Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Backpack First Aid Kit

Posted by cheapswill on 22/8/2006 at 12:37

I'm going to be traveling around SE Asia in September and October. It's my first time backpacking and I need some advice. What items and medicines should I throw in my pack for First Aid purposes?

#1 cheapswill has been a member since 10/4/2006. Posts: 10

Posted by steviej on 22/8/2006 at 20:37

Hi Cheapswill,

You'll need just the basics, a few bandaids, pain killers, anti-histamine, a decent pair of tweezers.

A sewing kit comes in handy as well.

Chill steviej

Who want Fat Hair.................

#2 steviej has been a member since 18/3/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 266
 Send steviej a private message   Where has steviej been?   Website 

Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code

Posted by steviej on 22/8/2006 at 20:41

Oh, and some antiseptic cream.................

Chill steviej

Who want Fat Hair.................

#3 steviej has been a member since 18/3/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 266
 Send steviej a private message   Where has steviej been?   Website 

Posted by exacto on 22/8/2006 at 21:08

hi will,

like steviej says, a basic kit will do it. we usually buy one of those small car/traveller first aid kits from a pharmacy or such. the antibiotic/antiseptic topical cream is a must for cleaning up the inevitable cuts and scrapes. you might also want to add immodium/lomotil or something similar just in case you need to stop things up in a hurry. pink bismuth/pepto bismol in an easy-to-carry tablet form is a good idea too. take care.

#4 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
 Send exacto a private message   Where has exacto been? 

Posted by somtam2000 on 23/8/2006 at 11:17 admin

Posted from within Vietnam.

While it isn't exactly in a medical kit -- with your toothpaste, bring a tube with a screw on lid rather than a flip top thing -- much easier to keep ants out of it!

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
 Send somtam2000 a private message   Where has somtam2000 been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook    Flickr    Instagram   Pinterest 

Posted by ReneHanoi on 24/8/2006 at 06:54

Posted from within Vietnam.

And when you're here buy some tiger balm or eucalyptus oil. Cheap and very effective ! As Steviej says, just the basics will do for a 2 months trip.

#6 ReneHanoi has been a member since 3/7/2006. Posts: 54
 Send ReneHanoi a private message 

Posted by steviej on 24/8/2006 at 07:10

A good point by Exacto BUT only use the immodium/lomotil if your about to go on the move. If your actually stopping somewhere when the dreaded Delhi/Bali Belly sets in the best advice is to let nature take it's course, keep off the tablets and drink plenty of water.

If you think about it, your body is trying to get rid of something that shouldn't be there so to 'bung' yourself up is the last resort!!!

MMMmmm...............Blackpool UK, now that IS the last resort!!!!!


Who want Fat Hair................

#7 steviej has been a member since 18/3/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 266
 Send steviej a private message   Where has steviej been?   Website 

Posted by exacto on 24/8/2006 at 07:46

steviej is right. don't take the stuff unless it is absolutely necessary. but also keep at least some of it with you in your day pack, because if you really need to take an immodium, the last thing you want in the middle of an 8-hour bus ride is to have your supply sitting safely in your pack in the luggage hold where you can't get to it. cheers.

#8 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
 Send exacto a private message   Where has exacto been? 

Posted by Laura_B on 24/8/2006 at 18:35

My advice is to stock up on items in Bangkok, all available very cheaply. Just a word to girls, it's very difficult to find tampons in Cambodia, Vietnam & Lao, if you do find them, they're very expensive. Stock up before you go either at home or in Thailand.

Don't bring too many items from home like I did! Took up too much valuable space in my bag, plus I didn't use most of it. I still have heaps of rehydration sachets, I didn't use them once.

#9 Laura_B has been a member since 30/6/2006. Posts: 54
 Send Laura_B a private message 

Posted by pauljaymes on 25/8/2006 at 21:21

Don't forget anti-malarials if you're going to Cambodia and Laos, especially if you're travelling outside the cities. Doxycycline is cheap and available everywhere but if you want to take Malarone you must bring your own. When buying Doxy be sure to get genuine and in-date tablets. Boots or Watsons in Thailand are probably the safest places, otherwise hospital pharmacies should be reliable.

I also carry a digital thermometer as it's so hot for me in SE Asia anyway I'd never be sure if I had a fever or not.

If you are from the US remember that the rest of the world calls Acetaminophen/Tylenol by the generic name Paracetamol (or brand name Panadol). You can get it everywhere. The 'band aid' brand name is better known than it used to be but keep 'plasters' in reserve as it'll depend who taught the English!

Imodium is a brand name and the drug is actually called Loperamide. You can get cheaper capsules at home if you buy generic Loperamide; its exactly the same stuff. Imodium (genuine or otherwise) is pretty cheap and readily available in Thailand, and the brand is very well known.

Although I'm not a doctor, as someone who has had a *lot* of intestinal complaints I must say that Imodium/Loperamide is not always a terrible thing to take. Sometimes your gut reacts to something and will keep trotting everything away long after it's got rid of what it needs to, other times it is just not accustomed to what you're throwing at it. Loperamide can restore proper digestion more quickly without any negative effects, but don't take it for more than a day or two without seeing a doctor.

Also, without getting into too much detail, if you want solid out, put solid in! I've met a few people who eat nothing but soup and water when they get ill and wonder why things don't improve for ages... baked potatoes, heavy meat-free pasta dishes (Gnocchi is really good) and well-boiled root vegetables will help firm things up, and are probably much better for you than taking Loperamide.

#10 pauljaymes has been a member since 10/7/2006. Posts: 75

Posted by DakLak on 28/8/2006 at 07:39

Re: Stocking up in Bangkok.

Bangkok is **notorious** for fake drugs so it is suggested that females bring birth control pills with them

Tampons can now be obtained in VietNam at the C-chain of Western supermarkets that are popping up all over VN. At a price.

ONE OTHER ESSENTIAL: Instant skin spray. If you scratch / cut yourself such wounds are easy entry for mosquitoes - without 'sticking' you first. Also think rabies.

Keep your feet nice and clean and smelling sweet as there are a couple of types of mosquito that home in on 'cheese' and similar smells.

#11 DakLak has been a member since 28/8/2006. Posts: 57

Posted by sonja_21 on 18/9/2010 at 17:30


I'm also a first time backpacker. I've seen 'backpacker' first aid kits in Boots and such. It includes all the different sterile needles, syringes and even a blood transfusion kit? Is this overkill for going backpacking in Thailand/ Cambodia/ Vietnam and Laos?

I was thinking along the lines of if I dont trust a hospital with the needles then do I really trust what they are putting in through the needles...

Any advice?

#12 sonja_21 has been a member since 15/9/2010. Posts: 3
 Send sonja_21 a private message 

Posted by KazAussie on 19/9/2010 at 07:18

Can't believe they are selling first aid kits with needles... it would certainly make for some interesting airport conversations. The advice above was good... spray-on skin, band aids, antiseptic cream, tweezers. Immodium, only for use if you have travel plans you can't get out of, tiger balm or similar, and paracetemol.

If you are going to be hiking out in the wilds maybe a heat blanket ... you know those tin-foil looking things, a stretch bandage and a couple of triangle bandages, some saline .... but you can buy that stuff if and when you need it at much more reasonable prices than you would get in your home country.



#13 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221

Posted by neosho on 19/9/2010 at 08:56

Good advice above. My first trip, I wasn't very smart on traveling and packed everything but the kitchen sink. Geez, thought I was going to have to hire people to help me lug it around. I actually started throwing stuff away. Now, I'm at the other extreme because I live here and hardly carry anything except camera and clothes. Try to find a comfort level somewhere in between that for you.

#14 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.