When you begin packing for a month-long trip to anywhere, it can be a little challenging and daunting, especially if you’re a first-time backpacker and packing for Thailand!
Whenever you travel to a country in Southeast Asia, it requires you to not only pack for sunshine, but also rain. I found out rather quickly that Thailand is extremely diverse when it comes to both weather and culture. Packing for a month-long trip to Thailand means needing to pack those extra few bits that will allow you to be equipped for everything and anything.
When I started packing, I wanted to ensure I was prepared for everything. I wanted to be ready to tackle every thunderstorm, every heatwave, every trip to the beach or a temple, and I especially wanted to make sure I was ready for any sickness that I may encounter along the way.
It was my first time in Asia and it was important for me to prioritise my health and avoid the infamous ‘Thai tummy’. Looking back now, packing those essential vitamins and dioralyte definitely helped nourish my body in the new environment. Western tummies aren’t as acclimatised as Asian ones, so best to try and combat that!
For top tips on how to travel more sustainably through Thailand, see this blog post here. I also highly recommend you checking out sustainable development projects like Climate Care where you can actively offset your carbon emissions every time you fly!
After spending the month of June exploring Thailand, I learned quickly what’s essential to have in your backpack, and what there’s no point in packing for Thailand.
Here’s the ultimate packing checklist for a month backpacking in Thailand…
A few things to remember before you begin packing for Thailand…
Somethings that won’t be in your backpack but are essential for your trip:
1. Vaccinations: Check in with your Doctor up to 8 weeks before you leave to discuss what vaccinations or boosters you may require. Different parts of the country may need different vaccinations. Some vaccinations that are required for Thailand include:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Rabies (depending on what part you are visiting)
2. Passport: It may sound silly but, before you leave, just double check that your passport is valid for more than 6 months after your departure date. The most obvious things can be easy to forget when you’re trying to remember every other little thing! Also, grab a passport cover to prevent any damage.
3. Insurance: Do your research and don’t try to to save pennies by missing out on good insurance. It’s not only for your peace of mind during your travels, but also in case of an emergency (illness, cancellations, or needing to get home urgently). I used this insurance company for my trip.
4. Visa: When you arrive in Thailand you will be issued a 30-day visa (which is free). If you intend on staying longer than that then you can apply for a 60-day visa. Find more information on your visa requirements here.
5. Unlock your phone: Before you leave, contact your provider to unlock your phone to any network. Roaming packages are cheap in Thailand and unlocking your phone will enable you to take advantage of a local SIM card and keep in touch with family and of course, keep your Instagram feed up to date!
If you’re looking for more information on what to expect on your backpacking trip then check out my top 20 tips to know before you go to Thailand here.
Top tip: the highest speed internet SIM card is with the carrier AIS. They have a stand at Suvarnabhami airport between arrival gates 6 & 7 & shops all over Thailand. Packages range between 160 – 670 baht. You can check out the different packages you can buy here.
Choosing a backpack…
Being able to rely on your backpack will either make or break your backpacking experience and that’s why I never mind spending money on durable and high-quality backpacks.
A few things to consider before investing in a backpack:
Weight: Do you need to carry outdoor gear? Camera equipment? This will all add to the weight that you will be carrying on your back. If so, consider a backpack that is as light but as strong as possible.
Price: Most backpacks last years so decide how much you’re willing to invest.
Design: If you need to carry electronics/camera/laptops then you may require extra compartments, straps and zippers. If you don’t need extra space then try to avoid these elements and keep it simple.
Some of my favourite backpacks that I bring on all my adventures are…
Techy bits for your backpack…
- Phone & charger
- Portable power bank
- Camera & charger (I treated myself to a GoPro Hero 7 for my trip and it was totally worth it! The Hero 8 also looks dreamy!) Shop all my cameras here.
- Memory cards
- International plug adapter
- Portable speaker (My Ultimate Ears speakers come everywhere with me)
I would recommend leaving your laptop and charger at home unless you 100% require it (e.g for work). If you’re worried about memory space for your camera, buy an SD card reader to transfer images from your camera to phone. It’s great for editing photos on the go!
Health and beauty for your backpack:
- Suncream (I recommend buying a factor 50+ that is reef and water safe.)
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Sanitary products
- Medication (antihistamines, painkillers, dioralyte, prescriptions)
- 3-4 Packet of tissues (essential on those long overnight train journeys)
- Hand sanitiser
- Roll-on deodorant
- Body spray (trust me on this one… it’s humid!)
- Insect repellent
- Lip balm + lip protector
- Make up remover
- Detangler hairbrush
- Minimal amount of make up
- Moisturizer with SPF
- Solid shampoo, conditioner & body wash
- Leave your hair dryer/straightener at home. It’s very humid and hot in Thailand. I tried wearing make up ONCE during the month and it pretty much melted off my face; it’s definitely not worth trying to do much with your hair!
- If you prefer liquid hair products, purchase your shampoo and conditioner once you arrive to save room in your backpack.
Remember to check your baggage allowance and take that into consideration when you begin packing.
I reccomend buying a travel hanging toiletries bag before you go. They have different compartments that will help keep you organized during your trip.
Clothing and shoes for your backpack:
One thing I love about Thailand is that it’s extremely budget-friendly. It’s super cheap and convenient if you do need to pick up a few extra bits like flip-flops or harem pants. Because of the tropical climate, I would suggest bringing light, loose and breathable clothing. Pack fabrics like linen and cotton and leave your denim and wool at home.
Something to remember: Following cultural rules, long sleeves and a skirt or shorts below the knee are a must when entering any temples or entry may be declined. A way round this if it’s too hot for longer clothes is to buy a shawl and a sarong that you can whip out your bag. Don’t forget to pick up a fan to cool yourself off while inside the temple. Also, some temples may also ask you to remove your shoes so best to have sandles that are easily removable. Take a tote bag to carry them in!
Clothing you should pack:
- 2 ‘nice’ swimsuits, and 1 practical swimsuit for watersports. Shop ‘stay wild swim’ sustainable swimwear here.
- 2-3 vest tops
- 2-3 t-shirts
- a light scarf or sarong (necessary for temple visits)
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 1 long-sleeved top
- 2 sets of activewear (shop my favourite flexfitt leggings here)
- 1-2 light dresses
- A rain jacket or poncho (the official rainy season in Thailand lasts from June to November)
- Socks & underwear (ladies, don’t forget a sports bra!)
- Hiking boots, perfect when visiting waterfalls in rainy season. It gets slippy! Shop my favourite Merrell boots here.
Most hostels provide a budget-friendly and on-sight laundry service. Instead of over-packing just utilize these services!
Other travel essentials for your backpack:
- Reusable water bottle. Chilly’s water bottles and Mizu water bottles are my favourites!
- Small padlock.
- Reusable straw & cutlery. Shop the cutest Sasstainable set here.
- Book or Kindle (perfect for a beach day or a long train journey!).
- Quick-drying microfibre towel
- Bum-bag – great for keeping your things safe at the full moon party!
- Mesh bag for laundry
- Eye mask & ear plugs.
Check out my budgeting guide for Thailand here.
Have you been backpacking in Thailand?
What did you pack for Thailand? I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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