My “Minimalist” Packing List for Thailand

girl walking down a beach with ripples and boats in the ocean

It’s been almost a full year since my spontaneous trip to Thailand and I haven’t written anything about it yet. Shameful!

May in Thailand is the end of peak season, right at the beginning of the rainy season, and so some great deals on flights and accommodations are to be had and the crowds are low. Last January I was skimming the Skyscanner app (as my dreaming self does) and I came across an unbelievably cheap round trip ticket. So cheap that I couldn’t say no!

I had to go ask my mom if it was crazy to just suddenly book an international trip only two days after the school year ended–usually a vacation this far away seems like it should be planned for and saved for and deeply contemplated–but I just couldn’t turn away. So off I went!

My trip took me from Phuket (layover) to Bangkok (eating and exploring) to Koh Tao (scuba diving) to Koh Phangan (island life) and back to Phuket (elephants and island life). The perfect trip that I kinda made up as I went along!

I remembered how hot China was when I had to lug around just a small 45L backpacking pack and so I decided to somehow force my overpacking, what-if-this-happens self to fit everything I’d need for two weeks away in one small Jansport backpack. It was rough, but I did it and didn’t even use everything I packed!

I also didn’t leave any room for shopping which turned out to be a big mistake as I bought a whole lotta fun stuff, but somehow it all worked out and I amazed myself and everyone that knows my pack-rat/hoarder tendencies with how little I actually needed to have a truly fantastic trip. I wish I had even packed less!

This was my first international vacation leaving from the U.S. and my first international trip where the writing and language would be completely foreign to me so I truly had no idea what to expect. I packed the night before because procrastination has found its purest form in me (don’t be me) and without further ado this is what I packed for two weeks in Thailand and one long layover day in China:

Clothing

  • Shorts x3
  • Long skirt x1 (only used on plane)
  • Tank tops x2
  • T-shirts x1
  • Loose, 3/4 sleeve top x1 (LOVE)
  • Sports bra x2
  • Bra x1
  • Bikini x1
  • Underwear x9 (too many, did laundry twice)
  • Bandanna
  • Headband
  • Wristwatch
  • Earrings x2
  • Bracelet x1
  • Sunglasses x1
  • Teva sandals x1 (didn’t really use)
  • Toms (slip-on) x1
  • Bought There:
    • Bracelet x2
    • Anklet x1
    • Pants x3
    • Tshirt x2
    • Sarong x1 (for temples)
    • Scarf x1
    • Dress x1 (left behind)
    • Light jacket/cardigan thing x1 (for temples, LOVE)
    • Flip flops x1 (used a lot)

Toiletries

  • Sunblock (1 regular, 1 face)
  • Toothbrush
  • Mini toothpaste x2 (one too many)
  • Wet wipes (used upon arrival in airport only)
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Soap bar
  • Face moisturizer (too humid to need)
  • Face wash
  • Razor
  • Chapstick x2
  • Solid deodorant bar
  • Small hand sanitizer (didn’t use)
  • Mini body spray
  • Brush
  • Bobby pins
  • Big hair clip
  • Tissues
  • Pads/tampons
  • Hair straightener (used twice)
  • Makeup bag:
    • Tums
    • Ibuprofen
    • Waterproof mascara
    • Powder foundation (didn’t use)
    • Coverup stick (didn’t use)
    • Lipstick (didn’t use)
    • Eye liner (didn’t use)
    • First aid kit (used a lot! lol)
    • Hair ties
    • Tweezers
  • Bought there:
    • Tiger balm
    • Hair oil (fantastic to repair my hair after so much sun, humidity, and ocean)
    • Laundry powder
    • Bar soap x3 (for use at home, loved these)
    • Shampoo/Conditioner (small from 7-11)

Electronics

  • iPhone 6 + charger
  • Lifeproof phone case+screen wipe
  • Nook +charger (used a lot)
  • Memory card
  • Selfie stick (barely used)
  • External battery charger (very needed)
  • Universal plug adapter (never used)
  • Headphones (broke, bought more cheap)

Miscellaneous

  • Passport + Driver’s License
  • Wallet
  • Envelope w/ extra cash
  • Tape
  • Journal
  • Safety pin
  • Pens
  • Binder clips
  • Granola bars
  • Hand fan (LOVE)
  • Small mirror
  • Reusable bags x2 (SO handy)
  • Combination lock (didn’t use)
  • Umbrella (didn’t use)
  • Cross-body cloth purse
  • Drawstring bag for shoes
  • Packing cube x1
  • Turkish towel (used mostly as beach towel)
  • Hand towel
  • Exfoliation gloves
  • Bought/Acquired There:
    • Drawstring bag
    • Magnet
    • Pin
    • Postcards
    • Journal
    • Mini journal
    • Presents for friends and family
    • Headphones
    • Pens

And that’s it! It’s a lot, I know it’s still a lot, but it fit in a small space, didn’t break my back, and I learned a lot of lessons I can take with me for future packing endeavors (like moving to Zambia for two years this August).

If you have any questions please feel free to comment down below, check out my social media, or email me from my About page. I can’t wait to go back to Thailand someday and wish you a most wonderful, beautiful, and lightweight trip!

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