Southeast Asia is one of the most popular regions in the world for travelling; being so diverse in cultures, history, having amazing cuisines and a delightfully warm climate.
Best of all, it is pretty easy to travel around at a low-cost, making it accessible for all types of budgets.
Naturally, packing has been on my mind and I think for my fifth time there I’ve finally got it down pat!
I’m one of the few people that actually loves packing – it gets me extra pumped for my upcoming trip. Whether you are travelling with a suitcase or a backpack, the same list generally applies and either way it is always best to travel as light as you can with only the things you will need and actually use.
I’ve had to train myself not to bring too many clothes (guilty habit) and over the years I have learned what I can easily pick up along the way.
Here is my Ultimate Packing List, with everything I should need for eight weeks away:
4 T-shirts – Three casual and one for sleeping in. I usually buy T-shirts at each new place I go to so I don’t like to bring too many with me.
1 nicer top – For going out to the very occasional nice restaurant for dinner where t-shirts and singlets aren’t quite acceptable.
4 singlets – Perfect for hot days around the likes of Bali, Bangkok and beach areas.
2 dresses – Same as above (beachy dresses). Also can be used for evenings with a light cardy.
4 pairs of shorts – My favourite pair of jean shorts, one pair of board shorts for the beach, gym shorts and one for sleeping in.
1 pair of jeans – Not so much for hotter areas but I will be wearing them there and back on the plane as I’m always really cold and for possible cooler evenings in the north.
1 sweatshirt – For the same reasons as above.
2 light cardigans – One casual black cardy that goes with everything and one nicer one for evenings out.
3 bikinis – I’m going to be spending a fair bit of time at the beach and I’m mostly staying somewhere with a pool, so I think three is necessary.
3 bras – Two normal and one sports bra.
8 pairs of underwear
4 pairs of socks
1 sarong – Useful for the beach/pool and covering up at temples.
1 pair of jandals
1 pair of sandals
1 pair of running shoes
1 pair of converse
Toiletries and Medical Items
You can pick things up that you need such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste and almost anything else in Southeast Asia very cheaply, so I always pack travel-sized toiletries when I can.
Mini shampoo and conditioner
Toothbrush, small toothpaste, floss
Mini soap/shower gel
Hand sanitizer – An essential always in my day bag.
Moisturiser – I go for one with a high SPF.
Sunblock – A small bottle, again high in SPF.
Small night cream
Makeup – Just the bare minimum as it’s really hot and humid in most parts of Southeast Asia and you’re likely to sweat it off!
Face wipes – Super refreshing if needed and to help remove any makeup.
Small comb and hair ties
Prescription medications – Including antibiotics.
Basic first aid items – Plasters, panadol, antiseptic cream, safety pins, small scissors, Immodium, cold medicine.
Tissues – Many public bathrooms don’t provide toilet paper so always carry a pack with you!
Antimalarial medicine – Talk to your doctor ahead of time if you might need it, as well as any vaccines.
Memory cards and extra batteries
Portable phone charger
Any required cables/chargers
(You can find what particular camera gear and electronics I use in my Shop section).
Passport – Make sure it’s valid for at least 6 months past the end of your trip.
Money – It’s always handy to have some local currency upon arrival but you could always get this at the airport. It’s a good idea to travel with a backup ATM and credit card, kept separately from your main wallet.
Travel insurance – Essential! I use the 1Cover comprehensive plan.
Passport-sized photos – For any required visas.
Copies of travel documents: Booking confirmations (some have a tendency to get ‘lost’), travel insurance, passport, visas.
Plug adapters – if you don’t already have one you can pick one up there.
Basic jewellery – Just a few pieces that I wouldn’t care if they were lost. It’s usually just one pair of earrings, one necklace and some bracelets to layer.
A light scarf – I like to have this for the plane and it can also dress up an outfit for a night out.
Backpack and day bag – My backpack is my carry on bag which will have my laptop in it. I can also use this for longer day trips. My everyday bag is a smaller satchel type purse that can cross over my body and fit everything I need in.
Hat – It’s so easy to burn when you’re out in the sun all day!
Earplugs and eye mask – I’m a very light sleeper so these are essential for me.
Book – One of my favourite things to do is to read a book by the pool or beach.
Refillable drink bottle
Small umbrella – Handy to have if there’s a random downpour.
Washing powder – For washing clothes in the sink as needed.
Lock or two – Useful to lock your valuables when out and about for the day.
Notebook and pens – I love to journal my days and jot down thoughts and plans.
Canvas bag – Great as a pool/beach bag or to take out when shopping.
Note – I am mostly staying at Airbnbs and hotels, but if you are going backpacking and staying in hostels/guesthouses then I’d suggest also packing a sleeping bag liner and a pillowcase.
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That’s everything in my Ultimate Packing List for Southeast Asia! Do you have anything else you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read them.
If you would like to check out some of my favourite travel gear, essentials and wanderlust inspiration items, check out my shop section!
I also recently filmed a chatty video for YouTube of everything I’m packing for this trip.
Feel free to give it a watch if interested.