Travel guide for Southeast Asia, Travel Hacks

Traveling in Southeast Asia: The Ultimate Packing Guide

At Busbud, we work hard every day to make sure our product helps you book your bus tickets at a price that makes you happy, anywhere in the world. That’s something we pride ourselves on and we want to make sure that every single one of our users gets the best bus experience possible when traveling. We love to help our users, so we’ve decided to write a complete bus guide for traveling by bus in Southeast Asia!

What people often forget is that traveling can get expensive at a pretty alarming rate. The goal here is to not only give you the resources to find budget-friendly bus trips, but also the resources to keep your entire trip budget-friendly. We’ve written a post already about 10 travel products you’ll want to take with you, but we decided to make one that is more Southeast Asia related. We definitely recommend the products mentioned in our other blog post, but here are more tips and tricks that will help you pack for your great adventure!

Picking a Bag

We recommend purchasing the Quantum 70+10 backpack due to its comfort, price, compartments, wet pocket, multi grab handles and all the other great features it has. It is a great travel pack that will allow you to carry it all day, every day. It has great reviews, including this one from Mountains for Everyone, which highlights the advantages of the bag. Bonus points because this bag includes a 10L day pack that is really handy.

Accessories

A lot of the time, we are too busy thinking of important things like accommodation, boarding passes, passports, visas, cash, and an extensive list of things that we forget convenient accessories that can save us stress and money. Here are some of our favorites!

Microfiber Towel

Plenty of the accommodations, especially hostels, do not provide towels. If they do, they usually handsomely for them.  Having some a microfiber towel can be very handy and extra points for the quick drying time! This will definitely help you when you’re walking all day in the blistering Southeast Asian heat. You’re welcome!

Water Purifier Bottle

A water purifier bottle may not be the most obvious accessory to bring along but it can be a real money saver, especially where tap water is not drinkable. But even in countries where tap water is drinkable, having one is useful. Apart from avoiding always having to shop for plastic water bottles, it’s much more environmentally conscious… just like taking the bus! 😉

Power bank

Since you’ll be using your electronics a lot more, it’s essential you can power them up anywhere, anytime. There are a lot of power banks out there that can actually ruin your battery every time you use them so invest in a good one – with at least 10000mAh capacity.

Kindle

If you are into reading, a Kindle is a great option to bring lots of books with you without occupying much space. With lots of bus travel within and between these countries, you’ll be thankful for that comfortable reclining seat allowing you to dive deep into a great book.

Clothing

Check the weather of all the places you’re planning to go. While most Southeast Asia is warm all year-round, there are some countries where it can get chilly, depending on the time of the year. Clothing is really important to organize and plan before heading out for any amount of time. Having too much or too little can really influence the overall experience of your trip. Here are some tips for what clothes to bring while traveling in Southeast Asia.

  • Bring thin comfy clothes of neutral colors. They’re easier to combine and to maintain. Plus, nothing puts a tourist label on you than that flashy Hawaii patterned shirt. Sorry, you’ll have to leave it at home!
  • Dark clothes are easier to maintain and don’t get dirty so easily, but they also retain more heat. When it’s a humid 35C sunny day, the last thing you want is to wander around in a black t-shirt.
  • For longer travels, remember most accommodations in Asia have washing machines available so you can easily reuse your stuff, so no reason to overpack!

Shoes:

One pair of comfortable sandals and one pair of waterproof (if possible) comfortable running shoes.

Bottoms:

Underwear rule of thumb is 7 (for a whole week) and washing them to reuse. Socks probably won’t be used as much due to weather (wearing sandals most of the time) so 5-6 pairs should be enough. Lightweight shorts are important but make sure that they are made of breathable, sweat wicking material and that you have at least 5 pairs that you can re-wear once or twice before washing. You will need at least one pair of pants/jeans that covers the knees for visiting temples or taking care of business in government buildings. Don’t forget your bathing suit (1-2 should be good).

Tops:

There is a lot of sun in these regions, so you’ll want to make sure to have at least one hat. T-shirts can get unusable for sweaty reasons really quickly, but at the same time you can find TONS of t-shirts in Southeast Asia at really low prices. Having 2-3 per week of travel, limit of 7 is more than enough for you trip. Sleeveless shirts are great for humid climates, but you can’t enter some temples showing off your shoulders. Using t-shirts for city visiting days (including temples), and sleeveless shirts for outdoor exploring. Having 2 per week of travel with a limit of 4 should be more than enough. Long-sleeve shirts are great to have when it gets chilly at night or in certain regions but just make sure they are made of a thin material. They can get handy when the temperature drops (having 1-2 is enough). Having a thin and easily packable light rain jacket will be helpful as the weather can sometimes be unpredictable.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Hygiene and other

Most of the things you need you’ll be able to find in the big cities at very reasonable prices, so bringing only the necessary is suggested. Having travel size toothpaste, deodorant, motion sickness medication, shampoo, soap and sunscreen should be more than enough to get you started on your trip!

Hopefully, all of the above helps you to be more efficient with your packing for Southeast Asia. It can be confusing figuring out what to bring when it’s your first (or even your fifth) time somewhere. If you liked this post, check out some of our other posts in our Extensive Guide to Bus Travel in Southeast Asia.