Travel writers Kevin Mak and Jack Alexander give their top packing tips for a trip to Southeast Asia

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Images by Kevin Mak , Jack Alexander

From blistering 30-degree heat to monsoonal rain, packing for your next Southeast Asia trip has become more a hassle than help. But don’t let that stop you from exploring this classic backpackers’ enclave! Here are some tips to pack light and sufficiently.


The trick to tackling the hot, humid tropical climate? Light cotton clothing. Even so, a few sets of clothing will do the trick as singlets and thin cotton t-shirts are notoriously cheap! Pick up a few outfits for your backpacking wardrobe and easily wash them anywhere around town for £1-2 per load. Take jeans and yoga pants/leggings to improve your comfort when travelling long distances. Pack flip-flops, hats and sunglasses, beachwear (for the countless pristine beaches) and a light raincoat to top it all off.


Take only what you need – you can get the rest when you’re there! It’s going to be sweaty, take a roll-on rather than deodorant, lasts longer in the heat. Don’t take huge bottles of body wash or shampoo – they will add weight to your allowance. Buy some small plastic travel bottles, fill them up! You’ll want 50+ sunblock and a small medikit. Women, pads are used widely in Asia, take tampons if needed as they are very very difficult to find. Men, remember shavers and razors, they can be expensive.


A few must-haves – padlocks and zip ties, a laptop, microfiber towels, power banks, universal converters and sim-unlock your phone! Don’t fret about the tropical diseases – they aren’t that common. Get yourself vaccinated with months to spare. If you are travelling to the remote areas to see the Thai elephants or the Vietnamese rice paddies, buy a pack of Malarone anti-malaria tablets in the UK. Now you’re all set for your Southeast Asian escapade.