Shorts in Viet Nam and Cambodia?

Old Feb 18th, 2004, 09:47 PM
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Shorts in Viet Nam and Cambodia?

I just checked the weather reports for South Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Bangkok. They are all in the mid to upper 90's. Is it acceptable to tour in shorts and tank tops? (I am part of a packaged tour.)Is it better to wear short sleeved t-shirts to avoid sunburn?
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 01:02 AM
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You are likely to find tourists both in tiny tank tops & short shorts and dressed more conservatively out of respect for the local culture.

The latter is what I recommend. I typically wear a knee-length skirt or capri-type trousers with a tank top and a lightweight button-up shirt over it (so that I have the option to take it off if I feel comfortable).

When I visited Egypt recently, the warnings not to wear revealing clothing were even stronger, so I wore, for the first time, full-length linen skirts or trousers and long sleeve linen shirts. I actually did find them more pleasant than a tank top, particularly when in the direct sun.

I guess it depends on how you define acceptable, or to whom you're trying to be acceptable. If you're trying to be acceptable to your tour group, tank top and shorts will be fine. If you're trying to be acceptable to your host country, more modest clothes would be better. And if you're trying to avoid a sunburn, long, loose clothes are the best!

Sounds liek a great trip!
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 05:26 AM
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Can comment on Cambodia & Bangkok only. We visited Siem Reap to see the temples. Yes, the temp and humidity are both in the 90s and more uncomfortable than even Thailand.

For touring we wore either long walking shorts (to the knee) or short capri pants and t-shirts or camp shirts while touring in Angkor. We found most tourists were dressed likewise. Yet while most local women wore longer skirts, they too wore t-shirts or camp shirts.

For evenings, we wore long or cropped pants and t-tops or lt.weight sweaters - and of course repellent on exposed skin, as dusk to dawn is mosquito biting time.

In BKK, with the exception of the Grand Palace where they are most strict on what people wear - long pants or skirts and tops that cover the upper arms (no shorts or backless or halters,etc.) and closed shoes (no sandles). If not appropriately dressed here, they provide clothing for one to cover themselves whether women or men.

Likewise for other temples we tended to wear cropped pants or skirts that came to the knee at minimum, but at one place, they felt my friends skirt showed too much leg and provided a wrap-around skirt. Though they weren't as fussy about sandles. However, with so much uneven ground, you're better off with slip-in shoes with rubber soles.

For our time at the floating markets, we and most people were in shorts and t-shirts. For evenings, we wore long pants or skirts - most restaurants are air conditioned, so a sweater or shawl should be considered.

The heat and humidity in SEAsia is unforgiving, so be prepared. Drink plenty of water (available everywhere and inexpensive), use sunscreen if you burn easily.

With the exception of the weather, you'll have a great time, amazing sites, friendly people, good food! Enjoy your holiday.
Old Feb 19th, 2004, 05:34 AM
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Shorts and tank tops are considered acceptable at the beach. Both are considered by locals to be disrespectful for wear in the cities and villages. You will feel more comfortable and will be treated better if you dress appropriately. Exposing more skin will not make you feel cooler. I usually wear long, loose cotton pants and a light shirt or a long cotton dress or long skirt and shirt.
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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our dress in se asia is always conservative....we wear shorts only at the beach and in beach wife sometimes wears sleeveless in se asia....she also brings cap sleeve type things to be prepared for unexpected entrances to special places...she usually wears slacks of natural fibres or knee length skirts or longer....a secret is that she often wears mens boxer shorts (cotton) over her panties....she claims that this helps with chaffing and keeps you cooler...
we also wear sandles with socks around...we have never experienced a problem with them...afterall most asians wear flip flops all the time....

we often wear long pants to protect ourselves from sun as well as dirt and criters which abound in se asia...lite weight natural fibres keep you cool and protect you from the exhausting sun....drink plenty of bottled water too...
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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You should not go into a Buddhist temple in disrespectful clothing. Also, while shorts and tank tops are fine out in the countryside, you will feel foolish walking around Bangkok that way. Bangkok is a sophisticated international city. I also think the more you look like a tourist, the more you will be hassled by touts.
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 08:21 PM
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Thank you everyone for the detailed suggestions. I never wear tank tops and shorts in the city, but then I never experience continuous temperatures in the 90's with high humidity so I was at loss. I am now in the process of re-packing. Just two days to take-off,and I'm unbelievably excited.

Thanks also for the mosquito warning, and the water recommendation.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 02:44 AM
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I'll second [third?? fourth??] everything that is being said here. Wear loose, natural fiber clothing that covers your legs and upper arms for both cultural and comfort reasons. At the Grand Palace in BKK I found they were accepting sandals as long as there was a strap across the heel. [in December 2003]

The water "thing" is crucial -- our tour company provided each of us with a bottle every morning. Just keep drinking it -- because if you find you are needing to drink -- it's too late.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 06:21 PM
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I'll fourth/fifth it then. A conservative approach will get you more brownie points in Vietnam, where I've been told people have difficulty understanding why comparatively wealthy Westerners would dress in daggy clothes. And it's certainly mandatory in temples (and also the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex in Hanoi, if you go there - you could be sent to the back of a very long line if you turn up in disrespectful clothing).
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