PACKING FOR BACKPACKING
Use this list as a general guide only. You have to decide on the final items, based on the destinations and nature of trip. Make a complete list before doing the actual packing. Otherwise you would end up wasting time trying to remember what you may have missed. After you have packed in your stuff, feel the weight. It should be light enough for you to manage on your own. Remember you have to have space for your shopping. IMPORTANT Airline ticket, Passport, Money, Guide book, Credit cards, ATM Card, Driving Licence, Passport photos, Camera, Memory cards, Chargers, Handphone & Tablets.
BAGS Backpack, Day pack, Money belt, Pouch & Cloth laundry bag.
CLOTHING Two pants, four T-shirts, five underwears, one shorts, three socks, swimming gear, fleece jacket & windbreaker, cap, thermals, glove, scarf, trekking sandals/shoes & japanese slippers.
TOILETRIES Toothbrush & paste, soap shampoo, shaver, toilet paper, towel, sarong, wet wipes, contact lens solutions, spare lenses & spectacles, clothes line, laundry powder, vaseline, lipgloss, sunblock, sewing kit & ear plugs.
OTHERS Umbrella, Watch, Belt, Sunglasses & Holder, Reading glasses, Pen & notebook, Swiss Army knife, Padlocks, Water bottle, Torchlite or Headlamp, Thermos, Traveller's kettle.
ELECTRICALS Handphone+charger, Digital Camera+charger+memorycard, Tablet +charger, MP3 player
SMALL ITEMS Rubberbands, safety pins, packaging tape, string
GIFTS/ICE BREAKERS Coins, stamps, post cards, family photos, popular characters mini stickers, pens & toothbrush.
FOODSTUFFS 3-in-1 beverages, Chocolates & sweets, BBQ pork or chicken, dried prawn sambal & sour stuff for long bus/van rides FIRST AID Insect repellent , Band-Aids, bandage, Pill Po Chai, Antiseptic cream, Aspirin, Lomotil, Multivitamins & Dehydration salts.
BEFORE GOING OFF CHECKS Windows close, door lock, house & car keys with relatives, computer off, handphone message & set up auto night light.
WHY BRING? & MORE TIPS
1. Passport-sized photos & photocopies ticket, passport, visa, credit card - much easier to obtain a replacement in case of loss.
2. If you have a yahoo or similar email address, you could send a scanned copy of your passport and visa to yourself. By doing this, you can access your important documents at any internet outlet worldwide.
3. Its a good idea to hide some emergency cash in your luggage in one or two places. There are many pouches which are available for carrying your important documents. Some pics of Passport/Money bags.
4. I do highly recommend Umbrellas not just for rain. Its provides superior shading in hot sunny days compare to caps. Furthermore, umbrella offers better rain protection for cameras and photography.
5. Laundry bags made of clothc are ideal as a spare bag. You can stuff almost all your clothing into the bag thus creating more space in your backpack for your shopping stuff. You can tie the laundy bag and check in on the return flight.
6. Small gifts make good ice-breakers especially with children. In many parts of the world, a toothbrush is a scarce commodity. Sweets are not advisable on account of their dental habits Obvious items are coins and pens, but used stamps and postcards of Malaysia are nice. Family photos are also good conversation subjects.
7. Lee Min has stopped using trekking shoes/boots on his trips. He prefers sports sandals i.e with straps that can be used even for trekking on rocky terrain. Footwear takes up a bit of space in the bags but most people simply wear them.
8. Always always pack as lightly as possible. If you eventually need to use the item, you could always buy them on the road. If you run out of clothes to wear, there's always cheap alternative, even in countries like Australia and America.
9. Leave all jewellery and expensive watches at home. There's no need to tempt anybody. And always dress modestly. This usually means sleeved T-shirts and light cotton pants.
10. No jeans please because denims are too heavy and bulky. They dry very slowly too. So leave them at home. Traveler's cut-off pants are best, usually made of 50% polyester and 50% cotton which dries fast. Traveler shirts made of the same quick drying materials are also available.
11. A final word on shopping - Instead of buying a beautiful piece of item, which may be too bulky to bring home or too expensive, you could always photograph it. It would be better to just buy a few good stuff, then a big load of low cost items, which you may end up in storage because of lack of display space.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. (yongleemin writes - on Yongo, travel insurance is encouraged but not compulsory).
It is your responsibility to arrange visas before you travel. Your travel agent can assist. Below are the visa requirements at the time of printing. (yongleemin writes - I usually do up the visa for group members).
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an 'average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travellers over the age of 70, or travellers with a pre-existing medical condition, are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that senior travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. (yongleemin writes - I usually go along to assist group members, instead of leaving it all to local guides. There's always options for those not so physically inclined).
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to allow enough money for the following:
1. Meals not included
2. Money for drinks and shopping.
3. Money for sightseeing/entrance fees.
Tipping is an integral part of travel and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier your group leader will cover tips for hotel room boys, local guides and for drivers of private transport the group uses. This does NOT cover restaurant tips. Any tip that you wish to give your leader in recognition of excellent service is always appreciated. (yongleemin writes - Yongo travelers tend to shop for wide range of products. I do encourage tips to be given to the local guides/drivers in recognition of their good services. Group members are not expected to tip me),
STAYING IN CONTACT
If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend that you set up an email address that can be accessed on the road, rather than relying on postal mail. Email cafes are becoming increasingly commonplace and cheap throughout the regions we visit, and have quickly become the preferred way for our leaders and travellers to stay in touch. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our Emergency Contact. We recommend that family and friends don't try to contact you through phoning hotels en route, as our hotels are subject to change, and our hotel receptions often don't have English speaking staff. (yongleemin writes - with international roaming on mobile phones, it's pretty easy to keep in touch. There's always a few pax with mobiles which can be borrowed to make or receive important calls or sms).
YOUR FELLOW TRAVELERS
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe also some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. (yongleemin writes - this outfit has people from all over the world joining in at a meeting place in the country visited).
YOUR TRIP LEADER
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds. Your leader is available from 12 midday on arrival day until 12 midday on departure day. (yongleemin writes - some of the local guides I engage are excellent. Others are at best mediorce. Please do not expect too much form them because some of them are just accompanying guides rather than full fledged licensed guides).
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism at Intrepid. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. (yongleemin writes - means asking permission before photographing people/places and visiting homes. Also means not spoiling village children by say giving money).
Travelling with us you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to group trips. (yongleemin writes - agree 100%. This part of the trip is great as food is an important part of Malaysian lifestyle).
When packing be aware that dress standards of the country visited. To respect the locals and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing in most instances. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Shorts should be knee-length. Singlets and tank tops are not acceptable. One piece bathing suits are recommended and topless sun bathing is unacceptable. (yongleemin writes - I leave it to the discretion of the group members but have made a mention on a few occasions of improper dressing, in my opinion).
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.
All travellers are required to sign a Participation Form on day 1 of the trip. The wording of this form follows. Please note that signing the form is a pre-requisite of travelling with us.
"I understand that travelling with Intrepid may involve risks (and rewards) above and beyond those encountered on a more conventional holiday, and that I am undertaking an adventure trip with inherent dangers. I understand that I am travelling to geographical areas where, amongst other things, the standard of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, cleanliness, medical facilities, telecommunications and infrastructure development may not be of the standard I am used to at home or would find on a conventional holiday. I have read and understood the Intrepid trip notes for the trip I am undertaking and have provided details of any pre-existing medical conditions I have to Intrepid's representatives. I accept these risks and obligations and I fully assume the risks of travel . I release youl from any liabilities connected to these risks to the maximum extent permitted by law."
The information in these trip notes has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and Travel Company.