Southeast Asia is a hugely popular destination for tourists thanks to breathtaking scenery, stunning beaches and cheap accommodation. Holidays in Southeast Asia go smoothly only when tourists are well informed in advance. Some, western tourists especially, depart believing the region to be similar to their home country. Not really. Southeast Asia largely remains poor and undeveloped, regardless of the lavish hotels. There are several important things you will need if you want to enjoy the allures of this region without stress and worries. The key is to pack right. Here are the three most important things you must pack to enjoy Southeast Asia without a hassle.
1. Pack plenty of tops
Do not venture into countries like Laos and Cambodia without enough clothes. It’s not like vacationing in Hawaii, where, if you need a new top, you can just go and buy one. It is not so easy in Southeast Asian countries. The problem is not for a lack of shops advertising “Mens Shirts for 10 cents.” There are numerous cheap cloth shops in the region. The problem is the sizes. It’s quite difficult to find regular U.S. or European size tops and pants in Southeast Asia, and people in the region, on average, tend to have smaller frames. Therefore pack size-sensitive clothes. Leave items for which sizes don’t matter, like sarong wraps or hats, which you can buy in bulk for cheap in countries like Thailand.
2. Take your prescription meds with you
Healthcare in this region is either very poor or virtually nonexistent. If you are travelling anywhere other than Singapore, have your prescription medications with you. Fill them up in your home country. Customs do not impose restrictions on prescription medication. Just don’t expect them to be available in your Southeast Asian destination. There are no prescription medication stalls like those shops for “Mens Shirts for 10 cents.”
3. Pack sunscreen
Southeast Asia is a hot, tropical region where the sunlight is particularly harsh. This will mostly affect tourists arriving from colder climates. Even tourists coming from dry areas might not be used to the humidity. In any case, sunburns and sunstrokes are highly likely for people who do not adequately protect their skin. You will need to cover all exposed skin areas with sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. Do not expect sunscreen to be widely available locally as you venture off major cities. Even if it is, it would be exorbitantly priced thanks to import taxes.
The above tips may be simple, but do not underestimate their value. Next time you want to fly to Southeast Asia, make a list and top it with the items mentioned here.