Thai temple attire
What to wear (and what not to wear) when you visit a temple in Thailand
Make sure you are dressed correctly when you visit a Thai temple (wat) or palace.
Do not wear:
- Short skirts or short legged shorts above the knee. You should at least cover the knees, preferably full length trousers or skirts.
- Tight fitting trousers such as leggings.
- See-through clothing.
- Clothes with holes in, even designer holes such as ripped jeans.
- Vests, spaghetti tops or any kind of top without sleeves.
- Rolled up sleeves.
- Sportswear, sweat shirts or sweat pants.
What to wear:
Ideally wear lightweight clothes with long sleeves and legs. If you only have shorts or short skirts carry a sarong to wrap around you, a sarong is acceptable clothing. Many temples will have sarongs that you can borrow or rent but the queues can be long (one hour at the Grand Palace).
Appropriate footwear for Thai temples
It is customary to remove footwear when entering temples (and a Thai person’s house). You can wear any footwear to a temple. The most common footwear in Thailand are sandals / flip flops. These are easy to slip on and off as you enter and exit buildings.
What to wear when entering Thai government offices
Most government offices expect a certain level of respectable attire. Beachwear and vests are not appropriate. At worst you will be turned away, at best you will be looked upon with disdain. You don’t need to enter the immigration office fully suited and booted but a shirt with a collar, or at least a polo shirt is recommended.
While we’re taking about attire..
Thai’s often look in wonder at funny foreigners and the way they dress. Thai’s are far too polite to say anything to your face but they definitely look down on nudity at the beach, semi nudity away from the beach, and dirty travelers.
- There are no nudist beaches in Thailand and topless bathing is frowned upon.
- Keep the beachwear for the beach or the hotel pool. In tourist areas you can wear pretty much what you like. But when walking around town or sitting in a restaurant, the local custom is to cover up.
- Thai’s can’t understand how a backpacker can afford a flight to Thailand but can’t afford to wash a shirt. Most hotels / hostels have laundry facilities.