Living in Thailand, I sometimes forget people don’t always know what I am talking about when I mention common Thai things.
For instance, on the phone the other day, I was telling an American friend I was “wearing Thai fisherman pants”. She seemed to think I was setting off on a boat trip.
If you too are not familiar with Thai fisherman pants, here is a quick rundown on what they are, where to buy them and why you should.
What are Thai fisherman pants?
Thai fisherman pants come from a traditional Thai garment worn by Thai fisherman at an earlier point in Thailand’s history (you don’t see them wearing them that much nowadays).
The pants consist of a long tube of material (usually a heavy, rough cotton fabric) at the top of the body attached to two even larger tubes for the legs. You climb into the tube, putting one leg in each section, and then wrap the waistband across your stomach so it’s pulled tight and lays flat.
Tie the attached belt tight around your waist and fold over the top to conceal the belt. And voila, you are wearing Thai fisherman pants.
Watch the quick video below to see that in action.
Why buy Thai fisherman pants?
Thai fisherman pants are popular for doing yoga, wearing as pajamas, or by backpackers who often seem to wear nothing but the aforementioned pants while they are in Thailand.
You can also buy them in rayon and silk, although they don’t tend to wear as well and shrink markedly if you wash them. The cotton ones, on the other hand, will last for years.
Of course, the garment has been modified for fashion purposes and now is available in just about every color you can think of — unlike when traditional Thais wore them, and they normally came in blue or black.
Where to buy Thai fisherman pants?
You will find Thai fisherman pants all over Bangkok. Markets are the best place to buy them as they will have the cheapest prices, or at Khao San Road in Bangkok, at just about every Thai seaside resort and in any discount shopping mall (MBK in Bangkok has a good selection).
While they come in various price ranges, they should actually still be cheap. I never pay more than 150 baht for mine (around $5) and, often, if you shop at a large market like Chatuchak Weekend Market and buy five pairs or more, some stalls will drop the price as low as 100 baht per pair (3.05).