Travelling to Asia? Here’s what to pack.

We have just spent 3 months in Asia including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Vietnam, Camobodia and Thailand and carried no more than 12 kg each in our back packs.  Over this period of time we learnt what we would take again and what we would not.

Some key things to note about Asia…

  • when we travelled, it was hot (up to 48 degrees hot)
  • laundry was easy to get done for a very small cost (or hand washing was easy)
  • most things are really cheap to buy so buy them there.

Some background on me

  • 40 something
  • not size 10!


  • Shoes x3. (1 pair can be dressed up, walking flats or sandals, sturdy walking shoes)
  • Socks x2 (I highly recommend Smartwool)
  • Togs (swimwear).  1 pair is enough – they dry.
  • Shorts x2
  • T-shirts x3
  • Light long sleeve top (good to cover up for sun)
  • small light umbrella
  • Sun hat
  • Light dress if necessary that can be dressed up or down
  • Sarong
  • Underwear (a weeks worth)
  • scarf

Don’t take jeans, jackets or anything else that will make you hot!  The walking shoes and socks are really only if you want to walk up to some tricky temples.  Sometimes they are a bit rough to get to in jandals (flip flops/thongs).


People say that you can buy everything there – you can but it might not be as quickly as you need it.

I took small sample bottles of shampoo/conditioner/moisturiser to get me started then purchased once I got there.

Take any medications and personal requirements with you (especially feminine products).  You can not guarantee that you will find what you need.

Bug spray and sunscreen.  Again you can buy it there, but take a small amount to start you off.

Antiseptic wipes ( better than hand sanitiser as sometimes you want to wipe things off!)  I found these very hard to buy in SE Asia so bring your own.  (You can get wipes  but with no antiseptic)

Tissues (always good to carry for bathrooms!)

Other things

Battery pack for cell phone.  I took one that had 10,000 capacity.  It took longer to charge but meant I always could charge my phone and my iPad

Round the world plug, able to be used in most countries in the world.  Mine had 2 USB ports.  Don’t bother with the ones with loads of attachments.  Get an all in one.

Day pack – preferably one that attaches to your actual pack.  I recommend Osprey.  They have a great womens cut and two sizes so the fit is amazing.


Travel insurance.

If you are a small build you can afford to take very little clothing as you will be able to purchase whatever you need.  If you are not, take the list above.  Some of the things I took were older things so when I found something to replace it with, I just threw out something old that I didn’t want or something that had not stood up to the travel (see my post about Icebreaker).