What to Pack for Thailand: Essentials for a Beach or Island Trip

Emerald green hilly jungles meeting white sandy beaches that slip out to turquoise blue waters.  It’s what comes to mind when you think of Phuket, Koh Samui, Khao Lak, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya and other Thai beaches or islands.  They are the perfect destination for any type of holiday – backpacking, couples, families and empty nesters.  These Thailand beaches offer something for everyone, so much to see, so much to do and so many adventures to be had.  So what to pack for Thailand beach holidays to have you covered for every situation?

A Thailand beach. What to pack for Thailand beaches and islands holidays

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Thailand is located between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand in South East Asia  It is a tropical country with temperatures averaging between 26-31°C (79-87°F).  The weather is always warm and the season alters according to how much rain is falling.  The dryest months are December/January and the wettest is September, making for hot humid days and nights.  Something you’re not going to need a lot of from the Ultimate Trip Packing List is layers of jackets.

Now you know what you won’t be needing on your Thailand packing list let’s find out what you do.

Click HERE to learn exactly where all those great Thai beaches and islands I mentioned earlier are located.

Essentials to Pack for Thailand Beach and Island Holidays

This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*.  This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links, but at NO extra cost to you.

Sun Protection

Whether it’s a cloudy day or bright sunny day, the sun is fierce in Thailand.  You need to protect yourself.

Pack:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Long sleeve rash guard top
  • Kaftan or sarong to cover up after you get out the water


Top Trip Tip:
Whilst sunscreen is readily available throughout Thailand, it is expensive.  Keep your holiday costs down and buy before you go.



Rain Protection

Thailand may be lovely and warm but it also rains a lot.  From the months of May through to October it rains on about 50% of the days.  This is why you will find most hotel rooms supply an umbrella; like our hotel the Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket.  But don’t fear it rarely rains all day long.

So to protect yourself and keep as dry as possible during those sudden downpours include in your day trip bag an umbrella or rain poncho*.


Top Trip Tip:
It often rains more at night, so even though it might look clear take the hotel umbrella out with you in the evenings.



Beach and Island Thailand Dress Code for Tourists

The Thailand dress code for tourists alters depending on your location.  If you are visiting cities and the countryside the dress code is far more conservative.  You should cover your shoulders, knees and everything in between.

However, the tourist dress code for Thailand beaches and islands is very relaxed.  It is perfectly acceptable to wear your shorts, tank tops and flipflop/thongs strolling along the beachside streets and be in your skimpiest bikini on the beach.

When you are heading out for day trips shorts, t-shirts, walking shoes and a hat is perfect.

Tourists waiting on the Thailand island Phang Nga Bay

Khao Ping Kan Island (James Bond Island view point)

So when packing for Thailand beach trips think about the activities you have planned.

Beachwear

Packing beachwear includes:

  • Swimsuit
  • Hat
  • Cover up
  • Flipflops/Thongs

Daywear

The daywear Phuket dress code is the same as other islands and beaches.  Pack these types of clothes, they will also be good for when you head off on your day trips to explore the wonderful natural surroundings.

Find fun activities and tours to take in Thailand with Expedia* or Viator*.

Evening wear

When thinking about what to wear in Phuket at night and other locations.  Remember the heat just doesn’t stop – you just won’t need the sunscreen.  Also keep in mind that the streets are riddled with potholes, poor drainage, high curbs, and uneven concrete drain covers.  Include in your Thailand evening wear:

  • One good outfit (for special occasions or in hotel restaurants)
  • Flat sandals
  • The evening dress code along Thailand beaches is casual.  Choose dresses, skirts, shorts and tops made from cotton, linen and rayon.  Basically, fabrics that are lightweight and breathe.


Top Trip Tip:
When packing clothing for your Thai beach trip don’t forget to consider if you have stopovers or further travels to cities or rural towns.  The Thailand dress code is more formal in these regions.



What to Wear in Thailand Temples

However as easy going as the dress code is for the Thailand beaches and islands as soon as you begin exploring you need to be more modest.  Especially when visiting the Thai Temples.  These are places of worship and whilst the Thailand community is happy to have us tourists visit, they expect us to respect their culture.

tourists inside Cave Temple Thailand. What to wear in Thailand temples

Inside Wat Suwan Khuha Temple (Cave Temple)

When planning a visit to a temple think about what you can wear within the Thailand temple.  You need to have your shoulders and knees covered.  This doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire day dressed in long sleeve tops and long pants.  It just requires preparation.

Pack a sarong or consider wearing zip off trousers, just don’t forget to pack the bottom half in your day trip bag.


Top Trip Tip:
If you forget to pack something to cover up many temples will provide sarongs for you to use.


You can book a day trip to one of these interesting temples through Viator* or Expedia*.

What Shoes to Pack for Thailand

As I have mentioned before Thailand beaches, islands and natural attractions provide for an unsteady surface to walk upon.

Must-have shoes to pack for Thailand include:


Top Trip Tip:
When packing shoes for Thailand, try to choose shoes that can be used for multiple occasions.  This will help to keep your travel packing light.



Electronic items

Now that you have all the appropriate clothing and shoes packed for your Thailand trip.  You’ll want something to record it all on and keep in touch with your friends and family back home.

Pack:

  • Mobile phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Power adapters and power board


Top Trip Tip:
To ensure you get the correct adapter for Thailand purchase your adapter from the airport duty-free store BEFORE departing from home.



Staying Healthy in Thailand

When planning a trip to Thailand you do not need to get immunisations.  However, that does not mean you should have a nonchalant attitude towards your health.

  1. The water in Thailand is not safe to drink from the tap.  Always buy bottled water and also use it to brush your teeth.  In case you do end up with an upset stomach pack electrolytes, Immodium and Stemetil.
  2. There are lots of street food vendors about in Thailand.  Sometimes this food is perfectly safe to eat and others times not so.  Pack a non-refrigerated probiotic to help improve your gut health.
  3. Mosquitoes, they come out at night to almost eat you alive.  Pack personal insect repellent sprays and apply before heading out each evening.  Also, pack a plugin insect repellent (not an oil version – due to smell and mess) then sleep easy through the night.


Top Trip Tip:
I also advice packing a small DIY first aid travel kit for minor medical needs.



Packing Documents for Thailand

Passport

To enter the country you will need:

  • A valid passport
  • Travel documents showing your planned departure from the country
  • A valid address where you will be based during your stay (this can be hotel, hostel or private home)
  • Completed entry document (you will be provided with this on your flight).  There are two portions to this document and you will need to retain the small portion to return to customs on departure

Visa

You may also need a visa:

Travel Vouchers

Don’t forget to print copies of all your travel vouchers.  Bookings can go missing in this electronic age.  And most hotels and airlines will ask to see your documents before checking you in.

Travel Insurance

I cannot stress this enough – get travel insurance.  Preferably as soon after making your travel booking as possible.  Here are six reasons why you should get travel insurance.

Make sure you choose the right cover for South East Asia and declare any pre-existing conditions, you may be able to get additional coverage for some illnesses eg asthma.  We use CoverMore*.


Top Trip Tip:
Keep all your documents together and make it easier to find each item by using a document travel wallet*.



Pack for Thailand with Kids

Kids need much the same items as us adults but remember their skin is more sensitive.

Ensure to protect the kids from the sun when they swimming with a long sleeve rash guard shirt and swim hat.  Also, take age-appropriate sunscreen and insect repellant, and don’t forget to reapply.

Medical essentials for Thailand with kids

Kids medical essentials for Thailand

Prepare for downtime in your accommodation by packing snacks and activities.  You may like to check out these:


Top Trip Tip:
Get the kids involved with planning for their Thai family trip by getting them one of these educational Thailand activities and travel guide*.


More Travel Packing Lists for Thailand

Did you know we have all these packing lists available for free for you to download, edit and print?  Plus this NEW beach and island vacation packing list – perfect for packing for Thailand trips.

Grab Your FREE Packing Lists Welcome Gift - Click to Collect

A sunny Phuket karon beach. What to pack for Phuket

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A luxury boat in the Thaialnd bay sailing throught the islands

shop fronts right on the Thailand beach with waves crashng in.

Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.

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