For anyone who’s been travelling before, you will be familiar with those conversations that will be had at every social event prior to your take off: “I hear you’re going travelling? Well, make sure you take a…” Those informative pieces of advice whereby inside knowledge is thrust upon you in the helpful/overwhelming/irrelevant (fill in as appropriate) fashion. Whilst tips from friends and family have proven invaluable, and have led to us bringing essential things that would never have occurred to us, when you come across that over-enthusiastic backpacker who wants to fill your bag with all their keepsakes, it’s a bit daunting and can cause you to panic-buy or leave stuff behind that you’d actually rather take. Some things, such as a mosquito net, take up room in your bag and add weight, but when it comes to really needing them, it’s worth it. Our tip for filtering your packing list would be to consider the following:

1) Is it large and/or heavy?
2) Have multiple people recommended this item for your destination?
3) If it gets lost or stolen will you be devastated? Is it replaceable?
4) If needed, could you buy it out there?

Saying goodbye to our friends and family before boarding a one way flight was traumatic enough, we weren’t also going to leave behind sentimental gifts, and bringing a few well chosen bits and pieces have been really comforting. There is however the worry of them going astray. Whenever we haven’t felt comfortable leaving valuables at our accommodation, we’ve taken them with us. It’s annoying, but ultimately brings peace of mind (and luckily a lot of the time you can rely on lockers).

If you’re heading anywhere near a big city, you can get hold of everything you might need or want (and even more than that in Bangkok), so don’t get too stressed about what you should and shouldn’t bring. When it comes to it there’s no right or wrong packing list, it’s all personal preference. Our list is based on the general consensus from friends we’ve made along the way and from our own experience. We spent seven weeks travelling around the Southern Thai islands; here’s everything we think should be on a budget backpaker’s list…

1. Trekking towel: Similar to a travel towel it folds up really small, but a trekking towel also dries extremely fast, and is much lighter to carry. It’s impregnated with an anti-bacterial to keep it fresh and prevent it from going mouldy, so you can even pack it away when it’s still wet – great if you’re squeezing in a shower before check-out.

2. Double mosquito net: We’ve found that every beach hut or hotel that’s required the use of a mosiquito net has had a double bed. Go for one with sticky pads to attach to walls as there are rarely hooks in place for you to use, or opt for the pricey (but totally worth it) pop-up mosquito net.


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There’s a bar in Koh Phi Phi with a boxing ring (why not?!), where tourists are encouraged to give Thai boxing a go. If they challenge each other, they’re automatically eligible for a free bucket of alcohol each, and on an island where buckets are practically the currency, you can imagine how popular this is! It was highly entertaining to witness the uncoordinated swinging of fists (the men) along with the competitive cut-throat kicking and scratching (the women). However, when we were treated to a real Thai boxing match with professionals, the drama, and obviously the skill, took on a whole new level. It was impossible to look away at this enthralling and artistically brutal sport, whilst you could feel the audience clench with each devastating kick. Though no matter what kind of a bloody, pulpy state they left each other in, we still caught them embracing and sharing a beer together afterwards…

Stunned but impressed,

Charlotte & Sarah x