As I’m gearing up for a big holiday, and deciding what to pack, I am reminded of my previous packing adventures before coming to Thailand. I don’t think it can be said enough: PACK LIGHT.
I did a quick search and without pointing links, I must say I was surprised by some of the advice. Condoms? Mosquito coils? Cigarette papers? What?! All of these things can be purchased at the ubiquitous 7-11. Okay, not sure about the coils, but why would you pack something that breaks so easily?
First of all, if you are going to be in the city, then you can usually find what you are looking for. Thailand is more developed than folks think, and you can get by without Thai. So don’t freak out. And you do not need your prescription for glasses or contact lenses! Just walk into an eyeglasses shop and tell them your prescription.
Okay, I have to laugh over this one: “consider doing laundry”. Consider? You better do more than consider it. Is this why tourists are known as stinky? Folks pack light because they do laundry.
And this one: “dark clothes do not need to be washed often unless you have a BO problem or sweat profusely”. 555 Everyone sweats in Thailand. I mean you might think you are okay, but then you get here and you will start sweating like you are in a sauna. Thais manage to look cool, but they sweat too. They also take several showers a day.
Oh dear, I better stop looking at these blog posts. 3 bathing suits? White Vans? Mercy me, don’t bring anything white! Pack for the season and for the location and activities you are going to be doing.
Thailand is a tropical climate. Regardless of rainy season or not, pack quick drying clothes. When you do laundry in your hotel bathroom or where ever else, you’ll want your clothes to dry overnight. Weather is unpredictable as is your ability to stay lily white clean…
If you plan on traveling away from the beach or into smaller towns, or want to visit temples, pack clothes that cover your body. Or pick up some fisherman pants or maybe a nice long skirt while you are here. Scarves are aplenty at the markets or walking streets and can serve as a nice shawl to keep your shoulders covered. Smaller towns dress more conservatively and when in the temples or wats, you need to show your respect, not your rock hard abs, sexy legs or toned back.
I dress differently when I visit my family, or go to work, or out with friends, it’s the same thing.
Which brings me to the next point, if you plan on taking an overnight bus, bring warm clothes! VIP and first class buses and trains are notoriously freezing. Woman from Alaska and young man from Japan echoed my feelings. Freezing.
I love Rick Steves advice on packing. Do a dry run. Pack everything, then go downtown and play tourist for the day. If you are miserable then go back home and pack again. You always do more walking than you anticipate. I don’t care if you have a suitcase with wheels, walk around your city with that damn thing and remember Thailand doesn’t always have sidewalks or elevators or taxis who know where you are going.
And yes, Kay. Thailand has toothpaste.