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Extremely Useful Tips for Backpacking Southeast Asia for The First Time

asian girl photographing street in southeast asia

Southeast Asia is one of the most popular destinations for backpackers from all around the world due to many reasons. But the question most people tend to ask is, what should I really take with me on the trip and what should I be cautious about? Especially if you have never been to South East Asia before.

Here’s a list of very helpful tips and tricks for backpacking Southeast Asia:

– Sunscreen, thinking that since I was born and raised in Africa, I’d be much more immune to the sun. Oh no, I got sunburnt on the second day in Bali all over my body. Choose sunscreens that have one or more of the following ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, photo-stabilized avobenzone, or Mexoryl. They protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

– If you are extremely allergic to poison ivy and poison oak, it is important to know how to recognize them in the woods.

– Try out the street food. At least you can see how they cook the meals and judge based on that (plus, street food can be very delicious, but that’s just on the side).

–  Small rain bags that you put your electronics in. I also have another use for them; I buy the really small ones and put my clothes in them. I found out it helps keep my backpack organized and it saves time and maybe some space.

– Rain jacket, I can’t express enough how important this is. Depending on whether you going during the rain time or not, your choice and use of rain jacket will vary, but you should always have something to protect from the rain with you, especially if you’re planning to hike. Wet clothes are no fun.

– Let’s say your shoes got wet and you wish they could just dry completely overnight? It is possible, stuff them firm with newspaper or paper towels and leave them.

– Insect Spray is very controversial, I don’t think it is important but many people would disagree (I’ve been guilty of having it with me before) so I’m going to list it here anyway. Like you might have heard, there are a lot of Mosquitos and insects in Southeast Asia. If you planning to explore the jungles and forests, an insect spray would prevent them little things from sucking your blood. (the other option is to accept the fact that bites are normal, at least you’ll have an item less to carry).

– Comfortable shoes for walking long distances. You will appreciate that with time.

– Some toilet paper and disinfecting wipes, and not too many of them depending on where you go. Most big cities have toilet paper but if you’re going to a smaller village, they might not know what the heck that is (the alternative; do it the way they do it, use the bum gun).

– Whenever you’re renting anything in Southeast Asia, take close up pictures of it at the rental place. This way, they cannot charge you later for scratches or things that you didn’t do. (applies to scooters as well)

And that’s pretty much it. Whether you’re backpacking for a month or a year, you should try to pack as light as possible. All other stuff like an extra shampoo or an umbrella you don’t really need and even when you do, you can get them at your destination almost for a really cheap price cheap. If you enjoyed reading this, make sure to check out my ultimate guide to backpacking.

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