What to Pack for Backpacking South East Asia

Packing your life into a backpack is no easy feat. You’ll make numerous lists, agonize over which items are the most essential and eventually try to stuff everything in. When I first left for Australia, I thought I’d packed really sensibly but it didn’t take long to realise that I still had way too much stuff. Luckily, over time, I shed 6kg of belongings to leave my backpack weighing a much more reasonable amount! So with that in mind, I’ve put together a comprehensive packing list of everything you need to backpack through Asia. And if you want to keep it on hand, there’s a useful downloadable version at the end too.

Wander with Laura backpacking

What to Pack for Backpacking South East Asia

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The heat in South East Asia can get pretty intense but it makes packing easier. Forget bulky jumpers and jeans – lightweight is the way to go!

Miscellaneous loose items

Toiletries

1 x makeup bag containing: sunscreen, some basic makeup items (see the link below for the full list), a nail varnish, a tiny box with a few pieces of jewellery and a couple of brushes.

1 x washbag containing: shampoo, conditioner, a razor, face wipes, deodorant, contact lenses and solution, rehydration sachets, painkillers, diarrhoea tablets (best safe than sorry!), a tube of Savlon, insect repellent, my supply of contraceptive pills, bobbles and hairclips, a nail kit, plasters and a couple of cotton buds.

Clothes

1 x double sided packing cube containing: 4 dresses, 6 tops (vests and t shirts), 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of leggings, 1 cardigan, 1 kimono and 1 beach cover up. Oh – and not forgetting, 1 pair of stereotypical traveller elephant pants!

1 x single packing cube containing: 2 bikinis, underwear (3 bras and 10 knickers) and my perfume which I wrapped in my three pairs of socks to prevent smashing.

I also carried 1 hoodie, 1 rainproof jacket (that folded into a small pouch), gym leggings, a sports bra, a cap, a pair of trainers and a pair of flip flops.

Backpacking packing cube

The Backpack

My backpack itself was a sturdy Berghaus model although luckily, a friend actually lent it to me so that saved a chunk of money before I left. At first, I filled the 65 litre capacity to the brim plus another 10 litres in the day pack attached to the front! Believe me, that is a lot of stuff and looking back, the pack was way too big for me but by the end of my trip, I had room to spare. The best part about the backpack was that it unzipped around the sides, making it much easier to get to your stuff, and it also has a zippable compartment inside. I used this to hold any documents and mementos – I’m the sentimental type who keeps tickets and receipts from everywhere!

what's in my backpack

Download South East Asia Packing List

Download the packing list here

And that’s it! I really hope this helps to get your packing in order. Along with my backpack, my smaller day bag included all the fun stuff like my camera, important documents and Kindle. But that could be a topic for a whole other blog post if you want it? Let me know!

Have I missed anything else? What are your packing essentials?

Laura x

You may also like:

What’s in my Travel Makeup Bag

The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money While Travelling

Packing Hand Luggage for Long Haul Flights

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