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Two Bags, One Guy: A Complete List of What I’m Packing

My two packed bags

My two packed bags

Before leaving for Asia, I read about the advantages of packing light. According to what I read, overpacking was one the most common “rookie mistakes” – and something I wanted to avoid.

The general idea is that bringing less stuff means your baggage is lighter, smaller, quicker to pack, and cheaper because of less baggage fees. This in turn makes your travel experience more convenient, comfortable, and luxurious.

What has worked for me is putting everything in two compression bags – one medium size and one large. These bags squeeze out all the air, which reduces the bulkiness of what’s inside. They then fit nicely into my two backpacks, with some room to spare!

All my stuff, except my computer

All my stuff, except for my computer

So what am I packing?

Below is a list of everything I currently have in my two bags – a Minaal bag and a Fjällräven Campus Ace 20L.

Clothes

  • 1 belt
  • 1 headband
  • 1 long sleeve, collared shirt
  • 2 pairs of shoes (one for daily wear and one for exercise)
  • 3 pairs of pants (2 jeans, 1 trousers)
  • 3 towels (1 quick-dry, 1 medium cotton, 1 small cotton)
  • 5 pairs of shorts (4 casual, 1 exercise)
  • 8 pairs of underwear (7 regular, 1 for exercise)
  • 10 short sleeve shirts (2 for exercise)
  • 13 pairs of socks

Electronics

  • Cell phone
  • GoPro camera with head strap and extra battery
  • In-ear headphones
  • Laptop computer with charger
  • USB connection cords (3)
  • Wireless mouse with USB adapter

Toiletries

  • Bacetracin ointment
  • Bandages
  • Bar of soap (2)
  • Beard trimmer with cord and extra battery
  • Comb
  • Contact lens case (2)
  • Contact lenses
  • Contact solution
  • Eye drops (2)
  • Floss
  • Hair gel
  • Hand razor
  • Lens cleaner
  • Lotion
  • Mouthwash
  • Nail clippers (one for fingernails, one for toes)
  • Nail file (2)
  • Packets of shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Stick of deodorant (2)
  • Sunblock cream
  • Toiletries bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Travel size shaving cream (2)

Miscellaneous

  • Book (to use as mouse pad)
  • Cash (U.S. dollars and Thai baht)
  • Cloth lens cleaner (2)
  • Compression packing bags (2)
  • Credit cards (4)
  • Debit card
  • Ear plugs
  • Extra pair of shoelaces
  • Face mask
  • International driver’s permit
  • Money clip
  • Notepad
  • Outlet adapter (2)
  • Packing cubes (2)
  • Pair of AA batteries
  • Passport
  • Pen
  • Sleep mask
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Stick of lip balm (3)
  • Sunglasses
  • Tinted glasses
  • Toothpicks
  • Travel clothes hanger
  • Travel size roll of duct tape

In and Around Phnom Penh

My bike is the one in the middle

My bike is the one in the middle

The videos below were taken on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Phnom Penh. They do not convey the usual busyness of the streets because it was a weekend and I was mostly on main roads. Typically the roads are much more crowded, especially with big SUVs.

The videos are raw and unedited. Hopefully they give a snapshot into the look and feel of Cambodia’s capital city.

This video is of me riding from my apartment to the frozen yogurt shop Snow Yogurt.

This is me cruising around the Riverside area of the city.

8 Notes on Phnom Penh

View of Phnom Penh from my apartment

View of Phnom Penh from my apartment

This is a brief list of observations from my first five full days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I plan on spending two weeks here before heading to Saigon and then suburban Kuala Lumpur for another housesit.

  1. Lots of good coffee shops
    The biggest and most pleasant surprise upon arriving in Phnom Penh was the ubiquity of high quality coffee shops. There are dozens of places near my Airbnb apartment that serve good coffee and have attractive interior spaces. Brown Coffee, which has 10 locations in Phnom Penh, is my favorite spot so far.
  2. Inside a local cafe Wings Coffee

    Inside a local cafe Wings Coffee

  3. Danger of theft
    Bag thieves are apparently quite common here. It is good to keep an eye on your belongings while in tuk-tuks as thieves often operate on motorbikes.
  4. Congested traffic
    There seems to be a lack of traffic lights at some busy intersections, which leads to clogged roads. I try to avoid driving during rush hour.
  5. Polluted air
    Like Bangkok and Hanoi, the air is quite polluted. This makes riding around the city on my motorbike less enjoyable.
  6. The city that always sweats
    It is supposed to be the tail end of the extremely hot part of the year, but the picture below gives you an idea about the sizzling heat.
  7. Dog days of summer

    Dog days of summer

  8. Many people come from villages
    The city has expanded rapidly in recent years with a large influx of Khmer people from surrounding rural areas.
  9. Lots of corruption
    I haven’t seen any corruption first hand, but I have heard that Cambodia is highly corrupt with regards to the government and doing business in the country.
  10. Hummer next to trash

    Hummer next to trash

  11. Expensive cars
    One outward sign of the corruption here (I assume?) is the abundance of luxury cars on the streets. Although the vast majority of Cambodians are poor, high-end vehicles such as Lexuses, Range Rovers, and Porches are surprisingly common.

14 Observations from 72 Hours in Bangkok

I recently arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. On the way from my previous home of Siem Reap, I took a three day excursion to Bangkok. Here are some things I found noteworthy and/or interesting about my brief stay in Bangkok.

Yummy street food

Yummy street food

  1. They drive on the “other” side of the road
    As in England and a minority of other countries, traffic flows in the “opposite” direction.
  2. Very multicultural
    Walking around the city you see people from all over the world and hear a wide variety of languages.
  3. Lots of transgender people
    I had heard the term “lady boy” used in reference to Thailand, but in reality there are a lot of men in the city that dress up and live as women. There also appeared to be some women that dressed as men. I don’t understand the cultural context behind this phenomenon, but it is quite unique.
  4. Loud and polluted
    Like many other major Asian cities, the air is dirty and the streets are noisy.
  5. Heavy traffic
    The traffic seemed to crawl no matter the time of day.
  6. Stuck in traffic

    Stuck in traffic

  7. Great massages
    I now understand why Thailand is known for massage. Of the three massages I’ve had in Asia – one in Vietnam, one in Cambodia, and one in Bangkok – the Thai massage was easily the best.
  8. Tasty, spicy food
    I really enjoyed the food. Pretty much everything I ate was delicious and also very spicy.
  9. Bangkok food stall

    Bangkok food stall

  10. You eat with a spoon and fork
    No knife, no chopsticks. Just a spoon and a fork. And your hands if needed.
  11. Sweet tastes
    Thais, like Cambodians, are very liberal with their sugar intake as it is included in lots of dishes and relied on heavily as a condiment.
  12. Great fruit
    There is interesting tropical fruit all over the place. Everything from coconuts to papaya, mango, pineapple, dragon fruit, and jack fruit. As a site note, the coconut I had was noticeably sweeter than the ones in Siem Reap.
  13. Mango desert at Mango Tango

    Mango desert at Mango Tango

  14. Cat city
    Much like Amsterdam, Bangkok is a very cat-friendly city. Cats are all over the place, including the lobby of the hostel I stayed at.
  15. Feels safe
    Crime does not seem to be a big problem in Bangkok.
  16. Thais are friendly
    Compared to Vietnamese and Cambodians, Thais are probably the most openly friendly. They are easy going and quick to smile.
  17. Shopping galore
    There are lots of big malls and shopping seems to be très en vogue.

Biking in Siem Reap

My Cambodian cruiser

My Cambodian cruiser

Join me on a tour of everyday life in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Below are two short videos of me biking around “Temple Town”.

The first video is from my apartment to Angkor Muscle Gym. The second one is on the way back home. Both were shot on a Monday around 5 PM.