Thailand has rapidly grown into a top travel destination over the last decade, and for good reasons. The ‘Land of a Thousand Smiles’ caters to all types of travelers; from budget backpackers to luxury vacationers, and everyone in between. With welcoming locals and so much to see and do, get the most out of your time in Thailand with the right clothing and travel gear.
The weather in Thailand varies by region. The majority of the country has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season, but the timing of the two seasons differs depending on the area. In the north, the dry season is November to May, and June to October sees heavy rainfall.
The south is less consistent, with the west coast seeing the most rain April to October and the east coast from September to December. Outside of these time periods, expect sun and dry weather in the south. With the monsoon seasons only overlapping slightly in the south, it generally means there’s great beach weather to be found through most of the year.
Overall, the high season is November to February when the majority of the country has warm and dry weather.
Thailand Packing List
We put together this simple and straightforward Thailand packing list based on our team’s first hand experience so you can take the guesswork out of what to bring from clothing, travel gear, toiletries, and electronics. Thailand is a large Digital Nomad hub so if you plan on working and traveling, we’ve added some specific items at the end.
One of the great parts about traveling to Thailand is the casual style and laid back attitude, so you can easily pack light, both in volume and the type of clothing. Unless you’re there for a specific formal occasion, there’s no need to bring anything other than casual clothing. Comfortable clothes that you can wear day after day, and don't mind getting sweaty and dirty is ideal. Gym clothes, beach clothes, and anything you’d wear outdoors on a summer weekend is perfect.
The best advice we can offer is to pack as if you were going for one week! It will force you to not bring much more than the essentials and keep your total luggage light. If you’re a long term traveler it gets exhausting lugging an overweight bag around. Especially since it's very easy to do laundry on the way.
When gathering your clothes remember that it's going to be hot, humid, and sweaty. You don’t need jeans and if you do bring a pair of pants, make sure they’re appropriate for the climate.
- Multiple T-shirts for everyday use (moisture-wicking fabric will go a long way)
- 1-2 long sleeve shirts (we recommend linen for when it gets humid)
- 2-3 pairs of shorts
- 1 hat
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 pair of running shoes
- 3-4 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1-2 swimsuits
- 5 pairs of underwear
- 2-3 sports bras
- 1-2 sundresses
Because you can pack relatively light, there’s no need to bring a massive suitcase. The choice between roller bag and travel backpack is up to you. If you’re visiting 2-3 well traveled cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket you’ll be just fine with a regular roller bag. If you plan to travel more extensively and get off road a bit, opt for a travel backpack instead. You’ll be able to move quicker and easier when you can throw everything on your back, especially outside of the major cities where you might be walking more.
If you go with a roller bag, a large carry-on size or small checked size will work just fine.
For a travel backpack, reach for one around 40L to have sufficient room for all of your gear.
Include a set of packing cubes either way, they’ll keep you organized and let you separate dirty and clean clothes. They also make it incredibly easy to pack up when you’re switching locations which is nearly inevitable on a trip to Thailand because of how many must visit stops there are.
Once you’ve settled on your primary bag, pick up a daypack. This is probably the single most important piece of travel gear when visiting Thailand. Whether you’re exploring urban Bangkok, visiting night markets in the north, or relaxing at the beach in the south islands, your daypack will be with you at all times. Load it up with your daily essentials and hit the road for some exploring! There are a few styles for daypacks; bring one that suits your travel style and has enough space for the gear you take out for daily exploring - a waistpack or backpack daypack are both top options.
Waistpacks are extremely popular among travelers in Thailand, you’ll see countless tourists and backpackers wearing them around all day and night. So don’t hesitate to reach for a compact and lightweight fanny pack to hold your essentials. While crime targeting tourists isn't considered a major concern in Thailand, pickpocketing and petty theft is common in busy areas like train stations and markets. So even if your daily essentials are light, a small daypack will keep them more secure than your pockets. A few liters will be enough to hold a wallet, cash, phone, keys, and anything else that might go in your pockets.
A daypack backpack works great as well, especially if you want more room for a water bottle and other items. 10-15 liters will be perfect. With the high heat get a backpack daypack that’s lightweight and breathable to keep you comfortable.
- Water bottle: Between the sun & heat, and the fact that you can’t drink the tap water, you’ll be reaching for your water bottle constantly. Get one that’s a decent size, minimum 1 liter, and is easily transportable and lightweight like the Vapur 1 Liter Collapsible Water Bottle.
- Travel wallet: We’re huge proponents of a travel wallet that you’re not afraid to get wet or dirty. Although credit cards are common enough in Thailand, cash is still king. With low ATM fees and high withdrawal limits, you can easily use cash the whole trip. Pick up a travel wallet that you can stash in your daypack, and remember to separate your large amounts of cash and have separate credit cards in case of loss of theft.
- Microfiber towel: For hostels, beaches, and waterfalls - a microfiber towel that's lightweight, quick drying, and easily transportable will dry you off when you need it most. Much easier than dragging a heavy pool towel around.
- Waterproof Pouch: For the same places it's worth bringing a microfiber towel, a waterproof pouch will keep your electronics and important items like cash, wallet, keys, or passport dry when you’re on or near the water.
- Reusable Wooden Utensils: You’ll be eating constantly while in one of the food capitals of Asia. Keep a set of reusable utensils in your daypack for night market snacks or pad thai in your hotel room. These also work great on travel days; there’s nothing worse than opening lunch halfway through a 6 hour train ride and realizing you don’t have any cutlery.
- Lock: A small luggage lock for your primary bag and larger lock for hostel lockers if you plan to stay in one will keep your gear secure.
- Deck of cards: There’s so many incredible regions and cities in Thailand to visit but it takes time to get between them. You’ll most likely have some long travel days and a deck of cars can help pass the time.
Your regular toiletry items for a 1 week trip including toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, moisturizer.
- Face cleanser (it can get smoggy in parts of Thailand, especially Bangkok, so you’ll want a good face cleanser to wash away the dirt and sweat at the end of the day).
- Moisturizer with SPF for the morning
- Insect repellent
- A medium to large sized toiletry bag to keep it all organized
Keeping your liquids under 100ML will allow you to carry-on your bag if it's the right size. Overall it's relatively easy to find replacement toiletry items in Thailand, although your favorite brands might be hard to find.
Stock up any prescription medication before leaving. Over the counter medical items can easily be purchased in Thailand, but consider bringing extras of the following just in case:
- Pain relievers
- Antihistamines if you're prone to allergy symptoms
- Hydration tablets to replenish electrolytes on long days exploring in the heat
- Anti-diarrhea pills as needed (stomach problems from food isn't as common in Thailand as other Southeast Asia countries but if you’re prone to food poisoning bring some)
- Power Adapter/ Converter: Thailand has different outlets and different voltages than North America. While most modern electronics have built in voltage converters some don’t. An adapter that works in Southeast Asia will likely be sufficient, but get one with voltage conversion if you have any electronics that don’t have this feature built in.
- Unlocked Cell Phone: Unlock your cell phone before departure and pick up a SIM card at the airport or a 7-11 after arrival. 7-11s are everywhere in Thailand, and Thais & tourists live by them. Ask the cashier to help set up your SIM card before leaving. The data plans are extremely inexpensive in Thailand. For just a few dollars a month you’ll have unlimited data; great for navigating, checking out restaurant reviews, and finding things to do.
- Laptop: A laptop isn’t necessary if you’re vacationing in Thailand. It's not worth the extra weight and stress of keeping it secure, especially when you’re moving around between different cities. A lightweight tablet or Chromebook is a better alternative.
- Power Bank:If you’re working or plan on multiple travel days, a decent capacity power bank will keep your devices connected when it's most important. Unless you plan on frequent travel days or need backup power for your laptop, 10,000 mAh will be sufficient.
- E-reader:Load up on books before heading out to keep busy on travel days.
- Camera:Based on personal preference.
Digital Nomad Considerations
If you’re working and traveling during your time in Thailand keep in mind these specifics.
- Laptop: More than likely a requirement to work.
- Power Bank: A power bank will absolutely be worthwhile when you’re working in Thailand. If you’re working in a cafe or restaurant you might not have easy access to outlets, and if you do, you’ll need your adapter with you as well. A laptop power bank that can charge your computer and other devices will pay off when you’re working in cafes, coworking spaces, trains, and airports.
- Portable Laptop Stand: A sore neck from looking down at a laptop all day can get in the way when you’re out exploring, so bring a portable laptop stand to quickly elevate your laptop to eye level.
- Wireless Keyboard & Mouse: The laptop stand is only half the battle in preventing neck strain. A wireless keyboard and mouse set that’s lightweight and portable will make it easy to set up for work sessions.
- Electronics Organizer: An electronics organizer will keep you cables, plugs, adapters, and dongles organized and secure.
- Daypack: You want something large enough to carry your laptop and keep it safe, so look for a daypack backpack that’s at least 20 liters and has a built in laptop sleeve to keep it secure. The extra space will also give you room for the additional digital nomad electronics.
Gear up for your Thai adventure with the right clothing and travel gear so you can get the most out of everything this incredible destination has to offer.