Thailand Temple Dress Code? Avoid These Mistakes!

Thailand Temple Dress Code

One of the best things to do on your trip to Thailand is to visit the beautiful temples. If this is your first time in the country you should know there is a very specific Thailand temple dress code to follow. Some places are a little more strict than others, especially in the capital city’s Grand Palace. In Bangkok, you will even be pulled out of line if your temple dress code isn’t up to task. So what do you need to wear in Thailand temples? Here’s everything you need to know before you go!

Visiting the Temples in Thailand

It is estimated that there are over 40,000 Buddhist temples throughout Thailand with many of them still in use today. There are extremely popular temples like the Grand Palace in Bangkok (Wat Phra Kaew) and Wat Pho along with other smaller temples within the local communities.

Once you figure out your Thailand Itinerary (here are our 4 favorites that can be combined) it’s smart to do a quick search for the best temples to visit. In cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, you could spend all day exploring these sacred places. 

Temples in Thailand Dress Code

What’s the Thailand Temples Dress Code?

There is a strict Thailand Temple dress code that needs to be followed otherwise you won’t be allowed to enter. Making sure you have the appropriate clothing isn’t hard as long as you know how to dress beforehand. 

We recommend packing one or two “temple outfits” with you for your trip. That way you know on the day you’re heading out to see the Thai temples you won’t have any issues.

The strictest Thailand temple dress code we saw was in Bangkok Thailand. The Grand Palace was one of the few places where you had to pass a checkpoint. 

If your outfit isn’t up to their standards then you will be pulled out of line and asked to change or leave. This is one reason you see so many locals selling the popular elephant pants outside! 

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about the Thailand Temple dress code and how to plan for your visit. Also, be sure to check out our favorite things to do in Chiang Mai before you go.

Dress Code Thailand Temples 

What is Off Limits For the Thailand Temple Dress Code?

Before jumping into what you should wear, you should know what’s an absolute no-go. It’s so important to follow the temple etiquette when visiting these holy places to Thai culture. 

Know that this goes for many countries in Southeast Asia and at religious sites around the world. Here’s four things that you shouldn’t plan to wear to abide by the Thailand temples dress code.

Tank Tops: Sleeveless shirts and tops are no no for both men and women. These might be a big part of your wardrobe because as it can be very humid in Thailand. Yet, don’t try to go on a temple visit without a shirt that covers your shoulders. 

Short Skirts & Short Shorts: Anything that shows your knees is basically not allowed under the Thailand temple dress code. You need to wear something that falls below the knees for women like long skirts or pants. 

Men have a little more leeway as some temples allow them to wear shorts. We will talk more about this in the men’s section below.  

See-Through Clothes: Even if you have long sleeves or a long dress, if it’s see-through it is not allowed. There are plenty of breathable fabrics that you can wear that aren’t transparent. 

Public Displays of Affection: You are not allowed to show any public displays of affection including holding hands. The temple buildings are places of worship so you’ll have to save your smooching for the beach! 

Thailand Temples Dress Code

Shoes With the Thailand Temple Dress Code

In addition to clothing, it’s also worth noting shoes in the Thailand temples dress code. It’s important to take off your footwear before visiting any temple in Thailand. Typically, there will be a special rack filled with shoes where you can leave them outside the front entrance.

In the larger complexes you may only have to take your shoes off while going into the smaller temples on site. When walking the grounds you will still be able to keep your shoes on. 

Due to this part of the dress code for Thailand temples, it’s best to have a pair that is easy to slip on and off. I used these shoes for my last trip to Thailand and loved them!

What Kind of Shoes Should You Wear? 

It’s completely acceptable to wear flip-flops throughout the country and then leave them before entering the main worship area. However, there are a few places like the Grand Palace in Bangkok where you have to wear shoes or flip flops with socks. Here it is not allowed to have your feet bare out as a sign of respect. 

Let’s be honest about this. We always recommend wearing socks! You can use your normal socks or pack a pair of non-slip yoga-style ones with you. 

Some of the floors can be a little slippery, especially during the rainy season. Understand that Grand Palace in Bangkok has around 8 MILLION visitors per year. So no matter how hard they clean each night that is still a massive amount of daily traffic. 

Thailand Temple Dress Code Shoes

Bathrooms at the Temple Complex

Yes, you even need to take your shoes off to use the bathroom at many of the temples. We don’t blame you if this gives you the ick.

There are large plastic slides that everyone has to use…. Which honestly isn’t that much better. This is yet another reason to make sure to wear a pair of socks or at least pack some with you.

Dress Code For Thailand Temples

Thailand Temple Dress Code for Women

As we mentioned, it’s best to have one or two outfits that work for the Thailand temple dress code. If it’s a long day out in the city you can wear the outfits all day while exploring. 

In this case, it’s smart to wear something made of breathable materials to survive the hot weather in Thailand. So what are our go-to outfits for a long day of temple hopping as a woman? 

All Day Temple Hopping

A long maxi dress that is loose-fitting and has capped sleeves (like this). It can obviously be a little warm having a maxi dress. Honestly though, it’s better to dress conservatively in the city anyway.

A long lightweight Maxi dress with thin straps is great as well. This was a cooler option for exploring cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Then when we got to the temples I would throw on one of my linen shirts that went with the dress turning it into a skirt. 

Thailand Temple Dress Code for Women

Don’t Want to Wear Your Temple Outfit All Day? 

Depending on what part of Thailand you’re visiting you might just be heading to one instead of multiple temples throughout the day. For this reason, you may not feel like wearing a long dress or something so covered up all afternoon.

This was exactly the circumstance on the island of Phuket where we spent many days beach hopping on a motorbike. However, when it came time to visit the Big Buddha or Chalong Temple it was time to cover up. 

I would keep a long-wrap shirt in my bag that I could easily put on over my shorts (like this one). Then if I was already wearing a t-shirt I would be set to enter the temple. 

If I was wearing a short sleeve shirt I would simply grab the thin linen one that I kept with me. This worked for the temples and also at the beach to to cover myself when I got too much sun. 

Thailand Temple Dress Code Women

Thailand Temple Dress Code for Men

The Thailand temple dress code for men can be a little more confusing. That’s because men can often have more wiggle room with what they wear. 

This is especially true when it comes to shorts. Many of the temples throughout the country are fine with men who wear modest casual shorts.

Still, if you wear swim trunks or short shorts or you may be denied entry or asked to change. The only time that we saw specific mention of men needing to wear long trousers was for the Bangkok temple dress code. 

You can’t have your upper arms showing with a tank top and you need to have on at least short sleeves. Also, make sure you don’t wear anything too tight or things with logos that could be offensive. 

Thailand Temple Dress Code Men

Bangkok Temple Dress Code Tips

Out of all of Thailand’s temples, the strictest dress codes are at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Even if you’ve visited other temples throughout the country and haven’t had any issue with the dress code, you’ll want to double-check your outfit before heading here! 

So many visitors aren’t allowed to enter because of what they are wearing. Even if you have pants you need to make sure they aren’t too tight. Also, don’t think about below the knee because what you are wearing has to go down to your shoes for men and women. 

While the elephant pants might look silly, they don’t break any of the Thailand Temple dress code rules. This is why so many visitors leave the palace, buy a new pair of elephant pants with a matching top, and come back. 

9 Best Grand Palace Bangkok Tips (with Dress Code!)

Bangkok Temple Dress Code

Quick Thailand Packing List

Water Shoes: At some beaches it’s a good idea to wear water shoes. Buy some super cheap ones or something more sturdy like these!

Sunscreen: We like this brand of SPF. It’s better to purchase sunscreen beforehand as the prices can often be inflated once you get there.

SPF Shirt: On days when we were on a longtail boat island hopping we would get completely rocked by the sun. SPF shirts like these for women and this one for men are a great way to get a little extra protection. 

Beach Cover: This is more for women, but a wrap skirts is great to use on the beach. You can also put them down on the table for massages or to cover your shoulders to abide by the dress code for Thailand temples. 

Sweatshirt or Warm Layer: Even with the hot weather it does cool down at night. Consider packing a light zip-up like this. It’s also good for long bus rides as they tend to blast the air conditioning.

Mosquito Repellent: There’s no getting around it. Thailand is full of bugs, mosquitos, and creepy crawlers! We prefer traveling with a repellant brand we know such as this natural one. 

Folding Backpack: It’s nice to have a smaller folding backpack to travel around with on day trips. We’ve used a bunch of the cheap ones on Amazon over the last few years, but like this product and this.

Sneakers: Sneakers or comfy street shoes (I wore these every day in Thailand) are great for jungle walks in the national park, or exploring the big cities. In Bangkok we walked over 20,000 steps in one day! In this instance were happy we had proper sneakers on.

Rain Jacket: Even if you are visiting in the peak season, make sure to pack a rain jacket. You just need something lightweight for your trip. It can also come in handy on boat trips that get super windy, or if there is a tropical downpour. 

Thailand Temple Dress Code Guide

Have any questions about what to wear at Thailand temples or want to share your own advice for the Thailand temple dress code? Let us know in the comments below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

PIN FOR LATER 

Thailand Temple

Thailand Travel Planning 

 Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

 Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Bangkok to Phuket for $12 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

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Thailand Travel Guide

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2 Comments

  1. Greg
    January 4, 2024 / 7:12 am

    These are informative infos when visiting Thai temples, really interesting and unique culture!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      January 4, 2024 / 7:17 am

      Yes! We love visiting the temples in Thailand

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