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What to bring to Thailand? There won’t be that much space in your backpack or suitcase, so you have to use the space that you have really well. Here are a few things we couldn’t live without while traveling!

1. Music

Once in Thailand, you’ll be doing a lot of traveling in between different places. So it might be nice to listen to some of your favorite music while traveling by bus, boat or train. Tip: use earbuds, as they won’t take up a lot of space and you can share them with a traveling companion.

2. E-reader

Perhaps you’re more into reading? In that case, make sure you have an e-reader. Wherever I go, I always carry with me at least 100 books that I still want to read. They’re a great way to pass the time if you’re waiting for a bus, but also for lazy days on the beach or relaxing after a long day full of new impressions.

Always carry an e-reader in Thailand

3. Deck of cards

Whether you’re in a restaurant, a bar or a pub, it’s always a good time to play cards! Soon everybody will join and an evening that started boring will get fun in no time. Side note: card games in Thailand are seen as gambling and are therefore illegal. This is why getting your hands on a deck of cards is quite hard in Thailand. Only play for fun, not for money!

4. Front-loading backpack

Going backpacking for the first time? Buy a “front-loader”, a backpack with a suitcase-like zip around the front. They’re a lot more practical than top-loading backpacks because they offer far better access to the inside of the bag. If you need something that you packed at the bottom of the backpack, it’s far easier to reach. Something else that’s handy is having a separate shoe compartment so that everything else in the pack stays clean and tidy.

From the pier it's a though hike through the jungle - Koh Ngai

5. Earplugs

Sometimes you just want to sleep and not be awakened by the person snoring next to you in the hostel room or by dogs barking outside. The solution is simple: earplugs! You can get them anywhere in Thailand; every shop, pharmacy or 7-Eleven.

6. Eye mask

Are the lights in the sleeper train keeping you awake? Or perhaps it’s the headlights of the passing cars? Use an eye mask and that will be a thing of the past. Sleep tight!

7. Sarong

A sarong can be used as a shawl, a blanket, a knapsack, beach towel and normal towel. It allows you to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting a temple. Indispensable!

Koh Mae on Koh Phangan

8. Multi-length pants

Not the most flattering of clothes to take to Thailand, but definitely the most versatile. Make sure they can be shortened both below and above the knees, and that they’re mosquito-proof. Perfect for a quick temple visit (just zip those legs back on), but also for jungle treks and city trips. Very charming indeed!

9. Warm clothing

Yes, Thailand has a tropical climate, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any moments when having a warm cardigan or some long (multi-length) pants don’t come in handy. For instance, on buses and in shopping malls where the air conditioning is on full blast, at night when the weather cools down, or when riding a motorbike through mountainous terrain. Bonus tip: Thai cinemas are always very cold inside. Bring socks!

10. Footwear that’s easy to take on and off

In Thailand, temples aren’t the only places where you need to take off your shoes off many restaurants and guesthouses often ask the same. There are days on which you take your shoes on and off at least ten times. Make your life easier and wear flip-flops or Velcro sandals. You’ll be moving right along!

Shoes outside a Thai temple

Photo credit: Cazz

11. Personal grooming

Take care of your appearance. Take regular showers. Bring nice clothes. Wear makeup. Why? You’ll feel better about yourself and it’s a lot more fun looking back at holiday snaps if you like the way look.

12. Movie or TV series

When it’s rainy outside, or indeed if it’s far too warm, watching a movie in your hotel room can be a good option. To use Netflix, you’ll need a stable internet connection. So download movies or series beforehand, which Netflix allows you to do legally. If you’re a movie fan, bringing a Chromecast is also a good option…!

13. Local SIM-card with internet

Whether it’s for booking a room, checking where the best restaurants are, finding your way around or making Skype calls to change your flight, these days everyone brings their smartphone along for the ride, so why not use it? But a Thai SIM-card with 4G as soon as you arrive at Bangkok airport. That way you’ll have a digital travel guide with you!

14. Favorable flight times

Choose your flight times carefully, especially flying into Thailand. Make sure you arrive late (late afternoon or early evening), so you can hop straight into bed, avoiding jetlag and saving energy. Alternatively, you can choose to fly in the evening or at night, so you can sleep on the plane.

View from our airplane window

15. Power bank

If your phone is your travel guide, then obviously it needs to stay charged. That’s where the power bank comes in. Since many guesthouses and hotels will often only have one socket in their room (help!), power banks are super practical because they allow you charge multiple devices at the same time!

16. Local TV

If – like us – you spend a lot of time out of your home country, you want to keep watching your favorite TV shows. Unfortunately, usually, you can’t replay any missed broadcasts outside of your home country, unless, that is, you install a small plug-in that makes it seem you’re streaming from back home. We use one called Hola!, which can installed into Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

17. Toilet paper

Toilet paper or paper handkerchiefs are absolutely indispensable when you’re on the road. Many toilets don’t have toilet paper, which means often the only way to clean down there is with a small water hose or by hand. Those are the times when you’ll be glad you packed that extra roll of toilet paper!

18. Baby wipes and antiseptic hand gel

Sometimes you just need to wash your hands. For instance, after a visiting a dodgy toilet or before and after eating street food. Always bring some antiseptic hand gel with you, or buy a box of baby wipes at the 7-Eleven (Mamy Poko is amazing) and you’ll be prepared for anything!

Baby wipes: great for dirty fingers

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Author Mariska

Traveler, entrepreneur, book lover, foodie. In Thailand, you'll find me driving around on my motorbike, on the lookout for new hotspots.

More posts by Mariska

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Avatar for Mariska Warren says:

    May sound silly, but an extension cord can be quite useful. It lets you split an outlet into two plugs (to charge two phones). Sometimes the outlets are hidden in older hotels and this extends your reach. Invest in a slim three foot one and you won’t regret it.

    • Avatar for Mariska Mariska says:

      You’re right Warren, some hotel rooms only have one power outlet, or have outlets that are hard to reach. We personally even travel with a socket, so we have enough outlets to charge our laptops, camera, phones etc. 🙂 . Sockets and other plugs can be bought at any 7-Eleven. Greets, Mariska

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