Thai fisherman pants

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Thai fisherman pants (Thai: กางเกงเล Thai pronunciation: [kaaŋ.keeŋ.lee], Lannaสะดอ Northern Thai pronunciation: [sa.dɔɔ]) are lightweight unisex trousers that are made very wide in the waist so that one size fits all. The pants are wrapped around the waist and ribbons are tied to form a belt. The excess material is then folded over the knot. Although traditionally used by fishermen in Thailand, they have become popular among others for casual, beach, and exercise wear as well as for backpacking and pregnancy.

Thai fishermen do in reality wear this style of pants. They are also increasingly common among many men and women of all nationalities. This style of trousers is usually made of cotton or rayon but is also now widely available in a variety of styles and fabrics, such as hemp, bamboo, or linen.

Thai fisherman pants are very similar to the traditional attire of Intha males, who live on Inle Lake of Myanmar. They are known in Burmese as Shan baun-mi.[1]


Thai fishermen in boats

Traditionally, the pants were worn by Thai fisherman (hence the name) due to their ability to dry very quickly, being very easy to make and allowing for free movement, all required criteria for this line of work.[2]

Another piece of traditional wear for thai fisherman was a sarong, which is a simpler version of the fisherman pants, but with a skirt style with only one piece of cloth wrapped around the waist. During the warm summer, the sarong was a popular choice due to its airy nature allowing the fishermen to be cooler in the heat of the summer. However, the sarong's simple design meant that it was not very secure around the waist, and with a rocking fishing boat where the only way to stay stable is to keep moveing, the skirt style was not suitable and a more regular "pants" style was popularised, along with an adjustable string around the waist to hold them up.[3]

Now, Thai fisherman pants are worn by many more people as loose fitting, comfortable pants worn during indoor activities that require a wide range of movement such as Tai Chi, yoga and meditation, or outdoor activities, such as camping, backpacking or other activities that require movement. Many people have also found them useful during pregnancy, due to their adaptable waistline and soft yet durable material.

The pants now come in a large range of colours and styles due to their commercialisation when traditionally only made in blue or black.[4] Many retailers across the world sell Thai fisherman pants, including huge international retailers, as well as specialised websites that sell the pants as their only product.

They are also relatively cheap and are easy to make when compared to other types of pants such as jeans. They are largely made of a cotton blend and do not have to be dyed extensively, so they are often made by an individual as a DIY project from an old piece of clothing.[5]


There are in-depth guides on how to put on Thai fisherman pants as they must be put on in a very specific way to meet their purpose.[6] This is because they aren't fitted like regular pants; they are fitted to one specific size. Depending on the individual wearing them, they should be tied to the waistline. To wear them, one first puts them on regularly as with any other pants, expecting them to be very loose. Then one side of the pants is tightened around the waist. This is repeated with the other side, and the lace is used to tie off the entire pair around the waist. The wearer may adapt the waist measurements to whatever size is necessary, making Thai fisherman pants the speciality that they are, allowing for all shapes and sizes of people to wear them for multiple purposes.


  1. ^ "What are Thai Fisherman Pants? (with pictures)". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  2. ^ "About Thai wrap Fisherman Pants". siam-secrets. Retrieved 2016-11-09. 
  3. ^ "Fisherman Pants - what they are all about?". BohoHill access-date=2016-11-19. 
  4. ^ "What are Thai Fisherman Pants and Where Do You Buy Them?". Tasty Thailand. Retrieved 2016-11-09. 
  5. ^ "How to sew summer-wrap-around-pants". instructables. Retrieved 2016-11-09. 
  6. ^ "How to Wear Thai Fisherman Pants". wikihow. Retrieved 2016-11-09.