What to Bring Backpacking Southeast Asia

Ben WorrallTRAVEL

What to bring backpacking

What to know what to bring backpacking? In this blog post I am going to briefly cover the items that I feel are good to bring for a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. This list is based on my backpacking experience and is flexible depending on the type of person you are!


1. Clothing

My general rule would be to take clothing to last around 10 days at a time. With this being said, 10 days doesn’t necessarily mean a new outfit every single day. When you are travelling you quickly learn to make do with what you have got and recycling clothing isn’t the end of the world!

Everywhere I went in Southeast Asia had options for washing clothes. You can find many local businesses offering this service for a low price and many hostels I stayed in also washed your laundry for you – simple!

I would say that anything more than 10 days worth of clothing and you are going to start to weigh yourself down unnecessarily.


2. Shoes

Bring one pair of walking shoes. It doesn’t matter what they look like. No one cares. I personally wouldn’t suggest bringing an extra pair of shoes for “going out” at least not for men.

Also make sure to take a pair of flip flops/sandals alongside the walking shoes. You can easily buy these out there but you might as well bring them from home to save yourself the effort. Flip flops are used in pretty much all situations which don’t require extended walking…so they are important!


3. Toiletries

Self-exploratory and highly dependent on your own needs. What I would say is that you should only back toiletries that you actually need and not pointless shit. For example, I packed some hair product thinking I would use it like I do at home – I never used it – it’s a different world out there.


4. Swimwear + Travel Towel

Swimming and being in water is a huge part of travelling Southeast Asia. You should bring at least some type of swim wear.

Also I would highly recommend getting a fast drying travel towel. These towels are perfect for backpacking because they can be folded up into a tiny holder and also dry super fast which is good when you are on the move all the time. You can buy a travel towel here. 


5. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are great to have because not only to their protect your eyes from the sun but also shield your emotions in a haggling situation. These can be intense and if you want to get the best price possible sunglasses can give you the upper hand.

As a side note – there will also be an opportunity to buy fake but really good quality designer sunglasses for low prices in Southeast Asia. Could be worth it!


6. Electronics

There are a variety of electronics that you could potentially bring but it really comes down to a phone, a laptop and a camera.

You should bring a phone because it has so many vital uses including making bookings, taking photos and using google maps. The Wifi is good in SE Asia and you can also get cheap 4G pre-paid sim cards.

A laptop and a camera are more optional in my mind – bring them if you want but don’t feel like you have to.

Also I would suggest reducing the amount of expensive electronic items you take on your trip if at all possible. Carrying around expensive items can make you feel slightly more paranoid than you need to be. I personally took both a phone and a laptop but both were fairly cheap and I wasn’t too worried about losing them.


7. Important Documents

Of course, you need to bring those important documents if you want your backpacking trip to be a success. These documents could include passport, cards, cash, tickets, insurance papers and so on.

I would highly recommend purchasing a protective travel wallet to keep all of these super important things safe from the elements and other people. You can find one of these protective wallets here. 


Ben Worrall