When I visited Thailand in 2006 I didn’t pay too much attention to the dress code. I never wear revealing clothes anyway so for me it wasn`t that much of an issue. Since 2006 I have learned a lot about travelling and customs and now when I look back I see that I was both ignorant and arrogant. It is important to know what the customs and traditions are when you visit a foreign country especially where temples and churches are concerned.
So after all of that, what is the dress code for women in Thailand?
I have visited many temples and a couple of palaces in Thailand but I was never asked to cover my head. It was expected of me to leave my shoes outside when I entered the temple. Most of the times I wore a T-shirt with short sleeves and Capri-pants. Not once did a person ask me to cover up. Some people mention on forums that you cannot wear sleeveless t-shirts,shorts or sandals. That is not really the truth. I wore sandals and so do most people in Thailand because of the heat. You take them off anyway before you enter a temple so no fuss – in my opinion.
Sleeveless T-Shirts or spaghetti-strap tops,shorts and very short skirts can be frowned upon. The best solution and something that I have learned from my trips to Russia, carry a sarong or big scarf with you and drape it over your bare shoulders or wrap it around your waist to cover your legs.
At some places sarongs are provided for free when you visit the temples. Remember to give it back to them when you leave. Don`t feel offended if you are refused entry or asked to cover up. Thai people put a great deal of effort into dressing up and looking respectable. Thai people have often been quoted saying that “You will find that people will treat you with a lot more respect when you dress properly.”
When: April 2006