What to pack for a beach and cultural trip to Thailand

Dreaming of sparkling sunsets and sun-kissed beaches on your trip to Thailand? Beyond its exotic tropical island escapes, this sizzling South-East Asia gem is just as captivating for lovers of culture and cuisine. Pad Thai for breakfast, lunch and dinner, anyone? But first, here’s what to pack and wear on your beach and cultural trip to Thailand.

Beach trip to Thailand

Combine Thailand’s effervescent capital city and rich northern Highlands with seaside living on one of its many islands. You’ll encounter an unforgettable duet of culture and coastal relaxation, switching up your board shorts for something a little more conservative as you respect the local Thais’ religious beliefs.

Perfect days are made of kayaking between the towering limestone karsts rising up from the Andaman Sea, steamy night markets and Buddhist temples. And of course, the fine flavours of Thai cuisine will linger on your taste buds throughout your trip to Thailand. It’s so easy to see why the destination consistently ranks as one of the world’s most popular tourist spots year round.

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Ready for your trip to Thailand?

Paradise found – that’s how you’ll feel on your trip to Thailand, whether you’re planning to visit the hill tribes up north, catch up on some retail therapy in Bangkok, or want to spend your days watching the waves and soaking up the salty sea air.

Kayaking amongst the karsts in Thailand

But you’ll never forget those Thai smiles along the way. Your cultural trip to Thailand will be tough to beat if you’re fascinated by the locals’ way of life, and the good news is they’re happy to share it! Sacred temples, floating markets and Thai cooking classes are just some of the experiences that reveal the day-to-day of your gracious hosts.

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And then there are those incredible palm-fringed beaches and ethereal karst landscapes immortalised by Hollywood. Thailand’s beaches are among the most beautiful and sought-after in the world. Expect guaranteed days of relaxation, pampering and fun, whether you’re hopping from koh to koh or kicking back at one of the celebrated seaside resort dotting Thailand’s simply exquisite coastline.

Shopping at a Thailand market is a cultural highlight

Our first, but important tip, for your trip to Thailand is leave space in your luggage. Even if you’re not a keen shopper, you are going to be grateful for that extra space for those many souvenirs you’ve snapped up to remind you of your incredible lifechanging adventure.

What to wear in Thailand

You’ll be forgiven for thinking tank tops and shorts are what you should pack and wear for your trip to Thailand. And for the most part, you would be right, except for cultural and religious sites where you’ll be required to keep your knees and shoulders covered.

Cultural trip to Thailand, including visit to Grand Palace in Bangkok

Thailand is noticeably big on respect and your hosts will appreciate your effort to respect their culture and religious beliefs by paying attention to what you wear. Pack loose shirts, trousers and long dresses, and carry a pashmina or wide scarf if you’re wearing a strapless top, to cover your shoulders at a moment’s notice.

You’ll also be required to slip off your shoes from time to time. So, the best option for your trip to Thailand is to pack footwear you don’t need to lace-up. You’ll likely be doing a fair bit of walking and you’ll want something that supports your feet more than the average pair of flip flops.

Birkenstocks are a great option on what to wear in Thailand

When it comes to what to wear in Thailand coastal areas, however, things are much more relaxed. Swimsuits, t-shirts and shorts are the order of the day. For ladies, pack a swimsuit cover-up or sarong in your day bag and go from beach to restaurant ready in seconds. And of course, don’t forget to lather up using reef-safe sunscreen and to wear your hat to shield yourself from Thailand’s tropical sun.

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What to pack for Thailand

Sunscreen

It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re planning your trip to Thailand, one consistent companion is the fierce sun. Top of your list on what to pack for Thailand has to be high SPF reef-safe sunscreen, after-sun and a wide-brimmed hat.

Portable charger

Having a portable charger in your daypack will come in handy when you’ve run out of battery power. Trust us, you will if you’re using your phone as a camera and for directions. You may also want to consider buying a SIM card in Thailand to have constant Internet coverage. This can be purchased either at the airport or local 7-11. While we’re at it, packing a universal travel adapter is always a good idea because Thailand uses four plug types. 

Visit the temples of Bangkok

Waterproof

Thailand’s rainy season is from July to October, pretty much countrywide. If you’re planning your cultural trip to Thailand over this period, you could pack a lightweight raincoat or umbrella. Don’t worry, both of these will be readily available at many shops and markets in Thailand if you forget to pack them.  Our go-to tip for rainy destinations? Pack a light microfibre towel – even one of those soft microfibre cloths for washing cars will do!

Hand sanitiser, sanitising hand wipes and tissues

Anyone who’s ever been to a public restroom in Thailand will know that these are essentials to have on hand. Think ahead and carry items these items in your handbag or day pack. One final tip here: Thailand is renowned for its clogged sewers so take care not to flush toilet paper.

Exploring Bangkok by boat

Refillable water bottle

Thailand is not immune to the ravages of single-use plastic. So, we strongly suggest packing a refillable water bottle to keep hydrated without adding to the pollution. The tap water in Thailand is not drinkable, so make sure your bottle also has a filter.

Ready for your beach and cultural trip to Thailand? We’d love to hear what you’re planning to pack and wear in the comments below!

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