Southeast Asia forum

Oil painter/artist going to SE asia - Equipment Questions

  • stovetopchi-

    Joined Travelfish
    9th December, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Oil painter/artist going to SE asia - Equipment Questions
    I am taking a four month trip to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. My goal is tourism and to make on location oil paintings. So I take a significant amount of art supplies and a small portable easel that end up in my ratty old backpack which probably weighs 15 to 20 KG. I've done this in Europe and Central America. It sucks to lug around that stuff until I am blissfully set up somewhere sketching away.

    So my other stuff, 3 days change of clothes, guidebooks and toiletries, end up in another bag. So I am thinking about a small rolling duffel that also has a strap. I would probably have a day-pack as well, although I suspect that would be empty except when I have checked my luggage or I collect souvenirs.

    1.)Will the rolling duffel work often enough in the places I plan to go? Mostly cities well on the tourist route. Or should I try for a backpack to strap on my front?

    2.)Also I wonder if I should take a cable and lock along?Does it help with security? Pac safe?
    The stuff I take except a small camera is worth nothing unless your an artist, but it would be disastrous and expensive if I had to replace it. I don't know if it is common for thieve's just to grab a backpack or if they tend to rifle around more?

    3.) How about a quick dry towel? worth the expense?

    4.) And lastly I'd love to hear suggestions about where to go to paint? I love historical architecture and slow moving gatherings of people.

    Unrelated, but....
    5.) I have a US and an EU passport. There is a very remote possibility I will go to Europe before I return home, so I was planning to take the EU passport as well. Any reason not to take it with?

    Thanks for any advice criticism or anything that will help me think this through except suggesting watercolors. I posted this in SE Asia mainland as well.

    #1 Posted: 30/12/2009 - 09:37

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  • waxybrushes

    Click here to learn more about waxybrushes
    Joined Travelfish
    21st August, 2005
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1
    Total reviews: 18

    Hi Stephan, Travelfish posted this to me on Twitter because I'm an artist and have lived/travelled a lot in the region.

    1. I recommend a backpack over a duffel especially if you'll be there during the rainy season. Sidewalks, where they exist, are hit-or-miss. Backpacks are more maneuverable in crowded urban areas and on public transport.

    2. PacSafe can flag your bag as containing something valuable. I had a bag of art supplies stolen once from the BKK-->Khao San Road bus, but it was my fault because I was sleeping - and it was a Victorinox bag. Most items that go missing are cash/resellable valuables.

    3. I found quick-dry towels can get skanky-smelling fast. Just bring along a cotton-poly blend towel that'll dry faster than 100% cotton.

    4. Slowly-moving gatherings of people? Temples, small towns, river scenes. LOTS of opportunity for you in all those countries. Bangkok, Hanoi and HCMC good places to stock up on art supplies.

    Any art-specific questions you can email me: art AT ebriel DOT com [removing spaces etc]


    #2 Posted: 30/12/2009 - 11:44

  • rowankat

    Joined Travelfish
    7th July, 2007
    Posts: 3

    Hi Stephen,
    I've done the same trips your talking about but here around Asia where I live. So here is my insight:
    1- Definitely do NOT go with any rolling luggage... in addition to poor quality paths, many islands are easily accessible but often require wet feet.

    2- The only things I've had stolen anywhere in Asia were a pair of shoes, and some money out of my hotel once in Kuta, Bali. I think it is exceedingly safe here if you're at all careful.

    3- I use can get them cheap locally ANYWHERE in SE Asia and they are great for drying anything...and quickly.

    4- Suggestions- okay, here are some of my favorites- this is privileged information :) Koh Tao Island in the Gulf of Thailand, Lombok, Indonesia, Siem Reap, Cambodia, and a long house stay in Malaysian, Borneo is always an inspiring thing.

    5- Bring 'em problem.

    For supplies- you had better be prepared with your own, because very little is available in the way of oil painting supplies in the places I've suggested. Of course, this doesn't mean there aren't any oil painters around- but generally they start with an egg and some pigment.

    Hope that helped! If you have any more questions- I'm at

    #3 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 18:35

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