Packing List

Foremost, baggage is limited to 44 pounds (20 kgs) and overweight fees can be excessive or delay check-in.

Much of your trip may likely be in a warm to hot tropical climate If you do have check-in, you should attempt meet weight limit of under 20 kilos (44 pounds) not to avoid the minor fees for being overwieght, but to a pssible delay check-in. If you've brought heavier items, like books, carry them on board with you (cabin luggage is typically not weighed). Of course, some items on this list may not be necessary for your particular trip. What you bring may vary according to the type of trip you’re going on the countries you’re visiting and when you’re traveling. We recommend you check with us, and the details of your trip, when planning what to pack.

Please also see any specific country notes, which may detail unique things to pack for your destination.

Save check-in and waiting for lugagge (and the risk of lost luggage) by only bringing a rolling carry-on and backpack (with sleeve to attach to your rolling bag) without checking any bags.

Anything forgotten can be easily be found in most cities along the way.

Note, please also see our CHECKLIST for items to complete for your trip.

Travel documents

  • Passport (valid for 6 months after return date)
  • Visas required (Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Bhutan, India)
  • Travel insurance including insurer details, 24 hr
  • Emergency contacts telephone numbers
  • Flight tickets, e-ticket, or locator numbers
  • Photocopies of passport and other important documents - to be kept separately (we recommend you keep a copy at home as well and email a copy to yourself). A copy is invaluable for replacing a lost passport.
  • Final trip itinerary, notes & other country information
  • Spare passport photos (laser printed okay)
  • Youth/student card for travel discounts
  • Seniors card for travel discounts
  • Diving license (as backup ID)
  • Mileage program membership card and telephone number
  • All Indochina Travel trip and in-country contacts


Regional and domestic airlines typically set maximum luggage allowance at 44 pounds per person (20 kgs). Overweight baggage fees may be a small fee, but may delay check-in. More airlines information.

Personal health

  • Simple First Aid kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, etc.
  • Personal medication/prescriptions
  • Prescription and reading glasses
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • High protection sunscreen (25+)--a sticky one like Bullfrog
  • Lip balm/lip salve with belt clip
  • Wide brim hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent (we like 3M's Ultrathon in spray bottle)
  • Antihistamine/insect bite cream
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Travel vaccination certificate
  • After-sun moisturiser
  • Anti-malaria prophylaxis (only if recommended by doctor)
  • Aspirin and/or paracetamol
  • Anti-diarrhoea pills (consult your doctor for more detailed advice)

Money matters

  • Money (U.S. cash in mint-condition 100s, some 20s and handful of 1s) for spending Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar or for exchange in other destinations. Please refer to speific country notes.
  • Credit cards (AMEX is not widely accepted)
  • ATM cards (should not be relied upon as only source of cash in countries above). ATMs are ubiquotous and reliable in Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.
  • Traveler's Checks are not recommended. They are no longer commonly accepted and if so, incur excange fees.
  • Bring enough extra U.S. cash for tipping guides and drivers (about $25/day for your guide and half that for drivers)

Two dollar bills? Yes, they make humorous souvenirs to bring and handout


  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs (very important in Asia!)
  • Night clothes/sleepwear
  • Airline travel neck pillow
  • Melatonin or other sleep medication


For longer trips we recommend you choose clothing that is easy to wash and fast drying. Women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting mosques (or buy a sarang locally afetr arrival), churches and other places of worship.

In general for the tropics, avoid polyester sports wear clothing which overheat and do not breath well in the tropics (favor cotton when possible).

Dress codes, such as jacket and tie, are a thing of the past, and only now found at the most exclusive of restaurants, such as the China Club.

  • Casual, comfortable shoes
  • Light microfleece layer for sea and cooler mountains
  • Long-sleeved top (for evenings when mosquitoes are out)
  • Long trousers (cotton)
  • Jeans and long underwear(only for cold season/altitude, such as the Shan State)
  • Shorts (cotton)
  • Swimsuit & sun shirt
  • Hat, cap, sun hat
  • Collared short and long-sleeve shirts (cotton)*
  • Socks/underwear (cotton)
  • Bio-degradable washing detergent
  • Large scarf (for sun and covering shoulders for impromptu visits to temples
  • Workout/spa clothing and shoes.

T-shirts (top) are considered impolite in many Asian cultures, but make great souvenirs for your guides and drivers (along with baseball caps).

Electronics - Phones - Camera - Gadgets - Gear

  • Phone charger, USB cables
  • Extra SD cards, USB stick, batteries, charger
  • Headphones
  • You will not likely need an electrical adapter, most hotels in Asia now have a dual outlet which accepts North American style plugs.
  • Kindle or other e-reader (check our reading lists)
  • Newer Polaroid-type cameras - make instant friends in country : )
  • Light daypack or backpack (not belly pouch)

Mobile roaming fees have dropped significantly and there is no longer need to obtain a rental phone or SIMM card locally. Also take advantage of ubquitious WiFi for free messaging and calling.

Wet weather

  • Light raincoat/shell (heavier rain slicks will be provided, if needed)
  • Small umbrella
  • Waterproof bags for rain protection while walking
  • Light weight waterproof & windproof jacket

Walking or hiking

  • Comfortable walking shoes/trail running shoes with good grip
  • Comfortable hiking boots (Bhutan)
  • Hiking poles/walking sticks
  • Small/light backpack


  • 2 shorts, 2 socks & 2 jerseys (or long sleeve cotton shirt)
  • White arm covers for sun protection (sold under golf supply)
  • Bandanas or hat with neck cover
  • Sport sunglasses
  • Fingerless gloves
  • Helmet & Bottles (optional, only if you prefer your own)


  • Binoculars
  • Camera equipment
  • Film or memory cards
  • Spare batteries/charger
  • Dust proof camera bag
  • Trekking socks

Travel accessories

  • Scissors/army knife
  • Comfortable daypack to carry your personal needs during the day
  • Phrase book
  • Portable games/playing cards
  • Reading material
  • Water bottle
  • Pen/paper
  • Travel pillow
  • Journal or diary
  • Cloth or reusable shopping bag (instead of plastic bags)
  • Torch or flashlight
  • Water purification method & iodine taste neutralizer if trekking
  • Photos to share with locals (and instant film camera)
  • Electrical adapter for some countries (check with us)

Winter or extreme weather

  • Thermal underwear or base layers
  • Beanie/woolly hat/balaclava
  • Gloves (inner and outer layers)
  • Hand warmers (camping shops stop small packages that create a chemical reaction that generates heat)

Personal items

  • Toiletries (shampoo, razor, q-tips, floss, toothbrush)
  • Airplane and other snacks
  • Small bath towel
  • Mobile phone - check you have international roaming access
  • Feminine needs
  • Small sewing kit & safety pins
  • Small pack of tissues/wipes


  • Swimsuit & Sun shirt
  • Goggles
  • Water shoes for islands and Halong Bay


  • Nylon/polyester quick dry shorts
  • Water shoes
  • Wide-brim hat
  • Fingerless gloves

Too large to bring back with you? Think twice about shipping items home, we have had many a horror stories related to shipping purchases home from Asia.

INDOCHINA Travel Company

1283 12th Avenue San Francisco, California
Phone: (628) 256-0093