Photo: Almost Maldivian at Ao Noi, Ko Kut.

Thailand forum

What to wear to temples?

Posted by escape4ever on 18/3/2012 at 19:59

I have been told a few different things about what I can wear to temples. Can capris be worn or does it have to be pants? Any advice on this would be great.

#1 escape4ever has been a member since 29/1/2012. Posts: 38

Posted by altmtl on 18/3/2012 at 20:18

I wear capris all the time, never a problem.

#2 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 995
 Send altmtl a private message   Website   Twitter   Facebook  


Posted by MADMAC on 18/3/2012 at 21:50

Capris are reasonably conservative apparrel, so I can't imagine it would be a problem. Just use common sense. Wear something decent and clean and you'll be fine. It's not quite the same thing as going to church - where people wear their "Sunday best". But if you did wear that level of clothing, that would be OK too. Avoid the "grunge" look, and worse avoid actually being grungy.

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by neosho on 18/3/2012 at 21:56

At the Grand Palace you will have the touts telling you that your shoes and stuff are not Ok and want to take you someplace to buy something proper. Right inside is a place where they will give you whatever you need.

#4 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by altmtl on 18/3/2012 at 22:02

really? That's hilarious...

#5 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 995
 Send altmtl a private message   Website   Twitter   Facebook  

Posted by MADMAC on 18/3/2012 at 22:04

There's always someone trying to run a scam. If they ain't cheatin', they ain't tryin'

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by escape4ever on 20/3/2012 at 16:31

Thanks for the info. Just heard from a friend who just got back and she said a girl was sent back to change as she was wearing capris. Guess I'll chance it.

#7 escape4ever has been a member since 29/1/2012. Posts: 38

Posted by busylizzy on 20/3/2012 at 17:11

It can depend on whether you or girl or guy maybe?

When visiting a mosque in Putrajaya, my capris were longer than the capri's that my male friend was wearing. I had to wear a pink 'bunny suit' over the top of my clothing (even though my shoulders were covered) to enter the temple whereas he didn't. At least there was no one there trying to sell me something to wear - the mosque provided the pink gowns.

#8 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
 Send busylizzy a private message   Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by MADMAC on 21/3/2012 at 00:25

I think it depends on the temple too. We have a Thai girl who sells drinks over at the temple across my street and she's wearing short shorts and a spaghetti strap top. But it's just a regular, everyday temple and she doesn't go into the buildings, she's just on the grounds selling her stuff.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by sayadian on 21/3/2012 at 03:04

Obviously I've been out of the scene for awhile because I've never heard of Capris.Can someone enlighten me?

#10 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
 Send sayadian a private message 

Posted by MADMAC on 21/3/2012 at 03:08

You can google it up - they're the three quarter length pants that are popular with kids today, as well as backpackers.

#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 


Posted by wanderingcat on 21/3/2012 at 03:11

as #9 said, it depends on the temple. & whether you enter the temple buildings (esp consecrated areas) or need to talk to a monk.

in Thailand, some temples have 'Royal status' (further subdivided into Special Class, Class 1, Class 2 & Class 3) - these tend to be the major ones in Bangkok & province capitals, & the ones that many tourists visit (e.g. Temple of the Emerald Buddha within the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Suthat & the Marble Temple in Bangkok, & Wat Phra Singh in Chiangmai). dress code is stricter in these temples, & enforced for the 'highest class' ones. strictest dress code is for the Temple of the Emerald Buddha - the only one that has 'Special Class' status (& palaces incl Vimanmek Mansion): http://www.palaces.thai.net/day/new/gp/helpful_gp.htm

& then you have the smaller temples all across the country, both in towns & the countryside. they are public areas/community space, serving as carparks, space for kids to play in, festival grounds, etc. here, just need to keep knees & shoulders covered (midriff too - have seen tourists who think that 'knees & shoulders covered' means they can wear really short tops & low slung jeans, exposing their belly & butt crack), so capris are fine. locals do bare their shoulders - if they are old wizened grandmothers or women in full traditional dress for festivals/events.

there are also a relatively small number (~5%) of temples belonging to the Dhammayut order (some people refer to them loosely as the 'forest tradition') e.g. Wat Bowon in Bangkok (many are in Isaan) - dress code (& even behaviour code) in these temples tend to be stricter.

#12 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
 Send wanderingcat a private message   Where has wanderingcat been?   Website 

Posted by MADMAC on 21/3/2012 at 03:24

"locals do bare their shoulders - if they are old wizened grandmothers or women in full traditional dress for festivals/events."

The times they are a changin' because the woman I referenced is about 25 with a damn nice body. It's the reason I remmember.

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by wanderingcat on 21/3/2012 at 04:32

#13:
i've seen locals dressed like that on temple grounds too. but as you said earlier, they don't step inside the temple buildings like the ubosot.

#14 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
 Send wanderingcat a private message   Where has wanderingcat been?   Website 

Posted by escape4ever on 21/3/2012 at 08:10

All great info..thanks! Wanderingcat I just read the link you posted. It says sandals without ankle straps can't be worn either. Do you actually wear shoes in the temple or do you take them off?

#15 escape4ever has been a member since 29/1/2012. Posts: 38

Posted by wanderingcat on 21/3/2012 at 10:15

#15:
footwear is removed only when entering temple buildings, entering the area immediately around the main chedi/stupa (this is only in some temples though), or presenting offerings to a monk. most temples that are tourist attractions will have 'no shoes' signs in English at the entrance of temple buildings, & in some cases racks for footwear too.

that link is specifically for the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace grounds, & other royal palaces, which have the strictest dress code & actively enforce it. with the exception of these places, i've been wearing flipflops to temples in Thailand for 25+ years :P

#16 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
 Send wanderingcat a private message   Where has wanderingcat been?   Website 

Posted by MADMAC on 24/3/2012 at 06:13

Oh, this was a good one. Last week (or the week before, I lost track) we had a ceremony here at this memorial for the two princeses who died in the Mekong when a storm suddenly blew in. At least that's the story. There's a little shrine there. So what did they have at the ceremony? Coyote dancers. I kid you not. We got monks chanting, food... and then coyote dancers. A Thai friend of mine was there and I said "What's wrong with this picture?" and she said wondering the same thing.

#17 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by bedu on 29/3/2012 at 04:58

Most temples I've been to let me in wearing flip flops, shorts and a T-shirt.

The exception to this is Wat Phra Kaew. You will need to wear a shirt that at least covers your shoulders and long (ish) trousers. Flips flops appear to be a no-no and so shoes/trainers need to be worn.

When I went with someone wearing shorts, the staff directed him into a side office where he rented some trousers and then got back his deposit on the way out.

Thais, however, can walk in wearing whatever the hell they want to. And they do!

#18 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58


Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.