Tell me what to buy & pack for my holiday to Asia!(15 Posts)
I will be travelling in Asia (based out of Singapore) for a few months and I am fretting about what to pack. I only own winter clothes (thanks to living in the UK) so I will need to buy quite a lot of new things. I really do not want to overpack (no desire to haul heavy bags all over Asia), and want to keep my bags down to one big checked bag and one carry on. I am also worried about how hot it will be. So I want to make sure that I am stylish, cool and comfortable and respectful of the various cultures/religions in the region.
The places I will be going are: Singapore (based out of for work), Vietnam, Cambodia, Borneo, Bali, Japan, Laos and Korea.
Any thoughts on what I should be buying and packing?
Comfortable shoes/sandals - those walking/sporty type sandals are good.
Loose, lightweight cotton dresses are good - nothing too short or revealing.
A long sleeved cotton top in case you are visiting temples etc. If you don't have your own you will be obliged to hire one at a high price. A shawl will not be acceptable.
A hat - although you will be able to buy a sunhat very cheaply.
It depends where you are going and if you are going to be in cities or forests, hiking or lounging. You can buy mosquito repellant locally, sun protection can be expensive.
Make sure you have all your jabs and check whether you need malaria tablets.
Cities have air con in the restaurants and hotels, so you will need a light weight cardie or similar as it can be a bit chilly indoors!
Buy tiger balm when you get there as it is great for mosquito bites.
it will be sweaty like you've never known. Think loose cotton to elbows and knees at least. Good news is that laundry is cheap! Cotton underwear of course, cotton socks.
if you are hiking, decent boots, long trousers. If swimming, rash vest and boardies to keep the sun off.
proper insect repellent with 50% DEET (Dengue, zika etc) and malaria tabs if needed. No sunbathing and wear factor 50 at all times.
if you are more than a UK size 10 you'll struggle to buy clothes except in Singapore, and shoes will be difficult too.
De frizz / anti humidity hair products. (unless you like the Monica in the Caribbean look )
We spent a couple of weeks in Vietnam in September last year, and were able to get clothes made very quickly (think overnight or within a couple of days) and reasonably whilst we were staying in Hoi An. Have a look on Trip Advisor for the towns/cities you might be visiting and see if that is an option - I took a dress to be copied, my sister had dresses, jackets and trousers made in silk and in cotton. There was a good choice of fabrics.
Although we mainly had our laundry done in hotels, we also took laundry to local laundries, who did same day/overnight service, again very reasonably, so no need to have masses of clothes.
Agree with the poster who said it will be hot and sweaty, but chilly inside in air conditioning. It can also be incredibly wet, to the point where, for walking round in cities, it was best just to wear something like flip flops on your feet, as we were ankle deep in water in the streets in the downpours and other shoes just got ruined).
Your favorite skincare products. Everything else, you can buy there for cheap! (Well maybe don't buy in SG)
I'm slightly bigger than a 10 and had no issue buying clothes in Vietnam and Laos. I mostly wear shorts, tops and havaianas flip flop sandals but always have a light maxi dress and floaty scarves to cover up with. I'm blonde and that drew more attention than I wanted in some places so wore a hat quite a lot.
Basically pack lots of light cotton and very few items with sleeves. It's so hot, even at night, you just don't need them. Pack little, you'll be able to buy some gorgeous things very cheaply out there.
Thanks everyone! So maybe I will just invest in five or six cotton dresses and good walking sandals and then pick up anything else I need there? Would bringing a cardigan to wear when going into temples work, or do I need to be wearing a long sleeve dress instead?
Also, any advice for my hair in the humidity? I have naturally curly hair and figure that I wont even bother trying to blow it out but I am not sure what products I can use to limit the amount of frizz.
I took a cotton lightweight big scarf to wrap round my bare shoulders when in temples etc, very easy to buy when you are there though. And you'll be able to get clothes made very easily and quickly in Singapore and other places. Cardigans will make you very hot unless very light weight.
Japan tends to be a little more formal if you are going there for work - sleeved dresses might make you more comfortable. If you are touristing then bare arms are fine.
Don't take loads as you'll end up buying stuff! It's quite hard I think to buy the very lightweight stuff that you need for that climate as it just doesn't exist here!
BTW if you don't know how, learn how to tie a sarong. Brilliant invention.
Take some things with long sleeves that can be layered. I was freezing staying in a hotel in Singapore and had nothing with long sleeves other than what I had travelled in. I had to turn off the aircon in my room I was so cold. Long sleeves are also good for less insect bites.
When will you be coming to Japan? From about mid May to end Sept there will be humidity like you won't believe. You'll be damp with sweat within about ten minutes of getting out of the shower. Lots of cottons, cool, loose, is the way to go, along with plenty of sun cream and insect repellant! If you are working here in the summer then offices will sport "Cool Biz" (you can google!) where short sleeves in the office will be ok. Have fun!
I just came back from two weeks trip in Thailand and all I worn were bikinis, denim shorts and crop cotton top, flip flops, sunhat. Would add some cotton dresses if you go to the city.
Mosquito repellent is a must. Buy sun creams in UK as it's more expensive there. Don't take too many clothing as it's hot and you want as less clothing as possible. Laundry services on every corner.
I used a large shawl/scarf to cover my shoulders to go into a temple in Thailand.
They made me pay to hire a long sleeved shirt because they wanted my arms and shoulders "completely covered".
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