What to pack for Southeast Asia! (travelling anywhere from 1 – 12+ months)
Hopefully by now, you’ve read our Suitcase VS Backpack article, and have made your choice. Now you’ve got to decide what goes into it! The important thing to remember is that there are shops across the whole of Southeast Asia – if you forget something, don’t worry, chances are you’ll be able to get it there.
Now like every typical twenty-something year old girl, I have a slight tendency to over pack. This time, I’ve buckled down so we can both fit our stuff into one suitcase, (We took more on our 5 day trip to Paris) and I’m going to have to face the fact that I might have to wear the same pair of shorts 3 days in a row, and that’s okay!
However, we aren’t 100% breathing and bleeding the generic backpack traveller lifestyle, and still want to look and feel confident in our appearance. Maybe even get dressed up once in a blue moon for a nice evening meal and some drinks. If that sounds like you, carry on reading, if that doesn’t fit your style of travelling, and you would rather take bare minimum and will roll your eyes at the mention of taking a nice perfume and hair straighteners, there are plenty of other lists on the internet which might be better suited to your style of travelling.
The following lists are for people taking either a suitcase or a large backpack. If you are taking a small backpack or just hand luggage, you’ll be able to find a great list online which shows you the best way to compact what you take. (Unfortunately, we’re not too clued up on this area)
Men, let’s start with you, your packing list should look something like this…
- 1 pair of trousers – most temples require you to cover your legs
- 2 pairs of swimming shorts
- 3 pairs of shorts – made up of 2 casual and 1 dress shorts
- 3 t-shirts
- 2 vest tops
- 2 dress shirts
- 1 exercise/sports outfit
- 1 pair trainers/walking shoes – good quality ones that won’t break during a tough hike
- 1 pair sandals/sliders – ideal to keep in your bag if your feet get wet, but also for beach and pool days
- 1 pair nice shoes for occasions
- 1 belt – Getting a money belt is always a good idea to keep your cash safe. Get yours here
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- 1 cap
- 1 waterproof jacket
- 7 pairs socks
- 7 underwear
- Typical toiletries- don’t worry about these too much as you can get them very easily out there, but include things like:
- Body wash
- Hair styling product
- Shaving foam
- Moisturiser – the harsh weather conditions can dry out your skin
Ladies, your turn:
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 1 skirt
- 1 summer dress/jumpsuit
- 1 piece of clothing to cover up for temples (maxi skirt, maxi dress, long jumpsuit, trousers)
- 1 evening outfit
- 1 sport outfit
- 1 pair trainers/walking shoes which are durable and will last harsh use
- 1 pair sandals/sliders – good for keeping in bag incase feet get wet, also for beach and pool days
- 1 pair nice shoes for evening wear
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- 3 bikinis or swimsuits
- 1 cap
- 1 waterproof jacket
- 7 underwear sets
- 7 sets of socks
- 5 lightweight short and vest top PJ sets
- Hair bands and hair bobbles (in high temperatures you will want to keep your hair out your face)
- Nice perfume
- Hair styling products – I have super curly and frizz prone hair. I always take a product to protect my hair from frizz in high humidities. I swear by this one – It lasts super long and it’s saved by hair through many holidays.
- Straighteners or curlers (try chose one or the other to avoid too much weight)
- Tampons – they are often more expensive than most western countries
- The rest will match the accessories in the mens section above.
- A small collection of makeup
Things that’ll be handy for both guys and gals:
- Microfibre towels – super lightweight and dry really quickly – take up hardly any space.
- 2 international plug adapters
- A plug extension lead
- Packing cubes
- Pocket tissues (trust me)
- First aid kit
- Tweezers – you never know when they will come in handy, they’re great at retrieving bank cards stuck in ATM machines.
- Buy waterproof bags! Super important if you’re taking any electrical equipment. The rain can be wild, and you need to protect your expensive belongings.
Don’t pack bug spray, buy it there! Each country has a specialised bug spray that the locals use which work best on the local bugs.
If you’re braver than us, buy a filter water bottle like this one instead of having to spend continuously on bottled water whilst out there – it’s also way better for the environment.
Now I know nobody wants to talk about it, but if you’re going with a spouse or significant other, (or are just planning to have a wild time out there) make sure your birth control is sorted prior to going. Whether this be getting a new implant fitted, stocking up on condoms or the pill, get it done – it’s one thing you don’t want to be worrying about out there.
So take this list, pack your bags, and have a fantastic time exploring Southeast Asia!
(Quick disclaimer, we get a small fee when you purchase through the provided links. This is at no extra cost to you, still offering you great prices competitive to other retailers.)