Thailand is famous for its spectacular Buddhist temples dotted around the country, rich with culture and traditional customs.
Are you planning a trip to one of the famous sacred temples in Thailand and not sure what attire to wear when entering?
This article breaks down the required dress code when entering to avoid breaking any temple rules.
There are dress codes in place at temples in Thailand to uphold respect for religious beliefs when entering the sacred grounds.
Tourists and visitors must be mindful of the dress code requirements to ensure entry to the temple and avoid showing disrespect while exploring.
Although not all temples in Thailand have the same dress code there is a set of general rules to adhere to.
Dress Code Overview
- Shirt with sleeves
- Long pants/jeans (cover knees)
- Long shorts (men)
- Long skirts (women)
- Comfortable shoes
- Lightweight fabric
- Sleeveless shirt
- Sleeveless vest/tank top
- Revealing clothing such as wide neck top
- Crop top
- See-through / transparent clothing
- Short pants and don’t cover the knees
- Ripped/torn clothing (showing skin)
- Mini skirt
- Tight gym clothing or tight leggings
Let’s take a closer look at some of the dress code standards.
What To Wear In Temples In Thailand
Thai temples are sacred places of worship, and it is important to dress respectfully when visiting them. This shows that you are aware of the religious significance of the temple and that you are willing to follow the local customs.
Here are some tips on how to dress respectfully when visiting a Thai temple:
Cover your shoulders, chest, and knees. This is the most important rule. You can do this by wearing a long-sleeved shirt or blouse, a skirt or pants that cover your knees, or a shawl.
Avoid revealing clothing. This means avoiding clothing that is too tight, too low-cut, or too sheer.
Avoid clothing with offensive or political slogans. This is a sign of respect for the temple and its visitors.
Avoid transparent clothing. This means avoiding clothing that is so thin that you can see through it.
Avoid clothing with rips or holes. This is a sign of respect for the temple and its visitors.
What To Wear – Men
Here are some tips on how to dress respectfully when visiting a Thai temple as a man:
- Long or short-sleeved shirts/t-shirts
- Long pants or shorts that cover the knees
Items to avoid:
- Tank tops
- Sleeveless vests/t-shirts
- Short or tight bottoms
What To Wear – Women
Here are some tips on how to dress respectfully when visiting a Thai temple as a woman:
- Long or short-sleeved shirts/t-shirts that cover the shoulders and chest
- Bottoms or a skirt that at least covers the knees
Items to avoid:
- Crop tops
- Short mini skirts or shorts
- Revealing clothing
All footwear must be removed when entering a temple building but can be worn when walking around the temple grounds, so wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
Most footwear is generally acceptable, including flip flops/sandals, but it’s advisable to wear something comfortable.
Remove sunglasses or hats before entering the temple building and leave any large luggage or umbrellas in a safe place.
Locals entering the temple may choose to remove jewelry for religious reasons, but this is rarely enforced on tourists.
- It can get extremely hot if you visit a temple during the day, so wear light fabrics (linen or elephant pants are perfect!)
- Always wear sun cream at temples because you’ll spend the majority of the time in non-shaded areas
Available clothing at the temple
If you do turn up to a temple and haven’t met the dress requirements or just want to try traditional Thai attire there are usually shops offering the hire and sale of appropriate temple clothing.
The temple may also be able to offer clothing to barrow, such as a long skirt overall (fisherman pants), sarong, or scarves to cover shoulders.
The more popular temples, such as Wat Pho in Bangkok, have local street market sellers outside the temple grounds who can provide clothing for hire but be aware of scams and check if your outfit is appropriate with the official temple staff before making any purchase.
- When buying from local market sellers you can try to bargain with them to get lower rates
Visiting a Thai temple can be an enlightening experience but make sure to respect the temple dress code and show respect by dressing appropriately in accordance with local cultures.
Avoid clothing that is too revealing, wear sleeved shirts covering the back, chest, and shoulders as well as pants that cover the knees
Don’t stress because clothing is available for hire and sale outside the temple if you haven’t come prepared.
Searching for suggestions for other outfits to wear during your holiday? Check out my other article on what to wear in Thailand.
Can men wear shorts in a Thai temple?
Men can wear shorts to most temples, but they should be long enough to cover the knees (long shorts).
Can I wear jeans in a Thai temple?
Jeans are acceptable, but they shouldn’t be ripped or torn and should be long enough to cover the knees.
Can women wear skirts in a Thai Temple?
Women can wear long skirts that cover the knees.
Is the dress code the same for all Thai temples? e.g., Phuket temples
Each temple may have a different dress code, but in general, they require you to wear nonrevealing clothing, including long pants that cover the knees and a sleeved shirt covering the back/torso/shoulders.