Sandy beaches. Coconuts. Street food. Temples. These are just some of the things digital nomads in Southeast Asia experience. There are many cities in this region that serve as hubs for digital nomads including Chiang Mai in Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Nomads flock to this part of the world due to its incredible affordability, beautiful scenery, and the community it has to offer.
Southeast Asia makes for a great starting point for digital nomads who want a taste of the nomadic lifestyle. There isn’t a huge financial commitment to living in the area and there is a global community to network with.
When planning your journey to Southeast Asia, it’s a good idea to pack lightly and use a travel backpack. It’s the easiest and quickest way to get around these countries.
We’ve put together the ultimate packing list for digital nomads in Southeast Asia, so you can focus more on your business and less about what to put in your suitcase.
- 3 tank tops
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 sweater/light jacket
- 3 shorts
- 1 athletic outfit
- 2 bathing suits
- 1 maxi dress (for the ladies)
- 2-3 shorter dresses/skirts (for the ladies)
- 5-7 pairs of underwear
- 3-4 pairs of socks
- 2 bras (for the ladies)
- Sarong or scarf (for the ladies)
The first thing you should know about packing for Southeast Asia is to pack light and flowy clothing. The temperature is hot and it’s very humid, so the lighter your clothing, the more comfortable you will be! The overall style is fairly casual and laidback, so there isn’t much pressure when trying to “fit in” with culture.
While you’re there, we guarantee you will buy the stereotypical flowy elephant pants that the area is known for. Not only are they comfortable and the perfect material for the climate, but are you really a digital nomad in Southeast Asia if they don’t make up half of your wardrobe?
For the ladies, it’s important to note that you should pack a scarf or sarong to cover your shoulders and legs when visiting religious sites and temples. Some temples will rent coverings to you, but others will not. These temples are truly amazing, so you don’t want to miss out on seeing them! Always be respectful of the culture you’re visiting.
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1 pair of walking sneakers
When it comes to packing shoes for Southeast Asia, the most important thing is that they are comfortable. There is nothing worse than walking around with sore and blistered feet, especially in hot weather!
You’ll find that most people wear very casual shoes. We recommend mostly wearing sandals because they are easy to slip on and off for when you visit temples.
One significant detail about the Southeast Asian culture is that they do not allow shoes to be worn inside.
- Microfiber Towel
- First Aid Kit
- Toilet Paper
- Minimal Makeup (for the ladies)
- Menstrual Cup (for the ladies)
Always remember that you can buy your basic toiletries at your destination, there is no need to carry them all the way from your home country. However, there are some items that we do recommend bringing with you.
It’s always a gamble when using restrooms as to whether there will be toilet paper or not in Southeast Asia. We highly recommend that you bring a travel-size roll with you wherever you go.
For the ladies, consider purchasing a menstrual cup for when it’s that time of the month. Tampons are rare in Southeast Asia and if you can find them, they are quite pricey. This nifty device is compact, sanitary, and recommended by thousands of female backpackers.
As a digital nomad, traveling with your technology is absolutely essential. It may even be more important than the clothes you pack! This list is just the basics, depending on your job and how you like to work, you may need to bring more with you.
When it comes to packing your chargers, try your best to condense them. If you can use one charger for two or three items, then only bring one! It will help you stay organized and from getting tangled up.
- Day Bag or Backpack
- Ziploc Bags
- Packing Cubes or Vacuum Seal Bags
- Bug Spray
- Life Straw or bottle w/ filter
- Activated Charcoal
When traveling as a digital nomad in Southeast Asia, you’re going to experience some pretty amazing things. Most people aren’t used to the climate and it may be a shock at first. Make sure to bring some heavy-duty bug spray for mosquitoes and sunscreen. While you can buy these items there, you don’t want to be stuck without it for the first day or two after you’ve arrived.
To stay healthy and cut down on plastic use, we recommend bringing a Life Straw or a water bottle with a filter. The tap water is not safe to drink straight but is okay when filtered.
We also recommend you bring activated charcoal pills. We all know that Southeast Asia’s food is delicious and street food is incredible, but the diet is much different than in the West. To avoid stomach problems, take these pills to soak up any toxins you may ingest. Eventually, your body will get used to the diet!
- Travel Backpack
- Rain Cover for Backpack
We highly recommend that you use a travel backpack as a digital nomad in Southeast Asia, especially if you plan on traveling around. With unpaved roads and tuk-tuk transportation, the more compact your luggage is, the better.
Don’t forget to buy a rain cover for your backpack too. Those afternoon downpours can be pretty ferocious and unexpected! You don’t want to be caught in the rain without some kind of protection for your belongings.
Every Nomad is Different
Everyone has their own style when it comes to packing. Take this list as just a guide on what to consider when packing to live as a digital nomad in Europe.
Connect with other digital nomads in Europe and find out their essential travel items at Nomads Embassy: The Official Global Digital Nomad Network now!
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When I’m not writing and teaching people how to achieve a location-independent lifestyle, you can find me globetrotting, experiencing new cultures, and working on my amateur photography skills.