Packing for Thailand
Today Glen and I packed up 1/2 of our clothes to ship back to the states. We’re going to be moving around a bit in the next two months, so we want to get rid of any excess baggage. This will make traveling around easier and much better for smaller flights.
Packing up my stuff made me realize that I brought a ton of impractical stuff. If anyone is planning on traveling to Thailand (or any other tropical location), here are some guidelines on what to pack. Please keep in mind that I do a ton of training, beaching, motor biking, and that I live a mellow lifestyle.
Also, it’s important to note that you can get all this gear in Thailand, but quality is expensive over here. Plus, things fit differently than how they do in the states. I personally loaded up on a ton of Lululemon gear, which has proven to be my best idea yet.
Here’s my list of what you should pack:
1. Rain Jacket- traveling to the tropics means a lot of random down pours, so having a quality jacket is mandatory. Also, keep in mind that it needs to be something that is easy to slip on and off. I brought a jacket that has two layers and sometimes when I’m already wet it’s hard to put on. This is not a deal breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind. I also like that my jacket covers my hips and butt. I like this because it covers my shorts, so all I have to do is dry off my legs after a downpour. This is helpful because it sucks to be wet all day in muggy weather.
2. Bra Tops- it is humid in Thailand, so having tank tops that have built in bras has been awesome. You’re always sweaty and sticky, so having one less item on, rocks. Along with bra tops, definitely bring an abundance of tank tops.
3. Swim Suit- duh….especially if your’re traveling to a beach town. Be equipped with some cute suits that stay on well if you expect to be riding some waves while boogie boarding or surfing. Don’t wear thong bottoms or forget your top either, remember there are kids that like to play on the beach, plus the Thai’s are not big fans of you showing it all off. Maybe go with in between bottoms. I personally love cheeky bottoms.
4. Crops and shorts- long pants just seem impractical over here. I’m personally always jumping on and off the motor bike, hiking, walking around town, shopping at the markets, etc., and the ground is always wet or dirty. I hate when pants drag on the ground, so beware of this. Shorts and crops work best when cruising around. I wear my Lululemon wonder under crops like crazy over here.
5. Dresses- must have. They’re easy to class up or down and perfect for hot days. The only issue is that long dresses do drag on the ground, so beware that you will need to hold them up sometimes, or get ones that don’t drag. At 5’1″, everything trails on the ground for me, so this might just be a ME problem. Mini dresses are a sometimes gig. I personally LOVE minis, but while cruising on the motorbike, they suck. You end up showing every one your who-ha, but if your cool with flashing every one, then by all means where them. Or wear some tights under them and problem solved.
6. Sunglasses and hats- I would rather cover up then slather myself in cancer causing sunscreen, so these two items are a must. I brought two pairs of each. One darkly tinted pair of glasses for bright days and/or a hangover and lightly tinted ones for over cast days. For the hats, one covers my entire upper body for when I’m laying out and the other one is perfect for covering up unwashed hair.
7. Sandals- you should bring a pair of slip-on sandals that are water proof. I made the mistake of bringing my super cute, leather, hippy sandals and sadly they’re taking a beating. Slip-ons are best because you are constantly taking them on and off to enter peoples homes, massage shops, temples, and other business establishments. As for heels, wedges are best since the roads here are pretty rugged.
8. Shoes- bring a pair of shoes that you can train in (if that’s your thing), are water-proof and that will dry quickly. I brought two pairs; my New Balance Minimus and my Vans slip-ons. My NB shoes quickly dry out and are perfect for hiking, sprinting, lifting, and outdoor training. My Vans are great for cruising and motor biking. I do wear sandals while on the motor bike, but having shoes on makes the ride feel safer.
9. Long-sleeved tees or over throws- I brought a few long-sleeved tees and I wish I would have brought more. It does get cool over here, so having long-sleeved tees are great for night and keeping the mosquitoes away. You should also bring a sweatshirt, but one or two should be all that you need. If your going to be riding around on a motorbike, then bring one that has zipper pockets. It’s comforting to know that all your stuff is secure in your pockets. Sweaters are also good because while it may be super hot outside, Thai people like to keep the indoors ice cold. I get cold easily, so having a sweater to throw on at dinner or while shopping is nice.
10. Sleeved tops- if you’re planning on visiting temples, you need to have your shoulders covered. Don’t just bring a tee-shirt either, bring something that looks respectable. I felt like a big time scum bag going to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and getting blessed by the monks with a plain tee on. This time, I brought some dressier tops and I feel much better about visiting the temples.
Laundry and extra tips- Along with packing these clothing items, keep in mind that to wash your clothes, you typically take them to the laundry mat. This means you drop your clothes off with someone who most likely doesn’t speak any English and they get mixed in with many peoples bags of clothes, only to get re-distributed after being washed and dried. In this process many clothing items can get lost. I’ve ended up with a few peoples clothing items and lost a few, so make sure to take note of this if you have valuable items. It’s a good idea to pack dark colored clothing too. They show less stains and are better for wearing more than once. In the states, if I wear something for a couple of hours, it gets washed. Here, I really do pick and choose what is absolutely necessary for washing vs what can be worn one more time. This is another reason why I love Lululemon clothing so much. Their clothing re-shapes nicely, never gets too stretched out after wearing it, and the material they use keeps stench to a minimum. This makes it perfect for wearing their items more than once.
Other necessary products-
I would also like to quickly go over hair and make-up products. It should be noted, if you didn’t know, that outlets in Thailand are different than the ones in the states. This means, what you typically use in the states, will not plug into Thai outlets without blowing a fuse or shocking yourself. So, either bring an electrical adapter suitable for Thailand or buy stuff when you get here. Don’t do what I did and blow out a fuse in your hotel in Bangkok, which happened to shut off all power on the second floor. This time, I bought a $10 blow dryer and no fuses have been blown. As for make-up, keep in mind that you sweat a lot, so thick products are not a good idea. Waterproof mascara, light mineral based foundation, bronzer, non-smear eye liner and light lip gloss have been my biggest go tos.
Also, if this list wasn’t all about clothing, then I would totally add Mach 5 razors to the list. Who would have thought, right? Well, I didn’t realize how badass Mach 5 razors were, until I had to go back to 3 blade razors. Plus, quality razors over here are few and far between as well as expensive. If you’re a guy, then it’s not so bad, since they have barbers every where willing to give you a good shave for much cheaper than buying a razor blade. For women however, or should I say Italian women, bring enough razors to last your trip. Having hairy, sticky legs sucks. Plus, you can go longer without shaving if you use a mach 5 razor vs a 3 blade.
Lastly, for feminine products, tampons are hard to find over here. You can buy pads every where, but Tampax tampons and other well known American brands are no where to be found. The only brand I’ve found is O.B. Tampons. Keep this in mind if you are going to be traveling for awhile.
I hope all these tips help! And if you’re thinking about traveling to Thailand, do it. It’s an amazing place.