Packing used to be one of those things that I hated doing. I was just never the type to plan outfits ahead of time-heck, I can barely coordinate what I’m wearing on a daily basis! However, with that being said, I knew that if I was going to travel the world (Thailand included), some serious thought would have to go in to what I would pack. Just like every backpacker, I went through the whole over packing, do-I-need-a-blow-dryer, how will I survive with just two pairs of shorts phase. I kept thinking, “What do I pack…Really, what do I pack?”.

First off, relax, take a deep breathe, and enjoy the process. I have been living out of my backpack officially for almost three years now, and although I have changed the contents once or twice, the main lesson I can get from it is that no matter what the circumstance is, you actually don’t need a lot to survive.

Editor’s Note: Traveling around Thailand? Download our FREE app, Get Stoked on iOS to help you find awesome things to do.

What to Pack For Thailand?

After spending a couple of months in Europe and the United States, I found a super cheap deal when searching Skyscanner and soon, I found myself on a flight heading to the land of smiles (and pad thai). As I started my trip during the summer and went deep into the heart of winter in Europe, I had some cold weather clothes with me. As soon as I got to Thailand, I instantly knew I had way too many clothes. I quickly lightened the load of my 50L backpack and got rid of the things I didn’t need. Winter gloves, beanies, scarfs, and shoes instantly got left behind in the last hostel I stayed at. I knew clothes were cheap in Thailand so I wanted to make room in my backpack for hippie trousers and comfortable tank tops. As soon as you land, you will kick yourself for lugging your entire wardrobe as clothes there are so cheap!

Side note: Make sure before you head to Thailand that you have Travel Insurance!

Top Packing Tip: Avoid Over Packing and Think “What Do I Really Need?”

Hi, I’m Anna and I used to be an over packer. Key word is USED! Nowadays, I only lug with me the essentials and bare minimum. How did I learn? Well…honestly speaking, why don’t you try lugging a heavy backpack as you wander around at night trying to find a place to stay? After you’ve gone through that rite of passage, you will swear to only start packing the things that you need. So, the big question is…what do you need to pack for Thailand? Without further delay here is a complete recommended packing list for Thailand (women and men).

Thailand Clothing Packing List

Women

Men

Thailand Clothing Packing ListThere you have it ladies and gentlemen. The contents of my home (aka. My trusty backpack!) Now I hear all those trendy fashion savvy girls moaning at what I’ve written down. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re creative enough, you can still look cute while traveling. Personally, I gave up on cute a long time ago. If you travel long term like me, it would all boil down to….”what do I have that’s clean today?”

Read: Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Thailand or Best Travel Backpacks

Accessories: Packing Essentials

What you bring on your travels to Thailand will have to boil down to what your travel style is. As a digital nomad, I tend to pack more gadgets as the regular backpacker in Thailand would. However, here is my list of must travel accessories for a trip to South East Asia. Apart from these essentials, you have to consider important documents that you have to bring. For a more in-depth post, read How to Prepare for Traveling.

  • Packing Cubes – I swear, Packing cubes have changed the way I travel!
  • Padlocks
  • Sleep sheet (I use the kokoon from headwear)
  • Ziplocks (trust me, they will come in handy!)
  • Water bottle (water filtration system)
  • Laundry line (elastic cord)
  • Electrical tape (will come in handy one day!)
  • Small LED flashlight you can attach to your bag
  • Rain Cover
  • Headwear (head buff)
  • 1 Microfiber Towel

Related: Travel Accessories: Must Have Items to Help You Travel Like a Boss

Accessories: Packing Essentials

Electronics to Bring When Traveling Thailand

Electronics to Bring When Traveling ThailandFor our gear, we use the handy Numinous Backpacks which have built in lock systems. Even if we have all our valuables inside, we can instantly secure it a tree or a post without having to worry about our belongings. Being that I am a no frills kind of girl, my toiletries kit is kept to a bare minimum. I restock shampoos, tampons and everything essential when I got to major cities. I also carry some detergent powder in case I decide to hand wash my clothing.

Read: Best Travel Cameras: How to Choose the Perfect Camera

Toiletries Packing List

Women

  • Shampoo, conditioner, and body gel
  • Mosquito repellent (the good stuff!)
  • Tampons
  • Wet wipes (TRUST ME ON THIS!)
  • Lip balm
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Moisturizer and lotion
  • Sunblock (bring a good one with you as this gets expensive in Thailand)
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup (powder, blush, eyeliner) Yep…that’s pretty much it for me!
  • Nail cutter and nail file
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Med kit (band aids, sterile gauze pads, basic medicine for pain, bad stomachs, and cough, vitamin c, 1 small bottle of betadine) As I am very clumsy so I always carry extra band aids and first aid stuff with me.

Men

  • Shampoo & body gel
  • Mosquito repellent (the good stuff!)
  • Chapstick
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunblock
  • Deodorant
  • Nail cutter
  • Shaver
  • Med kit (band aids, sterile gauze pads, basic medicine for pain, bad stomachs, and cough, vitamin c, 1 small bottle of betadine)

Now that you have the essentials worked out, avoid bringing too many toiletries. Bring the essentials with you but don’t forget that in most large cities, everything that you are used to back home will be available as well. I personally think that my 50L is way too big and would jump at the chance to just travel with a 35L pack but since I carry quite a few electronics with me, this is pretty hard to do.

P.S. Don’t forget to download our Thailand-based travel app, Get Stoked on iOS to help you find awesome things to do while on the road!

Toiletries Packing List

Remember, if there is one thing you can count on…South East Asia will be hot! It may be rainy, but even if it is…it will still be hot! Just remember, when packing for Thailand focus on which activity you will be doing most of. I.e. If you are planning to spend most of your time frolicking through different beaches while in Thailand, pack 1 extra bikini and take off 1 long sleeved shirt. Likewise, if you are planning to spend more time in Chiang Mai, that long sleeved top might come in handy as it does get a little bit chilly there. Whatever it is, pack accordingly. Remember, less is more and whatever you need, you can buy along the way. In the end, don’t forget to pack with you your sense of adventure, a strong stomach, and a high tolerance for spicy food. Sawasdee ka, Thailand!!!

Editor’s Note: Traveling to Thailand? Check out our guides on Where to Stay in Thailand and our go-to website for checking and booking boats, trains, and buses.


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  • Dana

    Great packing list. Thanks for the tip to bring cheap flip-flops. And I never would have thought about Electrical tape.

  • Karla Ramos

    This is something I need to learn! Packing light. I always overpack. Which is good for asian countries but for long haul, long term trips ( argh!!!) I always just get the feeling of wanting to throw out my clothes. I also recently learned the importance of electric tape.

  • Andrea Leblang

    What a fabulous post! I really need to work on my packing skills… I always find I have more than I need anyway. Thanks for inspiring me to do better!

    • Hahah! Believe me…it takes a while! I still want to downsize my current backpack as I still find it too heavy!

  • Elena Sonnino

    What a great resource! I’ve mastered traveling light/carry on only but I’ve never fully backpacked. My secret is packing quick dry clothes and liquid detergent so that I can wash things in a sink.

    • I’ve never packed liquid detergent with me…but that’s a good tip. Have you heard of the scrubba bag? We reviewed their product and loved it.

  • Buddy The Traveling Monkey

    I’ve also learned to pack less and less on each trip. I spent 2 weeks in Thailand with just what I had in my backpack and I still didn’t use everything. My friends didn’t believe, but I knew I didn’t want to be stuck carrying something so heavy!

  • A comprehensive list. I’m about to do 2 weeks in a 40L bag. I’m gonna have to pull a couple things out of my pile to make it fit and this is a great guide. Thanks!

  • Elaine J Masters

    Great tips and packing light is an ever-evolving process for me too. The hardest is traveling during the winter when heavier clothes are necessary. I’ll be diving soon in the Philippines where even long sleeved shirts are unnecessary. It’s always surprising to me how easy it is to wash, dry and go. I work on packing to see and not be seen.

    • I agree. Which parts of the Philippines are you going to be diving in? Don’t miss out on the wrecks in Palawan!

  • It almost always comes down to what do we really need? It’s easy to overpack. Did that yesterday! Geesh!

  • I love and miss Thailand so much! I can probably live there for half a year and wouldn’t mind it one bit. There’s still so much I want to visit and it doesn’t hurt that other Southeast Asian destinations are bus rides away. Enjoy the food!!!!!!! Thanks for this very thorough list!

    • Enjoy Siargao!!! The bus rides to different places is my favorite part about being there!