I am very proud of my packing – for once I managed to pack just the right amount of things and traveled light and easy. If you’re a “to-do-list” and other “lists” lover like me, you might find this packing itinerary for Thailand useful 🙂
I wanted to travel with a carry-on luggage only and I decided for a backpack. Since we were doing also some hiking and many transfers, a trolley would be a killer. Few years ago I have seen this video (Essential Items for Lightweight Backpacking ) of Brittany Taylor that travels around the world with a 28l backpack and I got myself into this “travel as light as possible” challenge. So – what do you need for minimalist Thailand packing list?
GOOD BACKPACK! e.g. Deuter Backpack Act Trail 28 SL
It is a fantastic backpack for travelling. Has few very useful features: the main part could be open all around with a zipper, so if you need something from the bottom of the backpack, you don’t need to dig in, but simply open the zipper and take it out.
The upper part has 2 pockets – one is inside, so I use it for storing passport and money – even in a crowded train it would be difficult to steal something from it. It has a rain cover, a side pocket for water bottle, few extra straps. The waist belt has a pocket big enough for pocket money, keys, or anything you want to have in easy reach.
PACKING LIST – EVERYTHING BUT CLOTHES:
- Eye mask + earplugs (in the beginning of the trip it could be difficult to adapt to the time zone change, some of the hotels could be noisy, the AC is sometimes noisy etc)
- Camera (unfortunately my phone doesn’t take great pictures in the evening)
- Laptop (light weight laptop with long battery is essential for our travels, as we do a bit of “digital nomad” thing – I work every single day for few hours, or at least I check my emails etc. At the moment I have Asus ZenBook UX 305 – 13 inches screen: I love it, it is the lightest laptop I ever had (1,2kg), slimmest (12mm – indeed it has a size of a magazine), the battery lasts long (up to 10 hours), the screen is good enough to work on a beach, and it’s very fast – starts from sleep within 2 seconds. The only 2 downfall I found are: too little disc space, and not loud enough speakers – brings me troubles in Skype calls if there is background noise.
- (NO!) Adapter: you only need them for older laptops with the bigger types of chargers. Both my phone and my laptop were perfectly fine without an adapter!
- Headphones: good for Skype calls, and I listen to lot of audio books when travelling on a bus or ferry
- Flip-flops: I have light brown colour Hawainas – they are good quality and match with all my clothes)
- Outdoor sandals: I use light weight Merrell sandals – in our first trip to Thailand I brught also a pair of running shoes thinking I would use them for hiking or running, but I didn’t use them even once – on the beach I run barefoot, and those Merrell sandals were good enough even for whole day walk or hike. They are also light brown colour, so match with everything and they are elegant enough to be worn also with a skirt or a dress)
- Sunscreen: for Thailand I really recommend UV 50 – at least for the face, and at least for the first week. On our 2nd trip I started with only UV 15 – thinking I am already sun tanned and used to the sun… and ended up looking like a pink-roasted pigJ
- 3 Packing units: great if you plan to change places often. I take 3 pieces: 1 keeps all the electronics, chargers etc in one place, underwear and socks in another, and last one, biggest one for all the clothes. I found cheap packing units e.g. in IKEA.
- Large quick dry towel: light-weight, big enough to cover your body when going out of shower (useful in accommodations with shared bathrooms) and big enough you can lye on it on the beach. A saarong from cotton will do you a similar service.
- Torch-light: in Thailand it is always 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness – if you plan to travel to less populated areas, it is definitely handy. Also less touristic areas or some smaller islands often have electricity for limited hours a day. Little outdoor torch-light, e.g. I like the Petzl brand.
- Hat: something light-weight, foldable that keeps sun away from the face and prevents heat stroke — the straw hats are nice, but super unpractical for packing. I don’t really use sunglasses if I have a hat, and I tend to loose and break sunglasses, but for many they are a must-have.
- Notebook + pen: even if I take lots of notes on my phone and laptop, and old-school paper journal is still so great, especially for diary or personal notes.
- Book – I often take a book that I am willing to leave behind – many of the hostels or coffee places have “swap” library, or you can borrow book in the hostel you stay in.
- Spoon – durable plastic one for outdoors, that has a “knife and spoon” part. Perfect utensil for eating food you buy in supermarket. The only pitfall is that for eating the inside of fresh coconuts that I am addicted to – a sharp metal one is still better!
- Toiletries – you need only few basic ones or something specific you use, everything common (shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash…) I found everywhere in Thailand, even my favorite brands.
You can also see a video on YouTube with the very same backpack I use, the author is packing for one month in Chang Mai, northern Thailand.
PACKING LIST – CLOTHES (FOR LADIES):
The greatest thing about Thailand is that everywhere you go you find laundry service – the usual price for wash+dry is around 40 BHT (approx. 1 Euro) for wash and dry, and most places also offer express wash (you pick it up the same day) and ironing. So you really need only few things. We did laundry approx. once a week or every 4 days. Even though I had a light outdoors jacket with me, I didn’t use it even once, so I didn’t put it on the list.
- all clothes preferably light-weight and cotton – anything synthetic would make you sweat like crazy in the humid heat and stick horribly on your body
- 2 pieces of long shirts or beach dresses that cover your shoulders and you can wear them over your bikini when going for a drink or meal on a beach (many places in Thailand are Muslim, so entering a shop or a restaurant just in bikini is not polite). Also in combination with hat it prevents you from sun-burn.
- 1 pair of shorts (we rented a motorbike quite often for trips, shorts are definitely more practical than a skirt or dress)
- 1 pair of comfortable cotton leggings – I take a black pair, which matches with everything else, and use it as a pyjamas, to cover my legs when entering a temple, or in cooler areas together with dress or skirt
- 1 fancy beautiful dress for festive occasions – nice restaurants etc. + jewellery (I found out that a fancy necklace makes even a simple black or white top look festive and takes very little space)
- 2 tops and 2 T-shirts
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt (I get cold on airplanes or in heavily air-conditioned areas)
- colorful scarf – it makes your T-shirts and tops look different, on a hot day prevents your shoulders from burning, you can wear it on beach over your bikini etc.)
- 2 pairs of bikini (I have another change of “downs” for each bikini, since I swim a lot, and I want to keep my intimate parts dry to prevent infections)
- swimming goggles and swim cap (I love swimming, when possible, I swim several times per day, goggles are great not to hit a medusa or a rock, and swim hat keeps my coloured hair from getting orange and damaged by the salty sea water)
- 4 pairs of panties + bra (I only need 1 bra, since when it is getting washed, I wear my bikini tops under dresses and T-shirts)
- 1 pair of warm socks (for airplane – I hate having my feet cold on long flights)
- 1 sweater that covers your shoulders (if it gets cold in the evenings or for entering a temple)
- 1 pajama pants and a top for sleeping
PS: a great thing about Thailand is that whatever you forget – you will probably find it here, and in many cases even cheaper than home :)!