#9- Backpacking Essentials | Packing List For Southeast Asia

Backpacking Essentials | Packing List For Southeast Asia

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Backpacking across South-East Asia is pretty popular amongst the backpacking community!

Why? It’s cheap, perfect for your tiny budget, ideal for partying and meeting friends along the way! You only have to add in a few bonuses such as food, a tropical climate, and breathtaking scenery to want to book your flight!

When it comes to packing your backpack for the trip of a lifetime, it can be a mission.  Especially if this is your first backpacking trip to Southeast Asia!  

I thought I’d help you guys prepare for your big trip by making an easy packing list for Southeast Asia including all the packing essentials for Asia.

What to take backpacking Southeast Asia? In this post, you’ll find different sections that should cover all your Asia travel list essentials

Travel tips & Recommendation


Travel by bus, by train or simply fly to your next destination

Passport & Visa

As expected, you need to make sure your passport is valid for the duration…

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid…

1: Choosing the Best Travel Bag

On any trip, the biggest factor for me is having a good travel bag. This can make or break your trip so I suggest you choose the brand, size, and quality with care. Since Southeast Asia is made up of multiple islands and rugged terrain, we recommend choosing backpacks over wheeled luggage. Alternatively, you can also choose to get convertible backpacks which convert as a backpack or a wheeled suitcase.

To help you choose the right travel bag, here are some of our top recommendations based on bags that we’ve tried and tested! For the record- we love the brand Osprey and have been using their gear for years now.

Details of Our Recommended Travel Backpacks

Osprey Farpoint 40 This sturdy travel backpack has been traveling around Asia with us for the last few years. For us, it is just the right size- helping you downsize all those unnecessary weights. If you do need anything larger, you can also look at the Osprey Farpoint 55

Osprey Fairview Similar to the Osprey Farpoint, this women’s backpack is top-rated for a reason. It opens just like a suitcase which makes packing super easy. Again, if you’re looking for something larger, they also have larger sizes.

Osprey Meridian, Personally speaking, I’ve always had a bad back which is why I opted to choose a convertible wheely bag that can be converted to a backpack if necessary. However, to be perfectly honest, since I’ve switched to this, I have never even used the backpack option as the wheels are pretty sturdy and rugged.

2: Medical Supplies & Travel Insurance | Backpacking Southeast Asia

A first aid kit is an essential piece of equipment on any gap year or a round-the-world adventure, but most travelers aren’t sure exactly what they need to take with them. So here are 12 essentials medical supplies that should never leave your backpack:

1. Plasters (Bandages)
2. Gauze
3. Crepe bandages (ACE or elastic bandages)
4. Surgical tape
5. Small scissors
6. Tweezers
7. Antiseptic wipes
8. Condoms ( Ain’t need anymore – I am Happily married 😀)
9. Pain relief medication
10. Loperamide tablets
11. Antihistamine cream
12. Antibacterial creams

Important Note: When carrying any generic medication, it is essential that it is kept in its original packaging when you are traveling in case customs officials need to check it. If you have never taken any of the above medications before, check with your physician, nurse, or pharmacist before you do, as you may have a specific medical history, condition, or allergy that general advice cannot cover.

Buy a small first aids kit on Amazon

3: Fashionable Travel Clothes | Southeast Asia Packing List

Most of the times, you don’t really need a lot of clothes while traveling to Southeast Asia. There is always a laundry shop that will do your washing for less than a dollar so pack sparingly! The items listed below are only suggestions as they will vary greatly depending on your travel style. If you like big cities, you might want to pack a pair of jeans for nights out. Similarly, if you intend to do more treks, bring more outdoor clothes.

The most important thing when choosing the clothing that you will bring is the type of material. if you’re planning on visiting during the summer months, avoid bringing thick hard to dry clothing. Instead, go for quick dry items. Trust me, it will make all the difference.

Southeast Asia Packing List: Women

Southeast Asia Packing List: Men

4: Accessories to Survive the Tropical Weather in South-East Asia | Essentials for Backpacking Asia

BALI, INDONESIA – 2nd FEB 2019; Beautiful waterfall hidden in the tropical jungle of Bali, Indonesia.

Here’s a quick minimalist list of packing essentials in Asia!

May to September is the period when you will probably experience the most rain on an extended trip across Southeast Asia. However, in general, March to May are the hottest months when sightseeing and getting around can be quite uncomfortable everywhere apart from the Northernmost cities such as Hanoi.

5: Camera Gear & Tech | Backpacking South-East Asia with the Right Gear

Unless your phone takes pretty good pictures already, you might want to consider bringing a camera with you while you’re in Southeast Asia.

I personally always travel with my GoPro and with a few accessories such as a head mount, tripod, and underwater case. If a GoPro is a bit out of your budget you could also check out alternatives for underwater cameras.

You should also consider bringing a power bank to charge your phone and other gadgets especially when you’re on a plane or on a long bus ride.

If you work online or if you like to travel with a laptop you can always find cheap and convenient travel laptops that won’t take too much room in your backpack. if you are a travel vlogger you may also like to consider investing in a quality drone.

1- Action camera
2- Powerbank
3- Reading Tablet
4- Camera
5- Set of SD card
6- Travel laptop
7- Drone
8- Harddisk
9- Headphone
10- Gorilla tripod

Where to book your next hostel

Hostels / guesthouse are awesome places to gather with other travelers and also to make friends. We recommend using Hostelworld, we have been using it for years and we never been disapointed.


Do you need a sleeping bag in Asia?

If you have a very small sleeping bag, you could bring it with you. Sometimes, the hostel’s blankets can be tiny or dodgy. Having a sleeping bag is a great way to feel more comfortable in your bed. Although, I usually don’t travel with a sleeping bag anymore.

Can you travel in South-East Asia with carry-on only?

Absolutely! I do this all the time. Obviously, you’re going to be limited in terms of packing, but you will likely save money on flights. It will also make your life easier when it’s time to carry your stuff around.

How many pairs of shoes do you need?

I usually keep it simple. I reckon one pair of flip-flops and one pair of comfy shoes do the job just fine. My shoes are normally perfect for hiking, running, or working out as well as just walking around.

Should you take a backpack or a suitcase?

I used to always travel with a backpack. I feel like it is more convenient – You can also use a duffel bag that can also work as a backpack, which is super useful too.

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