Southeast Asia forum

I wish I brought....

  • SallyOCC

    Joined Travelfish
    27th April, 2011
    Posts: 2

    Hey guys,

    Myself and a friend are going to South East Asia for six months in July. We will be going to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. This will be the first backpacking experience for both of us so it's quite exciting. :) The question I have is is there anyone thing that people wish they had brought out there with them and in contrast to this, is there something you brought and wish you left at home??

    We are both females so if theres anything you girls think we shouldnt leave home without..we would love to know!!

    Any information would be appreciated.

    Thanks. :)

    #1 Posted: 27/4/2011 - 21:45

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  • Tilapia

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    Here's something from a while back that's kind of in realm of what you're asking ...

    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/idlebanter/9834_top-5-things-you-can-t-travel-without---

    There are a lot well-responded-to posts like these on this site.

    #2 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 00:11

  • busylizzy

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    "I wish I brought..."

    Less stuff!

    #3 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 03:53

  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 131

    I wish I'd brought an e-reader (kindle or a nook) I know it sounds crazy but i read a lot & not only are books heavy & bulky but finding a good read can be expensive &/or difficult.
    and for all the girls out there I would recommend the diva cup for convenience & expense.

    #4 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 06:52

  • SBE

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    LOL busylizzy! It's true though, do not take too much stuff! Remember it's going to be hot and you'll have to carry your backpack around. Also it's often hard to get large packs onto transport which isn't designed for big luggage ...minibuses spring to mind.

    OK here's one small space tip. Bring a few clothes pegs. I never travel without a few clothes pegs. They are of course useful for making sure washing doesn't blow away but I find them invaluable for keeping gaping curtains closed at night (curtains in cheap bungalows are never quite wide enough to hang closed) and also keeping mosquito nets closed. A wooden clothes peg jammed under a door acts as an effective lock too when there's no inside lock (Some bungalows only have outside padlocks).

    Be creative and try and take stuff that has multiple uses so you can economize on space. Take a small nailbrush (preferably with a pumice stone on the back) or buy one once you get there. Not only cleans nails but is also absolutely necessary for scrubbing out tevas and flipflops so that sweaty mud doesn't ooze between your toes too much, cleaning grotty sinks etc.

    #5 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 07:11

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    That's an interesting one SBE.
    Pegs are very useful but can't you buy them in Asia? I'm trying to recollect whether they use them in Thailand, Cambodia etc.
    I'd add a length of string to dry clothes but personally laundries are so cheap it seems a lot of effort to wash your own things, which brings me to agree with busylizzy.
    People generally bring too much. If you put stuff in the laundry it's normally ready in 24 hours and clothes are much cheaper anyway.
    Most travellers I meet are constantly searching for toilet tissue though I can't see what's wrong with the high-powered jet, just be careful with your aim.
    The Khmer are never without a Krama-a piece of cloth which you can use for many purposes. Keeps the sun off your head, carry your shopping,wipe your hands when you're eating on the bus etc. Something I never travel without.
    Excuse the ignorance of a man but what the hell is a 'diva cup?' Sounds like a good name for a bar. ;-)

    #6 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 14:50

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Just realised that, of course, you girls have to wash your smalls in Asia because the laundry won't take them.So the string and pegs are essential.Just don't hang them high to dry or the staff will refuse to go under them to clean your room.Yes, that's true.I'm not joking.

    #7 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 14:53

  • SBE

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    Sayadian I already own 4 clothes pegs so I might as well bring them with me from home.

    If I bought them abroad I'd have to buy a packet of about 30 and throw the rest away.

    #8 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 16:18

  • SBE

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    And I 100% agree with you about toilet paper and bum spritzers. Toilet paper is one thing you don't need....except to blow your nose. I still can't do that the way the locals do.

    #9 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 16:22

  • busylizzy

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    "And I 100% agree with you about toilet paper and bum spritzers"

    OK, as one who prefers the more traditional paper option, I have to ask: how does one dry one's bottom after spritzing??


    And out of respect to Sally, the original OP, a more serious answer to her question...

    I did take too many clothes - an extra pair of pants, swim suit, Tshirts etc that I just didn't need. I posted them back home eventually.

    I only NEEDED to use my mozzie net maybe up to 10 nights over 5 months - in places that didn't povide nets, and didn't have electricity at night. If there is electricity, and a fan in the room, you can just have the fan blowing air across you to keep the mozzies away. They don't like the moving air.

    I carried a whole bunch of malaria tablets - and brought them ALL home again. It's a personal choice, but I preferred to just rely on insect repellant in the end. I hate taking vitamins, much less anything else.

    I took a small fold up umbrella, and used it maybe twice - to keep the sun off!

    I took a DSLR, a small point and shoot, a netbook and an iPod - and never regretted it (in spite of the small bag of cables, chargers, etc.

    I carried my snorkle and mask as I planned to do a fair bit of snorkelling. A bit of a luxury, but I never regretted lugging them around.

    A small headtorch (useful in bathrooms when there is no lighting/power).

    Tampons are available in most supermarkets, department stores, 7-11s, etc - but if you need the Super ones, they are much harder to get. Bring them with you, or stock up when visiting supermarkets in the bigger cities.

    You get all other toiletries (shampoos, toothpaste, etc) easily so don't load up on that stuff.

    I have carried the same small gastro kit (electrolytes, stoppers, antibiotics, etc) with me on several trips now, and have never had to use it. Stomach of steel, I guess. Maybe carrying the kit acted as my lucky charm. Likewise a very small medical kit with plasters, antiseptic, etc. Have yet to use them. Of course, you can easily get most that stuff on the road except maybe in the most remote areas and smaller islands.

    OK - there's a few things for you to think about.

    #10 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 18:19

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  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
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    a diva cup is an alternative to tampons, which can be hard to find & expensive when you do. It's brilliant.
    http://www.divacup.com

    #11 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 19:04

  • SBE

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    OK, as one who prefers the more traditional paper option, I have to ask: how does one dry one's bottom after spritzing??

    Not quite sure but a slightly damp derriere quickly dries in SE Asia.

    The paper option is DISGUSTING!! Ask any local.

    An Indonesian acquaintance of mine is currently living in the UK and when I asked him how he was adapting to the culture shock he said it was OK except for the disgustingly primitive western toilets which had no washing facilities in them.

    He said he had to carry a bottle of mineral water around with him all the time.


    #12 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 19:29

  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
    16th July, 2010
    Posts: 131

    a diva cup is an alternative to tampons, which can be hard to find & expensive when you do. It's brilliant.
    http://www.divacup.com

    #13 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 20:06

  • rledez1990

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    @ sayadian- I travelled around Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand last year (heading back to Thailand in June) and never had any problems with laundries not washing my 'smalls'. Myself and my boyfriend would just take our washing in a drawstring bag, drop it off, and pick it up the next day...and they would have washed and dried absolutely everything! Speaking of which, i think the drawstring bags were invaluable: we had one for dark washing and one for white (we were never sure if they would seperate the two so did it to be safe), and they're also really good for putting dirty shoes in when you cant have them hanging from the outside of your bag on plane journeys etc.

    As a girl, toilet paper or wet wipes are definitely a must- in hotels etc you'll be able to get it, but there were several times during long minibus/boat journeys that I'd have to use really basic toilet facilities (hole in the ground with a bucket of water next to it) and at those times toilet paper is VITAL!

    Advice: DON'T take loads of clothes, loads of make-up or loads of shoes... we ended up sending home tons of stuff which was a total waste of money! Keep your bag light by leaving the majority of your clothes- and remember, the clothes u can buy in Asia are cheaper and much more exciting! As for makeup, once you're tanned you'll literally need a tiny bit of tinted moisuriser/bronzer and a waterproof mascara- i made the mistake of bringing everything and i didn't use any of it! And you literally need a pair of flip flops and MAYBE some kind of walking shoe/sandal depending on what you want to do.

    Finally, if you're planning on taking lots of pictures, it would be my personal recommendation that you bring either a small, lightweight netbook or an external harddrive type thing so that you can clear space on your memory card. We wasted hours and money in internet cafes trying to upload pictures onto facebook so we could clear the cards- it was frustrating and a waste of time and when we go back in June we're taking a cheap netbook to avoid having to waste all that time and money again! It's up to you, but I would seriously consider it!

    #14 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 20:15

  • chicoelnino

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    Excellent thread. Would male travellers care to give their input regarding stuff they wish they'd brought?

    #15 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 20:41

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    '@ sayadian- I travelled around Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand last year (heading back to Thailand in June) and never had any problems with laundries not washing my 'smalls'. Myself and my boyfriend would just take our washing in a drawstring bag, drop it off, and pick it up the next day.'
    Maybe it was because they were hidden in the bag?
    I imagine in Singapore and Malaysia you wouldn't have a problem but I can assure you that it's not 'the done thing' in Thailand and Buddhist countries, it must be a cultural or religious thing. Don't ask me why I'm still trying to work it out because they WILL accept a man's underwear; local women won't even put them out to dry in public. Also women aren't supposed to enter a wat when they have their period. Could do with some help from Abigail here.Maybe she knows the answer if not I'll find out next week when I'm in Cambodia.
    The incident with the line of drying underwear is absolutely true! The maid wouldn't cross under it and I had to take it down.
    Got to disagreee about the umbrella.In the wet season it's much beter than a mac because they are too hot.
    If anybody is thinking of going to Phnom Penh a pair of gumboots might be on the list as I hear the flooding has started and dragging your feet through fetid mud washing away the detritus of the street, along with the odd dead rat is no fun and on a serious side if you have cuts to the feet put on antiseptic after wading through the water.
    Sunscreen is better in Europe than Asia.Bring that.
    If your going to bring shoes or boots one pair is enough as you'll spend most of your time in sandals.
    An insulated water bottle is my favourite since you can buy water everywhere but it soon gets hot.

    #16 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 21:18

  • SallyOCC

    Joined Travelfish
    27th April, 2011
    Posts: 2

    Thank you so much guys for all the replies...I definitely feel a little more at ease about packing after taking what you have all said into consideration. There are a few things mentioned in the above posts that I wouldn't have thought of bringing but are now down on my "packing list." :)

    Interesting to learn of the "underwear on the line" situation...we will most definitely be conscious of where abouts we put our washing line in the room!! :)

    #17 Posted: 28/4/2011 - 23:11

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Enjoy your trip Sally.
    I don't know how I got in this underwear discussion :-)
    but I've just asked a Thai lady about this and she agrees with me that the laundry doesn't like to take female underwear.When I asked why the reply was.
    'They are low.'
    Make what you will of that. I presume it's something to do with this Buddhist high-low concept.Such as never putting a buddha on the floor or in your pocket,never touching the head or pointing with the feet etc.
    Just thought of one more thing which is essential. A pen to write out all those immigration cards

    #18 Posted: 29/4/2011 - 00:45

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