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Southeast Asia forum

Items to bring vs. buy while in SEA

Posted by erikmaez on 22/2/2010 at 04:10

I am going to thailand, laos, cambodia, and vietnam(in that order) for 2 months this summer. So I have a 70 liter backpack... I have already bought rainpants, quick drying underwear, a few shirts, a watch, sunglasses, and a water purification system. I want to buy a nice rain jacket and some durable hiking shoes as well as some quick trying socks but I am curious if anyone thinks that I can find these items cheaper or better quality if I wait to buy them when I arrive in bangkok?? What about other items such as laundry detergent, sunscreen, anti bacterial gels, asprin, imodium, ect.. is that all easily available?
Is there anything you would recommend that I wait to buy while I am there that I haven't mentioned in this post?? Or is there anything that you would recommend that I buy before I leave??
Thank you all sooo very much for your help!

#1 erikmaez has been a member since 5/11/2009. Posts: 7

Posted by shaydan_01 on 22/2/2010 at 05:28

Hi Erikmaez!

You can buy decent hiking shoes in Bangkok and they’ll probably be cheaper then at home but I recommend wearing them in a bit before doing any serious trekking, blisters suck!

Toiletries and medications such as those you’ve mentioned are VERY cheap and abundant in major cities in Thailand, particularly Bangkok and I would highly recommend buying it once you arrive. I stocked up on sunscreen, toothpaste and all that before heading over, and realised how much money I could have saved had I waited. Try Tesco or a local pharmacy and you’ll get what you are after.

In regards to clothes, Bangkok had everything you could want and more and the clothes are generally made to suite the SE Asian climate so can be better buying there. I could have shopped forever if I had the strength to carry a heavier backpack, but in short, you should be able to find almost everything once you arrive, usually decent quality (but not always) and almost always much cheaper!

Good luck!

#2 shaydan_01 has been a member since 16/11/2009. Location: Australia. Posts: 80
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Posted by Tilapia on 22/2/2010 at 08:49

Hi Erik,

I'd bring quick-drying everything. Quick drying shirts, socks, everything. It is true that you can buy lots of clothes in Bangkok, but most shirts and shorts are cotton and don't dry very fast. It's very unlikely that you'll find these items made from quick drying materials for less than what you'd pay for them at home, and equally as unlikely that you'd find them without spending a lot of time running around (ProBike has a lot of that stuff.) So I'd stock up now and use the time you'd be spending looking for those things more productively on the sights of Bangkok, and shopping for clothes that you might want for at home.

You probably won't need a water purification system. You can buy bottled water everywhere. It would probably just end up being one extra thing that you'll be carrying around.

As Shaydan said, sunscreen and meds and stuff are all available there, but if you have a specific type of sunscreen that you use, bring it.

I wouldn't bother bringing a towel. I'd buy one there and then ditch it when you're done with it. I find that a sarong is a good substitute for a towel. It's quick drying, and you can also use it as a thin blanket, and even as a sarong sometimes!

Happy Trails.

#3 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by traveltheworld on 22/2/2010 at 22:43

Forget shopping/running errands on your trip! You are traveling to get AWAY from day to day tasks, right? That being said, buy and pack the clothing that you want before you go. It will save shopping related headaches.

Over the counter meds, toiletries, towels and many other items are readily available everywhere. Buy as you go so you don't carry extra. The one exception is sunscreen. Really, do bring a supply. Otherwise youll be cringing at the price markup, especially in Thailand. Only bring a small stash of laundry detergent as many many cities have cheap express laundry service.

Ditch the water purification. You really don't need it. In regards to the hand sanitizer: Im a former hypochondriac turned Asian resident who now strongly believes that its not worth the hassle dragging it around. Bring a small bottle just in case, but I'm confident that you will find a sink and soap when you need it,.

Lastly, I know you have 70L to use, but please do not pack that much... your body will thank you later. You are going to want to buy some things and every thing you have is washable, so travel light.

#4 traveltheworld has been a member since 22/2/2010. Posts: 1

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