Southeast Asia is one of those destinations that lure you in with its gorgeous beaches, lush greenery, delicious food, and picture-perfect landscapes, and after a while you realize that one trip is never enough so you keep coming back.
Whether it’s the magnificent Buddhist temples of Thailand, the white-sand beaches of the Philippines, the top-notch dining and urban activities of Singapore, or the rice terraces of Vietnam, the beauty of this corner of the world will leave you speechless.
So if you are about to embark on your first (of many) trip to Southeast Asia, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by all the unknowns. But feeling that you have packed all the right items will definitely alleviate the anxiety a little bit.
One thing that is easy to forget to bring is probiotics (or activated charcoal). It will come in handy if your body reacts in a bad way to all the new food. Motion sickness pills are also a good idea if you’re planning on doing some island hopping.
Now, check out our list of things you shouldn’t leave without for Southeast Asia.
Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent
This should really be the first thing you pack in your suitcase—dengue cases are on the rise in Southeast Asia so your first line of defense is effective insect repellent. Just remember to apply it after your sunscreen not before.
To buy: $24, amazon.com
Hunter Original Vinyl Smock Raincoat
If you happen to be in Southeast Asia during Monsoon season, a light parka will come in very handy. You can store this packable one in your backpack since it won’t take up much space and it’s thin enough so you won’t be sweating underneath it.
To buy: $175, bloomingdales.com
Hunza G Gloria Embellished Seersucker Bandeau Bikini
There is obviously no shortage of gorgeous beaches in the region and this beautiful two-piece bathing suit will help you enjoy them. We love the bandeau-type top because it allows you to tan evenly without having weird tan lines.
To buy: $180, net-a-porter.com
Goddess Garden Reef-safe Sunscreen
This sunscreen will allow you to soak up all the Vitamin D you want without damaging the fragile coral reef system of the region (which by the way is the most threatened in the world). It has a perfect EWG score and is gentle on sensitive skin thanks to a blend of organic ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter.
To buy: $18, goddessgarden.com
Epika Universal Travel Adaptor
Plugs vary largely by country in Southeast Asia so the best thing to do is to bring a universal adaptor like this one. It also has four USB ports so you can charge all of your devices at once.
To buy: $22, amazon.com
Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand and Face Wipes Singles
If you hate carrying liquids (the TSA checks are no fun), these individually wrapped antibacterial wipes are a much better alternative to hand sanitizer. We’d also opt for wipes because they don’t just sanitize your hands and face, they also clean the dirt off.
To buy: $19/144, amazon.com
Soma Water Bottle
Because of the hot and humid climate in Southeast Asia, staying hydrated is essential. We absolutely love these Soma bottles for their sleek and shatterproof design and sustainable construction.
To buy: $30, drinksoma.com
Hiluckey Solar Battery Charger
Water-proof, dust-proof, shock-resistant—this charger is virtually indestructible. And since it can be both solar and power charged, you can rest assured that your phone will never die in the middle of navigating to your lunch spot.
To buy: $17, amazon.com
Kos Resort Printed Sarong
An oversized sarong is far from being just a pretty beach coverup—you can use it as a towel, a scarf, a skirt…the possibilities are endless.
To buy: $80, shopbop.com
Nikon COOLPIX W300 Water-Proof Camera
Document all of your adventures in Southeast Asia, even if they happen underwater or through heavy rain, with this Nikon digital camera. It’s water- and shock-resistant and takes beautiful photos even when the conditions are not perfect.
To buy: $390, bestbuy.com
Osprey UltraLight Backpack Raincover
If you have invested in a luxury leather backpack, the last thing you’d want is to have it ruined by torrential rain. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring a lightweight cover like this one that wraps around your backpack protecting it (and everything that’s in it) from rain damage.
To buy: $37, rei.com