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Leave Your Big Backpack at Home When Going to Southeast Asia

A man with a banana gun

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ll the last winter, spring and summer we two spent in Asia. One half of this time we were in India, cycling across it, another – in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. Whenever we met some backpacker on our way, be it a tall guy or a short girl, they all had one thing in common.

And that one thing was a big backpack they were carrying on their shoulders. Huge and heavy backpack often weighing 10, 12 and more kilos.

And at the same time there were we two, complaining about our carry on size backpacks, weighting about 7 kilos each (see my minimalist packing list). Did we miss something? No. But if so – why should you want to make your trip into such a hard job? We think you shouldn’t. And here is why.

Weather in Southeast Asia is Pleasant Year-round

In fact for us coming from the North of Europe, the same as for you from the USA and Canada weather there is more than pleasant. For example, in Malaysia average temperature year-round is 27 °C (80 °F). And the same way it’s in the biggest part of Southeast Asia. Don’t go to northern part of the region during the winter and you will get a year-round summer, yeah! But that means – one pair of flip flops, two pairs of shorts and three t-shirts are almost all the clothing you need. In our time there I never wore long pants and jacket and walked around only barefoot or in flip flops.

So, I think you got it, there is no point to pack two jeans and three hoodies with you if you will never wear them. Leave these kilos at home!

Kaspars and Una on beach

You Need Less Than You Think You Need

The bigger is your backpack, the more you will pack with yourself. Take smaller backpack and you will pack less, voila! I’m happy we understood it even before embarking on our long-term trip to Asia. To be precise, we learned it while walking for two weeks across Northern Spain.

Though, we didn’t have too much things with us then, but still there was one part we never used. And again, most of them were clothes. Lesson learned. No more “just in case” stuff. We better will miss that one thing some day in the future, but we will not carry not needed stuff around with us for months.

But about clothes… Don’t forget, that you can always wash them! Your favorite t-shirt is dirty? Wash it in the evening and wear it on the next day.

Kaspars in Singapore

You Can Buy Everything in Southeast Asia

Trust me. I was in your place. I thought we need to buy all that recommended medicine for our trip, sun creams and tropical mosquito repellent creams for months in advance. All these spare bicycle parts for our cycling adventure in India. And extra clothing.

And all for what? To find out that you can buy all of these things in Southeast Asia as well.  And often even cheaper.

And actually it’s the same with, for example, electronics. Where you can buy the cheapest Mackbook and iPad? Everyone knows the answer – in the USA. But do you know, that the same as cheap they are in official Apple Stores and re-seller stores in Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia? Now you know.


Happy travels! With or without that big backpack :)

In case you are currently looking for a new backpack, check out our guide to the best carry on size travel backpacks!

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