Travelling (Southeast) Asia: Some Essentials

Travelling (Southeast) Asia: Some Essentials

Southeast Asia is arguably the mecca of backpacking. Often regarded as the ‘gateway’ destination for first time travellers, it is beautiful, diverse, fascinating and extremely affordable.

However – just as travelling to new and fantastic places can mean adventure, excitement and wonder, it can also mean unwanted bowel movements, sunburn and heat stroke! Here is a list of essentials for anyone heading to that incredible corner of the world.

Water Purification Tablets

Depending on your budget (and your concern for plastic waste!), water purification tablets mean that you don’t have to continually buy bottled water throughout your trip. Those bottles soon add up – and the chlorinated tablets (available from all outdoors shops) means that you can drink tap water wherever you are.

So… bring a 1L Water Bottle. If it’s 1 litre it makes it easy for you to keep track of how much water you’re consuming, and is a handy and reasonable size to carry around.

Student ID

A number of temples and attractions offer student discounts upon entrance (something I sadly didn’t realise before heading out to Indonesia). Don’t miss out! Bring your ID with you just in case.

Pocket Language Translation Book

Lonely Planet offer excellent concise pocket translation guides, and these allow you to connect and talk to the local people you meet. Alternatively, if you feel you’re linguistically challenged, the Point It books are an excellent way of communicating across the language barriers.

Eye mask/ Ear plugs

When you’re sharing hostel dormitories, you don’t have the luxury of turning the lights out when you want to sleep. Bring an eye mask and ear plugs so that late night revellers/early morning risers don’t affect your night’s sleep (I quickly learnt that heat stroke AND fatigue is not a good combination)

Cotton tops/shawls

It is always a good idea to respect local customs and cover up if necessary. Cotton tops offer a barrier from the sun (trust me – after a while the idea of tanning in the blistering heat won’t even seem worth it)

Shawls are also a must if you’re planning to visit any temples. Often your legs are required to be covered, and while there won’t be a shortage of people selling saris and shawls, it saves if you’ve already got one of your own.

Exploring temples in Indonesia

An Open Mind

Whether you’ve planned every stage of your trip or absolutely nothing at all – things WILL go wrong. The only thing you can do to ensure that whatever unexpected mishaps you encounter do not ruin your trip, is maintaining an open mind, being flexible, and laughing with whatever comes your way!




Happy travelling!