A friend and I are planning to visit Thailand in October, and I've been soaking up as much information as I possibly can since we began talking about it. (I love this site because it lets me research the trip when I'm supposed to be working!) Anyway, I've read a lot about the dress code for visiting temples (long-sleeved shirt, long pants and/or skirt), but I recently met a girl who had been to Thailand and told me I would also need to wear closed-toe shoes. Is this correct? She also told me that knee-length skirts aren't acceptable, only ankle-length. I want to be respectful of the culture, but I also don't want to buy and/or take with me a bunch of clothing that isn't really necessary. Any advice would be helpful!
#1 planetclare has been a member since 13/11/2006. Posts: 15
i remember having to take off my shoes when visiting the Reclining Buddha. don't remember being told to wear closed toe shoes. and i remember being told to cover knees and shoulders. i carried a vest around when visiting temples/wats. not sure about the shoes...
#2 MJS has been a member since 27/10/2006. Posts: 19
When I visited Thailand I wore sandals everywhere and there was no problem. I generally kept my knees covered (skirt or long pants) and carried a light shirt to chuck on over my tank top when going into temples.
I know that there are faux pas with respect to feet, but these are generally to do with pointing your feet at people, rather than covering your toes whilst walking around.
#3 queenzelda has been a member since 13/6/2007. Posts: 4
worn Tevas & slippers to temples before, more important thing is taking them off before entering temple buildings.
skirts need not be ankle-length, but long enough such that knees remain totally covered even when sitting or kneeling. wonder if has something to do with a rule that the Buddha set for monks ('sabong' part of their robes must cover navel & knees completely)...
shirts need not be long sleeved, short sleeves are fine. whole idea is no bare shoulders.
on bright side, the longer the sleeves/hem/cuffs, the greater the protection from mozzies ;)
my beloved used a strategy of wearing tank tops and shorts but carrying a long-sleeved white shirt and a sarong in her day pack to slip into when necessary. it gave her all the proper coverage she needed for the temples, including wat phra kaeo where they enforce this more than other places. the bonus of the sarong and the long-sleeved white shirt is that they are light weight, and gave extra protection from things like too much sun or too much air-con as well.
i've never heard anyone suggest that close-toed shoes were necessary, and up until recently most thais probably didn't wear them anyway. you should be fine with sandals and as the others have said, the most important part about shoes is to remove them before you enter the buildings housing Buddha images. regards.
Thanks, all--glad I got a second opinion! And that's a great tip about taking a sarong to throw on over shorts--I wouldn't have thought of that.
#6 planetclare has been a member since 13/11/2006. Posts: 15
If you go to Wat Phragaew in Bangkok then you are required to borrow a sarong. Open toed sandals are fine. Just cover your shoulders.
#8 asterisk has been a member since 19/6/2007. Posts: 1