We asked women around the world to share their thoughts
on culturally correct clothing in Thailand. These are some
of the many pieces of advice we received. Thank you everybody!
matter how hot it is, don't wear sleeveless tops or short
shorts when in public areas. The Thai's look on this as
disrespectful and besides it certainly singles you out as
a tourist. Neat, clean clothing makes you look good and
is the best bet for good respect from the Thais'.
Wear shoes that can be easily removed because you cannot
wear shoes in the Buddhist temples. Socks are considered
poor form and tacky. Capri pants are fine because the young
women have discovered western fashion. Shorts are not appreciated
anywhere. Showing cleavage is also a bad idea and is thought
to be in bad taste. The Thais are kind and tolerant of foreigners,
but the only time you will really offend them is if you
wear shoes in the presence of a statue of Buddha at a shrine,
even if it is not a temple. I was in a shop where they were
making Buddha statutes and I was told in a cold tone to
take my shoes off in the shop. It was embarrassing.
If you are a woman over forty travelling to Thailand,
please take a skirt or dresses along. It is incorrect to
wear pants after 40. I wasn't told before I left so I only
had one skirt and had to wear my slacks day after day. Also
take something that you can wash out by hand that can be
hung to dry quickly.
I went to school in Southern Thailand. My comrades and
I spent many a weekend trip lecturing females who wore short-shorts,
no bra's, strappy tank tops, etc. Local newspapers often
contained articles about women tourists getting into trouble.
Southern Thailand is not a tourist mecca and the population
is primarily Muslim. Cover up or expect to be propositioned,
followed around by men and/or put in potential danger. Save
western dress codes for westernized resorts and beaches.
some blue nylon long pants that my mom gave me years ago.
They are very thin and feel like a parachute. But I can
handwash them with shampoo and they are dry enough to wear
in 30 minutes. They were great in Thailand in 95 degree
weather. I also bought some Thai nylon trousers that are
put on like a diaper. These and the wrapped Thai skirt are
decent enough and cool for hot weather. It is important
to dress decently so that the locals and/or families are
not hesitant to approach you. I traveled alone in Thailand
for a month and never felt threatened.
If you are going to visit any temples wear shirts or blouses
with sleeves and carry a sarong or wear a skirt. Also remember
that you will have to take off your shoes.
Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands
After escaping the Alaskan winter, I couldn't wait to strip
down to spaghetti straps and backless dresses in the tropical
paradise of southern Thailand. However, I found that it
is very uncool to do so anywhere off of the beach. The Thais
are quite modest dressers and it's an integral part of their
culture, not a fashion statement. In the south, where much
of the population is Muslim, scantily clad foreign women
are especially offensive to the residents. So, my advice
is that if you go to Thailand, dress modestly. Another safe
bet is to buy a nifty long sarong and light cotton long
sleeve or at least half armed-shirt and bring them with
you in your bag everywhere, so that if you're out gallivanting
in shorts and a tank top and you suddenly feel out of place,
you can put them on. This is critical if you might visit
a Wat (Buddhist temple) because wearing shorts or tank tops
in the temples is really a big no-no. Ditto for topless
I traveled in Thailand. To prevent bug bites, my advice
is to wear long cotton pants and a sleeveless t-shirt under
a thin cotton long-sleeved shirt. Leave the shorts at home.
It is culturally insulting to the Thais to have bare legs
Newport Beach, USA
When travelling in Thailand, conservative clothes, like
pants and a shirt are a must when going to the temples.
the Thai people will never say anything about the way you
are dressed (except when entering a temple) it is good manners
to cover the top of your arms and not to wear very short
skirts or shorts. An everyday T-Shirt is fine and long shorts
I traveled in Thailand. My advice is to wear a bra under
t-shirts or any other thin fabrics.
I traveled in Thailand. Going to the royal palace in Bangkok,
many people were turned back because of their clothing -
shorts were not acceptable, nor halter tops, nor were Teva
or Thong sandals. I was wearing long pants, a plain t-shirt,
and Rockport-type sandals, and had no problem. In general,
light-weight long pants seem far more acceptable in Thailand
Rhode Island, USA
When travelling in Thailand always carry a couple of sarongs.
You can use them as a sheet, a skirt, to bath in public,
and they're also good for carrying your laundry.
When travelling in southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia,
Singapore and the Philippines), wearing a long full skirt
(cotton ) with a hip length top is cooler, more comfortable
and much more culturally correct than pants.
Ellen, San Diego, USA