Dress in Phuket, Thailand

What to wear in Phuket?

Here in Thailand the saying “clothes make the man” really holds true, as I have noticed that Thais really appreciate if farangs (foreigners) make an effort to maintain a professional and reserved appearance. This does not mean you have to wear your 3 piece suit when you go out. Not at all – t-shirts and shorts are acceptable for going just about anywhere – but you should think about what you wear when you go out.

It’s obvious that in beach towns, such as Phuket, Thais are more accustomed to foreigners wearing lesser clothes, as the beach is close and there everyone wears their swimming attire. However, many tourist think that because they are close the the beach they can walk around the villages in their bikini and swim shorts as well, and even on motorbikes.

Here in Kamala we have a very big Muslim community. It’s sometimes weird to see that you walk on the market – which only starts around 5pm in the afternoon when the sun is about to set – and you see tourist in their bikini buying fruit and drinks, the lady helping them is covered from head to toe… I am not saying that because this is a Muslim village you should cover up like her, but I am just wondering… Would that person would also walk around in their swim attire on a warm sunny day in their home country?

To dress properly in any country is not a great mystery – just observe what the locals wear and there you go… So when you’re in Thailand just ask yourself – would a Thai person do this? Would a Thai man go to a restaurant without a shirt? The answer is no, so why would you? Do Thai women step at the back of a motorbike in a bikini? Another no, so don’t do it…

In Spain, I remember that they started setting up rules for tourist on restaurant terraces that people would not be allowed on it if they did not cover up. Maybe we should do the same here…

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