What to pack? Things to bring with you to Thailand;
The first time I went to Thailand I was totally unprepared or, maybe, I was a bit over prepared. I brought way too much stuff that I ended up not really needing and forgot some necessities instead. Luckily, I had my cousin coming to visit and I had a list of things for him to bring me from the U.S., as well as to take back with him.
An Easy Guide on What to Pack for Thailand Photo Gallery
First, let’s start with the luggage itself. The first trip out here I brought the typical large, rolling luggage that worked fine for me during trips to New York, Miami and even Australia; however, for Thailand it pretty much sucked. Because normal gas is expensive, most Taxi cabs in Thailand have a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) conversion which takes up half of the trunk. Imagine trying to fit a large rectangular luggage into the trunk of this thing! Then imagine, trying to walk through the messed up sidewalks and busy streets of Thailand, rolling one of those things around. If you haven’t been to Asia yet, try rolling a large suitcase around Chinatown – it’s a similar experience. The worst was trying to roll it down the broken, wooden pier to take a ferry to the islands. So, what do I recommend? Take a 75- 95 liter hiking style backpack with you instead. The one I have is an 85 + 10 liter pack. Now, this would be way too heavy to walk around with if you were going camping but it’s perfect for filling up and walking short distances while traveling around Thailand.
I also carry a small day pack on the plane with me, containing my laptop, Kindle, mp3 player and lightweight hooded jumper – perfect for when it gets cold on planes, trains, boats and buses. It also contains a pair of shorts, extra t-shirt, my toothbrush and other things I would need my first night. The reason is, often you’ll have a layover on your way to your final destination; this saves you from having to unpack your main luggage and is handy just in case your luggage gets lost. I also packed a nylon drawstring bag – they weigh next to nothing and fold into any pocket – which comes in really handy when going to the store or for a hike.
Don’t bring too many clothes; you’ll be weighed down and end up wanting room to buy souvenirs while you’re here. Technically, you can show up with nothing but the clothes on your back and buy everything here – for half the price you would back home. I, however, started really appreciating the quality of clothes we have in the U.S. after living in Asia for the last few years. Now I travel with everything I’m going to wear, with the exception of leaving room for a few t-shirts that I know I’ll want to pick up.
I brought with me 2 dri-fit, featherlite Nike running hats. It’s really sunny in Thailand and I wear them while running, hiking and even just walking around most of the day. I like these, in particular, because they’re lightweight, dry fast and are well made.
I brought 2 North Face vaporwick, synthetic t-shirts with me. They keep me cool, are lightweight and dry quickly. I wish I would have brought a third one – they’re so good. If you’re on an island, you’ll end up wearing tank tops most of the time; you can either bring a few or buy them when you’re here. Combined with the cotton hooded jumper in my day pack, you should never get cold, even up in the northern mountain areas of Chiang Mai. Underwear .
“17 countries. 6 weeks. One pair of award-winning underwear. (Ok, maybe two.)”. That’s the slogan for Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Boxers. These are amazing! Instead of lugging around 7 pairs of boxers – which are a pain to wash and dry – I’ve been traveling the last year with just two; I wear one on the plane and have one in my bag, and that’s it. I actually brought a third pair with me on this trip (just in case) but as you can see it still has its tag on it. They are truly that good: they are super comfortable, keep you cool, wick away moisture, have a Microbe Shield to eliminate odor-causing bacteria, and extremely quick drying. I normally just hang them up in the sun (switching between the two pairs) then wash them in the sink with my Muay Thai shorts after training.
I also brought a Brooks light weight running jacket with me. It’s both wind and rain resistant which is perfect for wearing while riding your motorbike, especially at night. Even though Thailand is usually quite hot, when you’re riding on a motorbike it can get chilly quick.
I wear a pair of long pants with me on the plane ride over. I used to wear long hiking pants that can be turned into shorts; however, I never really used them the rest of the trip. This trip, I wore a comfortable pair of jeans instead. Even if you think you’re going to eat, sleep and train like a fighter you’ll end up going out – at least one or two weekends a month – and you’ll wish you had a pair of jeans. I also bring two pairs of shorts, as these are what you’ll be wearing day to day. Get the ones that have at least one zippered pocket (sometimes it’s hidden), that way you don’t get pick pocketed while traveling.
Depending where you are in Thailand, you might end up wearing flip-flop sandals 99% of the time. You can buy (knock off) Havaianas here for around 150-200 baht ($6.60US) but they wear out after about a month of daily use. I’d much rather just buy a real pair of sandals before coming over. I bought a pair of basic Lacoste thongs for $10 online before I came and they haven’t worn down at all.
You’ll also want a pair of running shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of running for Muay Thai. To save room and weight bring ankle socks instead of full length ones; I brought 6 pairs, which were more than enough for me. You could get away with less if you wash them yourself. If you’re into barefoot style running and plan on bringing your Vibram Five Fingers, like I did, bring enough toe-socks (if you use them) because they’re not available in Thailand. You might also want to bring a pair of easy to put on normal shoes just to walk around in.
The basic rule of thumb: if you live on an island, such as Phuket, or anything that begins with Koh – which means island in Thai – you can most likely get away with just flip-flops and running shoes. If you’re going to be living in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, you’ll also want a normal pair of shoes for everyday wear. Side note: Benefits of barefoot style running include minimizing knee and back injuries, and building up strength around your ankles and foot which is great for Muay Thai and MMA. Caution: don’t try to run barefoot right away! For me, it took almost three months of walking in them first – a few times a week – to get used to doing it. The benefit now is, the last three times where previously I would have sprained my ankle, falling on and twisting my ankle, I was completely fine – as it is stronger now.