southeast asia packing list girl with backpack
What to pack for Southeast Asia? Not much at all, it’s warm weather all year round

Travelling through Southeast Asia is exhilarating! Expect your trip to be full of adventure, diversity, smiling locals, beaches, incredible cities, and fantastic street food

The best part is that it’s super affordable too.

Southeast Asia includes nine countries – Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

Each country has different local customs and traditions, varying weather conditions depending on the time of year you visit, and various things to do.

Our best advice for your Southeast Asia packing list is that less is more!

Travelling around SE Asia is much easier when your backpack or suitcase is light. It makes it so much easier when you’re guaranteed to jump on and off buses, boats, trains, tuk-tuks, and ferries to get around this gorgeous region.

Southeast Asia is one of the easiest continents to travel through. Many travellers wander through these countries with just a few items and some comfortable shoes.

If you forget something or need anything else, picking it up at the markets or the nearest mall is easy. 

Here it is! Your Southeast Asia Packing List:

southeast asia packing list rice fields

Choosing the Right Travel Bag

Ok, some people are backpack travellers, and others are suitcase travellers. We chat about the pros and cons of each travel bag in our post, Suitcase Vs Backpack – Which one should you choose?

In saying that, we recommend choosing a backpack over a suitcase for your travels in Southeast Asia. You will encounter uneven surfaces, rough terrain, numerous islands, stairs, and random transport options. It is much easier to navigate this if you have a backpack rather than wheeled luggage.

Nowadays, you can buy fabulous travel bags that offer both options, like the Osprey Wheels 36 Bag. You can wear this bag as a backpack and then convert it into a rolling suitcase, too. 

Over the past twenty years, we’ve used many travel bags. We now use the Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack; we love it!

This is the ideal backpack for your Southeast Asia packing list. 

Do you need a small day pack?

Travelling with a small day pack is a personal choice. We travel with one as we always prefer to keep our valuables with us.

This is especially important when taking overnight train/bus rides.

We carry this small Osprey day pack

We often lock our large 40L backpack to something stationary when we sleep, and our small daypack containing our valuables remains on our person, inside our silk sleeping sheet—it feels much more secure to do this to deter any opportunistic thieves.

When we’re on the move, our small Osprey day pack sits on the front of our body with our Osprey 40L backpack on our backs; this makes it easy to access passports or money quickly.

southeast asia packing list
The inside of our Osprey 40L Farpoint backpack.

Choosing Your Travel Clothes

Generally, most of Southeast Asia is relatively warm throughout the year. Temperatures range between 26 and 36 degrees from cool to hot season, and the humidity is high year-round. 

The best clothing for your Southeast Asia packing list is light, breathable cotton, clothing you can mix and match, and items that dry quickly. 

Southeast Asia Packing List: Clothing for WOMEN

Southeast Asia Packing List: Clothing for MEN

Toiletries for Women

We’re lucky to share some toiletries on the road, giving one of us more room in our backpack.

I’ll take our espresso machine and fresh coffee to share the load if Marty carries the toiletries.

southeast asia packing list toiletry bag
Try to keep your toiletries to a minimum for your Southeast Asia Packing List

We try to keep toiletries to a minimum as they can be heavy. We also travel with carry-on baggage; therefore, all our toiletries must be 100ml or less.

  • Hanging Toiletry Bag
  • Small containers (100ml) for refills
  • Shampoo/Conditioner 100ml each
  • Bar of soap
  • shaver/razor (we never have a problem at airports with this in our carry-on)
  • hairbrush
  • Roll-on deodorant
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • exfoliating shower glove (we found these in Morocco..love them)
  • 100ml sized sunscreen – We like Nivea or Neutrogena brands
  • Nivea face moisturiser SPF30
  • Blistex and lip balm
  • A few pieces of makeup (which we rarely use, but sometimes it feels nice to dress up) 1 tube of foundation, bronzing powder, and brush, 1 mascara

Toiletries for Men (as suggested by our male travel buddy)

  • Hanging Toiletry Bag
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Shampoo
  • Body gel
  • Moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunblock
  • Deodorant
  • Shaver/small shaving cream
  • Mosquito repellent (with DEET!)

 Accessories/Extras

Technology/Electronics

We understand if you’re a photographer, digital nomad, or can’t live without your MacBook and other electronics. We need these things as we work online as we travel the world.

Here’s what we take in our Southeast Asia packing list regarding electronics.

southeast asia packing list MacBook electronics
Southeast Asia Packing List – Electronics we pack in our bag.

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Safety in Southeast Asia

Travelling around Southeast Asia is considered relatively safe, but reading our 12 tips for safe travel is best.

The same goes for travelling anywhere in the world; accidents do happen.

We highly recommend you sort out some good travel insurance to cover you when things go wrong.

We recommend Heymondo  Travel Insurance (here’s a 5% discount on all policies)

We recommend adding one of their comprehensive travel insurance policies to your Southeast Asia packing list.

Another fantastic (and affordable) Travel Insurance company is SafetyWing Travel Insurance. This company was created by travellers, for travellers.

These guys offer Travel Medical Insurance that covers people from all over the world outside their home country.

Get Connected with eSIM

Get connected easily on your travels—buy an eSIM! An eSIM works like an app: buy it, download it, and get connected in minutes! It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original phone number, too!

Click below and view which eSIM data plan you need for your next adventure. Use our referral code: RACHEL5045, to get $3 off your first purchase!

Transport and Getting Around Southeast Asia

Getting from A to B in Southeast Asia is easy. If you’ve got the budget to include flights, that would be fantastic! We book all our flights on Skyscanner. The prices are unbeatable, and you can pay in your chosen currency.

If time doesn’t matter to you and you’ve got a budget to stick to, consider looking at trains and buses.

The best website for checking boat, bus, and train timetables is 12Go.asia

When deciding what to pack for Southeast Asia, remember that you may be taking many forms of public transport.

Therefore, a light backpack is essential to help you move about easier with more freedom and flexibility.

southeast asia packing list tuk tuk

How to Book Accommodation in Southeast Asia

We always use the same websites to book accommodation in Southeast Asia. Booking.com is our number one choice.

In saying that, Agoda has some unbeatable deals all over Asia, so it’s worth double-checking if you can get a better price with these guys.

Apps to download for Southeast Asia

Download these apps on your phone to make your Southeast Asian travels easy.

  • Skyscanner (to search for flights)
  • Booking.com (to book accommodation on the go)
  • XE.com (to check the latest exchange rates)
  • Maps. me (the best offline maps to help you navigate around)
  • Google Translate (while English is widely spoken in SE Asia, this app is handy when you get lost in translation.)
  • 12.Go (book a bus, boat, ferry, train, or flight in Asia)

RELATED POST – 20 Best Travel Apps (Plus They’re Free)

southeast asia packing list apps to download

Staying in Southeast Asia long-term?

If you’re considering staying longer in Southeast Asia, check out the Trusted Housesitters website for tips on saving loads of money on accommodation. If you’re considering staying in one place for a little longer, you can become a housesitter in Southeast Asia (and worldwide).

Being a house-sitter means free accommodation for you in return for looking after different homes around the globe. Signing up for a membership was one of the best things we ever did!

Join now with our invitation and receive a massive 25% off your membership!

Travelling Beyond Southeast Asia?

Our Ultimate Packing List for every traveller includes the items we carried on our journey to visit every country in the world!

Considering we move between all types of weather, from very cool temperatures to sweltering hot ones. And we still manage to travel with carry-on baggage only, our 40L Osprey backpack or sometimes our Samsonite suitcase, often weighing less than 10kg.

Join a Small Group Tour in Southeast Asia

Have you considered travelling around SE Asia on a small group tour? We highly recommend G Adventures. They offer 30+ different itineraries in SE Asia, so there is a trip to suit everyone.

Check out the range of G Adventures Southeast Asia Tours.

Travel Tips for Southeast Asia

If you enjoyed this post, check out these 20 Jobs that PAY YOU to Travel the World. We love sharing our TOP TRAVEL HACKS to save you money and the travel websites we use to save cash.

If you’re heading to SE Asia, we highly recommend you plan to spend a good chunk of time in Thailand!

Check out these 15 Amazing Things to do in Thailand to help you in the planning stages, and we’ve got your back with these 26 Handy Travel Tips for Thailand.

Whether you’re planning to chill, surf, and relax at Kata Beach in Phuket, go island hopping or go on an eating adventure in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand (you’ll need our Chiang Mai food guide for that), Thailand is a fantastic destination to kick off your Southeast Asian adventure!