Southeast Asia Packing List – ULTIMATE Guide for 2022
Planning a trip to Southeast Asia? Our guide covers the essentials to include in your Southeast Asia packing list. We’ve visited all countries in SE Asia and it’s one of our favourite areas in the world to explore.
Travelling through Southeast Asia is exhilarating! Expect your trip to be full of adventure, diversity, smiling locals, beaches, cool cities, and amazing street food!
The best part is that it’s super affordable too.
What to pack for Southeast Asia? Not much at all, it’s warm weather all year round
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 a varying range of things to do.
Our best piece of advice for your Southeast Asia packing list is that less is more!
Trust us, 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 be jumping 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, it’s easy to pick it up at the markets or the nearest mall.
Here it is! Your Southeast Asia Packing List for 2022
In saying that, we recommend choosing a backpack over a suitcase for your travels in Southeast Asia. The reason for this is that you will encounter uneven surfaces, rough terrain, numerous islands, stairs, and random transport options. It is much easier to navigate all of this if you have a backpack rather than wheeled luggage.
Nowadays, you can buy some awesome 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 bag too.
We’ve used many travel bags over the past twenty years. The one we use now is the Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack and we love it! This is the ideal backpack for your Southeast Asia packing list.
We often lock our large 40L backpack to something stationary when we sleep and our small daypack containing our valuables will remain on our person, inside our silk sleeping sheet while we sleep – it feels much more secure to do this to deter any opportunistic thieves.
Only recently though, we’ve seen the Nomatic travel gear range. It looks awesome and we plan to upgrade to one of their small backpacks very soon.
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 quickly access passports or money.
The inside of our Osprey 40L Farpoint backpack.
Choosing your Travel Clothes
In general, the majority of Southeast Asia is rather 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 to choose for your Southeast Asia packing list is light, breathable cotton, clothing you can mix and match, and items that dry quickly.
We’re lucky to be able to share some toiletries on the road – so it gives one of us a little more room in our backpack. If Marty carries the toiletries, I’ll carry our espresso machine and fresh coffee to evenly share the load.
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 of our toiletries must be 100ml or less.
The same goes for travelling anywhere in the world, accidents do happen.
We highly recommend you sort some good travel insurance to cover you when things go wrong. We’ve used World Nomads Travel Insurance to cover us in over 100+ countries.
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 is an insurance company created by travellers, for travellers. These guys offer Travel Medical Insurance that covers people from all over the world, while outside their home country – The best part is that COVID-19 coverage is included in their very affordable plans.
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, fantastic! We book all our flights on Skyscanner.The prices are unbeatable and you can choose to pay in the currency of your choice.
If time doesn’t matter to you and you’ve got a budget to stick to, consider looking at trains and buses.
Maps. me (the best offline maps to help you navigate around)
Google Translate (while English is widely spoken in SE Asia, this app is so useful when you get lost in translation)
Bookaway (book buses, ferries, and trains on the road)
12.Go (book a bus, boat, ferry, train or flight in Asia)
Staying in Southeast Asia long-term?
If you’re considering staying longer in Southeast Asia, check out the Trusted Housesitters website for saving loads of money on accommodation. Become a house-sitter in Southeast Asia, (and all over the world) if you’re considering staying in one place for a little longer.
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!
Taking into account, 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, often less than 10kg.
Airalo is the largest eSIM store with eSIM plans for 190+ countries and regions worldwide. This eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product!
Whether you’re planning to just 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!
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.
🚌 Transportation: To book trains,Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we useOmio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go.For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.
💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE is the best online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. It’s so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.
📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code VHN20 for a 20% discounton ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only – Read Terms & Conditions) OR use promo code VHN15 for a 15% discount on ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo account users – Read Terms & Conditions)
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.