Between us, Cazzy and I have spent more than 3 months travelling in Thailand!
In fact, Cazzy’s first visit to Thailand was back in 2014 before Dream Big, Travel Far had even begun!
And though we’ve not been to every island (this would take you a very long time) we've covered the whole country from north to south.
Driving our mopeds around the cool mountains near Pai, to partying at the Full Moon Party in Ko Pha-ngan.
Thailand really is a diverse and exciting country to visit; and is the key part of any visit to Southeast Asia.
However, knowing what to pack for Thailand is never easy, and is dependent on so many things.
Such as when and where you actually plan on visiting.
Well, to help spread some light here’s our in-depth Thailand packing list that was used as part of our first ever 3 month backpacking trip around Southeast Asia!
First up ...
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Before you even get started packing for your travels, you first need to know what bags you plan to take with you.
This is important if you are backpacking, not just Thailand, but also other countries through Southeast Asia.
The most common issue we see is other backpackers taking bags that are far too big for them.
It’s no use taking a big 70 litre bag with you, because then you end up packing it full of a whole bunch of unnecessary things that will just weigh you down and cause you to pay more on luggage fees.
Below I’ll show you mine and Cazzy’s top recommendations when backpacking Thailand; but first up; here’s a few things to consider when deciding with rucksack is best for you ...
We each took with us one larger rucksack (50-65 litres) as well as a smaller day bag each (more on that below).
For two people backpacking for this length of time, it was actually too much space!
And as you will soon see, it’s likely that we take a lot more travel gear abroad with us than you; largely because we work whilst travelling.
In terms of brands; from experience our number 1 recommendation has to be Osprey.
They are the go-to choice for the majority of backpackers, and it really is hard to see why.
They’re affordable, incredibly durable, comfortable and they offer a massive range of both men’s and women's rucksacks.
Here are our 2 top recommendations for backpacking in Thailand:
A day bag is a key piece of travel gear for Thailand and it will get a lot of use.
When you’re out and about exploring towns, cities, beaches and forests; you will be leaving your big rucksack back at the hostel or hotel.
Your day bag (or camera backpack) should be big enough that it can hold everything you need for a day away; and also be comfy in the meantime.
Once again, the best day bag I can recommend through experience is Osprey.
They are designed with adventure in mind and are built to be lightweight yet durable for exploring for days at a time.
Between us, Cazzy and I take one Osprey day bag (that’s now lasted me for more than 4 years of travelling) as well as a slightly larger day bag that we use for carrying our travel laptops and other gadgets.
A good pick for this second bag would be a brand like Solgaard. They produce a range of backpacks, purpose built for digital nomads who need to carry a mix of travel tech, as well as plenty of clothes or other lifestyle gear. I recommend checking out my full Solgaard backpacks review post for more help.
Or, for a more compact travel bag that can be stuffed away when not in use, check out the awesome anti-theft bags by Loctote.
Our day bag recommendations for Thailand:
If you're heading to Thailand for more of a holiday, as opposed to a backpacking adventure, then good quality carry-on is also a good alternative for your luggage.
I definitely prefer traveling with roll-on luggage, as it's so much more convenient at the airport. And based on experience, I would say that Horizn Studios are a great option for most travelers.
They are more expensive than some brands, but if you read my Horizn Studios review, you'll see that they are definitely a product that is built to last.
Beyond this, you can discover more luggage ideas, in my round-up of the best luxury carry-on luggage.
Nowadays, when we backpack for 2 or 3 months at a time, we only take one 70 litre rucksack between us.
This offers up so many benefits, such as:
This last point is important.
Far too many travellers to Thailand, and other backpacking countries, take a massive rucksack that's far too big; and then needlessly fill it with things they actually don’t need.
You needn’t be worried about taking everything with you and forgetting something as Thailand is a very modern country and you’ll be able to pick up anything you need when out there.
You might also like: Best Eco-Friendly Backpacks
Now you’ve got your bag sorted, it’s time to start filling it!
It makes sense to start with all the essential things you’ll need to pack for Thailand.
Afterwards, I’m going to delve a bit deeper into other things we took with us to Thailand: namely our photography gear and other cool items to help make your trip awesome!
First up ...
Here’s my rough guide to an ideal men's packing list for Thailand.
This is what I had with me on our overall 3 month trip and it suited me just fine!
Hey guys! Here’s a quick look at my personal female Thailand packing list ...
Just like all countries in Southeast Asia, it’s really easy and cheap to get someone else to wash your clothes.
You normally pay a fixed amount per kilo; perhaps 40-50 Baht, and you’ll have it washed, dried and back to you within a day.
Most hostels and hotels offer this service, and you’ll see signs in popular towns where locals can also help you out as well.
We also take a bar of soap with us and use this in emergencies if we need an extra pair of undies washed.
Though you will hopefully have little use for it, a first aid kit should form an essential part of your Thailand packing list.
We have a small travel first aid kit that comes with us everywhere; and we always need it for at least some minor task.
Here’s the sorts of things our kit always has in it as standard.
If you don’t yet own a travel first aid kit, then here’s a good option to buy.
It contains the majority of what you need and you can then just add in any other items you want to take with you.
Plus, it’s small enough to tuck away in your backpack and not take up much space.
It’s possible to pick up any toiletries you need when in Thailand.
However, they do tend to be more expensive there than what they cost to buy in the UK; so we bought all of the following and took them with us.
When we travelled to Thailand, we took with us 4 travel cards.
These are the same travel cards we now take away with us to any country, as they’ve never let us down; not once!
Out of these 4 cards ...
Why do we take 4 cards with us? And why do we place them in different bags?
Well, simply because if any of them get lost or stolen, then we always have back ups.
A few times over the years we have left our cards in ATMs, so have always been grateful that we’ve had spares.
Before I take you through our chosen travel cards, here’s a quick note on withdrawing cash from banks in Thailand.
First up, it really f**ks me off that Thailand has ridiculous withdrawal fees absolutely everywhere.
They charge a fixed fee per withdrawal no matter how much you take out.
When we visited, this was around 200 Baht.
Also, the maximum you could take out at any one time was between 10,000 and 20,000 Baht.
Meaning that you basically have to suck it up and lose a lot of money on ATM fees regardless.
I’ve yet to find another country in the world that has the policy and it’s pretty annoying, especially as Thailand is typically quite a backpacker budget friendly destination.
Okay, that’s my little rant over!
So, with regards to ATMs, there are lots of different banks all over Thailand, and we had success with both Visa and Mastercard in almost all of them.
They all seem to charge roughly the same fees; but do be warned that these may well have gone up now.
In the year between Cazzy’s visits, the fees had gone up and there’s no reason to say they’re not even higher now.
So feel free to test a few banks when there before accepting their fees; but don’t be surprised if you find there’s no way to avoid them.
If you do come across any ATMs that are now cheaper, then let me know in the comments below and I will update this section.
The two travel card providers that we now use are Monzo and Revolut.
These are UK-based countries and I’m not sure whether you can get one if you come from outside the UK; so you’ll need to check.
Though I imagine there must be similar companies cropping up in all countries now, as they are so much better than traditional banks.
Both Monzo and Revolut allow you to withdraw currency and use your card in normal transactions, just like your regular banking card.
The benefit is that they don’t charge you any currency conversion fees, but instead give you the best rate possible.
The only fees you need to pay are when you withdraw above a certain amount each month.
If you’re interested, just download the app and check it out.
From there, you then apply for a card and they send you it for free.
Read Also: Monzo vs Revolut: Which Is Best For Travel?
Here’s all of the important documents that we took with us to Thailand.
If you want to make use of Thailand’s natural beauty, then you’re going to want some decent photography gear to take with you.
Here’s what we took with us when backpacking Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia.
A DSLR (Digital Single Lense Reflex Camera) is a great bit of kit to buy if you’re serious about upping your photography game. When brought together with a wide variety of different lenses, you have the ability to capture epic shots that are otherwise not possible on other devices. Perhaps my favourite part about Thailand is it’s stunning natural vistas, and there is no better way to capture them than with a wide angle lens like this. We take ours with us now wherever we go and it forms a key part of our travel tech! We actually spoke to fellow travel bloggers and rounded up the best cameras bloggers use. These recommendations work just as well for non-bloggers, so be sure to check out the guide! In terms of lenses, check out our guides here for: Sony a7 / Sony a7ii / Sony a7iii / Sony a7riii / Sony a6000 / Sony a6300 / Sony a6400 / Sony a6500 / Sony a6600 / Sony z6 / Canon M50 / Canon 80D / Canon 90D / Canon 6D Mark II / Panasonic GH5 / Nikon D750 / Nikon D850 / Nikon D3100 / Nikon D3200 / Nikon D3300 / Nikon D3400 / Nikon D3500 / Nikon D5600
We use this camera almost everywhere we go when travelling. A lot of the time, when you are out and about on day trips in different parts of Thailand, you don’t want to be lugging a big DSLR camera around with you. Especially if you are on a moped. In that case, a handheld video camera like this is the best of both worlds as it allows you to capture some really high res photos, as well as great quality videos that can then be edited together.
I absolutely love our GoPro! And in Thailand, it is a must have in your packing list! Why? Well, because the coast of Thailand offers some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving spots. And if you are already spending all that money to travel Thailand and explore it’s underwater beauty, it’s worth having a great GoPro with you that’s able to capture those memories in stunning HD. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a new action camera, then check out this list of GoPro alternatives, which are usually cheaper and still offer much of the same quality.
Full disclosure - We haven’t yet taken our drone to Thailand. Why? Simply because we haven't been there since owning one! The first time we took our drone abroad with us was when packing for Sri Lanka a few months later and I instantly fell in love. A drone allows you to capture the most unbelievable photos and videos and we can’t wait to take ours on our next trip to Thailand. As always, whenever taking your drone travelling, be sure to do your research local laws and restrictions well ahead of time. Also be sure to check out our guide on the best alternatives to DJI drones, many of which are far cheaper than the famous brand.
There are a few key health and safety items to pack for Thailand; these are ...
As well as everything discussed above, here’s a few extra items we took that you may also want to include in your own Thailand packing list.
Here’s a few final items that we didn’t take to Thailand, but that you might want to consider for yourself ...
A few final travel tips to help you with your packing ...
If you look on the labels of a lot of your clothes, then you’ll probably find that they were made in Thailand anyway!
It’s easy to pick up cheap clothes in Thailand, and most of them are very good quality.
Don’t panic and overpack, as you can always pick up any forgotten items along the way.
You may want to revisit the top of this post where I gave a quick overview of the geography of Thailand.
Depending on which times of the year you visit and also where you visit, you could need some very different stuff!
All across Thailand, it is important to cover up in public, especially at religious sites; so take some light, long clothes with you.
Well, I hope that you found this guide useful and have a better idea of what to pack for Thailand!
Of course, everyone’s tastes will be different so think carefully about anything else you might wish to take with you.
Either way, Thailand is an incredibly beautiful country that is well worth visiting for any passionate backpacker.
For more help planning your trip to Thailand, then here’s some other posts we’ve written that you might find useful: