Jocelyn Pollak

Five tips for women moving to Thailand

From clothing to underwear to the dating scene.

Gentlemen, step aside, this one is for the ladies. You guys are welcome to join if you’re curious though! 

Some of the most common questions I get asked are just simple women’s questions from clothing to hygiene to lifestyle. After 7 years in Thailand, I’m going to answer the top five questions I get from you ladies.

1. Can I get tampons there?

It’s really tough and if you can find them, they are OB with no applicator. They are expensive too. 

Thai women don’t use tampons so outside the expat grocery stores and high-end hotels, the chance of finding them is almost zero. If you’re teaching somewhere rural, forget it. Gentlemen, are you still with us? 

TIP: If you use tampons, buy a couple boxes and put them in freezer bags so they are easier to pack on your way over. Another option would be to switch to a menstrual cup. But try it out at home for a couple months, I wouldn’t suggest trying it for the first time in Thailand.  

2. Can I buy teacher appropriate clothes when I get there?

Yes, especially if you’re in the city. In Bangkok especially, you will have no issues at all finding great teacher clothes at any price tag. The markets are filled with great stuff but if you prefer something like Uniqlo or HM, that’s always an option too. 

TIP: Bring a few of your favorites over with you. A week’s worth of outfits should do it. When you get to Thailand, go on a shopping spree and supplement what you’ve already got!

3. I’m plus sized what’s available for me?

Average sized ladies, pay attention too. To give you some context, I’m 5’6” (167cm) and 135 lbs (61kg). In America, I wear a size S or XS t-shirt and a size 4 pants. In Thailand I am a L or XL top and typically whatever the largest sized pants you can buy. 

If you’re much larger than me, you may want to do a little more stocking up at home for teacher clothes (for backpacker clothes, they are sized for a larger frame). Smaller ladies, you won’t have any trouble. There are some plus sized options but they’re still few and far between and what is available is typically not particularly stylish. 

TIP: If you’re planning to be somewhere rural, bring more stuff. In the city, you’ll be able to find more, but you may just be more comfortable in what you bring from home.

4. What’s with bras? Can I find them?

To be honest, I’ve actually never bought a bra in Thailand. Of course, you can get them here but again, unless you’ve got a really small frame, it’s going to be challenging to find that perfect fit. 

TIP: They don’t take up too much space so you may want to bring a few of your most comfortable, favorite ones with you. No one wants to spend all day teaching in an ill-fitting bra. This goes for sports bras too, bring a couple along especially if you’re larger. 

5. Tell me about the dating scene. Am I going to meet my teacher/traveler soul mate?

Never say never…. But in this case, I’m going to be really honest, for Western women, finding a partner is tough in Thailand but not impossible. 

People here are really active on the dating apps. Tinder and Bumble are both pretty popular here. 

TIP: Be open minded! Try dating Thai men, have a night with a traveler, there are a lot of options in the cities. 

Meetup groups are a great way to meet people in general. BUT, be prepared to do a lot of girl’s nights and self-love. There are plenty of blogs out there detailing the trials and tribulations of the dating scene in Thailand for women. 

Thailand is a wonderful place for women to live. It’s safe (just be smart, use common sense), people are super friendly and helpful if you need something and its just plain fun. So ladies, head on over, but don’t forget your box of tampons!

Jocelyn is the co-founder of award-winning digital TEFL course, TEFLPros


I wish I had been more clear on the whole clothing availability(and prices) thing prior to coming to Thailand. As a size 14/16US, I scoured the internet and online groups for clarification of what I would or would not be able to get here in Thailand, especially since I was a) not coming directly from the US, and b) was only bringing a 60L backpack for clothes. The reality is, clothes in my size are not available in most places, and what is available is quite ugly and overpriced. And oh how the Thai vendors love to casually shout "You! Big Sai! (big size!) big Sai!" and shake their head no, and shoo you away. It was quite embarrassing at first and still rather irritating to be honest.

Also, my school uniform requirements changed a gazillion times after my arrival, based on switching to a different school (within the same company), the King's coronation, death of a former Prime Minister, etc etc. So ladies, bring enough clothes so that you are prepared. Most importantly, have a knee length or longer solid back skirt, a yellow shirt, a solid black shirt, and probably a purple shirt as well. I had to buy yellow, purple, and black polos after arriving, as I didn't have these colors with me and was made to wear them for months at a time depending on factors mentioned above, and also could only find men's polos to fit my not-Thai-woman-sized frame. And I strongly dislike polo shirts. So if you can find some blouses in your size (nothing showing cleavage nor sleeveless though) prior to arrival, do it! Oh, and be aware that most Thai clothes for females are made from polyester... Aka the last thing you want to be wearing when there's a heat index of 115 degrees for months on end.

By Dawn, Ratchaburi (14th July 2019)

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