What to Wear When Visiting Temples

Visiting temples is high on the list of many travelers because of the history, culture, and beliefs behind the structures. Temples are also a feast for the eyes, with their intricate designs and details. It’s exciting to visit temples, but travelers must be reminded about the rules and etiquette they must observe. The most crucial part that you can prepare for is what to wear when visiting temples.

While every temple has its own dress code, here are the general rules and recommended clothing:



No Sleeveless Tops

First, do not wear sleeveless tops, spaghetti straps, or tank tops. Even if the weather is hot, temples do not allow visitors who wear these clothes. The general rule is to make sure your shoulders and lower part of the chest are covered. If it is sunny during your visit, you might want to wear a light shirt or blouse but not see-through. Avoid sweaters with holes too. Tight, super short-sleeved shirts may not make the cut. To be sure, pack long-sleeved shirts, blouses that do not reveal too much skin, or a big scarf or light jacket. 



No Short Shorts

In general, temples discourage denim. No short shorts and miniskirts for the ladies. They should keep their skirts or shorts down to the knee (if shorts are allowed at the temple you are visiting. Avoid wearing tattered pants. Tight leggings are discouraged too. The important message of the rule here is to not show your legs. For example, if you are embarking on a Bangkok temple tour, the main policy is to not wear revealing clothes. 



What To Wear

PeterAitch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For ladies, you can visit the temples wearing a maxi dress, jumpsuit, or Thai sarong. For men, sportswear and bare chest are not allowed. The Grand Palace prohibits short hot pants or short pants, bike pants, and torn pants. When entering a Balinese temple, the mandatory attire is a long sarong with a temple scarf worn around the waist.

For your feet, wear proper sandals or closed shoes. Some temples would ask you to take off your shoes and wear socks when entering their edifices. Remove your hats and sunglasses too. You may also want to remove flashy accessories and pieces of jewelry. These items will only distract other visitors and attract thieves. 

Know that when you are going to a temple, you are not simply visiting a tourist destination, but you are entering a place of worship. It’s good to check the dress code of a temple before your visit. 



*Photo via KKday supplier