Shoes usually take up 60% of my bag when I travel, no matter what kind of trip it is. Luckily, Southeast Asia is extremely easy to pack for, especially when it comes to shoes.
Here are the types of shoes you will need for a SE Asian trip:
Most importantly, you’ll need a good pair of flip-flops. Well, I say “good”, but you don’t need to spend a fortune on an ergonomic pair or anything, since you’ll probably end up losing them at some point. Just make sure to get a pair with some tread, as slipping and falling during the rainy season is inevitable. I’d also suggest carrying a pair in your bag at all times. I remember waiting for the bus in Bangkok when a flash flood came through, and everyone just switched out their work shoes for flip flops. If you’re working or just doing a lot of indoor stuff, change into flip-flops when going outside; it will make the rough temperature transition slightly easier.
Second is a pair of trusty tennis shoes. Honestly, flip-flops are good enough for walking and biking around cities and towns, but trainers are a better, more sensible and probably required shoe for hikes where snakes, leeches and other nightmarish creatures live.
Many clubs in Bangkok and other major cities will refuse entry if you are wearing Tevas or flip-flops. A basic pair of flats or nice sandals should get you through nights out, nice dinners and everything in between. I like flats that fold up, because again, I usually carry them in my bag. For the most part, buying shoes is pretty easy and very cheap. That is, unless you’re above a size 8/38 – then you might want to take good care of your shoes and possibly bring an extra pair.
Having these three pairs is all you really need to get around unless you’re going to play in the mud!
What shoes do you wear in SE Asia?