Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Long trip planning

Posted by ElBarto on 17/3/2011 at 05:58

Hello everyone!

I'm sure this has been posted before but I haven't managed to find any other posts that had exactly what I was looking for on them so I thought I'd make my own up.

I'm planning to go backpacking around South East Asia starting at the end of this year and going on until I feel to homesick to continue or run out of money (although if that was the case I'd probably just get a job). I'm going to start off in Thailand then Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam & Malaysia, plus maybe a few other places and probably not in that order.

Although I've heard lots of good things about it and it's going to be a while 'till I go I still feel a bit nervous about going and at the same time really know it's something I have to do as it'll be a great experience. I'm not really a social person, quite shy really and not that chatty so I'm hoping travelling around will help me overcome this to a degree and get better at chatting to people.

A few questions I currently have (I'm sure as I plan my trip there will be plenty more) are:
What kind of backpack size should I take? I was thinking a 50L.

Is there anything people wish they'd have taken/did take and very glad they did so?

On the opposite of the above question what things do people regret taking with them?

Do the hostels out there have lockers of such things I can lock my rucksack into when touring about for a day or so?

If I'm on a bus and my bag gets put in the hold/on the roof or somewhere I can't see it do things like that often get stolen?

Also do any people have recommendations on what not to miss and anything to avoid? I do have a travel guide I'm currently reading through but I'd like to hear what people here have to say.

Thank you in advance for any and all replies, Neil

#1 ElBarto has been a member since 17/3/2011. Posts: 3

Posted by goonistik on 17/3/2011 at 09:57

I figure that a 35-40 liter backpack/rucksack should be enough. I am assuming that you won't go to any place that requires heavy clothing. You will be packing t-shirts, socks, underwear, shorts, one or two pairs of cotton twill pants, a pair of jeans (for the mountains and cooler weather), sandals, flipflops, a jacket, swimming trunks. I could probably squeeze all that into my 32 liter daypack.

The good thing about squeezing everything into a daypack is that you can usually bring it on board the bus with you.

Most hostels have lockers so bring a padlock with you. At least the ones I've been to have had lockers in the dorm rooms.

#2 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563
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Posted by C on 17/3/2011 at 20:44

Posted from within Vietnam.

Oo la la! Take the smallest bag you can and heaps of common sense, a forgiving nature and an open mind and a really big smile!! You can buy everything out here cheaper than you can at home and the only thing I wish Id packed but didnt was hair dye.... But Im a girl.. We are travelling all the places on your list, in no particular order or timescale. 4 months in - its the best thing we ever did! I thouht the hardest thing was leaving home, but it will be going back...

sunsetsandhandbags.wordpress.com

#3 C has been a member since 17/3/2011. Posts: 6

Posted by ElBarto on 18/3/2011 at 07:12

Hello,

Thank you both very much for the replies, having read your replies and a few other bits on the Internet I think I'm going to down size my bag, probably going to gather all the bits together first to see exactly how much there will be, but I'm not going 'till the end of the year so I've got time.

You have both certainly made me less nervous about the trip than I was before even though it's still a long while to go yet I'm sure the time will fly by (hopefully).

#4 ElBarto has been a member since 17/3/2011. Posts: 3

Posted by SBE on 18/3/2011 at 10:10

I disagree. Why not take a 50L bag just in case? You don't have to fill it up but it means you'll have space to add things during your trip if necessary.

#5 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,037
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Posted by goonistik on 18/3/2011 at 11:01

Neil,

I forgot to mention that I took along a travel towel instead of a cotton towel. It is similar to the chamois that is used for wiping a car, it takes up very little space, and it dries quickly. So if you decide to bring along a cotton towel, maybe 38-40 liters is a safer bet.
You can rent a towel at some hostels. A 40 liter backpack should give a little extra space (maybe 2 to 4 liters) and that is enough extra space for me.

SBE has a point. A bigger pack does give you headroom if you need to add something. Only you can decide if it is worth it to have 10+ liters of extra space.

It would be best if you laid out everything you need for your trip to see how much space you need and how much extra you might want.

#6 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563
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Posted by Peeter on 19/3/2011 at 14:20

I took a 50L rucksack style pack and was found most people had a much bigger bag than mine. I thought it was about the right size. I found you pick up things along the way - clothes and sometimes souveneirs, which you need to carry until you get somewhere you can post them home. You can take a combination lock for locking your bag to the bed if you are worried but in 7 months in SE Asia, I never had a problem with any theft. Your bag will be OK on the roof. You can take a small daybag inside the bus with you for your camera, book, something warm (air con on long distance buses gets cold), snacks, water. A small bag is also handy when you are walking around places or going to the beach. My item to take is a snorkel and mask. I used them heaps especially in Indonesia. Also small things like a pack of cards, earplugs, LED torch, cig lighter for mossie coils. I took a smaller bag to India (about 40L) and found the extra few litres in the smaller bag were a bit limiting and didn't make much difference when carrying it around as apposed to a 50L pack.

#7 Peeter has been a member since 19/3/2011. Location: Australia. Posts: 6
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Posted by kirsten87 on 29/3/2011 at 20:02

Hi,

Agree with the travel towel. Last time I went travelling I had a cotton one and my travel mate had the travel one, I was very jealous! Two other things I also wished I had were a simple pocket knife for when I bought fruit at markets and also a head torch instead of a hand held one, it makes a massive difference when you can have both hands free!

#8 kirsten87 has been a member since 10/2/2011. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 5
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Posted by kirsten87 on 29/3/2011 at 20:02

Hi,

Agree with the travel towel. Last time I went travelling I had a cotton one and my travel mate had the travel one, I was very jealous! Two other things I also wished I had were a simple pocket knife for when I bought fruit at markets and also a head torch instead of a hand held one, it makes a massive difference when you can have both hands free!

#9 kirsten87 has been a member since 10/2/2011. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 5
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