What to take when going backpacking in Thailand? It’s really tempting to try and squeeze that nice pair of shoes or those comfortable jeans into your backpack, without realizing you have to carry them with you for weeks, sometimes months, on end. And let me tell you, carrying around a heavy backpack while wading through sandy beaches, underneath a burning sun, is no picnic! The following 10 things you definitely won’t need to take with you when traveling to Thailand, so you can travel a lot lighter!
You don’t actually need that many things in order to get by in Thailand. As long as you have your passport, your wallet and your phone, you’re good. Any other necessaries you might have forgotten to take can be bought in Thailand. So don’t worry and leave the following 10 items at home!
1. Mosquito spray
We never bring mosquito spray when traveling to Thailand, because it so much cheaper to buy locally. You can buy good quality mosquito spray, lotion and skin wipes for ten times lss than in many western countries.
In case you need some of the stronger stuff you can always go past the local pharmacy, where you’ll be able to buy mosquito spray that contains DEET. If anyone knows what works, it’s them!
2. Survival gear
Backpacking in Thailand isn’t as adventurous as you might think. Everything is incredibly well organized. Whether it’s the transport or the excursions themselves, everything is taken care of. So save your sleeping bag, your sporks, first aid kits and fire sticks for when you’re actually going on an adventure.
3. Mountains of clothes
You can have your clothes washed in Thailand pretty much anywhere for next to nothing (40-50 Thai Baht per kilo). Therefore, you’ll only need to bring one to two weeks’ worth of clothing. Choose clothes you like enough to wear for weeks on end, ones that match and, last but not least, are comfortable. Don’t take anything that’s too tight or causes you to sweat. Still forgot something? There are enough nice markets and shops around in Thailand!
Jeans: they’re heavy, rigid and impractical. Not only are they incredibly warm, they’re also very hard to dry. Because I’m so used to wearing them, during our first trip to Thailand I packed one pair of jeans. You never know, I thought. How many times did I wear them? That’s right: I didn’t wear them at all. After two months I decided to chuck it out. Such a shame!
In Thailand, temperatures are almost always above 30 degrees Celsius. So you can safely leave your coat at home! On the other hand, you might want to consider taking a warm cardigan. Especially during the dry (cool) season, when it can get pretty chilly at night. And let’s not forget all the minivans, sleeper trains and cinemas that tend to have their air conditioning systems on full blast!
6. Beach towel
All good guesthouses and hotels will have towels at your disposal. Sure, they might not be as big and soft as the ones you’re used to at home, but they get the job done. So don’t take a beach towel!
7. Mosquito net
Yes, there are mosquitoes in Thailand. But no need to panic; Thai people hate mosquitoes in their bedrooms just as much as we do. That’s why all hotel rooms are equipped with screen windows, fans and/or air conditioning installations that make sure they won’t bother you in the evening.
8. Beauty case
When traveling, there’s no point applying in a lot of make-up. Most of it will melt off your face anyway. A hint of concealer, highlighter, some lip balm and mascara and that’s it. Taking a small bag with just the essentials is enough. By the way, you won’t need to bring a hair dryer either, as in Thailand your hair will dry pretty quickly on its own. Besides, most mid range hotels will have a hair dryer available.
I love to read, but fail to see the use in carrying around heavy books. This is why I’ve had an e-reader for years now, so I can always have all my favorite books within reach. And you won’t need a travel guide either, as these days you can use your smart phone as a travel guide by visiting www.gotothailand.com whenever you like – YES!
Do keep in mind: if you don’t want to lose it, don’t bring it. Jewelry, new clothes, gadgets… Keep it simple and save yourself the stress!