My Ultimate SE Asia Backpacking Packing List

Packing for an extended trip can be a pretty daunting task. And knowing that you will have to carry all your belongings on your back makes it even harder. I packed for 5 weeks with a Kelty Redwing 40L backpack. I am only 5’1” so it was the perfect size for me. I was traveling in January so the temperatures ranged from a cooler 50°F Halong Bay to a melting hot Bali. Here’s what I packed (and wished I packed) for my trip through Southeast Asia.

Download my FREE Ultimate Southeast Asia Backpacking Packing List

What I relied on most

  • Tissues to use as toilet paper – You never know what the bathroom situation is going to be like
  • Lifeproof phone case
  • Packing cubes – Your backpack can become a black hole of stuff, these help keep everything organized
  • Nylon crossbody bag
  • Leather sandals
  • Maxi skirt + linen tee – My staple outfit while visiting the many temples

What I wish I had brought with me

  • Lightweight loose printed pants – There were some temples where climbing the steep stairs in a maxi skirt was a little difficult and loose pants would’ve been much better. These are in style now so they are pretty easy to find but they are also for sale everywhere you go if you want to pick them up when you get there.
  • A warmer raincoat – I was not prepared for the cooler temperatures and rain of northern Vietnam and definitely wished I had brought a warmer waterproof jacket with me. I ended up buying something there.
  • I also wish I had thrown in a pair of jeans. I know everyone says that it gets too hot but while I was there the nights and some days were pretty chilly. Before you go look up the nighttime weather to see how cool it will get.

A few packing notes

  • Give your house keys to a friend who will be around when you get back so you don’t have to carry them with you.
  • Make sure you really go through your wallet and bring only what you need, there’s no need to bring your CVS card with you and take up space.
  • Don’t use space bags or anything that really squishes your stuff. I find that once you unpack them it’s impossible to fit everything back in as neatly. And you want to leave some room because you will be buying things along the way.
  • I know everyone says you will get used to the weight of your backpack but if you feel like it’s too heavy when you pick it up, it is. You will resent your bag by the end of your trip. Be ruthless with your paring down. Clothing should be the first to go. It is the easiest (and most fun) thing to buy while you are traveling.
  • Don’t bring anything you are too attached to so you won’t mind leaving behind something that you didn’t end up needing.

Download my FREE Ultimate Southeast Asia Backpacking Packing List

Happy packing!