Travel to three remote villages where you’ll live with the locals and work with them on school and community infrastructure projects. Start with a homestay in a village along the Thai-Myanmar border. Moving from northern Thailand and into Laos, travel by boat overnight down Mekong River before delving into village life in northern Laos.
Challenge yourself in just about every way imaginable during this deeply immersive experience. Live like the locals in communities where Rustic students have worked for decades. When not staying in local communities, stay at our service bases including the Rustic Pathways Children’s Home and interact with students your age from local Hill Tribe villages.
Here is a detailed packing list for your Come With Nothing, Golden Triangle Adventure. First, a few notes:
Weather in Southeast Asia
In Southeast Asia–days are generally hot and humid, with brief and refreshing showers that keep everything lush and green. Temperatures cool off once the sun goes down making for pleasant evenings. Because of the heat, you will need to drink a lot more water than you are used to drinking to stay hydrated!
Important Notes About Your Luggage
Because you will be carrying insect repellent and sunscreen, you will need to check some sort of bag for the program. However, it should be a bag no larger than 30L. The clothing that you do bring should be able to get wet, dirty, and/or destroyed during service work and program activities. Make sure everything in your carry-on complies with the carry on regulations of the TSA.
A Note to Females About Attire in Rural Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian cultures are very conservative. Despite the hot climate, you will almost never see women with their shoulders exposed or wearing low cut shirts or short shorts. As we seek to respect and preserve the culture of the communities we work with, we strongly urge you to dress respectfully. Students and staff must realize that when they dress improperly, they are embarrassing everyone around them. If you are not wearing proper attire, you may need to change your clothes or abstain from the service project of the day.
To dress respectfully in Southeast Asia, please don’t wear short shorts, low cut tops, or tank tops while out in public areas. In most cases, shorts that cover just above the knees are fine. Yoga pants and leggings are not appropriate village attire.
Access to laundry can vary, but you will have access to laundry at least once a week while on the program. Expect to pay between $8-$15 per load.
Don’t bring bulky hiking boots, heavy rain gear, or warm clothes!
Check with TSA.
Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
A small bag or backpack is ideal—Items marked with a “*” don’t count against your “5 things”!
•Photocopy of passport*
•Book and/or journal
•Change of clothes*
•Consent to Travel form*
•Rustic Pathways emergency contacts*
•Extra t-shirt and underwear in case your bags get lost!*
•Flashlight or headlamp
As we mentioned above, if you choose to bring checked luggage, it should be no more than 30 Liters and a backpack is ideal. Duffle bags and rolling suitcases are not recommended for this program.
MUST HAVE ITEMS:
•Insect repellent—we suggest bringing a natural option AND something with DEET (no more than 20-30%)
•Sunscreen (good quality sunscreen is expensive in SE Asia!)
•Feminine hygiene supplies–tampons are not widely available in SE Asia. We recommend you bring what you think you will need for the duration of the summer.
VERSION 1 – BIG AND TALL:
Shopping in Southeast Asia can be quite challenging for big and tall people since people in Southeast Asia are smaller than most tourists. If you’d like to play it safe, here is a complete list of everything you’d need:
•2-3 pairs of lightweight pants or capris. Activewear/yoga pants are acceptable while being active (or while at a Rustic Pathways Base), but not suitable at the village (service projects), market, temple, etc. Many of our students and staff end up in “elephant pants” very soon after they arrive, so don’t fret if you need help in this area–inexpensive solutions await you in country!
•2-3 pairs of shorts/skirts (Shorts and skirts for the women must go to the knees or longer!)
•8 pairs of underwear—quick-dry material is best
•3-4 pairs of socks—lightweight quick dry athletic socks are best.
•5-7 tops (t-shirts and sports shirts)—they can be cotton, or quick dry shirts like capilene or polypropylene. Tank tops are generally not acceptable unless for time at the pool/beach. Keep in mind you will find cool T-shirts and clothes at markets you will be visiting throughout the summer, which can supplement the tops you bring over.
•2-3 light, long sleeve t-shirt–breathable is best for the sun and certain areas of the region can get buggy or chilly (if you’re lucky!) at night
•1 lightweight hoodie—most likely needed on flights, in movie theaters, and in airports. Most people will be fine without one.
•2 swimsuits—for females, two piece “sporty” suits are fine but no bikinis please.
•1 Sarong/shawl/lightweight towel (not white!)—you can buy this in country
VERSION 2 – MINIMALIST!!
For those of you who would like to bring as little as possible, this is your invitation to do so! Our staff will help you find everything you need once you arrive in country. Challenge yourself!
•4 pairs of underwear—Quick-dry material is best
•1 lightweight hoodie—to keep your warm on the flight over.
•1 swimsuit—for females, two piece “sporty” suits are fine but no bikinis please.
•Most general toiletries are available throughout the region. We suggest packing all items that could leak in a plastic or ziplock bag.
•Donations: As a responsible travel provider, we firmly believe in giving back to the communities and countries where we operate. As part of our holistic approach to business, we run a 501c3 nonprofit that supports high priority projects year round. If you feel inspired to join our global community of travelers making a difference, please consider making a donation here.