What to wear in Thai temples
What to wear in Thai temples

What to wear in Thai temples

Make sure you are dressed correctly when you visit a Thai temple (wat) or palace.

What not to wear:

  • Short skirts or 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) or ripped jeans.
  • Vests, spaghetti tops or any kind of top without sleeves.
  • Rolled up sleeves.
  • Sportswear, sweat shirts or sweat pants.

What to wear:

Lightweight clothes with long sleeves and trousers. If you only have shorts or short skirts then carry a sarong to wrap around you. Many temples will have sarongs that you can borrow or rent, but the queues can be long.

Appropriate footwear for Thai temples

It is customary to remove footwear when entering temples (and a Thai person’s house). The most common footwear in Thailand are sandals / flip flops. These are easy to slip on and off as you enter and exit buildings.

While we’re taking about what to wear in Thailand..

Thai’s often look with dismay at the way foreigners dress on holiday. They are far too polite to say anything to your face but to avoid embarrassment and to show respect for local custom please bear in mind:

  • 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 an international flight to Thailand but can’t afford to wash their clothes. Most hotels / hostels have laundry facilities.
  • Most government offices expect a certain level of respectable attire. Beachwear and vests are not appropriate. At worst you will be barred entry, 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.


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