Thailand, what to bring

First time traveling to Thailand?

Congratulations! You’ve decided to travel to the Land of Smiles and now you are planning your most excellent adventure. So many places to go and so many things to see. One big question that will happen days before your flight is ‘what to bring’. Here are some of my suggestions:

Carry on.

Depending on where you are flying from, this could be an exceptionally long flight. In terms of carry-on I typically bring the items you see in the attached picture:

  1. Passport – you’re not going anywhere unless you have this so keep it in a safe place before you leave to the airport. Stick a post-it note on your door to remind you to bring it before you leave.
  2. Pen – when the flight attendant hands you the customs forms you should be prepared. Those who do not bring a pen will have to line up with the hundreds of other travelers at the counter prior to customs. Here, some of the available pens/pencils will likely be broken causing frustration. Why delay your trip? Be prepared and bring a pen so that you can glide right through.
  3. Earplugs – I always bring earplugs to help block the sound while I am trying to sleep. In case one plug falls out while I am sleeping I always have a back-up pair. They are small, light, and easy to pack.
  4. Kleenex – Whether I have a runny nose or some gum to spit out, I like to have a small pack of Kleenex. It’s usually a lot softer than using the napkin they hand out with your complimentary drink.
  5. Reading Glasses – Long flights are a great opportunity to read a book or magazine.
  6. Chapstick – The air can get very dry on the flight and it’s nice to have some lip balm so that you don’t get dry lips.
  7. Eye mask – What a great invention. I never used to use eye masks until one was given to me as a complimentary gift on a flight. Now I swear by them. You never know if the passenger beside you wants to read when you want to sleep. If they turn on their reading light it could be annoying. You will have a better chance to sleep if you block out all light.
  8. Mouth mask – I bought my first mouth mask from a street vendor in Thailand and have used them ever since. If you have a cold it helps to prevent others from catching your cold. On the other hand, it helps to filter the cabins air which and any germs others may breathe into the air.
  9. Breath mints / Tums /Rolaids – It doesn’t take up a lot of room to bring a roll of mints to freshen your breath after a meal.
  10. Cellphone cable – most flights have a power outlet or USB that you can plug into in efforts to keep your phone charged.
  11. Earphones – You may want to listen to music or a movie from your phone without annoying those sitting next to you. Also, you can bring your own pair in case the ones they hand out do not work.
  12. Hand Sanitiser – Why not? Who wants to arrive in Thailand after a horrendously long flight only to find they caught someone else’s cold. Keep your hands clean to prevent unexpected germs from ruining your vacation.

Yes, I know I look like the most antisocial guy on the flight but I am not screwing up my vacation by getting sick.

Stow-away.

Bangkok has some of the best shopping in the world. In fact, there are so many malls and markets that if you like shopping, you will go totally crazy. I always travel very light for a couple of key reasons:

  1. Tropical paradise – You are going somewhere very hot and there is absolutely no need to bring warm clothes. You will likely wear sandals every day with no need for socks. You will also want to wear shorts every day as even in Thailand’s cold season the weather is incredibly warm. The only pair of pants, socks, and shoes that I bring are the ones that I wear on the airplane. The rest of the time it’s all shorts & sandals. If for some reason it decides to start snowing I know that I could buy a nice pair of jeans for $10-15 US.
  2. Shopping – Shopping in Thailand is nuts. You can find great deals and a great selection at most malls and markets. Everything from exercise clothing to formal wear. MBK  is probably one of the most famous malls in Bangkok and its located walking distance to several other malls & markets. Chatuchak Weekend Market is located at Mo Chit sky train station and you will be blown away by the size of this incredible market. Simply put; don’t bring a bunch of clothing to Thailand. Travel light and load-up when you get there. TIP: try to arrange your vacation so that your last few days are in Bangkok. That way you won’t increase the weight of the suitcases you are hauling around from city-to-city.
About the author

Simply put, I love Thailand. I am a Canadian-born MBA graduate who has traveled to Thailand upwards of 20 times. From Chiang Mai to Phuket and Udon Thani to Kanchanaburi, I've been all over. When traveling abroad I like to learn the history and culture of each place I visit. My grasp of the Thai language is basic but each time I visit my vocabulary grows.

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