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Southeast Asia forum

Dressing in South-East Asia

Posted by flipflip on 20/3/2011 at 11:03

I am travelling to South-East Asia for 6 weeks in April/May. I will be going to Borneo & Vietnam with some friends and then doing a GAP short tour through Cambodia & Laos (solo).

Just a little confused about the dress code and what I should be packing - I do not want to offend or look out of place for "showing too much leg" etc. I am planning to pack a few pairs of shorts (mid-thigh), a pair of 3/4 pants (for temples etc), a pair of jeans and a variety of tshirts/tank tops.

Is this acceptable? Can I wear the mid-thigh shorts most places without a hassle?

#1 flipflip has been a member since 19/3/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by sayadian on 20/3/2011 at 17:23

I take 2 shorts, one long pants with plenty zip pockets-that's the main consideration to keep your wallet etc safe.4 t-shirts and some underwear.It's always been enough as there are so many laundries over there and you can rinse out a t-shirt in the night and it's dry in the morning.
As far as Wats etc are concerned -wear the longs with a t-shirt though I see plenty locals wearing shorts in Wats these days

#2 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
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Posted by busylizzy on 20/3/2011 at 17:33

I wouldn't bother with the jeans - too hot and too heavy in the pack. They also take a long to dry when you wash them, which could be a problem if you're on the move regularly.

Basically, when you are in the main touristy areas, the shorts and strappy tops are more acceptable. The more remote you get, visting local villages, and other areas that don't see a large number of tourists, the more uncomfortable you will feel if you are wearing skimpier clothing. And yes, it can be disrespectful. If I'm visiting a family in their home and going to visit less-touristy temples, I wear the longer shorts or 3/4 length trousers, and a Tshirt (not a strappy top). Some girls wear the skimpier tops but have a light scarf over their shoulders when needed.

At Angkor, they ask visitors to dress respectably but many don't. Many also clamber all over the crumbling temple walls to get their photo opps - also disrespectful in my books.

It's always hard - I really feel the heat, and hate wearing Tshirts and tops that cover my shoulders. I prefer singlet/tank tops/strappy tops - but sometimes have to sacrifice that to ensure I can visit villages, etc without feeling uncomfortable due to stares, etc.

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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