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Wearing Red in Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam

  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    So I'm packing for my trip and it has come to my attention that I have a lot of red clothing. Most of which I can easily avoid bringing. But I'm looking to bring a longer pair of shorts for temples and whatnot and I only have 2 pairs that are longer. One are so bulky and heavy, I just don't want to bring them. They would take up so much space and be really hot. The other are red board shorts. So they are really light. But they are most definitely red.

    Is this a concern? I won't be going to Bangkok, but instead staying in southern Thailand. Phuket, Krabi, Trang.

    As well, is red a problem in neighboring countries? Cambodia, Vietnam?

    Thoughts?

    #1 Posted: 15/2/2014 - 21:31

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  • Arikara1985

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 32

    I wore red all throughout Thailand and Cambodia back in September without issue (2 red tshirts and my hat which was the Canada Day Blue Jay's ball cap). In Chiang Mai I had a tuk tuk driver mention it, he said wearing red in some places can be dangerous but Chiang Mai is red so you're OK here.

    Unless you look somewhat like a local or hanging around demonstrations I don't see it being much of an issue.

    #2 Posted: 15/2/2014 - 22:00

  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    Well I definitely won't look like a local (light brown hair - green eyes), but I guess I'm wondering if they feel it's disrespectful and then things go sideways. I also just realized my backpack, while orange to most, probably would look red to many. Especially all the color blind males out there. ;) No offense. haha.

    #3 Posted: 15/2/2014 - 22:56

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    I can't really comment on Thai politics but I'm quite certain that if you're "white" you won't be mistaken for an activist.


    As for the other countries: in many asian/budhist countries red is considered the color of luck. Especially when worn on a sunday. I've lived 5 years in Cambodia now and the only comment I heard (from my staff) was why I wasn't wearing my red t-shirt on sunday.

    #4 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 02:56

  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    Thanks eastwest. Yes, I'm white. Well, I get very dark, so maybe not literally, but very obviously a westerner. I think most of my red shorts wearing would actually take place in Cambodia and Vietnam actually. So that's good to hear.

    I had heard of some tourists who were attacked a while ago for wearing red. Though I don't have any memory of where or when I read that. So I don't know how reliable it is. I just thought better safe than sorry.

    #5 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 03:09

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6241
    Total reviews: 10

    I doubt any tourists were attacked for wearing Red. The color alone is not a sufficient indicator of political orientation. There was probably more to the story. And unless you were at a demo, it would be very unlikely you would be attacked anyway. You might be asked about it. This time around there hasn't been a lot of violence at all concerning the demos. Could change, but it's been pretty low key. A small time bombing or two, a few shootings and some scuffles. That's about it.

    #6 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 03:24

  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    Great thanks. I figured it probably wasn't as big of a concern as some are claiming, but I just thought I'd ask anyway. I love my comfy red board shorts! :)

    #7 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 03:26

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6241
    Total reviews: 10

    For some strange reason people like the idea of the hidden cultural trap. In my 7 years of living here I have found all of that nonsense is grossly overblown. Where you point your feet, how to dress, touching the head... yes, there are elements of truth in all of that, but guide books will make it sound like they're big deals where you will have serious trouble if you cross the line. Intent is hugely important in all cases. And a "sorry" almost always is a get out of jail free card here.

    #8 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 03:45

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Need long pants for temples. Any red tshirt is fine.

    #9 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 04:51

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Yes touching a stranger on the head is rude in any country. You shouldnt touch buddha images on the head.though.

    #10 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 04:53

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  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    I was told long shorts are fine. I've seen pictures of all sorts of attire at Angkor Wat!

    Not that I have any intention of being disrespectful, but only so much fits in a 40L bag. Long pants aren't really making the cut.

    #11 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 05:00

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Cambodia isnt Thailand. Grand Palace and select others u need long pants and covered shoulders.

    Long cotton pants and tshirt with arms is fine. Can buy long pants over there for 150 baht or so.

    #12 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 05:03

  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    I see. As I mentioned, I'm only going to southern thailand. So no Grand Palace or any temples in my plans.

    #13 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 05:05

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    How can u be solo.if its girls?

    #14 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 05:08

  • SoloGirls

    Joined Travelfish
    24th October, 2013
    Posts: 45

    There are many of us.

    #15 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 05:10

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 881
    Total reviews: 14

    "I had a tuk tuk driver mention it, he said wearing red in some places can be dangerous but Chiang Mai is red so you're OK here."

    The tuk tuk driver must have been messing around. The idea of foreigners being harassed for wearing a red shirt anywhere in Thailand is absurd, even in the middle of anti-government protest sites. It would never happen unless the foreigner were an obviously hostile / out-spoken government supporter, in which case their clothing wouldn't matter anyway.

    I run almost every night in Lumpini Park, which is now filled with camping anti-government protesters. Even there, I regularly see Thais wearing red shirts as they walk or run in the park. Yes, they're probably wearing red as a way to show which side they're on, but I've never seen anyone mess with them for it. After all, it's just a shirt. And Suthep (anti-government leader) wore red all through the Chinese new years.

    By the way, Leonard is right about the Grand Palace but that's one of very few places that requires long pants or skirts. At Wat Pho and others they provide sarongs for people wearing shorts. I don't think there are any temples in the places you're going where long shorts won't be fine. Just cover the shoulders and knees. Then again, I once saw a very moronic young lady stroll into a temple in a bikini -- happens plenty on Phuket, but obviously not recommended.

    #16 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 06:26

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6241
    Total reviews: 10

    "Long pants aren't really making the cut."

    Funny, it's the only thing I wear. I hate shorts and never wear them. Don't even own any.

    #17 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 09:31

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    People used to say dont wear army cargo shorts in Cambodia and Burma. Is that still the case?

    #18 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 19:38

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    There's certainly plenty of camoflage trousers for sale on stalls in Cambodia - even arctic coloured ones! Don't think it's a problem here. Some visitors like to avoid wearing army gear - I've heard the same for Africa too - but it's unlikely that a tourist is going to be mistaken for a soldier!

    #19 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 21:31

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6241
    Total reviews: 10

    .... or a member of the now defunct KR.

    #20 Posted: 16/2/2014 - 22:18

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Thats what i thought.

    #21 Posted: 17/2/2014 - 00:52

  • buttonbridge

    Joined Travelfish
    21st November, 2010
    Posts: 32

    When I visited the Grand Palace In BKK a couple of years ago I was told that they would 'provide' long pants for this in shorts, and shoulder cover for the ladies.

    A few people I know went for this as the very baggy and outrageous colour pants were a 'laugh' to them.

    However, the joke was on them as they queued for ages to get their clothing.

    #22 Posted: 17/2/2014 - 08:12

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6241
    Total reviews: 10

    Why you wouldn't just wear proper attire in the first place I just don't know.

    #23 Posted: 17/2/2014 - 09:57

  • buttonbridge

    Joined Travelfish
    21st November, 2010
    Posts: 32

    I agree MADMAC, but you know how some people can be? And as I said they got their comeuppance

    #24 Posted: 17/2/2014 - 14:50

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