It’s time to jet off to the Land of Smiles! A trip to Thailand is on many travellers’ bucket lists. Whether you’re a dedicated backpacker looking to rough it in character-building hostels or are in search of a luxury getaway in the finest hotels, it’s important to bring the right things. Take a look at our tips for Thailand travel essentials.

What to bring to Thailand: the basics


Yes, it’s the first thing on your Thailand packing list! Citizens of many countries, including the UK and member states of the European Union, can enjoy visa-free entry to Thailand —but, of course, you’ll need your passport to prove that. If you plan to stay for more than 30 days, make sure to check whether or not you’ll need a visa. In some cases, you may be able to stay up to 90 days without one, but that’s not true for every country.

Regardless of where you come from, your passport will need to have six months’ validity remaining. Don’t try to chance it, or you might find yourself being greeted with a frown in the Land of Smiles.

Travel insurance

In recent years, there have been a number of horror stories involving Western travellers falling ill in Thailand and being hit with enormous medical bills. Don’t join their numbers: make sure you have the right travel insurance before you go.

Remember to check that your travel insurance covers the activities you plan to get up to in Thailand. For example, if you’re planning to go diving, you’ll need specialist scuba diving insurance.


In recent years, Thailand —like many countries— has started to accept more and more cashless payments. However, you’ll still need some baht, particularly if you’re going to rural areas. In large cities like Bangkok, you can get away with using your card most of the time, and you can even use popular apps like Grab to hail a taxi, motorbike or tuk-tuk without needing cash. That’s not the case in smaller towns, and if you want to tuck into some of that world-famous street food, be sure to pack some cash!

Of course, you can exchange money on arrival. We think it’s always a good idea to include some baht in your list of what to pack for Thailand, though. It gives you one less thing to think about after you land.

Electronics and a travel adapter

Of course, like most modern travellers, you’ll want to bring your essential devices. You can pick up a sim card or e-sim at the airport, which will make it a lot easier to use your phone in Thailand. You may also want to pack a power bank, especially if you’re going to be taking long bus or train journeys across the country. On many of these long-distance trips, sockets are a rare sight.

To plug in your devices when you’re in your accommodation, you may need an adapter. Thailand uses sockets that fit Type A, B, C and O plugs. These are hybrid sockets, so if you have an adapter for any of these, it’ll usually work.

Things to pack for Thailand: what are you wearing?


The weather in Thailand is hot at all times of the year, so plan accordingly! Not sure what to pack for Thailand to avoid wilting in the heat? Natural fibres will keep you cool on those hot, sticky days. If you’re not used to extreme heat, keep in mind that loose-fitting clothes are generally a much better option than tight-fitting, skimpy outfits, even if that’s not what the Instagram crowd thinks!

Thailand is a deeply religious country, but when it comes to clothing, the people are not particularly conservative. There is one very important exception, though: you must cover up any tattoos you have of the Buddha or Buddhist symbols. There have been cases of tourists being turned away from businesses for showing one of these tattoos, which are considered gravely disrespectful in Thai culture. Other tattoos are fine and will not cause any problems.

If you plan to visit temples in Thailand, you’ll need to cover your knees and shoulders. Larger sites, particularly in Bangkok, generally have a crowd of vendors outside selling sarongs and other handy cover-ups. As you won’t find these helpful street sellers in other parts of the country, it’s a good idea to bring your own sarong or similar item you can whip out your bag and slip on when necessary.

A person kneeling in prayer inside a beautifully ornate Thai temple

Remember to bring a rain jacket if you’re visiting during the rainy season. Even if you’re heading to Thailand in the dry season, it might be worth packing a lightweight rain jacket, just in case. In the tropics, you never know when a sudden shower is going to hit!

Wherever you go in the country, laundry services are cheap and easy to find, so you don’t need to pack as many outfits as you might expect. If you plan to take one of the country’s famous sleeper trains, bring something comfy to wear at night, and don’t worry about sacrificing style for a good night’s sleep!


You might want a pair of trainers or hiking boots if you’re going to be hitting the trails of Chiang Mai or Khao Sok, but it’s also essential that you bring some sandals you can slip on and off. Most Thais will expect you to take off your shoes before you enter a temple or a private home. You’ll even often find neat rows of shoes outside shops, as people take them off respectfully. As you’ll be taking your shoes on and off several times a day, a pair you can slip on and off makes the process a lot easier.


Make sure you bring a sun hat and a good pair of sunglasses. Yes, you can buy sunglasses at markets all over the country for very low prices, but they probably won’t have good UV protection. For that reason, we’re putting a solid, quality pair on our list of what to pack for Thailand.

A sleep mask is also a good idea if you’re planning on taking a sleeper train. On some routes, the overhead lights are never dimmed, so you may have a lot of trouble catching some Zs if you don’t bring a mask.

Backpacking Thailand packing list: Toiletries, medication and more

Medical matters

Bring your prescription medicines from your home country. It’s always a good idea to keep them in your carry-on luggage, just to be on the safe side. There are some things that are easy to replace abroad, but prescriptions aren’t usually on that list! We recommend carrying a copy of your prescription or any important medical documents, too.

You’ll definitely need mosquito repellent when you’re in Thailand. Of course, you can pick this up on arrival. You’ll find it in every 7-Eleven store in the country, but it may be handy to buy in advance. Either add it to your list of what to pack for Thailand or set yourself a reminder to ensure you buy it as soon as possible after arrival.

Hand sanitiser should also be part of your first aid kit, particularly if you’re planning to rough it while in Thailand. Your street food will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re eating it with clean hands!

Finally, if you’re taking a boat trip, particularly a scuba diving liveaboard, consider bringing seasickness pills. The waters in both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand can be choppy, so one of these little tablets may prove to be a lifesaver.


You can buy toiletries all over Thailand, but many travellers prefer to have their own favourite brands. Things like shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and so on are all handy.

Female travellers may need to think about menstrual products, too. If your trip to Thailand coincides with your period, then it’s definitely worth bringing your favourite menstrual items from home. Thai women prefer pads over tampons, and local pads often come heavily scented and sometimes even infused with mint for a cooling sensation. This feeling and fragrance can be extremely uncomfortable if you’re not used to them.

Of course, we can’t finish this list of what to pack for Thailand without mentioning the all-important sunscreen. Again, you’ll be able to buy it in shops across the country, but you may prefer to bring your own trusted brand. If you find that you need to pick some up on arrival, try visiting a branch of Watsons pharmacy. Be aware that some local brands may not be as strong or long-lasting as you prefer; Japanese and Korean brands are usually recommended for better coverage.

If you’re going snorkelling or scuba diving, then you’ll want to make sure you use reef-safe sunscreen to avoid damaging the fragile coral reefs and the beautiful sea creatures that live there. Unfortunately, this can be hard to find in Thailand, and the places that stock it sometimes charge very high prices. Bringing it from home is probably a better bet.

Your Thailand travel checklist: the final items

If you’re going to several destinations in Thailand, then it will help if you can fit everything into a large backpack. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem; after all, Thailand is known as a backpacker’s paradise for a reason!

You’ll also want to bring a small day bag that you can carry around easily. Generally, Thailand is a very safe country, but pickpockets are known to operate in big cities, and thieves on motorbikes sometimes snatch things from pedestrians. For this reason, a cross-body bag or bum bag is a good choice. You’ll also want something that zips up securely, as curious monkeys sometimes open travellers’ bags and even steal the contents.

A thai monkey curiously examines its reflection in a small round mirror, intently gazing at its own face against a blurred green background.

Now you know what to pack for Thailand, it’s time to start planning your big adventure! We have two great tours to the Land of Smiles. One that’s ideal for summer and the other designed to bring you some winter sunshine. Join us for a fantastic trip!

Don’t forget to check out our article on What to See in Thailand for more travel inspiration and tips!

WeRoad Team
Written by WeRoad Team