i'm from south east asia. i think i can help you.
i have saw u will bring laundry soap container. i don't think it will be useful here at some country. This is because at south east asia we don't have self service laundry. it is not popular in south east asia.
They are certain country in your list are four season example japan, china and south korea. if you avoid to visit those countrys in winter then it might save your some backpack space.
I am looking at this thread cos I am packing my bag for South America and I guess many things are commonly needed in both South East Asia and South America.
I have a question for ray_gomez: why non cotton socks??
Thanks for all other info, it is real helpful!
Well, there is a hiker/backpacker saying: "Cotton Kills".
Most of the sites (one bag, vagabondvince, etc ) I've been to suggest not packing cotton socks because they don't wick away moisture properly, and they take a very long time to dry. When packing for trips to areas like South East Asia and South America (where the humidity is high), I've heard that you need clothes that are light, breathable, and dry fast. Cotton doesn't dry very well in humidity.
I have only skimmed through a lot of this if I'm honest. However, I can confirm that you can certainly buy Doxcycline anti-malarial tabs over the counter in pharmacies in Thailand and Malaysia as I have done this. Its pretty darn cheap too. Just check expiry dates.
I have travelled extensively in India on 3 trips and make a living selling tailor-made holidays to Kerala, Rajasthan and the wildlife parks so can impart the following wisdom - the chemists throughout India are fantastic and you can buy anything imaginable over the counter. It pays to have an idea what you are doing/buying but any anti-biotics are available and the beauty is that the pharmacist will be able to speak English and tell you accurately about doses etc.
I never travel without at least a weeks worth of Ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic that kills particularly nasty tummy bugs) and I would recommend you ask your doctor about these. For your trip you might like to take 2-3 weeks worth (2-3 courses each) as I would imagine you will get the 'calcutta splutters' at least the one time. A few Immodium for long bus rides etc. Only take them as a last resort - its better to flush the body out.
Another tip that works for me is that I drink a yakult or pro-biotic yoghurt every day for a month or more before I go to third-world countries - builds up the immune system and hopefully strengthens your guts a bit too.
Clothes are very cheap and light and as loose cottons or linen are the way forward you will buy clobber as you travel. Even if you arent the shopping type!!
Baby wipes are a cracking inclusion in the luggage, as is a length of string for a clothes line. Travel wash is OK but I prefer using a bar of soap and a bit of elbow grease. Its cheaper and works just as well. thats aid there are very cheap laundry services all over asia so its only if youre right in the sticks you may have to wash the odd item yourself.
my 55 litre backpack has been all over the world with me and is a good size. 40l might be a bit small but you will be hopping on trains, buses, tuk tuks with ease so if it works for you go for it! the lighter the better basically.
a money belt that you can wear around your waist under the top of your shorts/trousers is the way to go. Make sure its waterproof to a degree - sweating through your money belt might sound gross but it happens and a soggy pile of dosh or passport is a pain.
A good sarong is a must for males and females - it can be a towel, head scarf, sleep sheet, beach towel, face mask to cover fumes, or even wrapped around bare legs when entering a mosque.. the list goes on and on. Essential!!
I've run out steam but I hope that helps in some way
sounds like a great trip!!
Thanks so much for all of that information! Your post came at a really good time since my girlfriend and I are scheduling appointments with our local travel clinic to get all the vaccinations. The info really helps me to be as prepared as I can to bombard the doctor with a ton of questions. Fortunately, the CDC and WHO sites have been great sources, and now having your advice helps a great deal.
Have you traveled to anywhere else in Asia? What vaccinations did you end up getting? Did you notice any side effects to the vaccinations? Did you notice any issues while taking the anti-malarials (Doxcycline)?
Again, thanks for all the great info!!
I have been told that clothing treated with a bug reppelant will work through the first several washings, but will fade. Plus I would be careful if you have sensitive skin.
A treated bug net that won't be washed is probably a good idea.
For day-to-day, go with pants and long sleeves in high risk areas, and remember a 30% deet bug reppellant. Don't know how hard it is to get deet in SE Asia. And as far as I am aware, Malaria pills are bad for the liver for extended periods.
India is amazing. You will always take it with you. Try and get to a small village. If you are the first foreigner(s) they have seen in a decade or more, your stay will become part of the local oral history.