How To Pack For SE Asia- A First Timers Guide

What do you pack for a part of the world that is a million miles away from home both culturally and climatically? Here are my top tips from the month I spent travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

What to pack

The key words for clothes in South East Asia are lightweight and quick drying, it’s hot and humid so no need for jumpers or coats. A fold down umbrella is great for those unexpected showers/monsoons as waterproofs are too hot and sticky to wear. Things are pretty cheap in general, you can stay in 3*+ hotels for $10/$20 a night. They’re generally very clean with helpful staff. Most rooms have hair dryers, shower gel and a kettle so leave these basics at home. Flip flops are king here, save any nice shoes from getting waterlogged and ruined. A scarf or sarong is a must for covering up in temples, it’s a very versatile and useful item essential for any traveller; sun shade, beach towel, temple cover up.

Dog at Angkor Wat


I had jabs for Hep A and Typhoid. It is your choice alone and it’s best to talk to your doctor or travel clinic before travelling. The government website gives a good guideline.
In Cambodia I took Malarone tablets to prevent Malaria from Mosquito bites, generally most cities are OK but if your going off exploring or to any jungle areas it’s just peace of mind.
Good sun cream is always essential anywhere hot. High Deet insect repellent is too, apply everyday even before bed if there’s no mosquito net.
Imodium, not a pleasant thought but very useful when on the move and eating unusual food as the toilets aren’t always that great or readily available.
Wet wipes/ antibacterial wash are always essential to keep fresh and clean.

Rice Paddies in Cambodia

In general

Everything is cheap here but it’s not always easy to find specifics. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere but consider a Lifestraw to cut down on plastic waste. If travelling in a group you could consider buying big bottles and share by decanting into smaller ones, saving both money and the environment. The WiFi seems to be better here than in most western countries so you can make use of your mobile and not worry about needing a local data sim. The markets in Siem Reap are great to pick up locally made crafts and practice some haggling.

And most importantly have fun, I loved travelling here and would highly recommend it to everyone, just leave the health and safety handbook at home!