Asia Cambodia Destinations Malaysia Packing Thailand Travel Tips Uncategorized

What to Pack for Southeast Asia

So you have your flight booked, your hotel reservations made, and -maybe- your travel buddy ready. But, what about your travel-size wardrobe?


Regardless of the season, it will be around 30ºC (86ºF) in Southeast Asia. Packing only denim shorts with your favourite tops may sound like a good idea, but trust me it’s not. Instead, you will need a lot of baggy trousers, summer skirts, and thin shirts. You don’t need to worry if you are already on the plane, you can find countless local shops that sell comfortable clothes.

Ladies, you may have to make a few concessions when it comes to picking your daytime outfit. Your shoulders and knees must be covered while entering a Buddhist temple – or any sacred place.

My packing checklist for clothes looked like:

  • Short-sleeved t-shirts
  • Maxi skirts
  • Baggy trousers
  • Denim shorts and skirts for evenings
  • Bikinis and swimsuits
  • A couple of beach dresses
  • A denim jacket to wear at the airports and on the planes

Cosmetics & Hygiene

You can find almost any cosmetic/hygiene product you’re looking for in Asian cities, but for remote places things are a little bit different. Even if you are not a huge brand fan, it’s a good idea to pack your frequently used travel products because you might not find them everywhere.

I didn’t wear make-up due to the hot weather, except for two or three days. I took only the essentials with me – mascara, eyeliner, pore minimizer, two lipsticks. Since everyone has their own essentials I won’t give a separate list for make-up products. You might need different products than your usual ones depending on the climate of your hometown. Maybe one day this issue will become a different blog post itself.

My travel cosmetics list:

  • 2 Toothbrushes
  • Travel-size toothpaste
  • 2 Bottles of travel-size shampoo
  • Travel-size hair conditioner
  • Hair oil mix
  • Small hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume samples
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen – body & face
  • Travel-size moisturizer – body & face
  • Insect repellent (I’ve become a huge fan of these while traveling around Asia)
  • All sorts of female hygiene products – Since you might not find all of them in every country
  • Travel-size wet wipes and toilet wipes – Again, you might not find toilette hygiene products outside your hotel
  • Travel-size detergent and fabric softener
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers and file
  • 2 bottles of nail polish


If there is one accessory that you should take with you to Southeast Asia, it is definitely a scarf. Yes, you read it right, a scarf. Since ladies must cover their shoulders and knees while entering any Buddhist sacred place, you will need that scarf pretty often.

Another useful accessory to take with you is a hat, preferably one with a chin strap that will make that hat remain on your head during your tuk tuk drives.

My checklist for accessories:

  • Two scarves
  • A hat
  • A lot of hair straps
  • A watch
  • Several earrings and bracelets
  • A backpack
  • A small crossbody to carry my phone, money, and passport
  • Anti-theft travel bag
  • Towel (for the beach)
  • Towel slippers (for hotel rooms)


Remember that you need to take your shoes off while entering Buddhist temples. Flip-flops are always easy to take off but entering a crowded temple with bare feet wouldn’t be the most hygienic choice. I would go for flat socks with espadrilles.

  • Flip-flops
  • A pair of espadrilles or sneakers
  • A pair of chic(ish) shoes

You will need the chic ones while dressing up for rooftop bars. At most of the bars flip-flops and sneakers are not allowed.

Smartphone and Camera Accessories

I only took my phone and my GoPro with me. I didn’t want to carry the DSLR and its equipment. So this one is a pretty short list.

  • Waterproof smartphone case
  • GoPro selfie stick, remote control, and waterproof case
  • Chargers or power adapters for phone and camera

Medical Kit

Probably the most important of all. After preparing a list of meds you might need while traveling (like the one below), you can visit your physician and ask him/her to review it.

You can also call and visit the travel health center in your city, two or three months prior to the travel, to learn if you have to get yourself vaccinated for endemic diseases to Southeast Asia. Long story short: If you always drink clean water, you’ll be just fine and you won’t need to get yourself vaccinated.

Let’s move on to the list:

  • Drugs you regularly use – if you do
  • Antiviral (flu) meds
  • Antibiotics
  • Painkillers
  • Vitamins
  • Urinary antiseptics
  • Anti-diarrhea drugs
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and/or gel
  • Band aid
  • Batticon and gauze swabs

I believe I have covered pretty much everything that was in my  luggage. Hope you enjoy your trip to one of the most beautiful regions in the world!

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