I'm getting down to my last month of planning for a 40 day trip to SEA, and just realized how much I have left to do!
One thing that I'm really having a tough time with is what supplies/papers/etc to bring.
Here's a list of what I already have/am planning on bringing. What would you add?
> Clothes/one pair of shoes
> High concentration detergent/soap, bug spray, sunscreen
> Flashlight, small chord/rope, small folds of duck tape
> First Aid Kit *****
> Phone/charger (largely for maps, wifi contact)
> Passport + 3 photocopies (is this enough?)
> US Driver's License + International Driver's License
> 5 headshot/passport type photos of myself (again, want to have enough)
> Guidebooks (or photocopies of just important pages for reference)
> Maps (???)
> ...I feel like something important is missing here
*** I'm feeling most unprepared about the first aid kit and the papers.
What I planned on bringing, at least as far as pills go:
Non-drowsy benadryl (or something similar)
Past that, I have no idea what to bring.
I really appreciate any tips or advice!
#1 Dayyanum has been a member since 12/7/2012. Posts: 22
Dude, you aren't parachuting behind Khmer Rouge lines in 1974... Relax. You can buy the same **** in Cambodia you can everywhere else. You got your passport and clothes. Presumably wearing a pair of shoes. Everything else is optional. Go and have fun. A map? First Aide kit? What about a weapon?
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I'd add some Tums to the first aid kit. Speaking of - you really only need a couple of band-aids maybe a couple of those little plastic packets of triple-antibiotic ointment, like the ones you find in workplace first-aid stations at restaurants and such (hint hint for where to locate). Otherwise your pills you've stated would be sufficient. That way if you fall off your bike you'll have something to patch yourself up a little before you get to town which will have everything you need.
Only photocopy the parts of the guide-book you'll need as you will find many hostels and guesthouses have them for you to browse through. One photocopy of your passport and visa page should be enough.
Not sure if serious....about the weapon. I actually considered bringing a knife before realizing that there was no way I'd get it on the plane.
And I guess I'm overreacting, this is just my first solo trip and I'm over thinking things. I have this recurring worry that I'll get there and get lost, have no idea where to go, ask someone for help, get scammed, then not be able to get back home. Or get lost on the MHS loop somehow and have no way of contacting anyone to get out.
I think most of my fears revolve around getting into a vulnerable situation and being scammed (even though I've researched it a good bit), or getting lost.
This feeling is pretty new to me - I'm an athletic guy, decently intelligent, and generally am able to handle almost any situation without a problem (social or otherwise). Just not used to it, I guess...which is one reason why I'm pursuing solo travel in the first place.
#4 Dayyanum has been a member since 12/7/2012. Posts: 22
Imho, you don't need to bring:
Rope/Cordage (unless you are camping)
Flashlight (Optional depending on your planned activities)
duct tape (easily available)
Bring soap in some handy form like a squeeze bottle or sheets.
Baby wipes are also handy. A small travel towel is also useful (about the size of a washcloth)
There are cheaper alternatives (I've known people go to the autosupply and buy a chamois there)
Insect repellent/Sunscreen: There is a limit to the amount of fluids you can carry on. So you might end up chucking the bottles in trash bin.
I wouldn't bother bring a flashlight, but a cheap, small headlamp can be really useful. (Reading in bed at night, finding your way to the bathroom when there is a powercut, walking on dark streets, etc) It's a handier, hands-free option.
First aid kit with a few plasters/bandaids, a couple of ibuprofen and diarrhoea meds (incl hydralytes) are about all you need. Everything else you can get. (Take the diarrhoea meds because if yuo get stomach problems you may not want to be running around town looking for some).
A silk sleeping bag liner is a must-have for me. You generally get a bottom sheet (clean or not), but often not a top sheet. They're handy to keep any rogue creepy crawlies and mosquitoes off of you.
Detergent - is this for clothes? I carry a small amount in an old shampo so don't bring much.
Laminate 1-2 copies of your passport (photo page). It'll help protect it, and use this rather than your real one when in country. Most places will accept the copy as ID.
Have you considered a Kindle type device? All the reading material you might need plus guidebooks can be stored on it. Additionally any important info. plans, addresses, booking details etc. in pdf form can also be put on there. I also send any pre.arrangements, scanned visas, passport etc. to my hotmail account so even if I lost everything I have info. I can easily access from any computer. The basic Kindle is currently £69 in the UK.
#7 suzienichols has been a member since 5/9/2010. Posts: 17
Now Suzie is all over it. A Kindle - THAT is, aside from clothes and a passport, THE most important item you could bring. That will make long hours on the horrible busses more tolerable. A lot more.
Some condoms for your first aid kit. In case, ya know...
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Madmac......always thinking ahead....haha
What to bring....I'm with Madmac on this, keep it to a minimum unless you're heading to the bush straight from the airport. Compass...look at the sun
#9 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Well, you never want to send that little soldier into combat without his helmut Neosho.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Useful too when you're wading through those jungle swamps to keep the leeches out.
Fun aside, I really can't think of a time when I've packed too little as opposed to too much.
Basically your passport and money is all you need. I'd recommend one of those money belts that look like real belts. Takes up to $2000 and very hard to detect.
#11 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I agree with everything above... especially the silk sleeping bag if you're planning on staying in cheaper places. And a money belt, worn underneath your clothing for trips to the ATM or times when you need to carry large amounts of money or can't keep it safely in your room. It's quite rare that something will happen, but a solo westener exiting an ATM booth could look pretty conspicuous..
Only other things I'd recommend is ear plugs if you're a light sleeper or are planning on staying in dorms, and flip flops for the shower, beach etc... although both should be quite easy to buy in most places, espeically flip flops.
While it's good to research these things, try not to get caught up in ideas of being scammed and stranded too much. While it does occur, compared to the mammoth amount of tourists going to south east asia every year, incidences of serious things happening are extremely rare. You will get ripped off a few bucks here and there, but so long as you're mindful of your actions and environment you will have an awesome time!
OP getting lost is when the good stuff happens - most of my best travel memories were when I lost and had no idea where I was going! Whether you or lost it doesn't really matter what's in your medical kit - except travel light (carry on only) so you can hike a while if necessary!
IF you are lost you are likely to be helped by the locals not "scammed". BTW being asked to pay a dollar or 2 for a taxi to take you back to where you want to me is not a scam.
Take several types of ATM cards, take some cash - keep cards/cash/passport in a money belt, a separate $100 or 2 hidden elsewhere in your luggage, carry your day's spending in a front pocket.
Your chance of losing the lot - zero
"OP getting lost is when the good stuff happens " - I second that!
@ Dayyanum - I always bring too much. A pocket knife isn't a bad idea - but only in your checked bag - if you have one!
Everyone here has mentioned pretty much everything you could need. If you have severe allergies (me - penicillin) and epi-pen is a good thing to bring.
Hmm...what about...dental floss!! I ran out last year in Cambodia and I couldn't find any that I could squeeze in between my teeth. That being said - it was probably in one of the thousand little shops I walked past...Can't check 'em all. And Q-tips...I hate water in my ears and all I could find were these little bendy things until I went to a mall in Surabaya. Now that place has everything!
And about 12 zopiclone. A couple for that 12 hour haul each way and a few halfers for the first few days...I get brutal jetlag...takes me about 3-4 nights to feel somewhat normal!
Just FYI. I have lived in rural Thailand for over five years. I have never been scammed, never been robbed. And I am not exactly a safety first kind of guy.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Dental floss, available everywhere in Thailand but not in Cambodia.Only place I can think sells it is Lucky supermarket in Phnom Penh.
You are right not much chance of a tourist getting into trouble in Thailand but a lot of expat guys seem to be murdered out in Isan. There was another case I read about two weeks ago of the Thai missus killing her husband for the house. This is getting a regular occurrence. Lonely old guy meets unscrupulous bargirl I guess.
#16 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I certainly didn't have him in mind when I posted. He's got a stable relationship but lots of guys meet a girl in a bar and 2 weeks later they marry her and put their life savings in her name.Happens in Cambodia too.I could tell a story or two.
I read it's not only men either. Women go to the West Indies or Africa and the same thing happens.
Loneliness meets need and greed
#18 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Ok, it's my fault for going off thread so I'll take it back on. I find a Krama very useful to carry. Can wash with it, use it as a napkin eating on the bus, change on the beach under it and use it as a towel,keeps the sun off, use as light blanket during those chilly January nights. etc.
Hopefully not all at the same time though.
#19 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
It does happen, but it's a bit oveblown. Every time it happens, it's big news. So that gives a warped perception. In the five years I've lived here I don't know a single expat offed by his wife. And I know lots who are married. It's rare. Murder is an extreme thing for anyone to commit... even here.
#20 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I was surprised to see that Thailand was so high up on the murder per capita scale but even then it's a low risk destination.
I know of three cases in the last few years of wives killing their farang husbands.
This article about one of those cases is well-written, not sensationalist and actually is concerned not to damage Thailand's reputation.Still I was surprised that 10% of Brits murdered abroad are killed there.
#21 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Sayadian....It's also their #1 spot for getting drunk and losing their passports, falling down, etc. How many Brits are murdered abroad every year. 30 or 3000. Kinda of helps put the 10% number in perspective. Myself , I feel safer here than in America.
#22 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
'not much chance of a tourist getting into trouble in Thailand'
To quote what I said earlier, so no argument.
Unfortunately you can't argue with the statistic that Thailand has the fourth worse per capita murder rate in the world.So statistically you are not safer than America.
Living in Cambodia, which has half the murder rate of Thailand, I never felt safe. This is probably because when I first arrived there it wasn't safe but it has improved hugely. I always feel when I'm in Thailand that I'm in some huge armed camp, everybody carries a weapon so it pays to be the guy who isn't noticed. I'm surprised more loud-mouthed tourists don't get shot seeing as how 'face' is such a big deal there.
#23 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
There's another factor as well. Expats are VERY safe here if they marry decent women (or are single) and behave in a decent manner. We get a pass on so much. Thais kill each other often over matters of face. But we have to push it to have a real problem. Say you're sorry - you're good to go. If you're a drunken idiot and being obnoxious and telling Thais to "f-off" all the time. Hell yeah, you're going to find trouble eventually.
Just three days ago I was stopped because my son was on my bike with no helmet. He was visiting and we didn't have one and we were not going far. Wham - hit a checkpoint. The cops greeted me, took my license, and told me they were too busy to give me a ticket just then, come to the police station and pick it up. I showed up 15 minutes latter and got my license back - no fine, no hassle, no ticket. Just be polite and you're good to go out here.
#24 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
'If you're a drunken idiot and being obnoxious and telling Thais to "f-off"'
-agreed and KSR is full of them so how come there aren't more shootings?
Just before I left Cambodia some young backpacker, walking down the road drunk, kicked a car-bad move as it contained somebody 'important.' The bodyguard got out and shot him in the butt.Most people agreed that he was lucky as 6 years ago he would have just shot him dead.
So one thing NOT to bring is attitude.
#25 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Great advice everyone, thanks!
Could someone explain a bit about the 'face' concept? From what I know, Thai culture puts a lot of emphasis on 'saving face' (not letting your temper show, or any 'negative' emotion). I like to think I'm a pretty gracious person, and I much prefer to be kind to people, but if I feel threatened I tend to get less friendly.
I'm just curious what an appropriate response would be in a situation where I'd have to physically stop someone or call someone out (pickpocketing me, for example).
Again, pardon my ignorance, just curious.
#26 Dayyanum has been a member since 12/7/2012. Posts: 22
"-agreed and KSR is full of them so how come there aren't more shootings?"
You got me. Maybe the bar is higher or different there because idiotic behavior is the norm. Kind of like Pattaya. You can do things in Pattaya you can't do where I live or you'd be in deep ****.
You are not going to be pickpocketed. Relax. How often does this happen to you back home? Well, it ain't more likely here.
Don't lose your temper. If someone is stupid, just walk away.
#27 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Not arguing with you or the stats Sayadian. I must admit I was rather astonished to find that out myself a couple of years ago. I guess I was naive to the whole thing as I have not been subjected to any of the violence. I'm protected now anyway. The wife has aquired some special nut looking thing.Very rare and valuable people say. As long as we posess it nothing bad can happen to you. If you have it on your person even bullets cannot hit you. The wife feeds it honey. I think she's feeding the ants.
#28 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Not arguing with you or the stats Sayadian. I must admit I was rather astonished to find that out myself a couple of years ago. I guess I was naive to the whole thing as I have not been subjected to any of the violence. I'm protected now anyway. The wife has aquired some special nut looking thing.Very rare and valuable people say. As long as we posess it nothing bad can happen to us. If you have it on your person even bullets cannot hit you. The wife feeds it honey. I think she's feeding the ants.
#29 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
I don't know how you feel about these special things Neosho but I swear that since I was given a 200 year old Buddha by my daughter to wear I seem to be able to get away with murder.
Face-that's a big subject and it's hard for a Westerner to understand.I still get confused.
Don't get angry or in a confrontation.Remember Face is not as important to you as them because you haven't been brought up with it.
I once got in an argument with a pretty nasty gangster.The next day I realised the trouble I was in so I found him with his friends and apologised with a wai for my behaviour.Whether I was right or wrong was immaterial, I didn't want to have to watch my back forever. He gains face in front of his friends, I lose face. Do I care-no.
#30 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"He gains face in front of his friends, I lose face. Do I care-no."
Hell, he becomes your new buddy...
#31 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
You must be a mind-reader unless you're being facetious.
In actual fact we got on great after that and shared a few bottles together and it's very useful in Cambodia to know a guy whose daughter is the mistress of a General
#32 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I was not being facetious. I could easily see how this would work.
#33 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Here's my experience: do not bring anything that you can buy there, pack as light as possible. If you are going to South East Asia only absolutely do NOT bring any sweaters or any shoes besides slippers or sandals.
have a light waterproof jacket and only ONE pair of jeans or pants. I personally carried around 4 long sleeve shirts, a sweater, two pairs of pants and a pair of shoes for 5 months, which i never used. Don't make the same mistake. You will NOT need ANY warm clothes besides one light jacket. As for the other stuff, forget about all those little things, you can buy them there. Just think about whether you want a laptop computer, a tablet or a smartphone, that's the main thing, the little stuff won't matter. Take some medicine for diarehha or whatever, but absolutely no need to get paranoid.
#34 forum2233 has been a member since 13/10/2012. Posts: 3
If you're a drunken idiot and being obnoxious and telling Thais to "f-off"'
-agreed and KSR is full of them so how come there aren't more shootings?
I suspect the mafia have a stronger-than-average territorial claim over the area and don't like people wielding weapons who aren't them (there is, of course, also a police station on the corner). Obviously the mafia aren't the ones pimping ping pong shows or selling bottles of beer on the sidewalk who have to deal with losing face every ten minutes. And yeah, you'd need pretty thick skin to consider working there in the first place.
Actually the only violence I've seen in the KSR area was between Thais. A guy running after a couple on a motorbike wielding what appeared to be a samurai sword after Songkran last year. Judging by how quickly the Thai crowd parted I think I was the only one who found it comical.
As for Cambodia, there's something disconcerting about walking into a Phnom Penh nightclub with signs saying "no flip flops, no guns" and realizing that every foreigner in the club is wearing flip-flops.
#35 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84
"If you are going to South East Asia only absolutely do NOT bring any sweaters or any shoes besides slippers or sandals."
What is it with the obsession with sandals and open toed footwear around with backpackers? It does nothing to protect the top of your foot - and there is plenty here to protect it against. I have lived here over five years and never once, ever, worn open toed footwear.
"You will NOT need ANY warm clothes besides one light jacket."
This depends upon where you are and when you come. Where I live (Mukdahan) it gets cold at night in the winter. The coldest it's been is 6 degrees celcius. But it routinely gets around 10-12.
#36 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
'As for Cambodia, there's something disconcerting about walking into a Phnom Penh nightclub with signs saying "no flip flops, no guns" and realizing that every foreigner in the club is wearing flip-flops.'
Ah, that's funny
How about those hotel signs with pictures of pistols and grenades (FFS) with crosses through them.I think all this goes back to 'the good old days' when rolling a live grenade onto a nightclub floor was a warning! I can think of a couple of bars this happened to. Just watch the 'working girls' they've got an instinct.If they start diving behind the pillars you know there's trouble coming.
I never, ever wear shoes in the Tropics. First off it's too hot and I don't want stinkfoot.
and what are you protecting your feet against? Your feet harden up with exposure.
..and warm clothes, wrap yourself in a pla krama like every other guy in Isan.The cold you're talking about is about 15 celsius and you only feel it because you're acclimitised.Your not going to get frostbite.
#37 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"I never, ever wear shoes in the Tropics. First off it's too hot and I don't want stinkfoot."
It's just not that hot here. And that's why you wear sox - to absord sweat.
"and what are you protecting your feet against? Your feet harden up with exposure."
As a fellow rider, you should know that's a stupid question. Of course, the sidewalks here have all kinds of crap protuding from them as well. Then there's ants. My food was stolen by ants on the 9th floor of a hotel once. They are ubiquitous. The utlimate survivors and thieves. Not to mention mosquitos, which will feast on the top of an exposed foot in a New York minute.
#38 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
You know what they say:
'When the going gets tough the tough put on their sandals.'
Yeh, I put my hand up I ride in shorts and sandals and where possible without a helmet. Crazy I know. I can't come to any harm because I have this amulet
I usually put deet on my feet, you're right that's the one place the damned things annoy me.
The only time I had trouble with ants, to everybody's amusement was when I was relieving myself against a tree and my head brushed the branches and dislodged the big ants. I invented a new dance that day,and no I didn't get bitten there, thankfully.
You look around you the natives all wear slip on sandals unless they work in air-con.
You must have upset the ants in a previous life.
#39 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"You must have upset the ants in a previous life."
When I'm in the village I wake up to formations of ants calling cadence as they march by. God I hate them.
"You look around you the natives all wear slip on sandals unless they work in air-con."
The "Natives" also ride without helmuts, wearing shorts and shower shoes while drunk... Native is not a synonym for good. The "natives" do plenty of stupid, inane things. But for the most part they wear crappy shoes because they have no money. Sometimes I think people immitate them to fit in or something. I don't get it. Seemingly dressing like a beatnik bum appears to be a fashion statement by some backpackers (again, not all).
#40 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The only thing I take issue with you here is wearing shoes and socks!
I don't think it's a matter of finance.
Plenty of 2nd hand shoe stalls in Phnom Penh where a pair of shoes cost $1-2.
It's hot (you say it isn't). Well we'll talk about that next April/May.
I don't get my feet bitten or knocked by anything.
The 'beatnik bum' types walk around with NO SHOES, I've seen it around Banglumphoo.Now that is stupid but what gets a man off...
#41 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
It's just not that hot. Now Saudi Arabia - THAT was hot. But Thailand, not that hot. Put the bike down one time wearing sandals, you'll change your mind.
#42 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Now that's ironic because in Saudi Arabia I had to wear boots and socks.It's a different kind of heat anyway.I know it can get humid around Jubail but nothing like Thailand.
Your not a beach man so you wouldn't have enjoyed Jubail.
Now Riyadh in summer-that's hot.
It's so hot you never see your own sweat. It evaporates too quickly.
It's a personal lifestyle choice for me.I feel more comfortable in open shoes like sandals or slip-ons.
The Saudi sergeants were the meanest MFs I've ever come across. Jizzard (punishment ) meant the guy had to stand to attention minus his boots for 15 minutes in the afternoon on a manhole cover. OMG that really hurt.
#43 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"Some condoms for your first aid kit. In case, ya know..."
These are also an item I would take from home as the ones I bought in Asia were about as effective as a chocolate fireguard and burst a few times on me.
Thank Allah nothing ever came of it.
#44 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
What are condoms?
Just had my bloods done and the all clear.
#45 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
China - I know this is going to sound, well, not right. But my wife and I use condoms as our preferred method of birthcontrol. And the first time she bought condoms here, I kid you not, they were too small. Like, they were made for a hobbit or something. My wife couldn't stop laughing.
Sayadian - I spent some time in Riyadh, but mostly in and around Hafr al Batin until we went up the Wadi al Batin into Kuwait. Was a long time ago. Got scorching as we entered the spring and summer months when I returned to Saudi. Horrible. I have no nostalgic desire to return there.
#46 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
You got a future in the film industry.
We were based in Sulamaniya in Riyadh.
Riyadh has it's tourist attractions.The palace is out of this world and that replica of the White House the King had built after he visited America apparently is authentic in every detail
Some of the guys did the chop-chop square tour but I gave that a miss.
If you didn't like Riyadh you can't have socialized with the Western nurses.It's where I learnt that women get as horny as men when their locked away. They'd come to our parties though.Now you've got me reminiscing.I had a nurse-girlfriend from Rhode Island.
We produced sidiqi in the Mess and put the alcohol back in the non-alcoholic beer.
Have you ever tasted sidiqi? I think it's around 80% proof.
#47 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
My time in Saudi wasn't that engaging. When I was in the desert I didn't have a shower for two months. I was a total funk monster. Took a **** in a hole I dug in the sang, or when lucky in a wooden outhouse with a barrel below for burning. Ate MREs. No booze, no sex, no nada. Mission, eat, sleep. For months. Saudi was not a happy time for me. Was my first combat deployment though.
#48 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thankfully I never served in the infantry.
#49 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Yep - Desert Shield / Desert Storm.
I spent 4 years with Tenth Mountain. Great unit. Deployed four times with them. Was a busy but professionally rewarding time.
#50 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Madmac, I go with Sayadian on the sandals. It's cooler from my standpoint. Don't wear all the gear on a bike either. I do wear my seatbelt in a car though. Go figure. LOL I also took care of the birth control issue a long time ago.
#51 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386