Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Asia (
-   -   what to wear in Thailand (

r_e_e_n_i_e Jan 28th, 2009 06:01 PM

what to wear in Thailand
I've been getting conflicting reports about appropriate attire in Bangkok and Chiang Mai....any suggestions? are shorts o.k.? or pants to the knees? skirts to the knees? should arms be covered?....any suggestions will be appreciated as I am starting to put clothes together...leaving next Wed. for Bangkok

Kathie Jan 28th, 2009 06:08 PM

Shorts are considered appropriate attire for beaches. In the cities you'll want longer pants or skirts. Cropped pants (mid-calf) are ok. Tank tops are also considered beach attire. While you can wear sleeveless tops, cap sleeve or short sleeves are better. Your upper arms must be covered to enter wats.

Gpanda Jan 29th, 2009 01:01 AM

Make sure you bring some hats. The sun can be very strong.

Light, loose cotton clothes. Kathie is correct, shorts and tank tops are beachwear. In the cities, longer pants and tops covering the shoulders are more appropriate. Once you're in Bangkok, take a look at what the Thais are wearing. This will provide some guidance.

Cicerone Jan 29th, 2009 02:01 AM

My thoughts are as follows:

1. Other than for temples and the Grand Palace, there is no particular dress code. However, to enter temples you cannot be wearing shorts (even on men). Men wearing long shorts may get away with being allowed to enter some temples (but not at the Grand Palace in my experience), but women in shorts at any temple may have a problem. I would actually just avoid them when sightseeing so you aren’t turned away, as popping into the odd temple will be a fairly frequent activity. (Although some temples, esp. in the countryside areas with “rent” you a sarong for a small fee.) Also for the Grand Palace no shorts at all, no shoes with open backs, like Tevas or flip flops and shirts must cover the upper arms for both sexes. They tend to be particularly rigid about dress code. I am not aware that temples generally require upper arms to be covered (I think the Grand Palace does because it is royal land, not so much because of the temples also located there), but it could not hurt to follow the same guidelines. Shoes that are easy to take on and off are better, as you have to leave shoes outside most temples. Sneakers and socks are a lot of work and pretty hot IMO.
2. A hat
3. An umbrella, not only for rain but this is extremely useful against the sun when walking. It is so shady under one!
4. Polyester is to be avoided at all costs, it really does not breathe. Cotton with a little spandex for stretch is OK, but that would be like 5-10% at most.
5. Unless you are eating outdoors, most restaurants are somewhat heavily air-conditioned, so I would bring a light sweater actually.

I actually find skirts to be cooler than long pants (but make sure it is long enough i.e over the knees, for the Grand Palace). Capris are very good also. I would not worry for the most part about what you are wearing at other places and inside the hotels, you will see everything even in the very best hotels, i.e. people wandering through the lobby in their bathrobes and slippers on the way to the pool.

miniwalk Jan 29th, 2009 08:10 AM

An umbrella take alway helpfull

rhkkmk Jan 29th, 2009 02:15 PM

loose fitting, natural fibre clothing and comfortable shoes...

no shorts except at the beach unless you are a backpacker

SiamJai Jan 31st, 2009 01:37 AM

Extra notes

At tourist destinations, some Western men are in the habit of walking around town or near the beach shirtless (on the beach itself, all right). This is frowned upon and in fact illegal (though of course the law is seldom enforced - unless drunk and bad-mouthed too). the max fine is actually 500baht!

For women, when walking around - do wear a bra. Thais frowns upon western women they see bra-less.

Mango7 Feb 4th, 2009 03:41 PM

I'm sure Thai men are totally offended seeing a braless western woman

SiamJai Feb 5th, 2009 11:59 PM

I doubt they'll be too offended, they just wont be impressed. Only think the woman is an idiot who is sex mad. Btw: Thai men dont like large breasts too much.

Walk around not wearing a bra just gives Thais an even worse impression of farang women, in the eyes of Thai men too.

carrom Mar 23rd, 2009 11:35 AM

Do you mean without a bra or topless?

simpsonc510 Mar 23rd, 2009 01:27 PM

I will wear a pair of knee-length shorts (or maybe just above the knee) if I'm heading out to the weekend market or some of the other smaller outdoor markets I frequent. It is more comfortable for me. I agree that light weight cotton skirts would be a good idea, almost any length except really really really short! Most of the time I'm in capris, just below the knee. I don't wear mid-calf length (not appealing to me at all). I also make sure my shoulders are covered as the sun is intense.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:29 AM.