What to pack for Southeast Asia?
--- an ultimate list for backpacking ---
In general there are two types of people when we talk about packing for the holiday. Those who love it and pick carefuly every item on the list and think about it fourteen times before they put it in the bag. Those people have everything ready couple weeks before the date. The other kind of people hate packing so much that they start to throw things in the backpack half in panic just couple hours before the departure.
No matter which group you belong to, we thought we could give you some packing tips because we spent quite lot of time in Southeast Asia.
Everyone has different needs, of course, but you can alternate the items on our list, so it suits you.
Before we start, there are few thing you should remember:
Buy a smaller backpack
Bigger backpack you buy, more things you are gonna pack and carry around. How many litres? 60 litres is way too much, 35 litres is maybe too little. It should be comfortable, nothing else matters. It will get dirty and smelly soon, anyway.
Repeat this mantra 10 times. Yes, everyone says it and it is TRUE. Believe us that you are gonna regret every sock you took extra when you are gonna carry the backpack in 40 degrees for more than 500 metres.
You are gonna take out and pack in everything at least two times every day, so you should think first how you are gonna organize your backpack. Use your common sense. If you know you use the sunscream every 2 hours, don't put it to the bottom. Use different packing bags for your clothes. You don't need to buy anything expensive made special for traveling. We use IKEA packing bags and they are fine. Tip: Pack some extra zip lock bags.
Buy there or take from home?
You can REALLY buy everything you need in Southeast Asia, but if you own the most of it, it makes sense to pack it with you. It is actually not that important if you are going to take it from home or buy it there. You are gonna carry it, anyway. So keep it in mind reading our list. Sure you can buy the most things everywhere, but do you really want to spend a day in a supermarket finding all the stuff you could take from home?
I like to use a money belt for my passport, credit card, insurance card and money not because of the robbery (all the thieves know about them), but I like to have them on my body on one place, so I don't need to think about them. And it works for picpockets! For the rest - tickets, documents, copy of our passports, vaccination card etc. I use the travel document wallet.
- small backpack
- money belt: passport, visa, insurance, money, credit card
- travel document wallet: tickets, vaccination card, ID photos
- waterproof bag - for your essentials not to get wet
- small notebook & pen
- phone & charger & headphones
- camera & charger
CLOTHES & SHOES
- 2x shorts/ leggins 3/4
- 2x pants/harem pants - whatever you like, it needs to be comfy
- 3x T-shirt - not only tank tops- when your shoulders are sunburned
- 1x long-sleeve T-shirt
- 1x warm sweatshirt
- 1x dress
- 4 pairs of socks - you wear open shoes more often
- underwear and sports bra
- bikini/ swim suit
- first aid kit
- toiletry bag - click here to see the inside.
- microfibre towel
- sarong - extremely useful multifunctional piece of clothing
works as extra towel, beach skirt, blanket, head scarf,
beach mat, curtain to make a shade,
use it in the temples to cover your legs
- sun glasses
- neck tube scarf
- water filter - it can save your life
- spoon & small swiss knife
- small light/head light
- lock – only if you are staying in dorms
- travel kit - eye mask, ear plugs, inflatable neck pillow,
compression socks, travel sickness wrist bands
6 THINGS YOU THINK YOU NEED, BUT YOU DON'T
- hat - you can't fold it
- jeans - heavy and too warm
- mosquito net - usually there is nothing to hang it on
- make up - in the heat and dust? come on!
- sleeping bag - it won't save you from bed bugs
- adapter - depends where you come from