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What to Bring When Traveling to Southeast Asia

What to Bring When Traveling to Southeast Asia

Aug 28th, 1998, 02:10 AM
  #1  
Tye Hartall
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What to Bring When Traveling to Southeast Asia

All too often I see backpackers carrying their heavy gear through
the streets of hot Southeast Asian towns and I feel so sorry for them.

Outside of being branded a backpacker, which is Asia has adverse implications,
the sheer weight and clumsiness of these packs make them inconveniences at best.

I offer a plausible alternative.

Living in Thailand, I am lucky enough to travel for weeks at a time, knowing I can
go home again, do my washing and other domestics, get a couple nights of sleep in my
own bed and then be off again for a couple more weeks. Still, I think I can offer some
advice for the traveler who comes to this part of the world for a month or more regarding
"what to bring" and "what not to bring".

First of all, unless you plan on doing an awful lot of camping which I don't recommend,
don't bother to bring a sleeping bag--it's just too hot here. A simple, light-weight
sarong is sufficient cover and doubles as a wrap-around.
I recommend bringing a small shoulder bag. This is much more inconspicuous than a
backpack or a suitcase. A small shoulder bag like I've recommended is good for packing
in mini-vans, and in overhead
compartments on buses, trains, and planes and there's no waiting around baggage carousels
for your gear. That translates into being one of the first to get through dreaded customs.

One pair of sandals and one pair of nice shoes are plenty.
I also take 3 pair of walking shorts and a pair of long pants. Jeans take up a lot
of room in the bag but if you are lost without a pair, by all means bring 'em.

T-shirts are universally worn in Asia. Clothes are cheap here and it's fun to pick up a
few along one's travels so don't pack too many. Four are plenty. Six is too many. Two
dress shirts, one being long sleeves is recommended.

Other items to bring or buy locally are a lightweight raincoat, cap, sunscreen, sunglasses,
swimming costume, and underwear. All these last items can be purchased cheaply in Asia.

Bring 2 books maximum. A novel and your guidebook--no more. They're heavy! You can usually
trade in your novel for others along the way. Once exception to this rule would be to pick
a small phrase book of the local language. People appreciate your attempt to say a few words
in their language.

By all means bring a lightweight sweatshirt. Though you'll swelter under the Asian
sun, certain buses and trains keep the temperature at ice station zebra levels. You'll be
thankful for having brought this item, believe me.

A number of waist pouches are available to carry your passport, but, again, they make you look
like a tourist.

Bring only the smallest quantity of toiletries. No family-size stuff. They're easy to pick up
when you need them. Bring a small towel and soap, as many of the cheaper guesthouses don't
provide these items.

That's all!!!!! There are laundries available all over Asia so once a week or so send
everything out to be washed. No problem.

As a quick test, when you first pack your bag, take a short hike with in on your shoulder.
Two city blocks should be enough. If you have to put it down, go back to the drawing board
and lighten the load.

 
Sep 6th, 1998, 12:05 PM
  #2  
Jo Harriet
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I want to agree with what Tye says. When going to Asia, take as little as possible. For women, one pair of earrings, one sort-of nice dress or pants suit (for a nice restaurant) or (even better) a very casual outfit that can be dressed up with a scarf, a pair of sandals that you wear with the nice dress for dress up and to the beach, one pair of sneakers, a bathing suit, a sarong (for a beach cover-up, additional skirt, etc), 3 or 4 Tshirts, 2 casual pants, 2 pair of shorts. A long cotton modest sundress is good. A light rain jacket is good and doubles as a robe (or you can use the sarong for a robe). For sleep, take a long t-shirt that can be worn as a t-shirt. Asia has wonderful laundry service (incredibly cheap and very fast) everywhere and discourages washing in the hotel rooms for water conservation. You need a hat, dark glasses and sunscreen with moisturizer. Try to leave at home all make up, jewelry, fancy clothes, clothes that don't match everything else you have, etc. Less is more. You can buy whatever you want there, it's not much more than it is at home, and the weight and bulk of carrying things you don't really need is horrendous in Asia. The spa's, hairdressers, etc are great and cheap.
 
Sep 16th, 1998, 10:39 AM
  #3  
Larry
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I Would agree with the previous posting on most everything except the use of backpacks. Backpacks are a great way to lug your stuff around. There is no predjudice of backpackers contrary to some opinions.
Take a backpack that is small enough to stow as overhead baggage. If you can't then you have too much stuff. Our backpacks have saved us days of waiting for baggage and or waiting at immigration.
 
Sep 18th, 1998, 11:13 AM
  #4  
lily
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dont forget a small flashlight. trust me.
 
Aug 10th, 1999, 07:22 PM
  #5  
Beth
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I don't know if anyone still checks this post, as it is almost a year old, but I am going to be traveling for about a year, and don't see how going without a backpack is possible. However, I find the packing tips useful.
 
Aug 12th, 1999, 05:10 AM
  #6  
vm
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try using the universal packing list. I think the adress is something like
http://www.henricson.se/mats/upl/

but use your search engine for universal packing list. the UPL address will appear.

And remember. Start by placing your cloths, etc. on one side of the room and your money on the other. Once you have everything out that you want to pack - just pack half the clothes and double the money!!
 

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