Thailand Elephant Pants just say no

Thailand Elephant Pants

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About

Thailand Elephant Pants refers to a pair of cheap, light, elephant-patterned shalwar pants commonly worn by tourists visiting Thailand. The pants became the subject of memes and criticism in the late 2010s for their perceived prominence among Thailand's tourists, continuing to inspire memes throughout the early 2020s.

History

According to an article on the "History of Thai Elephant Pants" by bodegahostels.com,[1] the traditional name for the light, breezy style of pants commonly featuring the elephant pattern is "shalwar," which comes from the Persian and Turkish work meaning "pants." It is unclear when exactly the distinct elephant pattern was first produced, however, the article attributes their popularity to being "very cheaply mass-produced, festooned with brightly colored Thai or Asian symbols, are pretty comfortable to wear." An article on the Tourist Bangkok[10] website claims you can get the pants for between 70 to 250 baht depending on where you shop, which is around $2 to $8 U.S.

Online, the popularity of the pants has been noted as early as August 4th, 2013, when they were discussed by the xventures Wordpress[2] blog as something the author never wants to wear, writing:

Most of the backpackers on the Southeast Asia trail are young, a little bit tree-huggy, like to drink and smoke, and wear these cotton, baggy, long pants with elephants on them. I refuse to wear elephant pants, but some of my favorite travel buddies I’ve met love them. “They’re so comfortable!” Yes, I could imagine.

Online Presence

The elephant pants became an increasingly popular talking point online throughout the 2010s and 2020s, also inspiring memes. On June 13th, 2015, Souvenir Finder[3] published an article reviewing the pants as a souvenir. On November 9th, 2017, the Facebook[4] page Elephant Pants of Shame was opened, judgementally sharing images of people wearing elephant pants between then and 2020 (examples shown below).


SARTPLO RBAN 2 3 4

On July 11th, 2019, /u/Uhh_Charlie posted a meme to /r/suspiciouslyspecific[5] about the meaning behind the pants in Thailand, garnering over 13,000 upvotes in five years (shown below, left). On January 20th, 2020, SCMP[6] published an article titled, "Want to look like a local in Thailand? Don’t wear ‘elephant pants.'"

On October 28th, 2022, Facebook[7] page The Travel Bible posted a fake Spirit Halloween costume meme about the pants, garnering over 40,000 reactions and 4,600 shares in two years (shown below, right).


The "I went to Thailand and stroked a heavily-sedated tiger and it was a life- changing experience" bottoms SPIRIT Cooked NOMAD I'M A TRAVELLER NOT A TOURIST Included: -Elephant pants -Sangsom bucket XXX XX X X X X XXXX XXXXXXXXX NRAD -7-11 gift card -Chang/leo wife beater -Temporary wanderlust tattoo -Full Moon Party ticket -A guitar to annoy your hostel mates Not Included: -Shampoo -Money -Return flight ADULT Size Costume ONE SIZE FITS MOST XXXXXXXXXXX Chang Only 50 baht!

On May 22nd, 2023, the @bangkok.explore Instagram[8] page shared a video filming numerous Thailand tourists wearing the pants, captioned, "POV: You go to tourist spots in Thailand," garnering over 98,000 likes in 10 months. On July 11th, the video was shared in an article by Asia One[9] titled "This choice of clothing is so popular among tourists in Bangkok that netizens are amused." On September 26th, TikToker[10] @thailandvsglobe posted a similar video, garnering over 200,000 views in six months (shown below).

@thailandvsglobe No kidding, it's the latest trend, especially thanks to those Korean celebrities, that got Thais sporting elephant pants more often now 😄 But, you know, it's still kind of a touristy thing. But hey, when you're in Thailand, why not, right? They're perfect for this Thai weather! ☀️🐘 ⁣ ⁣⁣ #thailand #bangkok #thailandtravelguide #thailandtraveltips #thailandvlog #thailandtrip #thailandvsglobe ♬ Queen Omega Little Lion Sound No Love – Little Lion Sound

Various Examples


Just say no Chayut ໄຊຢດ @ChayutSet An unscientific approach of measuring tourism in #Thailand is the Elephant Pants Index. Mostly bought and worn by first-time visitors to the kingdom. So more pants, more arrivals. 11:50 AM - Apr 6, 2019 NIKE That moment when you realize that Not a single Thai person wears elephant trousers. The "I love Thai culture" starter pack GoPro Be a HERO. Chan 100s ราง FULLMOON PARTY

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 1 total

Recent Images 11 total



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