The 10 Key Items to Pack for Thailand
A trip to Thailand is an epic adventure. The tropical country is a world of ancient temples, buzzing markets, and astounding scenic beauty. While you can find pretty much anything you might need there—7-Elevens are everywhere and Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise—you need to bring a few essentials. After all, Thailand’s climate is hot and sticky year round and rain showers can show up unannounced at any moment. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our list of what to pack for a stress-free Thai getaway.
Thailand is tropical, so you’ll spend most of your trip in sandals. Look for styles that are supportive, secure, and offer tons of good grip, like this pair from Chaco. They’re durable and weather-resistant, meaning they’ll hold up during jungle hikes and those afternoon rain showers (or even monsoons, yikes!). Plus, this pair is easy to slip off if you’re going in and out of temples, which require the removal of shoes.
We’ll say it again: Thailand is hot and humid pretty much all year. Skip tight clothing that will kick your sweat glands into overdrive and opt for loose gear made out of breathable fabric like linen and cotton. Save some room in your bag for all of the elephant-print harem pants you’ll snap up at the markets.
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A sarong is your Thailand bestie. Not only do sarongs make a perfect beach cover-up, but they double as a scarf for extra sun protection, a wrap if you need to cover your shoulders in a temple, and even an impromptu towel or picnic blanket. Pick one that won’t weigh you down, like this cotton-silk sarong from Roller Rabbit. (Love that pom-pom fringe.)
Sweat- and Water-Resistant Sunscreen
You’ll definitely want to be diligent about slathering on sunscreen, but many brands on Thai shelves contain skin-bleaching ingredients. We say: play it safe and bring your own. La Roche-Posay’s fragrance- and paraben-free Anthelios Cooling Water SPF 60 provides strong UVA and UVB protection and goes from a lotion to a silky, liquid serum on contact, so it won’t make your feel skin sticky.
Sure, you can pick one up at the market for cheap, but we recommend investing in a sturdier model that can make it through more than one rainstorm. A durable umbrella, like the Teflon-coated one from Repel, is a good idea even if you’re going during the cool season. Surprise downpours strike any time of year, so you’ll want to stash an umbrella in your bag.
First Aid Kit
You’ll be able to pick up nearly anything you need at Thai pharmacies, but if you're posted up on a remote beach or hiking a jungle trail, it’s good to have some essentials on hand. First Aid Only’s kit comes with things you might need in a pinch, like gauze, tweezers, cold packs, and pain relievers.
Searching for cell signal—or posting pics on Instagram, the second you get signal—quickly drains your battery. You'll spend most of your days far from an outlet, so pack a portable charger like the Anker PowerCore. It can juice up your smartphone up to seven times with just one of its charges.
Whether you want to or not, you're probably going to get soaked at some point in your trip. For toweling off at the beach or after a surprise rainstorm, pack a quick-drying microfiber towel. The ECOdept one is made out of a soft and lightweight fabric that wipes water right off, and it folds down to a compact pouch.
Thailand may look serene—and the breathtaking landscapes will melt all your stress away!—but it’s not always quiet. Resort parties, noisy long-tail engines, and jungle critters are all factors that may come between you and your shut-eye. Block out sounds with these simple and comfortable foam ear plugs. What party hostel?
Rolling suitcases are a beautiful thing—but give yours a pass for Thailand. Lots of walking, uneven streets, sandy beaches, and rainforest trails mean that it’s best to be hands-free. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible has several separate compartments so you can easily stash and see your stuff, without needing to use packing cubes. Plus, it has an extension zipper that adds up to 10 percent more space—perfect for those Thai trinkets and souvenirs that you’ll inevitably pick up along the way.