What is Living in Thailand REALLY Like?

Thailand Packing List

If you’re coming to Thailand you’ll need a packing list. You’ll need to bring certain things – and other items you can buy while you’re here. This travel packing tips list goes beyond the usual shirts, shorts, and undies. This list will help you prepare for Thailand’s climate and way of life.

Unless you’ll be in the mountains of Chiang Mai, Thailand is always warm. There’s no need for cold-weather clothes. Don’t bring them.

While Thailand has a large selection of common items, you may not find the exact brand you prefer. Don’t count on finding your favorite deodorant, soap or anything else. If it’s a “must have” then pack it just to be sure.


  • Alternating Current 3 Prong Plug adapters – Voltage in Thailand is 220. In the USA it’s 110. Thailand wall outlets usually don’t have the 3rd grounding prong, only two. Bring some plastic adapters for your plugs.
  • Digital camera – Get a lithium ion battery if you want longer lasting and rechargeable. Get AA batteries for convenience.
  • Notebook computer – There are internet shops everywhere with high-speed ADSL internet at reasonable rates so you may not need to bring your notebook computer at all. If you do bring it WIFI is available in big cities, at all Starbucks and most Black Canyon Coffee shops across the country and in Bangkok almost city-wide.
  • Mobile phone – Bring one or buy a cheap phone here. Thai phones take SIM cards you can purchase cheaply.


  • Thai dictionary – Here is an excellent Thai-English dictionary that is small and very useful. Also have a look at the Essential Thai Phrases article
  • Emergency cards for each person coming – List phone numbers for people at home authorities can call in case of accident or illness. Make directions clear – include country calling code.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks – You can easily exchange traveler’s checks for local Thai Baht at large banks, but better to also carry some cash – as much as you can afford to lose at one time. Theft isn’t all that common, but it happens.
  • Printed copies of hotel, rental car confirmations
  • GuidebooksLonely Planet is still the most widely used guidebook, but it isn’t the most up-to-date guidebook you can purchase.
  • Maps – print internet maps and pick up once you arrive in Thailand.

Security Items

  • Luggage locks
  • Money waist belt
  • Travel security alarm
  • Luggage name tags

Pharmacy Items

  • Sunscreen – Not a wide range of SPF numbers.
  • Insect repellent with DEET – Mosquitoes are a problem especially at dusk. They overlook the locals as they’ve acquired a taste for foreign blood.
  • Tampons – Pads are widely available but tampons are not.
  • Medications – Many can be found in pharmacies, but the one that you require might mean a trip to the hospital pharmacy. Thai pharmacies stock little outside the usual cold medicines, cough drops, and a small assortment of vitamins. An aspirin substitute is “Paracetamol” or, sometimes called, “Paracap”.
  • Imodium RD – This one works wonders and it comes in small pills so easily carried.
  • Motion sickness pills – If you plan on taking a ferry anywhere you might want to have these on hand.
  • Vitamins – Vitamins are expensive here for some unknown reason. Bring your own.
  • Ear plugs – You might be glad you did.
  • Birth Control – Bring your favorite from home.
  • Handkerchief or tissue – Restrooms in Thailand often use a dishwasher squirt hose instead of toilet paper. Big city stores and restaurants will probably have tissue, but always have some of your own.
  • Large plastic bags with zippers for wet articles – You will likely have wet items you need to keep separate in your backpack.

To Wear

  • Clothing Tips – Bring loose, very light clothing that breathes. The heat is stifling at times, don’t pack any nylon underwear or bras as you’ll regret it. Shorts, no socks, sport sandals and a lightweight loose shirt are prescribed.
  • Bathing suits – Swimsuits should be modest. Thai women swim with shirts and pants on typically. Swimsuits are OK only at the beach, not in town. Cover up. Guys – that means shirtless in town is not OK. Shirts everywhere except at the beach.
  • Hat – you’ll probably want a hat to keep the sun off your head, face and neck. We’re very close to the equator and the sun will feel stronger than in America or Europe.
  • Shoes – Bring sport sandals with straps for the heel and forefoot. They might get wet, often if you’re at the beach a lot. If your feet are over a US size 10 you will have difficulty finding larger sizes here outside of Bangkok.
  • Sarongs – Towels are heavy and take a long time to dry. Sarongs are light and dry in 15 minutes in a breeze or in front of the hotel fan.

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