After years of living in the tropics, I can tell you with confidence that you can’t dress like you can at home. On average, the daily high temperature in Bangkok is 35°C or more, so it’s important to dress comfortably.
Here are my five clothing tips for dealing with the tropical weather for expats and people visiting Thailand and other warm countries on holiday:
- Forget about coats, or anything with long sleeves. Bring one long sleeved garment for temples and other cultural sites, then wear short sleeved shirts the rest of the time. If you’re in quite a conservative country, avoid anything that shows your shoulders.
- Wear thin underwear, since you’ll sweat a lot. My first few months here I wore the same underwear as at home and ended up sweating everywhere I went. For men, get some thin cotton boxer shorts. For women, forego the usual padded bra and wear a breathable cotton bra, an adhesive bra or nipple covers to stop yourself from getting sweaty during the daytime.
- Get a pair of comfortable walking or casual shoes. I have a pair of Lacoste sneakers I wear 99% of the time. They fit in between casual and sporty and look good while keeping my feet cool.
- Get used to sweating. It will happen, although you will get used to it with time. Avoid wearing overly tight clothes that make your sweating obvious – loose is better!
- Bring some formal clothes, or at least “smart casual.” There are lots of nice restaurants and rooftop bars here, and they have strict dress codes. You don’t need a suit, but it helps to have a nice shirt or dress and some stylish heels or leather shoes.
Surviving in the tropics isn’t as tough as people make it out to be, and you’ll adjust quickly. Follow the tips above and you’ll avoid the downsides of tropical living (the heeeeat) while you get all of the benefits.