. And Khoa San road or Patpong, of course. The indirect quote about wats was from a separate section of the book.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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I know a lot of guidebooks say that but when I was in Thailand this last time (in June), the Thai women were dressing much less modestly than in the past. That's not to say they were in any way dressing like tarts, but they were wearing sleeveless tops and some very short skirts. No one seemed to care.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 02:52 PM
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I was cited for wearing capris at the Grand Palace, but not for my woven leather open-backed sandals, with two toes showing per foot.

My teen sons, in basketball shorts, were also denied entrance and had to rent drawstring martial arts pants.

Loved the rental skirt - gold elephant motif.

No problems at the other wats. If you carry a Balinese-type beach sarong, you'll be fine everywhere.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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When entering a Temple you have to leave your shoes at the door or at the side area. Also you will be asked to remove your hat, unlike a church.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 05:55 PM
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The Wats are religious sites. Even though they may have amendments to your dress (i.e. wraps) it is still considered disrespectful to be at the Wats dressed in shorts and sleaveless.

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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Once again, I understand Wats are religious sites and wearing shorts and tanks is disrespectful. I am a hindu and very familiar with how conservative you need to be in such contries as well as temples...my question is regarding the ruins. I was confused to whether the temples in places like Atutthaya which are in ruins now were still considered places of worship. Thats all - simple question. If so, then we will pack accordingly. No big deal.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:28 AM
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I would treat the ruins as places of worship. All are sacred sites, and many have Buddha images that are still attended by monks or nuns.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:02 AM
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Great - thank you!
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