What to pack for Thailand (and what not to). Have a great trip!

No packing list is perfect for everyone. Budgets, destinations, travel styles and duration of the trip make every packing situation different. However, no matter what style bringing to much puts a damper on anyone’s trip. Avoid blowing through your funds on useless gadgets and clothing, use this list to set up your own perfect packing list!

I can tell you a little bit about my packing history. From a very young age, my parents always told me to check and recheck my luggage. The amounts of “did you bring your toothbrush?” and “Are you sure you have enough underwear?” are uncountable. This ‘nagging’ taught me that packing is no joke and should be taken serious because no one wants to end up on the other end of the world with no underwear or a toothbrush.

What to pack for Thailand

However, now a day in most western and even non-western countries they have all of your standard necessities. So we will start with:

Stuff you DON’T need to bring lots of because you can buy it in Thailand

  • Generic clothing

T-shirts, shorts, bikini’s, tank tops, underwear, etc. Can all be bought for cheap in Thailand (just watch the sizes, everything tends to be small in Asia)!

  • Toiletries

Shampoo, soap, razors, pain relievers, toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste can all be found in Thailand. Bringing some is still advised, but don’t worry if you run out or if you forgot them, visiting any of the local 7/11’s will solve all your problems.
Being an “experienced” packer I feel that for the first time ever I have this packing thing down. I realised this on my latest trip where I didn’t think once that I shouldn’t have brought a certain item because I wasn’t going to wear it anyways.. Overpacking is the most common mistake made by EVERYONE. Having to drag all your belongings from location to location, is probably the most hated part of a holiday. At least it is for me!

Other stuff you probably need and haven’t thought of

So I guess the title says it all before you leave there is some other stuff to arrange that is easily forgotten but still very important to make this trip one to remember. Some of these items may need some planning ahead so my tip is to look into it, at least a few months in advance.

  • Vaccinations

It is always smart to check your vaccinations, do they have to be renewed, do you still have to get them? It is advised to get Hepatitis A and B, tetanus, typhoid and even rabies. These aren’t mandatory, it is smart to get them, especially if you are travelling around! Also, don’t forget to look into Malaria tablets, you might need to get some if you are travelling through areas with high risk for Malaria.

  • Travel insurance

For most it might seem to be a given that you have proper travel insurance. From experience, I know that a lot of backpackers are careless and either don’t have them or just have them for a short amount of their trip. There are loads of websites where travel insurances can be bought, and I know it can cost quite some money, but you’ll be thanking yourself after you fall off your scooter in Chang Mai or when you have an accident while Scuba Diving in Koh Tao ( I recommend World Nomads Backpacker Travel Insurance if you are travelling around, this website offers online service AND is recommend by Lonely Planet!).

  • Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least a year (or 6 months after you book your flight back to your home country) and that you have enough blank pages.

  • Visa

Most nationalities don’t need a visa for Thailand when you arrive in Thailand you get a stamp that allows you to stay in the country up to 30 days (only on tourism purposes). If you want to stay longer, you can contact the Thai Consulate in your country to apply for a visa that allows you to stay up to 90 days in Thailand. If you are not sure if your country is on the list of nationalities that doesn’t need a visa, you can visit this website to find out.

  • Copy important documents

Before any trip it is always useful to take photos (or scan) your most important documents and store them on your phone and on your email. When I talk about important documents I mean: driving licence, passport, credit cards, insurance information. This way if you loose the original, or if it gets stolen, you still have a copy somewhere in the cloud.

The necessities

Packing for a country that you haven’t been before such as Thailand, can be daunting. Here is a list of my most useful items during my backpacking / travel around / even staying in one spot items you should pack when you visit Thailand.

The principle when it comes to packing is: less is best. You cannot be prepared for everything, so don’t try to be!

  1. 3 shorts
  2. 1 skirt
  3. 4 shirts – try to have a variety of shirts, for example, two simple ones to wear during the day, a nicer top for when you go
  4. out, one that covers your shoulders for when you visit temples.
  5. 2 dresses – I like to wear dresses to the beach or when we go out for dinner, but you could also take a dress if you fancy wearing them on a night out.
  6. 3 bathing suits – This really should be the max amount of bathing suits, but since I’m packing for a more beachy holiday, I’m taking 3 instead of 2. I usually take 2 normal bikinis and 1 bathing suit.
  7. 1 sleep outfit
  8. 1 beach cover up
  9. 1 yoga pants / maxi dress – this way you can always cover yourself for temples etc.
  10. 1 sweater or vest – I usually wear this in the plane, and it is perfect for when there is a chilly evening or morning.
  11. 5 underwear
  12. 2 bras – I like bringing at least, one of which the bands can be taken off so that I can make it a strapless bra. It is also easier to have one black and one nude, this way you’ll always have one that can be worn under everything.
  13. 1 pair of Havanas flip flops – Ever since I lived in Australia I live on these when the weather allows it. Perfect for wandering about, going to the beach etc. etc.
  14. 1 pair of Sandals

Toiletries and other stuff

  1. Small shampoo, body soap & conditioner – if you run out you can buy them in Thailand at a 7/11.
  2. Razor
  3. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  4. Deodorant
  5. Makeup
  6. Antihistamine tablets – last time I was in Thailand, my hayfever played up really bad, be prepared and bring something for allergies!
  7. Sarong – I use this as my beach towel and as a cover up for the beach.
  8. Towel – if you are backpacking I recommend getting a microfiber towel, they dry super quick and don’t take up much space.
  9. Sunscreen – this is really expensive in Thailand, especially if you are in South and are staying on the islands.
  10. Mosquito repellent – seriously, don’t forget this!!
  11. Water carrier – waste is a big problem in Thailand, try to save the planet by buying a big 2 or 5-liter water pack and filling up your water carrier instead of buying small water bottles every day.
  12. Condoms – you can get these in Thailand, but they are often out of date, and the sizes can be quite small. Better be safe than sorry!
  13. Tissues – I don’t always bring these from home, but it is very useful to carry them around when in Thailand, since toilet paper isn’t always a given in every bathroom.

Other gear

  1. Macbook Air (13 inch) – since I’ll be doing some of my school research I have to take my laptop, I wouldn’t recommend taking a laptop with you if you are just on a holiday. Even if you are backpacking for a long time I would advise against it, since laptops are very fragile and easy targets for thieves.
  2. Digital camera
  3. GoPro + accessories – I own a GoPro stick, which is great when travelling alone, I will also be looking into taking a small tripod on my next trip.
  4. Power bank – very useful when travelling, I usually use mine when I’m traveling and there are no power outlets. Or when I have a really shit bed in a hostel without a nearby power outlet.
  5. Chargers – phone, laptop, camera, GoPro, etc. etc.
  6. Memory cards – we don’t want to run out of memory.
  7. Luggage locks – loads of hostels and hotels have places where you can put your valuable luggage throughout the day, bring your own lock to make sure everything stays safe.

Hand luggage

  1. Laptop
  2. Camera + GoPro
  3. Phone + power bank
  4. Eye mask – I like to take my own, they do however also provide you with some on most flights.
  5. Moisturizer – my hands and face tend to dry out when I’m flying, I always have some kind of moisturizer with me to keep everything hydrated.
  6. Headphones
  7. Neck pillow

What to pack for Thailand

Have a great trip!

If you have any tips and tricks regarding luggage for a trip to Thailand, please leave a comment! I love learning about new stuff, and you might be able to help some other travelers in the process!


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