My Thailand Packing List

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 01/07/10 •  6 min read

This post was originally written in January 2010 days after moving to Thailand for the adventure of a lifetime. It has been largely unedited since that time.

Well, I am currently about halfway through Asiana flight 243 en route to Seoul, South Korea.  So far the trip has been fairly painless, aside from arriving in SFO about half an hour late due to a delay on the tarmac.

NOTE: Sorry I am a few days late in getting this posted!  Between jet lag, Ayuthaya ruins with my buddy Cody, and lack of wifi, I haven’t had the time to post!

I was really excited to see the difference between flying a domestic airline (such as my usual United) and one of the great Asian airlines I have heard so much about.  The results so far are a bit of a mixed bag.  My seat is definitely more cramped than I had hoped, and there isn’t a power supply anywhere close that I can use.  Although the interactive entertainment center has more than enough new movies to keep me occupied, and I even just got done watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

So while the plane itself has been a slight let down, the service is second to none.  Hot towels? Check.  Wine and Whiskey? Check.  HUGE steak dinner? Check. However it felt a little weird to be eating at 2 in the afternoon, but I suppose I have to get acclimated to the time change sooner rather than later!  All in all I have been very impressed with the level of service on the flight, I just hope it keeps up for the next 6 hours.  Aaaaaand then during the next 6 hour flight.  Who would have thought Thailand was so far away?

Anyway, back to the point of this post. One of the things I promised I would do is give a little bit of a more in depth look at what I decided to pack for the trip.  Packing this time around was more difficult than it has been in the past, for two reasons.  One, I’ve never had to pack for a 6 month trip before.  Two, I usually don’t travel with a computer.

My original plan was to bring my Gregory 55L pack, a North Face Surge day pack for my computer, and a separate case for my new camera.  It only took about 2 days of this plan for me to realize that this would be a hell of a lot of stuff to carry around.  With that in mind, I decided to forgo the larger bag, and stick with nothing but my North Face Surge and camera bag.  I figure if I can go an entire month in Europe with NO bag, then this should be a piece of cake!

Well the reality so far is yes and no.

The packing actually wasn’t too bad.  I was able to fit everything that I had hoped to, with little sacrifices.  It is only after carrying it around for the past 14 hours that I realize maybe smaller isn’t necessarily better.  You see, this pack wasn’t meant to carry much weight.  Where I could have packed 40lbs in my larger bag and still been pretty comfortable, 25lbs in this one is hell on my back.  So time will tell if this was a good choice or not.

As much as I tried to be an ultra-light packer, I know I failed miserably.  Simplicity has not been one of my strong points, and I’m sure the purists out there will laugh at my list.  But, I am going to tell you what is on it anyway with the understanding that half of it could get dumped at some point!

There may be a few things missing, but this is the gist of it...

There may be a few things missing, but this is the gist of it…


3 Nike Dri-Fit T Shirts

1 Nike Dri-Fit Long Sleeve T Shirt

2 Cotton Shirts

1 Button up Shirt

2 Pairs of Cargo Shorts

1 Pair of Board Shorts

3 Pairs of Socks

4 Pairs of Boxers

1 Pair Dri-Fit Briefs

Quicksilver Sandals

Nike Shox

Nylon Travel Clothesline


1 North Face Surge Backpack

1 Explorer Camera Case

1 Nylon REI Stuff Bag (For clothes)

1 Adidas Nylon Shoe Bag (to use as a day pack if needed, it took up no space and I could easily leave it at the bottom of my bag)


This is the one that makes me feel like a true Flashpacker.  It scares me a little bit to think of all of the electronic stuff that I have crammed into one pack!

1 HP Laptop

1 Laptop Power Supply

1 Lacie 500gb Rugged USB Hard Drive (and case/cord)

1 Casio Watch

1 Nikon D5000 DSLR Camera

1 Nikon Camera Charger

1 Sigma 18-200mm Superzoom lens

1 Canon SD1000 point and shoot camera

1 Canon Charger

1 Nikon Shutter Remote

Extra Nikon Battery

Flash Diffuser

4GB Thumb Drive

Microsoft USB Mouse

6 SD Memory cards from (4 2gb, 1 4gb, 1 8gb)

2 Asia Power converters

1 Double Headset Adapter

Apple iPod Touch (32gb)

Apple headphones w/mic

iPod USB Cord


Malaria Pills

Traveler’s Diarrhea Pills







Hand Sanitizer

Sunscreen SPF 30



30% Deet Bug Repellant

100% Deet Bug Repellant

Mini Bottle of Cologne


Microfiber Towel

Playing Cards

Starbucks instant coffee (who knows if I will be able to get good coffee there??)

Travel Docs

Memories book from Tate

Thai Phrase Book

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Lonely Planet Thailand (thanks Poul!)

Travel Lock

Well more or less, there you have it!  All of the useful and/or ridiculous things that are in my much too heavy day pack.  But hey this is an adventure right, and part of the whole idea is to live uncomfortably from time to time!

It should be interesting to see what happens upon landing.  My clock reads 6:19pm on January 5th, but I have absolutely no clue what time zone I’m actually in, or even what day it is for that matter.  According to my interactive map, I am somewhere near the International Date Line.

So let me know your thoughts on my packing, just don’t make them too harsh! If you can think of anything that I should have packed, or things you absolutely know I won’t need, tell me about it.

There should be more to come in the near future, assuming my laptop battery doesn’t totally die on me.  My regular posting schedule of Monday and Thursday could change a little bit over the coming weeks, as I am just going to try and get things posted whenever I can.  But who knows, maybe this means more Thailand updates?  We’ll find out!

Quick Note: If you are one of the people I said I would get a hold of during my layover in SFO, I am sorry, as much as I tried, I could not find wifi.  Hopefully, I will find it in Korea and I can give you a nice 1am wake up call 😉

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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23 comments on "My Thailand Packing List"

  1. Nice Sean. You packed pretty light actually. Sounds like you are in Thailand already, since your post said Jan 5th yeah?

  2. Courtney says:

    So if for some reason you come back with any sort of thailand-acquired illness that is in need for some medicating…you’re sister will probably be certified to medicate you by that point! how crazy is that? Cant wait to hear about all the wonderousness that Thailand has to offer.

    1. Sean says:

      @ FS Yep I got here a few days ago, but I had written most of that post on the plane. The time difference between here and home is also totally messing with my head!

      @Court I am expecting you and Pouly out here in April so you can experience the wonderousness yourself!! I almost rode an elephant yesterday, saw some 800 year old ruins, and will be headed to the beach tomorrow. Life is good 🙂

  3. Ross Hill says:

    I’d love to hear an ‘after’ report in a few weeks of how much gear you’re still carrying 🙂

    1. Sean says:

      @Ross I could be shedding it very quickly! But I will have an apartment in Krabi, so it shouldn’t be too big of a deal…I hope!

  4. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the1am call. And you will definitely need that clothesline!

  5. Congrats on limiting your bag. I think you may have brought too many shirts (though my gf said she went through 2 shirts a day in Bangkok) and books end up weighing you down. Overall, I think you did a great pack job.

    Have fun and enjoy your drink with the other guys tonight….

    David Damron

  6. Matt says:

    I’m interested in hearing what happens with how much you packed. I am planning a southeast Asia trip beginning at the end of March or early April. When I say plan I mean, buy plane ticket and pack appropriately. My preliminary list in my head is slightly smaller than yours.

    I want to know how traveling with the camera is. I currently have a Canon point and shoot but I desperately want a DSLR. I’m not sure that I want to carry it or spend the money on it.

  7. Alex says:


    I didn’t see a book anywhere on that list? You reading PDFs on your laptop? Or are you going without any reading material (a bold move!)?

    Good Luck!

  8. Archan Mehta says:

    Hey there Sean,

    I have been reading your posts for quite some time now.

    You perspective about life is different. Your lifestyle is unique.

    It is something that other people can only dream about.

    And yet, here you are: translating that dream into reality.

    And you have it written down–and you are going for it.

    I considered myself lucky to have come across your blog. It is something
    I had not expected…an out of the ordinary experience.

    Let me take this opportunity, therefore, to say thank you for everything you have done so far and will be doing in the future.

    You are truly an adventurer, a brave soul who left a comfortable and cushy job to take the plunge and chase after a dream.

    You are the Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) of the blogosphere. It is a great experience for a reader like me to follow your adventures.

    The fact that you are quick to share those experiences with us is testimony to your generosity of spirit. You are truly one of a kind.

    It is unconventional people like you who make discoveries and chart out new paths. People like you are very rare in today’s world.

    And you are a good writer too, a skilled one who knows how to tell a story. I find your ability to tell your stories to be a mark of a good communicator. Please keep up the good work. I eagerly look forward to learning more about your sojourns abroad, especially to exotic locales. Feel free to share. How about starting a newsletter?

    Quietly, I will be egging you on to success and happiness. Be careful out there, however, only take calculated risks. Danger sometimes can lurk in unexpected and unanticipated places, especially when you are brand new. Your well-wishers want you to live a long and fruitful life, so take care of yourself. And hang in there, no matter what happens.

    Best wishes and warm regards to you. Hooray to your courage!

  9. Ben says:

    A coworker and I are headed to Thailand in February (95% vacation and 5% work related). Ever since I purchased my tickets and found your blog I have been following your posts closely. I am glad you finally made it!!

    I am currently finalizing my own packing list, so I was glad to see you posted about yours. I have been using a Deuter Futura 32 pack for my past few trips. A lot of the items I am packing are very similar to yours. I am taking fewer clothes and electronics – primarily limited to a Canon P&S, a netbook (shared with my travel partner), iPhone (for using Skype via WiFi) and an international Kindle. Based on past trips my pack usually weighs 18-23 lbs. – but this will be my first trip with the netbook.

    Are you planning on getting a GSM phone and Thai SIM? I am planning on bringing a quad-band flip phone for this purpose.

    I am wavering on whether to bring shoes or just stick with Chaco sandals for the entire trip. Also, I can’t decide whether to stick with pants (aside from swim wear), or bring shorts. I have found mixed feedback on these choices, so I am eager to hear how your packing list works out.

    Good luck with the next few weeks as you get settled in!

  10. Hmmm. It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled internationally, so I may be off base, but I think I would have brought a couple more clothing items (but I like the dryfit items, great idea) – and much less of the heavy electronic stuff. (did you bring laundry soap?) Maybe – eek, can’t believe I’m suggesting this – an ebook type reader over multiple paper books. And, I would have made a choice on the cameras, *either* the nice point and shoot OR the big camera, leaning towards the point and shoot. But, frankly, the fact that you were able to fit it all in one bag is still pretty amazing. Sounds like you’re already making great use of the time. Keep sending the posts!

  11. Josh Sager says:

    Sean, please let me know how long after you step outside of the airport do you begin sweating. Took me literally 10 seconds.

  12. Martin says:

    Cool. For me, it’s a bit much, especially if you will be traveling around a bit. If you will be staying in one place for quite a while, it should be just fine!

    Have fun Sean, its awesome out there!

  13. Nate says:

    It looks like you packed lightly. I don’t see anything wrong with it at all! I’ve never packed for a complete move overseas, but I have done a lot of packing for extended hiking trips, so I know what you were going through in terms of trying to distinguish what you need the most. Hope you’re having a great time so far, it sure sounds like you are.

    1. Sean says:

      Sorry just a quick second to reply, but apparently I forgot to list my books that I brought. I have a Lonely Planet Thailand, Getting Things Done (which I am almost through with) and a Thai phrase book. At some point I would like to pick up an adventure novel if I can find one, but I just didnt have enough room to pack for the flight.

      As for the amount of stuff, while it was heavy and a pain in the ass while getting here, for the last three days it hasnt been a big deal at all. We are heading down to Krabi today where we will be for a month, so it should be even less of a big deal. Although laundry soap could definitely be something I need to look into here in the near future.

      Josh, I think it was about 8.7 seconds and I was drenched haha. Ok it actually wasnt that bad, but I cant imagine what it is going to be like here during the hot season!

  14. James P Hart says:

    That’s a lot of camera gear in there. I too planned on bringing a DSLR plus accessories and in the end had to leave it and just use a small point and shoot camera. Haven’t regretted it yet and needing to take 9lbs out of my checked in and into my carry on, as I had to for one flight, would have been impossible if it was full of camera gear.

    I’m traveling with the bike though so weight and size is a real issue for me.

  15. Mike says:

    I am wondering how you got all those toiletries on the flight if all you had was a carry on? Dont they limit the size/amount of bottles and such? That seems to be my experience, maybe because i fly from NY.

    1. Sean says:

      @Mike They have to be 3oz or less, and then they need to be in a ziplock bag on top of that. It really didn’t end up being as big of a deal as I was expecting

  16. Patti says:

    Do you sleep in rooms already furnished with pillow/blankets or did you have to somehow find a way to take that along too? Or do without?

    1. Sean says:

      @Patti In Bangkok I have a very basic apartment, and borrowed sheets and pillows from friends that had extras. Then when I travel I usually stay in hostels or very cheap hotels that have all of that stuff

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