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Backpacking Southeast Asia: The Ultimate Packing List


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Southeast Asia is considered one of my very favourite locations on the planet; and Thailand particularly is close to and pricey to my coronary heart. This can be a area wealthy with tradition, meals, enjoyable, and a finances that each one vacationers can take pleasure in.

I spent 5 months backpacking Southeast Asia in 2010 throughout my RTW journey; eight months in 2012; 6 extra months between 2013/2014; and proceed to reside right here on and off presently. Hope you take pleasure in my packing listing for a backpacking journey to Southeast Asia!



The nations that make up Southeast Asia embrace Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Borneo, Philippines, and Indonesia. Take a look at my steered South East Asia backpacking routes for itinerary concepts throughout your time right here.


Singapore is a metropolitan metropolis so the standard backpacking gear gained’t work right here. Take a look at this Singapore packing record for extra ideas.



Earrings | Sun shades | Information | Sunscreen


To ensure this Southeast Asia packing listing is as correct as potential, I’ve teamed up with Kaila Krayewski from the Blonde Traveler that has lived in Thailand for over 5 years and has additionally spent in depth time backpacking Southeast Asia. She’s keen about making journey extra enjoyable and friendlier for western ladies and created Blonde Traveler to do exactly that.


Journey Tip: I extremely advocate utilizing the Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring information ebook. I completely love the transportation guides plus – in the event you’re touring alone – that is hottest information for backpackers within the space so it may possibly make it easier to meet different vacationers too! You may as well get the eBook model.




Southeast Asia Clothes Fashion


In contrast to different locations, there are far fewer expectations when backpacking Southeast Asia when it comes to apparel. That is due largely to the local weather.

With common temperatures within the 80s and 90s, the acute humidity makes it close to inconceivable to place collectively a respectable outfit since you’ll be sweating buckets all the time.

It’s not ok to pack light-weight clothes once you journey into locations like Cambodia and Vietnam. You may assume pure materials can be ultimate and take jersey cotton tees and leggings.

Nevertheless, some cotton modal blends sag—quite a bit—as soon as damp together with your sweat. A shirt that begins off waist size might be previous your hips in lower than an hour. It’s because cotton will maintain as much as 7 % of its weight in moisture. You have to pack a couple of quick-dry, moisture-wicking tops and pants in your journey into Southeast Asia.


Learn extra concerning the execs and cons of touring with cotton!


Wicking materials are constructed from a high-tech polyester that’s specifically designed to attract moisture away out of your physique to the garment’s exterior. In comparison with cotton, wicking materials maintain solely zero.four % of their weight in moisture.

This makes an enormous distinction if you’re nonstop sweating. I packed a pair pairs of moisture-wicking pants and tanks that I typically put on to scorching yoga as a result of they’re made to carry up nicely in warmth. They fared a lot better than my different knit garments, which have been stretched past recognition.

Don’t overlook to pack moisture-wicking beneath clothes reminiscent of these. Bras and panties are the closest factor to your pores and skin, and they’ll get soaked via with sweat. I ended up dwelling within the few sports activities bras and polyester panties I’d introduced with me.


Learn extra about how to decide on one of the best materials for journey!




Tank | Shirt | Prime | Tee | Gown | Playsuit | Trousers | Brief | Sweater |  Jacket | Tank | Gown | Sandals 1 | Sandals 2 | Hat | Crossbody


12-Piece Packing Listing for Backpacking Southeast Asia


Within the above visible, I’ve created a basic packing listing of simply 12 clothes gadgets that may work properly when backpacking via Southeast Asia. Within the seems above you can too get outfit concepts for some main journey locations within the area.




  • 1 (Maxi) Gown/Skirt – an extended skirt is a cooler choice to sporting pants within the warmth
  • 1 Solar Gown – can’t beat the consolation of sunshine and ethereal summer time clothes
  • 1 Shorter Gown – can be used as a seashore tunic and worn as a prime



  •  1 Linen Cargo Pants – may be worn casually in cities and in addition paired with tennis footwear for trekking
  • 1 Knee Size Cargo Shorts – cowl the knees to remain cool and modest always
  • 1 Denim Shorts – a SEA seashore city should have



  • three Brief Sleeve Tops – flowy and breathable material lets you keep modest whereas staying cooler
  • 1 Sleeveless Prime – a SEA seashore city should have, plus it’s scorching!


A observe on tops: pack them in various lengths however in the event you favor sleeveless, pack extra sleeveless and in case you want lengthy sleeves, pack mild, ethereal materials.




Pack a few heat gadgets relying in your deliberate actions: if the temperature drops post-rain, for those who’re trekking, or for colder areas like Sapa in Northern Vietnam. Nevertheless, for those who choose to not (as I do), cheap clothes might be simply bought.


  • 1 Fleece, Hoodie, or Cardigan
  • 1 Rain Jacket or Mild Jacket







  •  1 Flip Flops – ESSENTIAL for a backpacking journey to Southeast Asia! Select a pair of flip flops that may be dressed up like my favourite iPanema’s sandals. These not solely work like flip flops however as a dressier pair of sandals too. Plus, they’re cute and cozy!
  • 1 Snug Strolling Shoe –  Outside sandals or Birkenstock sandals. Your ft have to breathe. It’s too scorching to put on tennis footwear/trainers each day.
  • 1 Practical – relying in your actions good sandals or tennis footwear/trainers. Learn extra about selecting one of the best footwear for journey.


Journey tip: Keep in mind, don’t pack simply in case gadgets, something you want you should purchase right here for a low worth! Hold studying for extra ideas under.






Scarf | Bikini | Tank | Gown | Skirt | Lengthy Shorts | Shorts | Flip Flops | Sandals


Extra Journey Outfit Concepts for Backpacking Southeast Asia


Everyone seems to be in the identical boat. Not a single individual goes to guage you for sporting the identical harem-style MC Hammer pants you got on the market to dinner three nights in a row. They’re snug and cute. To not point out each different lady might be sporting the very same factor. You possibly can’t shoot a dart in the dead of night with out hitting a lady in that type of pants.

In case you actually need to take one thing good “simply in case,” contemplate a linen gown or flowy peasant shirt. A polyester romper would additionally do the trick. However restrict your self to at least one or two gadgets at most. You merely gained’t have a necessity for extra.


How you can Pack for Monsoon Season


Don’t let wet season destroy your journey plans. After experiencing a style of the Thailand monsoon in 2010, the most important mistake I made in 2012 was permitting the wet season to scare me into dashing by way of cities with the hopes of avoiding the rain. (We very a lot dislike the rain and keep away from it in any respect prices.) In the long run, it wasn’t so dangerous in any case.

The purpose is which you can’t management these conditions or foresee how the climate will end up. Glide in your South East Asia holidays, and see the place your journey expertise takes you.


If you find yourself someplace you don’t like, bounce on one of many many cheap transportation choices and transfer on. It’s not unusual to satisfy up with new pals over in a neighboring nation.


FOR THAILAND: Any time all year long you can find rain someplace on this huge nation. From my observations: the western southern islands get hit Might-September; the japanese southern islands get hit October – February; and the mainland can obtain rain yr any time though peak occasions are Might – September.

For probably the most half, it might be too scorching to put on rain jackets however in case you have various journey plans it might not harm to deliver one alongside simply be sure it’s produced from light-weight, breathable supplies.

Kaila with Blonde Traveler says: For those who’re visiting throughout Monsoon season,and even should you’re not, it’s a good suggestion to seize an affordable plastic raincoat from the 7/11, and carry it with you always. You by no means know when the monsoon will hit.


For extra raincoat concepts, click on right here.


What to Put on in Southeast Asia for Monsoon Season


Whereas it’s suggested to pack a rain coat for the rain, I discover an umbrella is handy as a result of the rain comes with the warmth and it’s by no means an excellent combo with a muggy jacket. Plus, you need to use it to dam the solar. As Kaila, suggests, you can even decide up an affordable poncho in case you choose towards carrying a rain jacket (as I do).


TRAVEL TIP: Please maintain your deliberate actions in thoughts together with trekking. If you recognize you’ll be collaborating in outside actions, plan accordingly.


Backpacking Southeast Asia Packing Don’ts


I can’t stress sufficient that you would be able to principally purchase a whole wardrobe upon arrival when backpacking by means of Southeast Asia. Two of the most typical journey gateways to the are Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. You will discover something you need and you may even have clothes customized made at a low value virtually anyplace in SEA.

Whether or not it’s clothes or toiletries; you’ll be okay! 7-11 is a god-send offering (air con!), meals, beer, make-up, magnificence merchandise, and every thing else in between for a small value. For clothes, you will discover markets virtually in all places and also you’re by no means removed from a enjoyable buying alternative. Pack mild!

Kaila with Blonde Traveler says: If buying in Bangkok, head to Platinum Trend Mall, which has 5 flooring of all the things a lady might ever dream of sporting, for many worth ranges, although most of it’s comparatively low cost. In all places else, cheap clothes is on the market in native markets. Thais love garments, so that you gained’t have an issue discovering one thing you’re keen on, to suit your finances!


In the event you’re headed to Cambodia to see the wondrous Angkor Wat, cease by the boutique in Siem Reap which options Rany Som’s beautiful jewellery line Graines de Combodge. I really like the coral impressed necklace!




Waterproof Mascara | ChapStick Solar Protection SPF 25


Make-up and Toiletries for Backpacking Southeast Asia


As for make-up and hair merchandise when backpacking Southeast Asia, don’t fear an excessive amount of about them. Cosmetics will actually soften off your face the minute you step outdoors of your air-conditioning. Nevertheless, in the event you do like sporting make-up, comply with these and the following pointers to assist it keep on for longer durations of time.

Except for lip balm, mascara, and sunscreen, I wouldn’t advocate placing anything in your face. Convey a ponytail holder in case your hair is lengthy, and anticipate to put on it up all the time. It’s exhausting to handle your hair, regardless of the feel, on this local weather.


Check out these recommendations on the way to type curly hair whereas touring!



Secret Bra Pouch | Hidden Waist Passport Holder


Southeast Asia Security


As long as you follow widespread sense, backpacking Southeast Asia is usually protected for feminine vacationers. The most typical rip-off is for somebody to drive by on scooters and pull off your purse. They minimize the straps of your purse or they could even drive off with you in it if it’s not straightforward to chop. (Learn one traveler’s story right here.)

That is the primary purpose why that is one location we might not advocate an anti-theft purse – it’s troublesome to slash the wired straps so you might be dragged down the road alongside together with your bag. As an alternative, select a backpack purse as an alternative or carry your cash in your pockets and use a bra stash.

Hold it easy. Depart your valuables locked away in your room and put on a cash belt or different anti-theft merchandise.


Study extra about the best way to hold your valuables protected whereas touring!



TFG Recommends: For women backpacking Southeast Asia solo, take a look at Blonde Traveler. They supply a singular useful resource for ladies if you would like additional assurance throughout your journey. Their membership consists of: stay translation assist, authorized recommendation, dietary recommendation, monitoring providers, emergency help, reside journey counseling, and journey reductions.

What are your necessities for backpacking Southeast Asia?


For extra posts on backpacking Southeast Asia, please learn:


Steered Journey Assets:


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