To anyone who ever backpacks Asia I have a few very important tips that you would never realize until you get here.
1.BUG SPRAY… a must. There are bugs here I never knew existed and they get cha. Be especially careful though, your bug spray needs to at least 30 deet. The bugs in SE Asia are immune to the “Off” or any bug spray with only 20 deet. I wasted a lot of time and money spraying on bug spray, then wondering why it wasn’t working!
Also, beware. Do not use 100 deet bugs pray either. Anything that strong will be harmful to your skin if you encounter sun, which is inevitable in Asia. So stick to 30 deet and youll be muy bien!
2. BRING NOTHING. When I say nothing I mean, nothing. For a woman, bikinis and sarongs are all you need from when you wake up until sundown every day. For the night, you can buy/pack a few light dresses. But bring nothing that is fitted or is tight to your body. I want nothing to do with half of the clothes I wear in normal every day life for. Simple as, bring nothing.
3. BABY POWDER… another must. When you are constantly in and out of the water, and your legs and arms and every part of your body is rubbing together with the salt from the ocean … all you want is some baby powder. You can buy it in Asia for 18 baht, which is less than a dollar. Perfect.
4. WATERPROOF CAMERA. Kenny and I bought a Sony Cybershot camera before we left, and it is THE BEST thing you could have on a trip like this. It is Waterproof up to 5meters and we got it for a steal $216. (I think because they have a new one coming out). It is tiny and touchscreen and we were able to take it on boat trips, in the water, snorkeling, everywhere. The fear of the camera getting splashed or rained on it is gone forever.
5. BARGAIN FOR EVERYTHING. Literally, everything. What they tell you is double the price they will finalize for. So cut their bargain price and half and start from there. Do not EVER pay what they are asking.
6. WET NAPS. There are so many rough journeys you will take backpacking SEAsia. 16 hour bus rides, overnight trains, most of which have maybe one bathroom. Especially for myself (having contact lenses), wet naps were a must have. When I didn’t have access to soap and water or when I was on long journeys I was still able to have clean hands! They also were very useful when its 40 degrees out and all you are doing is sweating.
7. TP. Good ole’ toilet paper. You don’t realize until its too late .. that SE Asia doesn’t generally have toilet paper in most places. Having a “western toilet” is a luxury and I promise you, you will want to keep a secret stash of toilet paper with you at all times.
Utilize as many of these tips for traveling. Not just backpacking, or in Southeast Asia particularly, these travel tips will suit you anywhere!
Came across your blog looking for bug spray tips for Southeast Asia – I’m leaving in 11 days! Thanks for the great tips and hope you had a blast on your adventure there.