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.
When visiting a Thai temple it’s advised and enforced to cover areas of the body with appropriate clothing to respect religions traditional, including the back, chest, shoulders, and bottom half up to the knees. Wear a sleeved shirt/t-shirt covering the top half of the body (shoulders/torso/back) and bottoms that cover the knees.
When choosing your temple attire, avoid clothing with offensive/political slogans, transparent clothing, rips or holes in clothing, and clothing that is too revealing or tight.
What to wear – men
Men should wear long or short-sleeved shirts/t-shirts and pants that cover the knees.
Avoid wearing tank tops, sleeveless vests/t-shirts, and short or tight bottoms.
What to wear – women
Women should wear long or short-sleeved shirts/t-shirts bearing no skin and bottoms or a skirt that at least covers the knees.
Avoid wearing crop tops and short mini skirts or shorts.
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.
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