The great thing about Southeast Asia is that whatever you need, you can find it there. Whether it’s antibiotics, bathing suits or deodorant, all of them can be found throughout Southeast Asia. But what are the items that you should make sure to bring in advance? These are key items for backpacking in Southeast Asia.
When backpacking in Europe, North America, or Australasia and staying in hostels, you’ll most likely have a locker or safe in which to store your valuables. In Southeast Asia, where typical accommodation is guesthouses, it becomes rare to have the opportunity to lock up your belongings. A perfect solution is a portable safe: a slash-proof container in which you put your valuables before locking it to something sturdy in the room, ideally a pipe in the bathroom. Any device that slows down opportunistic thieves is a good product to have.
If you burn easily, it’s a good idea to bring high-factor sunscreen when traveling through Asia. While sunscreen can be found throughout Southeast Asia, it’s rare to find anything above SPF 50. If you like to go higher than that, it’s a good idea to bring your own sunscreen from home.
Flip-Flops or Slip-On Sandals
In Southeast Asia, flip-flops are the primary footwear of both locals and visitors. As in most Asian countries, it’s customary to take your shoes off before entering homes or temples and sometimes even businesses. Lots of tying and untying will take up a surprising amount of your time, so even if you choose not to wear flip-flops, be sure to wear shoes that can easily be slipped on and off.
How much medication should you bring to Southeast Asia? If you have a condition that requires unusual medication, bring all that you’ll need for the course of your trip in addition to a doctor’s note. As for treatments for various maladies, the good thing about Southeast Asia is that you can get whatever you need at a pharmacy, even items that would ordinarily require a prescription at home. But if you want to carry everything you need, it’s a good idea to carry medication for food poisoning, colds and flus, headaches, and menstrual pain.
Deck of Cards
It’s a classic item for a reason – you’ll be meeting lots of interesting people on the road, and if you’re backpacking, you’ll probably be playing some drinking games as well. If nothing else, card games are a great way to bond with your fellow backpackers and forge some friendships along the way.
Can underwear be found in Asia? Of course. But Asian sizes tend to be much smaller than American sizes. In fact, if you’re female larger than a size 2, you’ll have trouble finding underwear that fits you, and even if you do find some, it’s usually of poorer quality. It’s a good idea to bring as much underwear as you intend to wear for the duration of your trip.
While some backpackers may claim that you can make your way through Southeast Asia with little more than the clothes on your back, these items will make your travels far easier.