The Essential Southeast Asia Packing List

The Essential Southeast Asia Packing List

 

Great packing list for your next trip to Southeast Asia!

When it comes to “what-to-pack” guides for Southeast Asia, there is no one-size-fits-all list for travelers. Every traveler has different travel styles, budgets, and interests that help determine what they should bring on any given trip. That being said, there are some key essentials that will make your trip to Southeast Asia safe and enjoyable.

As with any trip, it is important to consider elements like weather, the length of your trip, the terrain, and your activity level in deciding what to pack. What you bring for a week in the big city will be different from what you bring for a hiking trip through the jungle.  Below I have outlined the key things you should consider for  your trip to Southeast Asia based on the general climate, terrain, and activities.

 

The Big Picture

southeast asia packing list

The Breakdown

Keeping in mind the length of your trip, I would suggest bringing as few “extras” as possible. Though transportation is pretty accessible through Southeast Asia, carrying a heavy bag onto tuk-tuks, boats, and rickety vans is not fun. I chose a 45 L bag for my 30-day trip through Thailand and Cambodia. This may seem limiting from some people, but I can say it was a relief to not have to worry about the weight and re-packing so many items. Having a larger bag may limit your storage options, cost more in transportation fees, and create additional issues along the way.

southeast asia packing list
Northface Terra 40 Liter Backpack. Fits airline carry-on dimensions. Includes comfortable hip belt with pockets, anatomical and ventilated shoulder straps, and various compartments for discreet storage.

The items below include all the essentials and a few extras I brought along for my trip. I chose to bring a tablet versus a laptop because it was much lighter and less of a risk for me if it were to be stolen.

southeast asia packing list
Large magenta Personal PackTowl quick-dry towel with strap and carrying bag. Super absorbent, dries fast, and rolls up small for easy travel.
southeast asia packing list
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet. Instead of bringing my hefty laptop, I am bringing this lightweight tablet to keep in contact with friends and update my blog. Bought it on Craigslist for about $200.
southeast asia packing list
Repel Lemon and Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. DEET free in an 4 oz spray bottle for hassle free carry-on.

I limited my clothing to loose-fitting, sweat-resistant attire. Depending on the season, you can expect high temperatures and humidity. If you plan to travel during the wet season, a rain jacket (hard to find in Southeast Asia) or poncho (can be found in SEA for cheap) will come in handy.

Note that many temples in Asia require that men and women wear clothing that covers the knees and shoulders. Flowy pants, dresses, sarongs, and T-shirts can be found  all over Southeast Asia for cheap ( $3-$10 USD). Be aware that these clothes aren’t necessarily made to last and increased prices occur in high-tourism areas.

southeast asia packing list
Limited clothing + swimsuit + sarong.

 

southeast asia packing list
Coleman Lagoon Women’s River Sandals. Comfortable straps, sturdy material, and non-slip tread – perfect for most terrain.
southeast asia packing list
Lonely Planet Southeast Asia Phrasebook and Dictionary– includes Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese
southeast asia packing list
Small clutch for toiletries. Includes toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste, a comb and hair ties, make-up, soap/shampoo, and sunscreen.
southeast asia packing list
Pink AquaBod Collapsible Water Bottle. BPA-free, leak proof silicone, 17 oz size. Folds up to be about 2″x 4″.
southeast asia packing list
Master Lock Cable Luggage Lock for backpack. TSA approved
southeast asia packing list
Venture Pal Packable Daypack. This backpack is perfect for day travel when you don’t want to lug around your entire pack, yet folds up into a travel-size pouch with a zipper and small mesh pocket.
southeast asia packing list
Lavender Mary Crafts Silk Sleeping Bag Liner. Protects from bugs and germs while sleeping in hostel beds and hotels. Includes built-in pillow cover and folds up into small pouch.
southeast asia packing list
Small journal and pen for notes and travel planning
southeast asia packing list
Fitted rain cover for backpack. Includes carrying pouch

Don’t Forget…

southeast asia packing list
Chargers for phone and tablet
southeast asia packing list
US Passport
southeast asia packing list
Credit and Debit cards
southeast asia packing list
Copies of passport, license, insurance information, payment cards, and itinerary
southeast asia packing list
SumacLife Waterproof Cases to protect devices from during rain and water sports
southeast asia packing list
Money belt for documents, money, and important belongings
southeast asia packing list
Cellphone
southeast asia packing list
iPod and headphones

There we have it! My complete Southeast Asia packing list!

See something missing? Leave me a message in the comments section below!

southeast asia packing list

 

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12 thoughts on “The Essential Southeast Asia Packing List

  1. I think you’ve just about covered it all – although I’d take my e-reader and some vegemite too! 😉 Rather than buying an international SIM, I’ve always found it better to buy a local SIM in each country (only if I’m there long enough) – maybe you could do that instead? They usually go pretty cheap in Asia (as long as you’re not ripped off).

  2. Great list! Good idea on planning to buy clothes there – they are so cheap and suitable for the environment. You’ll love them. Also great idea on the waterproof case for your devices – I wish I had that when I traveled to Thailand earlier this year. Enjoy your trip!

  3. Wow you have done awesome at just taking the essentials. I am terrible when it comes to packing. I always feel the need to take everything ‘just incase’ haha

  4. You are so organised! Which is good 🙂 I am a bit chaotic, when packing, so I often forget some small things 🙂 For me there are four essentials: passport, wallet, iPhone, camera 🙂

  5. Great list! Mine would be quite similar except I bring clothes with me. Also I didn’t notice a camera on the list. I can’t travel without one.

  6. You’ve got everything you need, dear. You’re ready! 🙂 To add, consider securing your stuff in waterproof cases as it’s rainy season in these parts of Asia. 🙂

    Are you heading somewhere else besides Cambodia?

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