What to Pack for Southeast Asia

What to Pack for Southeast Asia

Wondering what to pack for Southeast Asia? I’ve got you covered. For the better part of the start of 2016, my life felt a bit chaotic. I was  moving out of Korea and putting aside items to ship to New Zealand. I was choosing which items I should bring back to America. On top of that, I had to decide what to pack for Southeast Asia and donating or selling leftover items. It was overwhelming, but it all seemed to work out in the end.

Choosing which items to pack for Southeast Asia wasn’t difficult, but I will admit that it was challenging to imagine what I was going to need over the course of four to five months. Since learning how to be a mindful traveler is something that is important to me, I researched cultural norms as far as what is acceptable to wear at various temples as well as on a day-to-day basis but also made sure to bring clothes that I could bum around in most days. Bare in mind not to bring items that you absolutely love on long-term trips, as you’ll most likely lose something or worse – get bed bugs while traveling.

I’ve provided a comprehensive list of the items that I’ve chosen to bring with me over the next few months. Keep in mind, the weather in Southeast Asia is extremely hot and humid. Part of my travels will be over the course of the region’s monsoon season. A


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My main pack is a 65L Osprey Ariel Women’s backpack.  What I love most is that it is bottom, top and front loading. This made the packing process much easier as I was able to easily put items such as my sneakers and raincoat at the bottom and make my way to the top. The front loading access makes unpacking or finding items extremely easy. In addition to its excellent loading options, I am impressed that Osprey’s Ariel series offers a heat-moldable hipbelt, adjustable torso and women-specific contouring. This pack is an excellent choice for anyone out there who is short or has a smaller back like me!

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I use a Jansport Tulare 33 as my carry-on. The durable pack has awesome organization compartments that enable me to stash my items and have easy access to them during travel time. The pack comes with an interior 15″ laptop sleeve, padded, adjustable shoulder straps, a 3L hydration sleeve and three large, two-way zip closure sections to keep everything where it needs to be. It’s a bit too large for me to utilize it as a day pack. However, it is sturdy enough to transport my laptop during travel time as well as use for hikes and shorter trips. This was definitely one of the easier decisions I made when I was looking into what to pack for Southeast Asia.



what to pack for southeast asia www.willfulandwildhearted.com

what to pack for southeast asia www.willfulandwildhearted.com

In my Osprey pack

  • 4 pair of shoes (not pictured: black women’s TOM’s slip-ons)
  • 3 dresses
  • 3 rompers
  • 3 tank tops
  • 3 swim suits
  • 1 long skirt
  • 1 Mountain Hardware Women’s Finder Rain Jacket
  • 1 jumpsuit to cover my knees at temples
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 2 bras
  • 1 Travel Bra
  • 1 shawl to cover my shoulders
  • 1 toiletry bag
  • 1 small jar of coconut oil
  • 1 bottle of sunscreen
  • 1 small crossbody purse
  • 1 larger fabric purse
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 head lamp
  • 1 travel sewing kit
  • 1 Terrible Towel. Go Steelers.


what to pack for southeast asia www.willfulandwildhearted.com


In my Jansport pack




The Travel Bra:

I absolutely love my sports bra that I’ve packed. The Travel Bra is one of the most innovative and unique products that I’ve ever come across and has a level of comfort that is unmatched. Made from soft organic cotton, bamboo and spandex, this bra is not only cozy, but also provides an amazing sense of security to those who wear it.

One of the biggest fears I have as a traveler is getting my passport stolen or misplacing it, which is something I don’t have to worry about with The Travel Bra. This full support bra comes equipped with a drop-down stretch pocket for a passport, a hidden mini-pocket for jewelry or USB stick, a secret mesh sleeve for credit card or hotel room key, and space in the cups for cash. It’s honestly a perfect solution for anyone who wants some extra protection of their personal items as well as peace of mind throughout their travels.


Coconut Oil:

I use coconut oil for nearly everything back home. I have a separate container in my kitchen for cooking and I use it as a lotion and hair mask as a cheap beauty regimen. I am so glad I brought it with me on this trip as I can use it as an aftersun solution, shaving oil, total body moisturizer, eye makeup remover and natural Neosporin in case of an accident. I will say that it can be a bit annoying in this heat as it melts, but I say it’s well worth the small annoyances.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any products through the links provided above, I will get a small commission. I received The Travel Bra in exchange for this blog post, but I genuinely recommend this product. Not only is it a game changer for female travelers, but it’s definitely something to consider for women wondering what to pack for Southeast Asia. 


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  1. August 11, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    This list is awesome! I wish I had it when I was packing actually. I ended up packing about the same as you, but it would have been really helpful to have a list to go off of in the first place. There were a few things I took that I really didn’t need and wish I left at home, like pants! I can’t agree more about the coconut oil, you can use it for so many things!

  2. August 11, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    How interesting, it seems a lot of people are traveling to Southeast Asia nowadays haha, as someone from Southeast Asia I recommend that you also add mosquito repellants to the list. The mosquitoes in Southeast Asia are quite fierce! Great list, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. August 12, 2016 / 6:07 am

    Nice list. Always good to have a water proof camera, but what is camera gear. And just one camera? I always have one DSlR, at least 4 lenses, a waterproof camera, and my iphone with me. Also no Tripod? Or is that camera gear?

    • August 12, 2016 / 6:31 am

      It’s a little baby tripod. I am not much of a photographer, so I just have one!

  4. August 12, 2016 / 10:21 am

    This is an amazing packing list- this is actually really similar to what I’ll be packing for my next big trip and what I packed for my last one too! The travel bra seems like such a game changer. I’m also a huge coconut oil fan- I’ve started using it to make my own mosquito repellant. Gonna write a post maybe next week with the instructions. It’s really easy, you just need to pack a few essential oils in your bag too but they don’t weigh a thing and are good to have for lots of reasons. Anyways, thanks again for sharing! This is definitely good for me to compare my own packing list to in the future! 🙂

  5. August 12, 2016 / 11:05 am

    These tips are awesome, Laura! You’re a much more efficient packer than I am. I’m terrible at packing for long term travel (packing to live in Korea was a struggle haha). The Travel Bra sounds awesome!

  6. August 13, 2016 / 10:08 am

    This list is fantastic! Thanks very much for sharing!! I will ‘most likely’ do a backpacking trip of my own early next year and will be sure to keep this post handy. The travel bra is a great idea and I see this making it on my Christmas list (with your link included!). I have similar bags to you, which really helps me gague the size – it also seems that you didn’t pack too heavy, which I usually have a problem with… I have a very bad back so keeping it light is crucial! Thanks again for the great, detailed post. Can’t wait to read more ^^

  7. August 14, 2016 / 2:20 am

    Never heard of the travel bra till your post – interesting concept. I think I rather have the travel jacket, although both will be similarly hot and inconvenient in a hot tropical location. Unlike you, I usually opt out for one travel backpack, it gets a bit overloaded by the end of the trip, but there is never a need to check it in.

  8. August 15, 2016 / 5:49 am

    This is such a great post!! I love reading what other people pack for traveling. And I have the same backpack as you. And I love it!

    • August 15, 2016 / 7:04 am

      I love it so much! I actually got it on GMarket for a great price (way less than what I’d have paid in USA) which surprised me!

  9. August 15, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    The travel bra! First time I hear of it but Im glad you featured it here. Although for me with 2 boys always in tow, I need a big pack for us hahaha. Can’t trust thrm yet with their own docs. I’m from the Philippines so Im sure you have everything covered.

  10. August 16, 2016 / 8:14 am

    Good list! It’s always smart to be prepared and organized properly for traveling.

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