Thailand

Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.

General Clothing

  • Two or three polos
  • Sweatshirt or fleece top
  • Long sleeve shirt (for protection from sun but also for cool nights)
  • Three to five pairs of socks
  • One lightweight jacket/raincoat
  • One or two belts
  • Hat
  • Handkerchiefs (to keep dust out of mouth while biking, wetting down to cool off, and mopping up sweat)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sneakers
  • Flip-flops/sports sandals (e.g., Teva or Chacos)

Females

For training and at your work site:

  • Four to six business casual skirts
  • Seven to 10 button-down dress shirts (either short or long sleeve, light colors)
  • Two or three pairs of dress pants (black, grey, or khaki)
  • Closed-toed shoes with a back strap that look more like dress shoes than sandals (e.g., Toms or flats by Crocs)
  • Biking/workout/casual clothing:
  • Three or four loose-fitting capris or long, baggy shorts
  • Three or four T-shirts or workout shirts with sleeves
  • Two or three pairs of jeans or casual pants
  • Four or five casual T-shirts or thick-strap tank tops

Outfits for special occasions:

  • Funerals: All black, such as black dress pants or knee-length skirt and black button-down blouse
  • Meeting dignitaries, host family, counterparts, and swearing in: Professional outfit, skirt that hits the knees, button up blouse, and blazer
  • One pair of dress shoes (pumps, low heel, or flat closed-toe shoes with back strap) Other things you will want to bring:
  • Two or three casual dresses (with sleeves, knee-length or longer, and no plunging neckline)
  • Bathing suit (a one piece is best, but bathing suits are available for rent in most places)
  • Lots of underwear in breathable fabrics
  • At least six sports bras and six regular bras
  • Jewelry (if you wear it)
  • Lightweight scarf

Males

  • For training and at your work site:
  • Four or five dress pants (black, grey, khaki)
  • Seven to nine button-down dress shirts (either short or long sleeve)
  • One or two neck ties
  • Dress shoes
  • Biking/workout/casual clothing:
  • Three to five pairs of shorts
  • Three to five T-shirts or workout shirts
  • Three to five pairs of jeans or cargo pants
  • Other things you will want to bring:
  • Swim shorts
  • Lots of underwear (cotton is preferable)

Other notes on clothing:

All clothing should be clean and neatly pressed. During PST shoes should be casual dress shoes with a back or flats. Once you get to your site, you will be able to observe and ask questions about appropriate (riap roi) clothing and shoes. Consider shoes that you can slip on and off easily, as shoes are usually removed before entering a home or office.

For both men and women, T-shirts and jeans are fine to wear, and shorts that reach the knee can be worn when working out. Thais do not generally wear shorts in public, except in very relaxed situations. Tank tops are not recommended, as they do not have sleeves and reveal too much. When you are in your own home, however, what you wear is up to you.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions 
  • Contact lenses and lens solution (available in big cities, but you can bring them from home)
  • Two pairs of glasses
  • Deodorant (only roll-on is available here)
  • Cosmetics (available here but many have a bleaching component; if you look, you can find products without whitening the skin)
  • Quick-dry travel towel (This is a must. REI, L.L. Bean, etc., have really great ones.)

Notes about toiletries: They are available here, but if you have favorite products, bring them with you. Tampons or alternative sanitary methods, e.g., Diva cups, are difficult to find in Thailand; you should bring a two-year supply from home.

Electronics

  • Smartphone from the U.S. (if you have one; unlocked and can use a SIM card) Camera and charger
  • Small alarm clock (or use the alarm on a cellphone)
  • Lightweight computer (you can buy a computer here but it may have poorly manufactured parts and/or stolen software)
  • One USB drive/micro-storage device/external hard drive, to save technical and language training materials that will be provided to you at PST
  • Tablet or iPad
  • A voltage converter—if you are bringing any electronics

Miscellaneous

  • If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S. 
  • Small backpack for weekend travel
  • Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool
  • Games (e.g., Scrabble, Uno, or cards)
  • A small photo album with pictures from your life in the U.S., such as your American house, seasonal photos, and places you have visited
  • Souvenirs from home to give as gifts (e.g., magazines, coins, postcards, stamps, cool pens, flat/small gifts, etc. that are easy to carry)
  • Durable water bottle and insulated bottle (for coffee, e.g.,Thermos, Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask) that are easily washable
  • Contact information for resources in America (former employers, school loan information, colleges, organizations, etc.), which can useful for obtaining materials during service or for applying for jobs near the end of service
  • Teaching materials from the U.S. (for TCCS Volunteers), or wait and ask folks to mail things later when you know what you need
  • Access to some U.S. funds, for vacation or must-have purchases