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Thailand Dress Code

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Dec 1st, 2002, 11:03 AM
  #1
Fran
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Thailand Dress Code

Please let me know your experience as far as the "dress" in Thailand for American tourists. When in warm countries, including China, I wear shorts, tank tops and sandels. I've read that even sandels will not be allowed in temples however, the tour company is telling me this is not true. Would like to hear from those who have been there recently. I had read these things about China also but found my dress was acceptable as they are quite accustomed to Westerners.
 
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Dec 1st, 2002, 11:38 AM
  #2
asia-fan
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Hello Fran!

Just a little respect for the culture in Thailand and elsewhere just as well, please.
Don't wear tank tops, unless you are going to the beach, nor very short shorts.
Wear loose cotton or linen items. Most comfortable, by the way.
In lots of temples, you will be asked to take off your shoes/sandals. If you don't feel comfy with that, you can wear socks. But the floors are usually absolutely spotless.
BTW, there is no special dress code for Americans, it goes for all tourists.
 
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Dec 1st, 2002, 11:47 AM
  #3
Kris
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I think you will feel out of place in tank tops or shorts in Bangkok at least. At the temples they will make you cover up your knees and probably shoulders and you may need to rent a coverup if they don't provide them. I wore sleeveless sundresses on the two days we did not visit temples which are probably as cool as shorts/tank tops.

I was able to wear my sandals into the Grand Palace and temples, I think the key is whether there is a strap in the back so nothing with the entire heel showing. If your sandals do not have backstraps, maybe carry a pair of socks with you. In certain places they will make you take off your shoes (like where the jade Buddha is sitting)
 
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Dec 2nd, 2002, 03:42 AM
  #4
Nancy
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Dear Fran:

I have travelled in Thailand for the last 15 years, and noticed that they have gotten much more strict lately about dress code, especially at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. We had a private guide on our last tour in January, and my friend was wearing Teva sandals (open toe, and strap on back). Before we even left the hotel, our guide said my friend should change to closed shoes, which she did. I do not know if we would have had trouble gaining admittance to the Grand Palace if she had kept her Tevas on, but I am glad we didn’t have to find out.

The Grand Palace will not let you in the entrance gates if you are not clothed and shod properly. The advice above regarding no shorts or tank tops is correct. Once you are inside the Grand Palace (which is a series of temples basically) you will be required to remove you shoes when entering certain of the temples.

Other temples may not be as strict about the shoes, but will be as strict about the clothing.

It will be hot and humid in June (it is hot and humid all year). I would suggest carrying a big bottle of plastic water and wearing a hat or even using an umbrella while walking around. You will not be alone in using an umbrella as a sunshade, and will feel stupid for about 2 minutes until you realize how much cooler you are than the others….

Bangkok is a fantastic city and you will really enjoy it, hot weather nothwithstanding!

I hope this is helpful.
 
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Dec 3rd, 2002, 08:51 PM
  #5
Diane
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Was in Bangkok last week. Wore sandals to the Grand Palace -- be sure there is a back strap across your heel. Many places will have you remove your shoes altogher.

It was hot and humid. I was dripping sweat. I knew it would be hot, but was not quite prepared for how hot it would be since I live in a hot climate.
 
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Dec 7th, 2002, 09:30 PM
  #6
Fran
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Thanks to all who responded however to clarify: I will bring a skirt and sheer blouse to put on over my shorts and sleeveless tops when entering temples. My question was more for the rest of time. Someone suggested "sundresses" but my summery dresses are definitely more provacative than shorts and tops. My skirts are all above the knee or short so I purchased one longer cotton black skirt to pull on, as mentioned above. So what do thirty something females wear? Pants and long skirts? Hate to purchase an entire wardrobe for an 18 day trip. Not to mention that since it is winter, it will be very difficult to find anything for the hot and humid weather. Going in January.
 
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Dec 8th, 2002, 11:00 AM
  #7
Beth
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Fran,
You are correct that in China and Thailand you can certainly wear shorts and sleeveless tops. Asian do not expect Westerners to change their dress just as we do not expect them to dress like us when they visit the West. Believe me, when you are in shorts and tank tops NO one will think you a prostitute, they will KNOW you are from another continent. And just as you stated it was not a problem in hot and humid China, neither will it be in Thailand. Just be yourself, they will respect that more than trying to be one of them and failing horrible.
 
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Dec 8th, 2002, 03:51 PM
  #8
John G
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You may not, under any circumstances, no matter what anyone says to the contrary, wear shoes into Wat Phra Kaeo, which is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, on the grounds of the Grand Palace. Not only may you not wear shoes, but it is sacreligious to turn your soles towards the Buddha. You must always keep your soles behind you if you sit or kneel. You may not show your shoulders or knees either, and men must have their legs completely covered with pants or sarong. This also goes for Wat Po, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and other major, holy wats. You should always remove your shoes when going into a Buddhist temple, but, just like Christian churches, you can sometimes get away with improper dress, depending on the "holiness" of the place.
 
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Dec 8th, 2002, 03:54 PM
  #9
John G
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Continued. As a Buddhist, I implore you to remember that you may think of a wat or temple as a tourist attraction, but to many others this is a holy place. I'm sure you wouldn't want Thai people coming into your church with cameras, in cut-offs, sandals, and tank tops, while you were praying. Use common sense.
 
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Dec 8th, 2002, 06:39 PM
  #10
Fran
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John,
We are past the temples, again my question was not specific to temples. However, I've read other threads on this site where others clearly state that they have not had to remove their shoes. Who cares, I'ld go barefoot everywhere if I could.
I live in the US and yes, we wear sleeveless tops (tank tops) and short skirts (above the knee) to church all the time. And yes, even when we visit cathedrals on the East Coast, we take our cameras.

When in China we saw Buddists in very short shorts (we call them hot pants) while inside obviously in he middle of worship. So much for disrespectful tourists.
 
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Dec 8th, 2002, 07:16 PM
  #11
Chris
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Fran,

I am also a 30-something female, and I was in Bangkok in Oct. I personally did not wear shorts, I wore cropped pants or casual skirts with sandals. I think you could easily wear shorts though. And there are tons of cute cotton and silk sarongs to buy in the markets if you need something while you are there! I know you are off the temple subject, but just wanted to tell you not to worry. If they are not happy with your attire at the Grand Palace, they have sarongs, pants, and sandals with straps (like Tevas) to borrow free of charge. Warning...don't let the guys outside the palace gate confuse you! They tried to get us to visit another temple by telling us we weren't dressed appropriately for the Grand Palace, and clothing wouldn't be available to borrow for another two hours. So, we should return AFTER visiting their recommended site of course! We didn't want to alter our schedule and realized when we went inside they were not affiliated with the Palace, just selling their own tour. There were plenty of clothes to borrow. (After reading this, it sounds pretty disgusting, but you put their clothing on over your own - who knows if it ever gets washed) Have a great trip, Bangkok is a very eclectic city and I think you can get away with casual or smart dress, whichever you prefer.
 
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Dec 11th, 2002, 07:22 PM
  #12
Fran
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I just went thru brochures for Thailand trips and in all, the women are wearing shorts and tank tops (sleeveless tops). Guess that's my answer.
 
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Dec 12th, 2002, 09:15 AM
  #13
Rebecca
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Fran: I was in the same situation...trying to find summer clothes during November is impossible. I found many things on clearance on the internet..gap.com; oldnavy.com; even jcpenney.com.
 
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