South East Asia Women’s Packing List

One thing I noticed when I was preparing for my trip was that the internet could use a good quality women’s packing list for South East Asia. Here is a list of what I found helpful, and that you might find helpful too!

ELECTRONICS

  • Smart Phone
  • I have an old iPhone (5s) which I thought was great; not only did it take good photos, it had wifi ability, location services, and was old enough that I wasn’t the first target to get robbed anywhere that was touristy as everyone else had nicer iPhones (6s etc).
  • Smart Phone apps:
    • Uber (cheap rides, can use just with Wifi)
    • Grab (Asian Uber, cheaper, more available in Bangkok, WORTH IT)
    • Maps.me with places you are visiting pre-downloaded
    • Tripadvisor for when you have internet to look at reviews of restaurants, attractions, dive companies, tailors, etc and to WRITE reviews for places you loved to help other travellers!
    • VPN blocker if you are travelling to a country that blocks social media (or have a layover like me, in Shanghai). I used whale VPN and acquired free minutes by logging in for 7 days before I planned on using it (usually earn 20 free minutes a day).
  • Phone Charger
    • Regular North American charger works just fine! As far as I know South East Asian plugs accept both North American and European plugs (the round kind)
  • Waterproof Camera of some sort and charger
    • I have a waterproof Olympus point and shoot that I bought before I went on exchange to Europe in 2013. I carried it around in my bag for a long time wondering why I had it. Then, I swam in Ha Long Bay and was so happy I had it to take some sweet photos!
    • A Go Pro is also ideal, if you can afford it. Don’t forget a selfie stick for it and a floaty attachment! (and Waterproof case)!
  • Headphones
    • I flew China Eastern so they gave us double pronged earphones on the plane to use to watch the TVs
    • Iphone headphones are great for skyping, face timing, whatsapp, etc plus listening to music/podcasts!

OTHER VALUABLES

  • Passport
    • Make sure valid for 6 months AFTER you travel, and you have all your visas! If you are entering a country more than once make sure you have your multiple entry visa.
    • I kept mine in a fun multi pocketed case
  • Money
    • It costs 2-3 CAD to withdraw cash in an ATM in Vietnam, so just withdraw there. It costs 8 CAD (220 baht in Thailand)……. convert at home to start you off if you can get a good rate. In Vietnam I withdrew 60-100 CAD at a time, in Thailand I withdrew 200-300 CAD at a time, mostly because I was trying to pay for accommodation with the money I carried with me as well.
  • Credit Card
    • I brought a Visa and it was accepted everywhere credit cards were accepted. Some things I paid for with card: Vietnam excursions at my hostel (3% fee), Scuba Diving (5% fee), random hostels that accepted credit card, pedicure in Vietnam ($7 CAD for the pedi and they accepted card so I went for it), food in the Shanghai airport
  • Debit Card
    • You need this to withdraw cash!!!

CLOTHES

This list lasted me about 2 weeks at a time, with me mostly doing laundry because I needed underwear or just my too clothes were too sweaty for me to handle anymore. A load of laundry cost me about $3 CAD in Thailand and $3.50 CAD in Vietnam. Also, if you are like me and have thick thighs, PLEASE take chafing into consideration when packing your clothes. It will make a difference, trust me.

  • 4 tank tops (bought 2 when I was there near the end/when I wanted prolong laundry for $3 each in Vietnam)
  • 3 pairs of shorts (brought a nicer jean pair, wore it on my first day, chafed horribly, never wore them again. Stick with athletic shorts)
  • Shirt to wear and throw away after the Full Moon Party, if you’re going
  • At least 10 pairs of underwear (less if you are spending lots of time at the beach)
  • Bathing suit (That will give you nice tan lines, maybe 1 alternative top to wear to fix tan lines.)
  • 2 pairs of  socks (packed 7 pairs, only wore them in Sa Pa and airport to and from Asia)
  • Hoodie (for night time/air conditioning)
  • Microfibre towel (for the beach and if your hostel doesn’t provide towels)
  • Longer spandex shorts to wear under dresses, if you are prone to thigh chafing (you’re welcome in advance)
  • 2 dresses to wear (or 1 if you plan on buying a dress early on in your trip)
  • A set of T shirt and shorts that you can use as pyjamas but won’t wear during the day (nice to wear something clean at night in the AC once you’ve taken an evening shower!)

 

TOILETRIES

  • Shampoo
    • I used a Lush shampoo bar, it was great and I still have most of it left after a month. I carried it around in a tin, which was worth it
  • More sunscreen than you think you need (face and body)
    • You never know when you will meet a friend in need. And, it’s expensive in Asia!
  • Aloe vera gel/first degree burn cream if you are susceptible to big burns – very expensive in Asia (like $30 CAD a tube)
  • BUG SPRAY (more than you think you need) – I used lotion with deet in it and it was very useful to put on right after my evening shower. The spray kind is useful for quick application!
  • Toilet paper (one roll is good to carry around if you get grossed out in bathrooms easily)
  • Hand sanitizer
    • If you like having clean hands after using the washroom…..
  • Conditioner
    • I bought a Lush conditioner bar, it sucked, just suck it up and bring the actual stuff.
  • Moisturizer – face and body
  • Polysporin
  • Band Aids
  • Toothbrush/paste
    • One travel sized toothpaste tube should last you about a month, as a rule of thumb.
  • Floss
    • Maybe you’ve never flossed and aren’t about to start on vacation, I get it. But you will need this if you get some delicious mango or pineapple stuck in your teeth
  • More deodorant than you think you need

 

OTHER

  • Small bottle of laundry detergent
  • Vaseline (if you chafe easily this will be your lifesaver)
  • Baby powder (also for chafing)

 

DO NOT BRING

  • Makeup. Brought some “just in case”. Took up space in my bag. Would have sweat it off immediately. I couldn’t see half the time I was in Asia BECAUSE I WAS SO SWEATY. Do not bother.
  • Nice clothes
  • Clothes that will get sweat stained
  • Sleeved shirts, if you are a sweaty person
  • An actual towel – too bulky, will never dry as it is too humid/you will be in air-conditioned areas.

 

The main advice I would give for packing for a trip to SEA is: you WILL buy clothes there ($3 or less per clothing items in some places), everything will be drenched in sweat by the end, and don’t worry too much. Everyone else is walking around in their least nice, sweaty clothes too.

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