Christmas Holiday In Thailand With A Light Pack

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Well, well, well! I had the first opportunity in years to spend proper long X-mas holidays, so I seized it like a hungry racoon. In a democratic fashion my spouse and a couple who are our friends decided to head far away, because it's often so hectic at work. After a short and random process we decided on sunny Thailand.

Despite spending half a month in a foreign country, I wanted to pack as light as possible and travel with carry-on luggage only. The bag of my choice was a Savotta Jääkäri S, which would carry everything and allow me to ditch unnecessary extras. When I was finished packing, it wasn't even full, so I'd have some space for souvenirs.

This story has zero focus on foods and drinks, but rather some ramblings about surviving without a big cargo bag and also I'll admit what I forgot.

A couple on a tree lined beach in summer clothing.
Very nice X-mas eve weather.

Clothes for every situation

I needed suitable clothes for the city and temples - where you should have long sleeves - and of course beach life. Different sets would have a count of three. The problem would not be keeping warm, since the forecast was close to 30 degrees Celsius.

Sunburns didn't sound like a good idea, and I pink (instead of tan) in Finland almost every year, so I packed some sun lotion with a super-duper PF. Local lotions often include a whitening agent, so pay attention if you shop at the destination.

A man in his undies standing on a balcony gazing at the sea.
Viscose boxers 5/5.

Temples and travel clothes

German surplus Bundesmarine cargo pants in coyote brown. T-Shirt and a Särmä Wool Flannel Shirt. Sneaker don't take too much space in your pack once you switch to sandals. Merino socks work in warm as well as cold weather: they breathe well and wick moisture from your skin.

Stuff for the trip: A couple of Hawaii shirts, a couple of sleeveless tops, a couple of shorts, a few socks and boxers, boots, sandals, a belt, a shemagh, a hat, a long sleeve shirt, a backpack and a fannyapack.
Not much was necessary. Many of these items I was wearing at any moment, so the backpack was far from stuffed.

Not wishing to haul them around the Siam bayshore, I left all winter jackets, gloves and beanies at home and headed to the airport from my home door in a taxi. This caused some funny moments on the way back, when we had a layover in Moscow and I was wearing micro shorts and a wifebeater in freezing -10 Celsius weather. Luckily I had gained some weight and retained my body heat as the airport internal bus took us from the gate to the plane. This certainly established dominance over some Asian tourists in their puffy jackets and fur hats. Cold is a state of mind, or whatever that old saying was?

A statue of a creature with large tusks and flower ornaments hung on it.
Grumpy looking thing. Probably really friendly once you get to know them.

Beach and city dress

Only the shortest shorts will do, such as the French F2 CCE shorts and swimming shorts. The slippers were some random surplus one-offs I found earlier, and as a top I was wearing a merino wifebeater or Aloha shirt, because you gotta show you're on holiday! Pro-tip on Aloha shirts: good quality ones have a continuous picture or pattern over the front closure.

A serene beach with crystal clear water and leafy trees.
Bright water and white sand on Koh Samet island.

In the city I mixed my travel and beach options depending on where we were moving and what the daily conditions were. Slippers and shorts were the most common choice.

Special mentions

Retain a conscience when packing socks and undies. Leave cotton at home: thin merino and viscose are brilliant materials even in warm and hot conditions.

Carry a Shemagh as your multi-use thing. It's a towel, a scarf or a bag as you need.

A man drinking from a coconut with a straw.

If you're bald like I am, you'll want a hat with a brim. Exposed scalp burns with incredible ease. My inner cowboy chose a paper hat.

Oh, and sunglasses must be! Never leave home without them.

Teachings of the return trip

On the way back the material had cumulated to a point where our backpacks would have become too full. To address this we bought the cheapest tote bag we could find and had it plastic wrapped at the airport. This was a cheap and easy service, cost a few bucks and made it back in one piece. The contents were soft, of course.

A man holding a tote bag wrapped in plastic in front of an airport baggage carousel.
"Cargo bag" on the way back.

What I forgot: headphones. These might be really important to you on aeroplanes or at airports, especially if your company sucks. Luckily I had good company, so moments were never dull.

Packing list

  • Wool flannel shirt
  • Cargo pants
  • Särmä sleeveless merino shirt
  • Aloha-shirts
  • F2 shorts
  • Swimming shorts
  • T-shirt
  • Sunglasses, Mil-Tec
  • Hat
  • Undies
  • Socks
  • Sandals
  • Jämä toiletry bag
  • Light sneakers
  • Savotta Jääkäri S backpack
  • Leather belt
  • Shemagh
  • Denim shorts
  • Fanny pack (local)

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