Help me pack for southeast asia!
April 9, 2008 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Help me pack for Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam for 2.5 weeks!

In one week i am leaving for Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam for 2.5 weeks. I have a 60L backpack. I have no idea what to pack. I need to pack less then 20 kilo (less is even better). I am a little limited in what i can bring because i am on study abroad in australia so i have a limited supply of items.

Please! Any useful items or tips for southeast asia!
posted by Black_Umbrella to Travel & Transportation around Phnom Penh, Cambodia (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This thread might help you as well as suggestions others have...
posted by sharkfu at 6:17 PM on April 9, 2008

sharkfu's linked thread in turn links to my earlier thread.

you won't need much at all for 2.5 weeks. aim for around 10 kilos max.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:16 PM on April 9, 2008

If you can sunburn, consider bringing aloe. A former girlfriend got a sunburn on a trip to Vietnam, and we searched Hanoi for the elusive stuff, but came up empty. She wasn't happy.
posted by rdn at 7:58 PM on April 9, 2008

pepto-bismol is often hard to find and can be a good friend assuming no allergies
posted by dougiedd at 8:01 PM on April 9, 2008

Bring all the medicines you might think you need. The ones listed above are great. I'd add some anti-diarrhoea pills, headache pills, anti-allergy pills. Medicine can be a pain to get while you're there due to the language barrier (depending on where you are in which country). Sunscreen is an absolute must--it can be difficult to obtain in those places for a reasonable price.

I only bring one set of clothes when I go these days (the ones I wear on the plane) and my bathing suit. I buy everything else as I go along. Consider getting even things like suits and prescription sunglasses made while you're there.

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posted by pantagrool at 10:07 PM on April 9, 2008

Look for a travel towel, one that's lightweight but super absorbent. You need a towel and a regular one will take up a surprising amount of space in your pack. Take a medicine kit, for basic cuts and such but definitely anti-diarreah pills. You will probably need them. Take a toiletries valise with soap and shampoo and such.

For 2.5 weeks, you don't need many clothes at all. Consider taking as little as one extra outfit (shirt, shorts, underwear) in your bag, in addition to the clothes on your person the day you leave, maybe some light pants and a long sleeve shirt. Some temples don't allow people to enter wearing shorts. If you need more, of course clothes are cheap in SE Asia and you can buy some if needed. The highland areas of Laos might be a bit cool at night, but you're probably looking at three weeks of sweltering heat. Forget socks, wear sandals. Take a poncho and a rain cover for your backpack.

The massage parlors in SE Asia (no, I mean the real ones) do a lot of business because backpackers who lug around heavy, heavy packs for weeks on end. Your back starts to feel like a slab of granite after a while. Just remember, you're not going to Mars, you can buy basic necessities in the larger cities when needed.
posted by zardoz at 12:05 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was in Thailand a week ago, and used hardly anything of what I took.

My biggest mistakes were:
Packing a jacket that I only wore getting to and from the airport at home.
Packing shoes I only wore getting to the airport - I kept my sandals on going home even.
Packing a t-shirts I didn't wear because I purchased more interesting clothing while out there.

Useful things I did take:

A Blanket - handy to add some warmth over night, use as a beach towel or what have you. Also handy to keep you warm in airports and on the plane in place of the jacket you left behind.
Travel towel - very, very useful and drys quick even with high humidity.
Safety Pins - So useful it's silly, take a pack and I all but guarantee you someone will thank you for it by the end of the trip.

Best purchase out there:
A hammock - Cost me 200 Baht (About £3/$6) and was the best purchase I made out there. But if you want to sleep over night in it, consider getting a mosquito net and safety pin it around the edges of the hammock to seal you in.

Just remember everything is cheap out there, so you can't under pack, everything you need will be available out there cheaper then it is back home.
posted by paulfreeman at 6:48 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Zip-lock bags are excellent for keeping wet and dry clothes separate; keeping leaking toiletries from oozing everywhere; organizing things like socks, papers, etc. so you can find things in your luggage quickly and sets of things don't get separated.

I also always travel with my own pillow in two black pillowcases, because with it I can sleep almost anywhere, it makes bus trips more comfortable, it's clean (no germs, lice, etc.), it smells like me not like some stranger or weird soap, etc.

I second a rain cover for your pack - even more important than a rain poncho for you. You'll dry out; your pack? Less quickly, to say the least.
posted by Capri at 7:22 AM on April 10, 2008

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