Blog, Gear, Preparation
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Bike Touring: Light Packing List for Malaysia and Thailand

We’re spending the next three months traveling from Singapore to Bangkok, riding up the west coast of Malaysia and then cutting across to ride up the east coast of Thailand.  It’s a heap of time to do that stretch, lets just say we’re taking in a lot of beachtime.  Because accommodation and eating out is so cheap we will be spending each night in hotels/guesthouses, and eating out for all our meals, and are budgeting $50AUS/€33 a day for two of us together – everything included.  Currently that’s working out just fine.  We were lucky enough to store a bunch of things with my relatives in Singapore, to pick back up on our way onto Japan.  We left pretty much all of our camping, cooking and winter gear behind and even one rear pannier.  Our panniers have heaps of space now, we can throw everything in instead of playing packing Tetris.  Our bikes are so much lighter, I can now respectfully hold my own racing (winning) against Cleave, but I am only carrying one pannier to his two.  Details.


We are cycling during Nov-Feb which is monsoon season but it still gets up and over a hot and humid 30°C.  We’re outside for most of the day and we sweat through sunscreen faster than we can reapply it.  To protect against the sun we found ourselves favouring to cycle in long sleeves, bandanas, fingerless gloves, and myself in full-length leggings.



We actually only have one long-sleeve shirt each, so we’ve been wearing pretty much the same getup every ride, and washing our cycling gear every night in the sink/shower.  I can confidently say our photos for the next three months will strongly feature this one bike outfit against different backgrounds.  On the upside our bikes make pretty good clothing racks.


Bandanas protect our faces and necks from the sun and our lungs from the highway pollution when it gets busy.  They also serve as air-conditioning when you wet them under the tap.  You’ll see the majority of other two wheelers in various face coverings, some scooter guys like a full face black balaclava – a level we haven’t quite got to yet.  Seriously though these make a huge difference.  And they don’t look creepy at all.


Although we left behind all of our camping gear, we did bring our compressible pillows and sleeping bag liner.  Even though we’re sleeping in accommodation each night, there’s still a range of dubious bedsheet cleanliness between a $30 hotel and a $13 one.  And the choice of having an actual pillow instead of a hard foam block.  Mosquitoes are everywhere, so mosquito coils/spray is good to have.  Especially when you want to hang out on your guesthouse patio at night because the WiFi signal is strongest there.  Sharing mosquito coils = instant friends.


You can also find the brands we use and our full packing list here.

Bike Stuff

2 x U Locks and cable
2 x Helmets
3 x Rear panniers
2 x Handlebar bags
Stuff sack
Packing cube
Front and rear lights with USB charging cables
Head torch
Bike pump
Spare inner tubes
Zip ties
Brooks saddle spanner
Puncture kit
Tyre levers
Old rag
Basic bike multi tool
Adjustable mini spanner
Allen key size 7
Bike lube


2 x Power banks
3 x Micro USB cables
2 x Tablets and USB chargers
2 x Smartphones and USB chargers
2 x 64G USB sticks
2 x 16G SD cards
Bluetooth waterproof speaker
Universal travel adaptor
3-Port USB charger
Camera, charger and spare batteries


2 x Compressible pillows
Sleeping bag double liner
Opinel folding knife
First aid kit + extra Panadol, Imodium tablets
Duct tape
Pegless washing line
Foldable daypack
Mini sewing kit
2 x Headphones and spare ear buds
Dual headphone jack
High vis strips to tie to clothing or bike
Money belt with passports
Coin wallet
Bungee cords
Mosquito coils

Clothing – Cleave

2 x Shorts
2 x T-Shirts
1 x Long sleeve shirt
1 x Long sleeve button up
3 x Underwear
2 x Socks
Board shorts
Fingerless bike gloves
Rain jacket
Mountain bike shoes

Clothing – Suyin

1 x Full length gym leggings
1 x Long sleeve shirt
1 x Long sleeve button up
2 x T-Shirts
2 x Dresses
1 x Long skirt
3 x Socks
3 x Bras: sport, T-Shirt and crop top
2 x Swimming togs: bikini, one piece
3 x Underwear
Fingerless bike gloves
T-Bar thongs
Adidas AX2 hiking shoes (boys)
Prescription glasses
Cheap rain poncho


2 x Travel towels
2 x Toothbrushes
Wet wipes
Luca’s pawpaw ointment
Roll-on deodorant
2n1 shampoo/conditioner
Face moisturiser
Sample perfume women’s
Sample cologne men’s
Nail clippers
Mosquito spray/patches
Tiger balm


  1. Nigel says

    I would have thought a sarong was the required dress code, AND you can sleep in them too


      • If you can’t find any cheap thermals in South East Asia, wait till you’re in Japan and go to second hand stores. In Denmark, we were so suprised how many good quality thermals there were, very cheap too!


  2. Hey Guys! This is an awesome post… I love your light packing style! I’m about to cycle down the east coast of Thailand. I know it’s been a long time since you wrote this, but I’d be curious to know… do you think 2 water bottles/cages is enough for the long days in the Thai saddle, or should I try for a third? Also, what did you use as bandanas? Thanks!


  3. mattdaviscanada says

    Hey guys! Great post, super helpful! I know it’s been a while since you wrote this, but I’m about to embark on a Thai bike journey (east coast) and had a couple questions about the gear.
    1) Do you think 2 water bottles is enough, filling them along the way, or should I try for a third?
    2) What did you use as a bandana?
    3) Do you think a handlebar bag is necessary in addition to rear panniers?
    Thanks so much!


    • Hi Matt! how exciting, we found Thailand so beautiful.

      For the water bottles, it depends on what you’re doing and how large they are. If it’s just drinking, washing hands and face, two should be fine. We bought 2x 1.25 litres of water at the petrol stations/7-11’s/convenience stores which are everywhere. But we also stopped and had extra drinks along the way. Dependent on your bike set up you could also bungee cord extra bottles to your rack/handlebar.

      The bandannas we bought in a Thai night market, they’re quite common. Or face masks you can find in convenience stores. It’s a scooter society. Scooter societies always have face mask accessories everywhere. And bungee cords 🙂 But we liked the bandannas because they covered our necks.

      Handlebar bags were a love/hate relationship. Love because your phone (GPS/map), camera, sunnies, gloves, sunscreen, valuables etc were right there so it was so handy. Hate because we always felt like we had to take it off and carry them with us. They’re an awkward shape. But you can lock them, they come with a key. We just never trusted that.

      Good luck with your trip! Sounds amazing, and do let us know how it’s going!


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