Do’s and don’ts of clothing for women travelers to South East Asia

Traveling through South East Asia can be life changing for visitors from around the world. The big backpack adventure through the region would bring you face to face with cultures that have managed to preserve their essence through centuries. There are pockets in the region that are considered unsafe for tourist and travelers are advised against traveling through there. However, since the entire region is somewhat conservative, women from the west and metropolitan areas need to take some extra precaution especially regarding their clothing when travelling through this region. Here are a few do’s and don’ts.



1. Research the local dress code

Local dress codes vary throughout south East Asia. Even the metropolitan areas have pockets that require you to be covered up or modestly dressed while others are a lot more liberal. Research the dress code of the region or city you are visiting just to be on the safer side.

2. Keep a sarong handy

A printed or plain sarong could be used as a wrap over shorts, as a shawl and as a head covering. This means that you’d be able to cover yourself up very easily when you find yourself in a place that requires you to be modestly dressed.

3. Pack more cotton items

Cotton is sweat absorbent, lightweight and easy to clean up and dry in hotel rooms and that’s what makes them so perfect for your south East Asian visit.

4. Get some ethnic clothes

The best way to experience South East Asia and ensure that you’re following the dress code is to get some ethnic clothes when you land. You can also make up combinations according to your personal comfort like pairing leggings, jeans, long skirts or yoga pants with tunics or wear salwar or long skirts with t-shirts.


1. Reveal too much flesh

Unlike the west where revealing flesh is a sign of a woman’s confidence, doing the same in South East Asia is seen as a sign of promiscuity and disrespect towards the culture. Depending on the region you’re travelling through, you need to vary the amount of covering up that would be near mandatory.

2. Wear skin tight clothes

Closely fitted clothes are a big no-no for women traveling through South East Asia. Skin tight clothing would invite unwanted attention from people on the streets and even ire in some cases.

3. Pack dry clean only or hard to maintain items

Traveling through South East Asia means that you will encounter enormous amounts of sweat, dust and even dirt. This means that your clothes will get dirty very easily and you would need to change them at least 2-3 times a day. Bringing dry clean items or hard to maintain clothes would be a nightmare to keep clean through the trip so you shouldn’t pack them.


Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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