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Written by Savi, 11 Comments


what to wear to temples in South East Asia
It’s best to wear covered clothes while visiting temples and palaces in South East Asia


I arrive at the door, prepared to marvel at the architecture and lacquered facade of ornate buildings but I’m stopped in my tracks by a sullen guard pointing to a stack of grubby looking shirts and sarongs. I’m told THAT bare arm needs to be covered with a hideously oversized shirt.


My flustered explanations about the hot weather or the glistening beads of sweat snaking their way past my face make no difference. It’s official – temples in Asia don’t take kindly to bare shoulders or knees.


If you don’t want to end up doing the ‘penguin walk’ with a sordid sarong wrapped tightly around your legs (attractive I know 😉 ), just wear a pair of loose trousers and a comfortable top while visiting temples and palaces in South East Asia. You can thank me later 😉


I wore a pair of peg leg trousers with a simple white shirt the day we visited The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. These trousers are super comfortable but their structured look makes it seem like one has made a bit of an effort – just the kinda thing I like 🙂 I added a gold brooch and gold loafers for a bit of bling and threw on a straw boater hat for some reprieve from the sun.


Guess what? The rule doesn’t apply only to women. Men need to steer clear of shorts and vests too. Vid’s wearing a pair of loose cotton trousers we picked from Siem Reap’s night market and a long-sleeved tee. We were celebrating ‘Green Trouser Day’ didn’t you know 😉



Savi wears :-

Shirt – Zara

Brooch, bag, and trousers – Topshop

Straw hat – H&M

Sunglasses – ASOS



Vid wears

Tee – ASOS

Trousers and bracelets – Local market in Cambodia

Flip flops – Adidas



what to wear to temples in South East Asia
Proper clothes are bound to make the day fun 🙂


what to wear to temples in South East Asia
Think ahead if you are going to be visiting temples in South East Asia


what to wear to temples in South East Asia
Loose cotton trousers are perfect for Asian summers


what to wear to temples in South East Asia
Arm candy? Ooh yeah!


what to wear in South East Asia temples
Opt for light trousers if you’re visiting temples in South East Asia


Need some inspiration on styling high-waist peg leg trousers? Check out this outfit post from Dubai or this one from Sicily 🙂

Packing for Cambodia? Check out all our outfit posts from Cambodia – there’s bright colours, maxi dresses, and gypsy necklaces on the menu

11 thoughts on “Covering Up for Asian Temples and Palaces

    1. We’re the same but we’ve been stranded with grubby shirts and sarongs one too many times, so now we’re totally pulling up our socks 😉

  1. I had a similar experience at a mosque in Turkey. I knew that bare legs and arms were not allowed inside the mosque so I wore a long top and tights. I was still asked to wear a sarong. I guess even tights are not allowed:) So from now on loose fitted trousers or a maxi dress with arms is a way to go!

    1. Hey Snig – I learnt this the hard way too. Although I still can’t believe they created a fuss over tights – damn!!

  2. I absolutely love this look. It’s so stunning and fashionable! I must buy the same trousers this summer, that’s for sure!

  3. Faced a similar situation in bangkok! LEarnt my lesson! I read temples and I know what not to wear for sure! This post is awesome!

  4. Yep! Another one of your readers who has gone through the same thing – last year in Sri Lanka, I had a skirt that our cab driver/guide said would be fine because it was just on the knee but sure enough, I had to do a walk of shame back from a temple in Kandy after I got turned away and didn’t have a sarong on me so only hubby got to look inside!! I’ve learned my lesson since then and think a pair of long, cool, loose trousers is a perfect solution – especially in that fabulous colour you’ve displayed!!

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