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A packing list for Southeast Asia is important, especially for the first trip. Packing is not an art, but you will probably ask yourself if you have everything you need. This is how we felt before our first major Southeast Asia trip. We have looked at various packing lists for Southeast Asia until we have found our optimal and compact packing list.

What things you should pack for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines etc., how many kilos your luggage can weigh and all the stuff that we have packed for our travels, you will find here.

Packing list Southeast Asia – everything you need to pack for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia etc.

For your optimal travel preparation, you will surely ask yourself some questions. What should you not forget, what do you actually need and what can you buy in the emergency. Basically, we can tell you: Do not worry too much about packing.

Traveling in Southeast Asia is very easy in most areas and you can buy everything on the spot if you forget something. Also, washing your clothes is cheap and easy. All things that make you feel you don’t need them, you can leave them at home and buy them when you’re on the road.

Since the beginning of 2013, we have been traveling with a few breaks in Southeast Asia and can say that we have found the optimal packing list for us. In the beginning, you often take too much with you. But to benefit from our experience, you will find our packing list for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia right here.

Backpack, suitcase or trolley?

It’s obviously a matter of taste, whether you take a backpack, suitcase or trolley with you on your trip. We recommend you a backpack. This is the easiest way to travel in Southeast Asia, especially for island hopping or when it’s time to travel by plane, bus and boat.

The following equipment has accompanied us for many years:

  • Large backpack (50 – 60 liters): Tatonka Yukon
  • Daypack: Deuter Giga or Dakine Factor
  • Tatonka backpack protection

Info: We have been traveling even lighter for almost a year and are still only traveling with hand luggage. This brings some advantages, so that we don’t have to check in early on flights and afterwards no longer have to wait for luggage. This may not necessarily be your way of traveling, but for us it has many advantages.

Packing list clothes

  • 10 × T-shirts, tank tops or shirts
  • 3 × short pants/shorts
  • 1 × long pants/trekking pants/cargo pants
  • 2 × swimwear
  • 1 × thin jacket/hoodie e.g. Adidas Firebird
  • 1 × thin raincoat (alternatively, you can also buy cheap disposable raincoats)
  • 1 × hat/cap (as sun protection)
  • 7 × underwear
  • 1 × shoes/sneakers e.g. Nike Free
  • 1 × flip-flops
  • each 1 × normal socks and short thin socks
  • 1 × bag for dirty laundry

Note: As mentioned briefly in the introduction, you don’t need to worry too much if you have enough T-shirts etc. If something is not enough, you can buy everything in Southeast Asia for a good price. Also, washing is very cheap and anywhere possible for about € 1 per kilo!

Packing list care products

Highly recommended is the compact and mountable toiletry bag by Jack Wolfskin.

  • 1 × hairbrush or comb
  • 1 × toothbrush + dental care kit
  • 1 × shower gel + shampoo
  • 2 × sunblocker (mostly very expensive in Southeast Asia, so better don’t forget)
  • 1 × mosquito spray
  • 1 × shaver
  • 1 × deodorant
  • 1 × Q-tips
  • 1 × manicure set

Note: Here again, of course, you can buy everything on the spot. At a certain point of your journey you will also have to do this anyway. Except for the sunblocker (and sometimes the mosquito spray), the prices are reasonable everywhere in Southeast Asia.

Packing list documents & finances

  • Passport
  • ID
  • National and international driving license
  • Vaccination certificate
  • Documents/copy of your international health insurance + emergency number
  • Credit card
  • Spare credit card (if your main card is locked or lost)
  • Cash (about € 50-100 as an emergency change)
  • 2 × spare passport photos
  • Diver certification etc. (if available)
  • Ziploc bag or document bag for storing and protecting documents
  • Wallet

Note: We also recommend that you scan these documents and store them online. This is very easy, e.g. with Google Drive or Dropbox. If you lose something or something is stolen, it will be a little bit easier if you can present a color copy of the original document for recovery.

Packing list technics

  • Smartphone
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
  • 13″ laptop (Apple MacBook Air or Lenovo ideapad 710S)
  • Canon PowerShot G9X
  • Mini tripod/Gorillapod for the digital camera
  • GoPro Hero5 Black
  • GoPro handheld/telescopic stick
  • SD memory cards
  • External hard drive, including protection case
  • iPod
  • Power bank (for charging USB devices)
  • Universal power adapter (e.g. important for Malaysia)
  • Chargers for smartphone, Kindle, laptop, camera

Note: Of course, you don’t have to take so much tech stuff with you. We travel with all these devices as they are important for us to blog and work on the road. However, if you want to save your photos while you’re on the road, keep your batteries charged or if you just want to make great photos and videos, such devices are essential.

Packing list accessories & other

  • Sunglasses (+ case)
  • Earplugs
  • Suitcase lock/padlock
  • Fast-drying microfiber travel towels (1 small + 1 large)
  • Swiss Army Knive
  • Belt bag
  • Money belt
  • Sleeping bag inlet
  • Sarong (mainly for temple visits but also a good all-rounder e.g. for the beach)
  • Inflatable neck cushion (for long flight or bus trips)
  • Small notepad/pen

Our total weight for the backpacks

  • Large backpack: approx. 13-15 kg
  • Small daypack: approx. 4-6 kg

You can also use our Southeast Asia packing list for outside this region, for example in South America. However, it’s not designed for colder regions. But even for that, it’s not a big thing to buy thicker jackets etc. directly on the spot.

Was our packing list for Southeast Asia helpful for you? Is something missing on the packing list? We look forward to your feedback in the comments!