People often ask us, ‘What should I wear when I visit temples in Bangkok?’
Three Rules of Thumb to Remember when Visiting Temples
- Wear lightweight clothing for comfort, also…
- Ensure that your shoulders, knees and ankles are covered and…
- Be respectful.
These are the top three rules but there are many other customs and conventions when visiting temples in and around Bangkok. If you’re still not sure then it’s best to get a guide to accompany you. The information below will explain in further detail what you can and can’t wear at all temples in Bangkok then explain some important differences when visiting the Grand Palace and other Temples.
- Shoes, sandals or flip-flops. It’s best to wear lightweight, comfortable shoes when you’re on tour, in most temples you will need to remove your shoes before entering the main worship area.
- Lightweight clothing with long sleeves and long trousers or skirts. If you prefer to wear short pants, just bring a Sarong or lightweight pants. They’re easy to fit in your bag. T-shirts with sleeves are also suitable.
- Put simply, if it’s not any the above then you will not be admitted or you will have to rent clothing.
- Short skirts and short shorts or even shortened trousers.
- Any clothing that exposes cleavage or midriff.
- Tight fitting pants like leggings.
- See-through clothing.
- Clothing that has holes, tears or rips in it.
- Any kind of top without sleeves.
- Any kind of top with the sleeves rolled up (keep your sleeves down).
- Take off your sunglasses and hat when inside temple buildings out of respect.
Important differences between Dress Codes at the Grand Palace and other Temples
Dress code for Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (most strict)
You need to be aware of the strict dress code. You’re expected to dress respectfully when visiting any temple in Bangkok but you can be sure the strict dress code at the Grand Palace and Royal Temple will always be enforced. Importantly, scarves are not allowed to cover up your shoulders if you are wearing a sleeveless top. There’s no way they want that scarf to slip down and expose your shoulders and you will be asked to change your top. You may also be asked to cover your ankles.
Dress code for other Royal temples (medium strictness)
The Grand Palace and Royal Temple dress codes are very strict because the grounds are still used by the Royal Family on ceremonial occasions. The dress codes at other Royal Temples are typically similar to the Grand Palace.
Dress code for general temples in and around Bangkok (more relaxed)
Although many temples in tourist areas have relaxed standards, you should always be respectful and follow the rules of thumb. Women should bring a light scarf to wrap around your shoulders to ensure you’re covered when entering a temple at short notice.
What to Do if You are Not Appropriately Dressed
Don’t stress too much if you realize that you’ve forgotten something when you’re about to enter a temple that you want to visit. The Grand Palace and most temples will sell or rent fisherman’s (long pullover) pants. There’s also often stalls nearby to other temples that will rent or sell you appropriate clothing. Your guide can also arrange appropriate clothing for you, often without a fee, which is another great reason to have a licensed and experienced tour guide at your side.
As you can see, there are some easy ways to ensure that you are always appropriately dressed for a visit to a temple on your visit to Bangkok. There are also lots of ways a tour guide can help you navigate it all with ease. We hope that you found this guide useful. Get in touch with us anytime if you have any questions. We’re happy to help.