What to pack for Thailand (and what not to)

What to pack for Thailand, Asia? Find it out here.

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 seriously because no one wants to end up on the other end of the world with no underwear or a toothbrush.

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

Floating Market in Bangkok, Thailand. A Thai Lady with different produce on her boat at one of the markets on the water.

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.
The impacts of sex tourism on Thailand? – Read about it here.

Being an “experienced” packer I feel that for the first time ever I have this packing thing down. I realized 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.. Over packing 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!

Thai island life, boats, ocean maya bay

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.

Going to Koh Phi Phi? – Read the ultimate guide to Koh Phi Phi here.
  • 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 Insurancee 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 don’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 lose 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!


  • 3 shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 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 out, and one that covers your shoulders for when you visit temples.
  • 2 dresses – I like to wear dresses to the beach or when I go out for dinner but you could also take a dress if you fancy wearing them on a night out.
  • 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. 
  • 1 sleep outfit
  • 1 beach cover-up
  • 1 yoga pants/maxi dress –  this way you can always cover yourself for temples etc. 
  • 1 sweater or vest – I usually wear this in the plane, and it is perfect for when there is a chilly evening or morning. 
  • 5 pieces of underwear
  • 2 bras –  I bring at least 1 that I can take the straps of this way 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.
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of sandal
  • 1 pair of closed shoes – these I often wear in the plane and when I go on hikes or long walks.

Toiletries and all that jazz

  • Small shampoo, body soap & conditioner – if you run out you can buy them in Thailand at a 7/11.
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Antihistamine tablets – last time I was in Thailand, my hayfever played up really bad, be prepared and bring something for allergies!
  • Sarong – I use this as my beach towel and as a cover-up for the beach.
  • Towel – if you are backpacking I recommend getting a microfiber towel, they dry super quick and don’t take up much space.
  • Sunscreen – this is really expensive in Thailand, especially if you are in South and are staying on the islands. 
  • Mosquito repellent – seriously, don’t forget this!!
  • Water carrier – waste is a big problem in Thailand, try to save the planet by buying a big 2 or 5-litre water pack and filling up your water carrier instead of buying small water bottles every day.
  • 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!
  • 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. 

Khao Sok Thailand, Floating Bungalows on beautiful blue water with mountains in the background

Other gear

  • 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 5-litre are very fragile and easy targets for thieves. 
  • Digital camera
  • 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.
  • Chargers – phone, laptop, camera, GoPro, etc. etc. 
  • Power bank  very useful when travelling, I usually use mine when I’m travelling and there are no power outlets. Or when I have a really shit bed in a hostel without a nearby power outlet. 
  • Memory cards – we don’t want to run out of space for our photos and videos!
  • 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. 

Go island hopping in ThailandThe ultimate Island hopping Guide for Thailand

Hand luggage

  • Laptop
  • Camera + GoPro
  • Phone + power bank
  • Eye mask – I like to take my own, they do however also provide you with some on most flights. 
  • 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.  
  • Headphones
  • Neck pillow

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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What to pack for Thailand - and what not to. By http://wonderluhst.net

14 Responses

  1. Gemma
    | Reply

    Great post! I’m off to Thailand next week (so excited ) and I’m glad that ypur list covers what I was thinking of packing, pretty much down to the end! Thanks for the advice, I feel more confident with my plans now! 🙂

    • anne030890
      | Reply

      That is so cool, have fun on your trip! Where are you going in Thailand? I’m actually myself leaving on the 14th and will be around Phuket and Koh Phi Phi for 5 weeks!! Can’t wait to go to all that lovely weather, amazing food and great people! Hope you have a great trip!

  2. tonyadenmark
    | Reply

    I love your advice, “you can’t be prepared for everything so don’t try to be.” As a planner I tend to way over-think that kind of stuff. Good to know what you don’t need to bring a whole lot of.

  3. Amanda Williams
    | Reply

    A really useful packing list and it is especially helpful to detail those things that you don’t need to pack. I always get everything out that I think I need and then cut it back by about 30%. I like a light backpack!

  4. RosiEscapes
    | Reply

    good packing list 🙂

  5. aberkholtz
    | Reply

    Hahah I love that you included condoms! I mean, HEY, you’re on vacation so better safe than sorry! 😀

  6. Dora
    | Reply

    Thailand is my top desalination for my honeymoon so you post has been very helpful!

  7. evaecasey
    | Reply

    Great list! This sounds like what I packed for Central America as well, but I definitely overpacked. Good news is, every time I pack I do less and less!

  8. I love to read packing lists from countries I never been to just to find out how wrong I would have packed 🙂 This one is a really good list.


  9. Melissa Leger
    | Reply

    What about the sizes of the clothes? I went to the Philippines and Korea and the clothes were great and cheap…but too small for tall westerners.

  10. Brenda
    | Reply

    Definitely a useful list! In my case, I would not underpack too much. I feel that everything in Asia would be too little to fit in!

  11. nycgingeronthego
    | Reply

    Great advice! I am definitely looking into the traveler’s insurance. I just paid a lot of $$ for my most recent trip to have it insured. I feel like I just need permanent ongoing travel insurance. 😉

  12. Vee N Ric
    | Reply

    Hi Anne.
    Interesting tips you have
    Shared on packing for a trip.
    You have made packing
    A science…
    Thanks for the tips
    Will help us
    When we go
    On our next trip.

  13. Edwina
    | Reply

    Great list! I’m very particular with my deodorant so I actually brought two from home. Also, I’m currently traveling with a usb-powerbank and it’s a lifesaver in Southeast Asia. Takes up less space than a normal powerbank and I the cables are easier to pack without the wall adapters as well.

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