Should You Get Dreadlocks in Thailand and If So Where?

Dreadlocks, Thailand - copyright by ruben i - Creative Commons License


One thing many travelers do when they arrive in Thailand on vacation is have dreadlocks put in their hair. While getting dreadlocks might seem a cool idea at the time and, in Thailand, it’s cheap, is it a good idea to get dreadlocks done in Thailand and, if so, where?

Where To Get Dreadlocks Done in Thailand – As you’d expect, many of the places where you can have dreadlocks put in your hair are in stereotypical backpacker and hippie areas. In Bangkok, Khao San Road is where most people have them done. Here, you can get dreadlocks at one of the hair salons near or on Khao San Road or, if you don’t mind sitting on a stool in the hot sun, there are several places on the street itself and, of course, they’re the cheapest.

Just make sure you drink plenty of fluids while you’re having it done. Average temperature in Bangkok is 90 degrees and getting dreadlocks put in takes a few hours. You don’t want to pass out before the hairdresser is done.

Other popular places to get dreadlocks are on the beaches on Thai islands like Koh Chang, Koh Lanta, and Koh Phi Phi. You’ll also find several hairdressers in Chiang Mai that are well known for doing a good job – just ask for recommendations at the guest house where you’re staying. Finally, Pai, the northern Thai hippie-turned-trendy-and-fashionable town has a couple of shops that do a great job but at prices more expensive than Khao San Road.

Should You Get Dreadlocks Done in Thailand? – While the purists say you shouldn’t have dreads done artificially ie: by a hairdresser, but should do them yourself or let your hair naturally go that way, so many people now have a hairstylist put dreads in for them, fighting against it seems a bit silly.

If you do want to have dreads put in professionally, having them done in Thailand will cost you only about a quarter of what the cost would be in the west. Thai hairdressers are also extremely good at their craft, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who had their dreadlocks done in Thailand who wasn’t happy with them. So, if you’ve already made up your mind you want dreadlocks, you’ll find them cheaper to get than in the west so, why not.

Traveling Around Thailand With Dreadlocks – One thing you should consider though, before you have dreads put in, is if it will negatively affect your travel experience in Thailand. While Thais are relaxed about many things and always friendly and helpful, you will find you are treated differently if you have dreadlocks in Thailand, no matter that you’ll see people, many Westerners and some oung Thais, wearing them.

Thailand is a conservative country so anything out of the ‘norm’ is always looked at as a little suspicious. Appearance is also extremely important in Thailand and Thais judge you more often over the way you look than they do over who you are or what you say.

As far as dreads go though, my guess is that most Thais would never bat an eye about someone wearing dreads if it wasn’t for the fact that many backpackers, a substantial percentage of whom do have dreads, aren’t exactly the most honest or moral when it comes to their dealings with Thais.

So, if you do have dreads put in and are planning on staying in backpacker-type areas, just be aware the way you’re looked at and treated may be a little more condescending than it would be if you didn’t have the dreads.

Also, be aware, once you have dreadlocks put in the only way to get them out, if you don’t want to spend many hours unpicking them, is to shave your head and start again. That means, make sure you’re not having dreadlocks put in on a whim while you’re in Thailand because, once they’re in, the next stage for you is bald. And that’s not always a good look for everybody.