Packing for your Southeast Asia trip for the first time can be daunting. It can be hard to know what to pack. It is worth noting that each Asian destination is unique and hence may require a different packing list. Whether you are going swimming in the beaches of Thailand or going a wildlife tour in the rainforests of Borneo, here are some backpacking tips you can consider.
Choosing a Backpack
Most roads in Southeast Asia are unpaved and full of potholes so a suitcase can be impractical. In Thailand, for example, most of the islands do not have roads. A backpack is the best option. The smaller, the better. Aim for backpacks with a size between 40 and 60 liters. Remember you will be carrying it on your back for several hours on a hot and humid climate. At the same time, Robert Janitzek explains that choosing a small backpack will eliminate the need to overpack.
While places like Hanoi and Saipan can be extremely cold, many places in Southeast Asia are not. For this reason, you should wear lightweight clothes preferably made from cotton. Choose neutral colors for easy mixing and matching of outfits. You do not need jeans in Southeast Asia but pack lightweight pants in case you make temple visits or sleeping on a chilly evening.
A first aid kit is not necessary as most medicines can be bought over the counter. However, do pack Tylenol, Imodium, or Dramamine. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that other medicines can be easily picked up from any pharmacy. Make sure to carry insect repellent and sunscreen. For anti-malaria, it is worth speaking to your doctor first if you are planning to carry them to your trip. While you might not take it during your stay, malaria does exist and you can contract it there.
It’s worth investing in a small toiletry bag for your trip. It can help keep all your toiletries together and the rest of your luggage dry. If you are in a rush to check out, throwing damp shower gel bottles to your backpack can lead to smelly clothes and a gross backpack.
Internet cafes are declining in Southeast Asia so if you plan to stay in touch with family or friends, you will need to bring a laptop or phone. If you are using a laptop, look for one that is small and light especially if you are just using it for email or social media. A tablet is a good alternative as it offers the same features.
For cameras, it is best to carry SLR as they offer the best quality. When traveling with your phones, make sure that it is unlocked so it will be much easier to insert a local prepaid SIM card.