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How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip to Thailand

By Edited Jul 25, 2016 1 1

A few helpful tips on how to pack your luggage for your Backpacking trip to Thailand.

Rarely is there a country that caters so much to the needs for your Thai Vacation.

Thai Flag
Koh Samet Thailand
Ok peoples, I hope this article can lend some advice for your upcoming holidays to Thailand, the Land of Smiles.

Thailand is an amazing place. The culture, the people, the food, and the weather are only a few reasons I return every year. I’ve developed a long lasting relationship with Thailand over the last 10 years. My Thai Holidays are never the same, meeting new and exciting people, ending up in different areas, and sometimes re-visiting my favorite hangouts only to be amazed at the changes or lack there of. The only thing that has been consistent with my Thai adventures is my backpack, and how I pack.

If you are planning a backpacking trip to Thailand, regardless of length, take this advice to heart. Obviously, my backpacking trips are different then yours. But I think there are a few generalities that apply to us all.

These tips, which I am going to list, are implementable not just for Thailand but most countries with similar weather conditions as Thailand; Pretty much any country in South East Asia.

Ok, so lets start with Tip number one:

My BackPack
1. Don’t buy a humongous Bag!!!

For god’s sake, don’t be that person carrying a bag that is bigger then you. You are going to torcher your self-schlepping all that weight around. For one, Thailand is hot and humid. You are going to sweat buckets. If you sweat more you’ll need to change your clothing more. Bring a small to mid-size backpack.

2. Don’t fill your backpack to the rim!

This is the worst thing you could do, stuffing your backpack to the rim with your favorite clothing. Trust me when I say that in Thailand you can buy everything and anything for a fraction of the price you would in your home country. Also, the Thais have a fantastic sense of fashion. You’ll buy clothing to show-off when you come back home. It’s inevitable. Happens to me every year. Plus you’ll need room for all the souvenirs for family and friends. But that’s another tip further down.

3. Bring dark t-shirts. Leave the white shirts at home.

You are going to sweat a lot. The weather – its beautifully hot and humid. The dirt- it will find you.

Sweat Stained T-shirt
And if you are wearing crisp white t-shirts you’ll end up getting those nasty yellow stains under your armpits. Dark clothing wont look as dirty. I’m not advocating backpacking around in dirty clothing but you might find yourself on a train or bus for 12 hours or more, maybe hiking to a remote village, what have you. It’s inevitable that what you wear will get a little dirty. Dark clothing doesn’t reveal that much.

4. Toiletries!

Ladies this concerns you more. There is no need to bring your most trusted hair or skin products with you. It does not make any sense to bring all those bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and skin lotions. Those things are heavy and take a lot of space. Thai women have thick, black, beautiful hair, soft skin and are just as conscious about their looks as any woman. You can find all those products you would at home in Thailand. No need to slug around that heavy stuff.

I bring a toothbrush and some toothpaste for the flight. The rest I buy when I arrive, deodorant, shaving equipment, etc. You’d be surprised as how modern some parts of Thailand are and have become.

5. Souvenirs

Thai Souvernirs

You are going to visit places and see something awesome and cute, that will fit on your wall just perfectly. Only problem - its five pounds and now you have to carry it with you for the remainder of your Thai holiday. In general, all the stuff you see at those semi-touristic locations you can get in Bangkok. If not on Khao San Rd. then at the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Save your souvenir shopping for the last days of your vacation. Hence why you should pack your backpack half full. Mostly likely you’ll need the other half of your bag for the things you buy for yourself along your backpacking trip. When your holiday ends and you find yourself back in Bangkok with a few days left, this is where you go on your shopping spree. Buy another bag for 300 Bht and fill it with all the little things you still have money for. You might just find the same things you saw along your trip and most likely cheaper too. I take a picture of the things I want, to remind myself for later. 

So now that I’ve given you my ideas of how to pack, let me give you my list of things I bring with me:

I have a mid-size backpack, similar to a school backpack. I pack it half-full. I bring three of everything. Of which one item I am wearing. This means, in my backpack go:

2 pairs of socks, black.

2 pairs of underwear, dark colored.

2 pants, usually a pair of jeans, and something light like Khakis (incase I want to go out to a nice club or something).

2 t-shirts, dark.

1 collared dress shirt.

1 pair of flip-flops.

1 pair of swim trunks.


In my backpack also go a laptop, an iPod with external speakers, and my most important item: my hammock.

But that is because I lounge on the beach for a month or two, and having ones own hammock is an absolute necessity for me. The hammock by the way I bought in Thailand too, its one of those military style ones. The material is made of this parachute fabric, so its super light and you can easily roll it up into a small package. I've had mine now for 7 years.

Now you may think, well hell, as little as he brings- he must smell like a swine, constantly wearing dirty clothing!

Nope, not at all, because of the hot weather conditions, I am constantly showering. At least three times a day. Most of the time to just rinse. I don’t even dry myself afterwards. The heat usually drys you in a few minutes.

Also, it is so easy to do laundry. The Thais cater very much to the needs of tourists. There are Laundromats all over the place, with 3-4 hour quick services, and for $1/ kilo of clothing you’ll never have to wear anything more then it should be.  Also, its not hard to hand wash a pair of undies or a t-shirt before you go to sleep. By morning it will be dry and ready to wear.

I may be a bit more extreme in regards to clothing. Modify my list to your specific needs. For me this is the perfect medium. The less I have to carry around the better I feel. It’s easier to just pack up and go somewhere else. Also if something tears or I end up needing another pair of socks or underwear…$2 and I got myself some Gucci knock offs.

To Much BackPack
So, I hope this helps. I always laugh, when I see my fellow backpackers suffering under their huge loads. To find out they are traveling for two weeks, and I am here for two to three months carrying my little bag.

Safe Travels and Chok Dee





Mar 22, 2015 9:30am
Quite useful - Insightful - Reality Check - Thanks!
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