Every Asia packing list should include these 8 essential items

How do you even begin to decide on what to prioritise for the perfect Asia packing list? With our help, of course! From lacing up your boots in the Himalayas to boardshorts in Bali, the world’s largest continent delivers an incredible array of diverse experiences, landscapes and climates, and that means packing smart. 

woman looking at the taj mahal

Half the adventure is in figuring out what to bring to Asia. You’ll be able to buy some of what you need there, but it’s a great idea to brush up on how to dress before you get there to make the most of the continent’s rich culture and experiences in comfort and style.  

RELATED CONTENT: Why everyone needs a bucket-list trip to Asia at least once in their lives 

Ready to get going? We’ve covered some of the essentials below:   

What to include on your Asia packing list 

Always remember your hat when you're thinking of what to wear in Asia

Layers, check. Sunscreen, check. Rain poncho, check. Your Asia packing list is getting off to a good start and there’s plenty more to add to it, but we’d recommend leaving a little space in your luggage for the fantastic souvenirs that will remind you of your epic exploration of this varied continent.  

What to wear and how to dress in Asia depends greatly on the destination you’re visiting. On your journey across this vast region, you could watch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal, hike the Himalayas, sail Halong Bay, explore the lost ruins of Angkor Wat, trace the Great Wall of China or eat sushi for breakfast in Tokyo. The tried and tested tip to preparing for these diverse experiences is to keep it light, loose and dry.  

Ready to learn how? Apply these principles to your Asia packing list and you’ll master what to wear in Asia, whether your travels take you from Singapore to Sri Lanka, or Thailand to Cambodia. 

GET INSPIRED BY: Thailand and Cambodia Uncovered 

Tips for what to wear in Asia 

Dress modestly 

Dress modestly and add a scarf are good tips for what to wear and bring to Asia

Part of the joy of exploring Asia is getting to grips with its beautiful heritage and culture and that means extraordinary experiences in the continent’s most sacred sites. From the temples of Nepal and Pagodas of Myanmar, to sacred caves in Laos and mosques in Singapore, no visit to Asia is complete without visiting some of the sites most revered by its locals. Show your respect by kicking off your shoes and covering up – outfits covering shoulders and the knees are a must. 

RELATED CONTENTSacred Sites in Asia: From Temples to Pagodas 

Keep it loose and comfortable 

When wondering what to wear in Asia, keep your shoulders covered when you're visiting temples

Comfort is key when exploring Asia. You’ll want to keep your wardrobe loose and light-fitting, opting for outfits made from natural fibres like cotton, which dry quickly and don’t cling to you. Think wide leg trousers, button-down shirts and long skirts to keep you light and breezy no matter where your travels take you.  Leave the strappy tops, short shorts and jeans at home.  

Sensible footwear 

Well-fitted footwear is a non-negotiable when hiking through Asia's rainforests

You’re likely to spend a lot of time on your feet when exploring Asia and that means well-fitted footwear is a non-negotiable. Depending on your itinerary, you could opt for flipflops, sturdy sandals, walking shoes or hiking boots. Check what makes the most sense for your trip, but there’s no need to bring along anything dressy or expensive.  

Warm layers 

It can get fairly cold in Asia so add some layers to your packing list

Don’t be fooled into thinking Asia is tropical and balmy year-round. Depending on the destination and the time of year you’re visiting, you may well need to pack a few warm layers to keep you comfortable at higher altitudes and at night. From the Thai highlands and Sapa in Vietnam to the ski resorts of Sapporo in Japan and the Himalayas, you’ll be grateful you switched up your short sleeves for something warmer.  

8 essential items to bring to Asia 

If you forget to add something important to your Asia packing list, you can buy it at a market there

No need to panic if you’ve left any of the following at home because shopping is something your Asian hosts know how to do well. However, if you’d like to maximise your sightseeing time, you’ll do well to think ahead about what to bring to Asia.  Here are our recommendations:   

Translation app  

Nothing beats a good translation app. While many locals do speak English, having an app could prove handy in an otherwise frustrating situation.  

Insect repellent  

South East Asia is particularly known for mosquitos. So, if you want to avoid dreaded itchiness and being kept up half the night, insect repellent is a must.   

Plug adapter and converter  

With the exceptions of Japan and Taiwan, most countries in Asia use a 230-240V system, which is where your life-saving converter comes in. If you don’t have one, it’s well worth the investment.  

Umbrella/Waterproof jacket  

Consider an umbrella or raincoat when you're planning what to bring to Asia

Always check the weather report for the day as Asia is renowned for unpredictable downpours. Consequently, having a waterproof jacket or umbrella could just save the day. While we’re at it, a quick-dry towel is really handy after a surprise downpour.  

Portable charger  

There are 101 reasons why your devices should be charged at all times. Be sure to pick up a portable charger if you don’t have one. Nobody wants to be on the back end of a dead device in an unfamiliar destination.  

Hand sanitiser, wipes and tissues  

Not only are these essential during COVID times, but some bathrooms might not provide soap or toilet paper. In which case, it’s always great to have a backup.  

RELATED CONTENT: What to pack in your travel hygiene kit

Sarong / Scarf  

A sarong or scarf is a great accessory to add to your Asia packing list

The sarong is a fantastic accessory to your “what to wear in Asia” itinerary.  They’re great for evading the sunny rays on a hot day and can be also used as a quick coverup around the shoulders when visiting sacred sites.  

Headphones / earplugs 

These offer an excellent means to escape the bustle – one thing Asian cities aren’t is quiet.  

With your Asia packing list sorted, you’re probably excited to get going. Or perhaps you’ve already travelled and have some handy tips on what to wear and bring in Asia. We’d love to hear them all in the comments below!  

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