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As some of you might know, I am crazy about traveling Southeast Asia. Collectively, both my partner and I have traveled 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. Planning a big trip can leave people wondering what to pack for their big Southeast Asia adventure. 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.

Editor’s Note: Subscribe to this post to receive a free digital packing checklist for Southeast Asia.

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. In any trip, the biggest factor for me is having a good travel backpack. This can make or break your trip so I suggest you choose the brand, size, and quality carefully.

Southeast Asia Packing List: Women

  1. Active Shorts | 2. Denim short | 3. Boardshorts | 4. Maxi Dress | 5. Short Dress | 6. Tank Tops | 7. Cotton Shirt | 8. Dri-fit Shirt | 9. Beach Cover Up | 10. Long Sleeve Baselayer |11. Yoga Leggings | 12. Hippie Pants (buy them in Asia!) | 13. Underwear | 14. Sports Bra | 15. 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

mens-southeast-asia-packing-list1.  Boardshorts | 2. Travel Shorts | 3. Long Trousers | 4. Tank Tops | 5.  Cotton Shirts | 6.  Dri-fit  | 7. Long Sleeve Baselayer | 8. 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

For the most part, you don’t really need a lot of clothes. There is always a laundry shop that will do your washing for less than a dollar so pack sparingly! Like I said, the items listed above 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.

Related: Travel Accessories: Must Have Items to Help You Travel Like a Boss

Editor’s Note: Traveling to Asia? Check out our Adventure Guides for Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines

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Southeast Asia Packing 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!

  • Padlocks
  • Sleep sheet
  • Ziplocks (trust me, they will come in handy!)
  • Water bottle (water filtration system)
  • Laundry line (elastic cord)
  • Electrical tape (will come in handy one day!)
  • Small LED flashlight you can attach to your bag
  • Rain Cover
  • Headwear (head buff)
  • Packing Cubes – I swear, Packing cubes have changed the way I travel!
  • 1 Microfiber Towel
  • Travel Wallet/ Passport Holder

Electronics to Bring for Traveling

As mentioned, I travel with a lot of electronics as I work while I am 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.

Read: Best Travel Cameras: How to Choose the Perfect Camera

Editor’s Note: If you’re traveling around Thailand, download our FREE app, Get Stoked on iOS to help you find awesome things to do.

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Southeast Asia  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.

Related: Southeast Asia Travel: The Art of Backpacking 

Women

  • Shampoo, conditioner, and body gel
  • Mosquito repellent (the good stuff!)
  • Tampons
  • Wet wipes (TRUST ME ON THIS!)
  • Lip balm
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Moisturizer and lotion
  • Sunblock (bring a good one with you as this gets expensive in Thailand)
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup (powder, blush, eyeliner) Yep…that’s pretty much it for me!
  • Nail cutter and nail file
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Med kit (band aids, sterile gauze pads, basic medicine for pain, bad stomachs, and cough, vitamin c, 1 small bottle of betadine) As I am very clumsy so I always carry extra band aids and first aid stuff with me.

Men

  • Shampoo & body gel
  • Mosquito repellent (the good stuff!)
  • Chapstick
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunblock
  • Deodorant
  • Nail cutter
  • Shaver
  • Med kit (band aids, sterile gauze pads, basic medicine for pain, bad stomachs, and cough, vitamin c, 1 small bottle of betadine

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.


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Inspired? Pin it!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!

Disclaimer: Adventure In You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no additional cost to you. Please note we only link to products & services we personally use or trust.