When it comes to packing if you’re anything like me, you waited until the last minute and are running around trying to figure out what to fill your backpack with. I think almost anyone would agree that packing for a trip is probably the worst part. You’re always wondering, did I bring too much? Or maybe not enough? Did I pack the right things? It’s always more challenging when you’re headed to a new place. I had never been to Asia so packing for Thailand was extremely difficult and required some, ok, several Google searches. Now that I’ve been I decided to put together a list to help make your job a little easier and avoid over packing if you’re headed to the land of smiles.
- 6 or 7 shirts (both dressy and casual)
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of pants (2 for guys)
- Dresses (short and long)
- 2 bathing suits
- Bathing suit cover up
- Light sweater (for chilly nights)
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Pair of underwear for each travel day + 3 extra
- 2 bras
- 4 pairs of socks
- Sandals (1 or 2 pairs)
- Flip flops
- Closed-toed shoes (sneakers, toms, vans, etc.)
- Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
- Shaving cream and razor
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Bug spray
- Flushable wipes (trust me on this)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Imodium (and lots of it)
- Antacid tablets
- Dramamine (for long trains, planes or car rides)
- Small first aid kit
- Money/Credit Cards
- GoPro and accessories
- Travel Journal and pen
- Phone Charger
- Portable Charger
- Converter (if not from the US)
- Padlock (for hostel room lockers)
- Quick dry towel
- Filtered water bottle
Things to know before you go:
- Yes people are that nice – coming from New York, where you don’t make direct eye contact or smile at anyone, I was shocked to see a place with people so friendly and welcoming.
- Avoid animal tourism – getting up close and personal with exotic animals has become a main attraction in Thailand, and while these items may be on your bucket list I suggest crossing them off. Visiting the famous Tiger Kingdom and riding elephants are people’s top choices when it comes to planning their trip to Thailand (I am guilty of it). Yes I got a cool picture at Tiger Kingdom, but at the animal’s expense – take my advice and avoid it. If you want to spend a day with elephants make sure you do careful research in finding a place that treats the elephants in the correct way. I visited the Elephant Carer Home and was relieved to see the elephants free of chains and being treated properly by the owners.
- Learn a few words in Thai and respect their customs – learning words like hello and thank you will go a long way. Participating in the traditional Thai greeting: the wai. The wai is performed by placing your hands together in a prayer position and doing a slight bow. A simple thing, but will show your respect for the culture. Also try to remember to take your shoes off before entering temples and most houses as it is considered rude to keep your shoes on.
- Take risks on the food – a huge part of visiting Thailand is the food, I mean who doesn’t love Thai food? You will probably hear a lot of horror stories about the food in Thailand, especially street food, and while you should take precautions sometimes you have to take risks. I mean after all some of the best food experiences you will have will be from street vendors. It might take your stomach a bit to adjust, but that’s what the Imodium and antacids are for. WARNING unless you have superhuman taste buds let me tell you that Thai spicy and normal human spicy are two different things, trust me I learned the hard way my first night in Thailand. Make sure to also avoid drinking the tap water.
- Never pay full price for anything – remember to bargain, especially if you plan on buying more than one item. From street vendors to taxis, haggling will get you far in Thailand and help keep your wallet full.
- Be prepared for heat and humidity – I was not quite ready for the heat when we reached Phuket, thank god for the beaches and pools (and cold drinks). If you’re trying to avoid the humidity travel to Thailand during the months of April and May – although there is not much you can see/do during the rainy season. The ideal time to visit is from October to February.
- Bangkok traffic – Bangkok is considered to be the 12th most congested city in the world, and I believe it because I saw it firsthand. Make sure where you are staying is close to public transportation, making it a lot easier to get around. If you plan to drive anywhere make sure to give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes, especially if you have to be there at a specific time.