Thailand - What To Bring

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What to Bring

Bring as little as possible - one medium-size shoulder bag or backpack should do it. Pack light, wash-and-wear, natural-fabric clothes, unless you're going to be in the north in the cool season, in which case you should have a pullover. Pick up a phaakhamaa (short Thai-style sarong for men) or a phaasin (a longer sarong for women) to wear in your room, on the beach, or when bathing outdoors. These can be bought at any local market (different patterns/colours in different parts of the country) and the vendors will show you how to tie them.

The phaakhamaa/phaasin is a very handy item, it can be used to sleep on or as a light bedspread, as a make-shift 'shopping bag', as a turban-scarf to keep off the sun and absorb perspiration, as a towel, as a small hammock and as a device with which to climb coconut palms - to name just a few of its many functions. (It is not considered proper street attire, however.)

Sunglasses are a must for most people and can be bought cheaply in Bangkok. Slip-on shoes or sandals are highly recommended - besides being cooler than tie shoes, they are easily removed before entering a Thai home or temple. A small torch (flashlight) is a good idea, as it makes it easier to find your way back to your bungalow at night if you are staying at the beach or at a government guesthouse. A couple of other handy things are a compass and a fits-all sink plug. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent (though not 100% DEET - see Health) can be purchased in Thailand, as can toothpaste, soap and most other toiletries.

If you plan to spend a great deal of time in one or more of Thailand's beach areas, you might want to bring your own snorkel and mask. This would save on having to rent such gear and would also assure a proper fit. Shoes designed for water sports, e.g. Nike's 'Aqua Socks', are great for wearing in the water whether you're diving or not. They protect your feet from coral cuts, which easily become infected.

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