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My "Minimalist" Packing List for Thailand in May

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

Wat Arun in Bangkok

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:

Ko Ma, next to Ko Phangan from the 360 Bar


Shorts x3

Long skirt x1 (only used on plane)

Tank tops x2

Tshirts x1

Loose, 3/4 sleeve, cold-shoulder top x1 (LOVE)

Sports bra x2

Bra x1

Bikini x1

Underwear x9 (too many, did laundry twice)




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, never wore)

Light jacket/cardigan thing x1 (for temples, LOVE--see picture of me above)

Flip flops x1 (used a lot)


Sunblock (1 regular, 1 face)


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


Chapstick x2

Solid deodorant bar

Small hand sanitizer (didn't use)

Mini body spray


Bobby pins

Big hair clip



Hair straightener (used twice for baby hair around face, not worth it)

Makeup bag:



-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


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)

Me on the beach in Koh Phangan with Mingalaba Tours


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)


Passport + Driver's License


Envelope w/ extra cash



Safety pin


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/Sweat towel

Exfoliation gloves

Bought/Acquired There:

Drawstring bag





Mini journal

Presents for friends and family



The whole place is paradise I tell you! Ko Tao

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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Hey all! My name is Kendra B. and I'm happy to meet you! I'm a teacher with a need to continue learning and a heart torn between staying put and going out to experience the world. I'm about to leave for Peace Corps Zambia for the next 27 months and would love for you to join me on this new adventure!


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