Southeast Asia Packing List: Ultimate Guide on What to Bring [UPDATED]

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Planning a trip to Southeast Asia but don’t know what to take with you? In this article, I share with your our complete packing list guide to Southeast Asia, based on years of experience traveling the continent.

For those of you that don’t know, I am crazy about traveling Southeast Asia. Collectively, both my partner and I have traveled to almost every place in Southeast Asia. Between the awesome amount of outdoor activities, cheap accommodations, and food (oh, don’t get me even started on the food!) it’s a place that we keep going back to.

When it comes to figuring out what to pack, first things first, less is more! Trust me on this. From experience, there is nothing worse than trudging along with a heavy backpack in tow while trying to find a place to stay.

With that in mind, we compiled this super awesome packing list for Southeast Asia to make sure you don’t forget anything during your trip.

What to Pack for Southeast Asia?

Compared to other continents, Southeast Asia is a breeze to travel through because you generally don’t need to bring a lot of items. I once had a friend who brought nothing but 1 set of clothes during a trip to Bangkok. Instead of lugging around a bunch of clothes, he opted to do all his shopping there instead.

After spending almost 4 years traveling around most of Southeast Asia, trust me when I say, you don’t need much!

I highly recommend in investing and bringing a good pair of basic items which you can mix and match and if you ever find yourself not having what you need, simply pop out to the nearest night market where you are sure to find anything you will ever need.

Step 1: Choosing the Best Travel Bag

On any trip, the biggest factor for me is having a good travel bag. This can make or break your trip so I suggest you choose the brand, size, and quality with care. Since Southeast Asia is made up of multiple islands and rugged terrain, we recommend choosing backpacks over wheeled luggage. Alternatively, you can also choose to get convertible backpacks which convert as a backpack or a wheeled suitcase.

To help you choose the right travel bag, here are some of our top recommendations based on bags that we’ve tried and tested! For the record- we love the brand Osprey and have been using their gear for years now.


Details of Our Recommended Travel Backpacks

Osprey Farpoint 40

This sturdy travel backpack has been traveling around Asia with us for the last few years. For us, it is just the right size, helping you downsize all those unnecessary weights. If you do need anything larger, you can also look at the Osprey Farpoint 55.

Osprey Farpoint 55 Osprey Fairview

Similar to the Osprey Farpoint, this women’s backpack is top-rated for a reason. It opens just like a suitcase, which makes packing super easy.

Nomatic Travel Pack

If you usually travel with a lot of gadgets (cameras, iPad, etc), the Nomatic Travel Pack is for you. It’s one of the best day packs we’ve ever used due to the multiple compartments and durable materials.

If you’re looking for more options, check out our full article on the best travel backpacks.

Step 2: Choosing Your Travel Clothes

For the most part, you don’t really need a lot of clothes when it comes to Southeast Asia. There is always a laundry shop that will do your washing for less than a dollar so pack sparingly! The items listed below are only suggestions as they will vary greatly depending on your travel style.

If you like big cities, you might want to pack a pair of jeans for nights out. Similarly, if you intend to do more treks, bring more outdoor clothes.

The most important thing when choosing the clothing that you will bring is the type of material. if you’re planning on visiting during the summer months, avoid bringing thick hard to dry clothing. Instead, go for quick dry items. Trust me, it will make all the difference.

Southeast Asia Packing List: Women

Southeast Asia Packing List

1. Active Shorts | 2. Denim shorts | 3. Boardshorts | 4. Maxi Dress | 5. Short Dress | 6. Tank Tops | 7. T-Shirt| 8. Dri-fit Shirt | 9. Beach Cover Up | 10. Long Sleeve Baselayer| 11. Yoga Leggings | 12. Hippie Pants (buy them in Asia!) | 13. Travel Underwear | 14. Sports Bra | 15. travel bra | 16. Bikinis (P.S. How cute are these ones from Cupshe Fashion?) | 17. Hat | 18. Travel Scarf | 19. Socks (1 pair for trekking) | 20. Lightweight Rain Jacket | 21. Trekking Shoes (lightweight and low cut) | 22. Travel Sandals | 23. Flip flops (Don’t bring expensive ones as they are bound to get lost)

Southeast Asia Packing List: Men


1. Boardshorts | 2. Travel Shorts| 3. Long Trousers| 4. Tank Tops | 5. T-Shirts | 6. Dri-fit | 7. Long Sleeve Baselayer | 8. Travel Underwear | 9. Socks (1 for trekking) | 10. Light Travel Scarf | 11. Cap | 12. Lightweight Rain Jacket | 13. Hiking Shoes (lightweight) | 14. Flip flops | 15. Closed shoes


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Step 3: Packing Other Travel Essentials

What you bring on your travels will have to boil down to what your travel style is. As a digital nomad, I tend to pack more gadgets as the regular backpacker would. Listed below are a few more essential accessories that I recommend you take with you which would vary depending on the length of your trip. I always use packing cubes when traveling and swear by them! They make packing so much easier.

Step 4: Choosing What Electronics to Bring

As mentioned, we travel with a lot of electronics as we work while we’re on the road. I know some people who try to keep things to the bare minimum when it comes to traveling. Whatever your travel style is, remember to make sure you always keep an eye on your valuables and carry them with you.

If you’re looking for a compact yet budget-friendly travel camera, check out our full article featuring our top recommendations.


Step 5: Toiletries Packing List

At the end of the day, you will be able to buy most of the toiletries you need. However, if you are accustomed to a certain type of product, it’s best you bring it along with you. Sunblock is rather expensive so if you burn easily you might want to bring some of that with you.



Travel and Safety in Southeast Asia

Traveling around Southeast Asia is generally pretty safe, but accidents do happen.

Transport & Accommodation Tips Around Asia

When it comes to traveling around Southeast Asia, things are pretty much straight forward. Flying naturally saves the most time, but if you’re trying to keep on a budget, we recommend looking at buses and trains.

Transportation: We recommend using Bookaway or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time. We’ve used these websites all over Asia and it saves us the hassle of lining up in travel agencies or bus stations.

If you’re traveling during peak season, you may want to book tickets in advance. And remember, peak season doesn’t only mean the best weather, it means festivals and local holidays that bring people home, too!

Finding Places to Stay in Southeast Asia

Finding places to stay around Southeast Asia is incredibly easy and extremely inexpensive.

We usually use websites like to find the best deals, and we usually luck out when it comes to finding somewhere swanky to stay for an unbeatable price.

Last Piece of Advice for Southeast Asia:

“Whatever you do…remember to pack light!”

When I first left to travel, I had a 55L, then I downsized to a 45L, now, I’m down to a carry-on bag. While it looks impossible to keep it light, with the help of restraint, careful planning, and of course, Jedi packing skills, it is possible. 

Remember, if there is one thing you can count on…South East Asia will be hot! It may be rainy, but even if it is…it will still be hot!

At the end of the day, travel light, pack smart and don’t worry. Southeast Asia is a completely different place and while traveling parts of it can come as a complete culture shock (what do you mean I have to eat this fried tarantula?), it is also a life-changing experience that you’re bound to enjoy.

Traveling Asia? Check out a few of our top articles

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Packing List | Looking for a packing list for traveling Southeast Asia? Check out our article which includes a free digital checklist for you to use!
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17 thoughts on “Southeast Asia Packing List: Ultimate Guide on What to Bring [UPDATED]”

  1. Very rapidly this website will be famous amid all blogging
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  2. Everyone loves what you guys are up too. You really know the most about Southeast Asia travel.
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  3. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
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    • Hi @disqus_uNN12jivMo:disqus I think those were old edition merrel in grey and teal! 🙂 Sorry I don’t have the exact model!

  4. This is so helpful! I’m travelling to SEA for the first time this year – two weeks in Thailand. Love the bikinis – will check out if they have anything cute in my size 🙂

  5. Great guide. SE Asia is one of those places that can be tricky because its so hot, but parts are also much more conservative so, especially as a girl, you need to be a little more covered up. Can be a bit of a tricky balance sometimes!

  6. Nice that you have divided this list for ladies & dudes. I never thought about to bring Small LED flashlights. I will save this list for later and have a look at it again when I am travelling to Asia.


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