Packing list for Cambodia

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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Cambodia and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Cambodia.

General Clothing
Volunteers in-country discourage packing a lot of clothes as they are readily available in-country and tailoring is inexpensive. For women in particular, you will have to get most of your clothes for school/formal occasions made in Cambodia (Peace Corps/Cambodia staff will help you to do this during training). Volunteers also recommend not bringing white clothes, as they are difficult to keep clean. Two to three pairs of lightweight pants (jeans can be hot, but bring them if you like them because chances are you won’t find your size here)

  • Shorts (for vacation)
  • Three to five T-shirts/tops (cotton, linen, or quick-dry synthetic materials are best)
  • Sweatshirt or fleece top and a few long-sleeved shirts (it can get chilly during the cold season and in air conditioning in Phnom Penh)
  • A windbreaker or lightweight rain jacket
  • Athletic clothes and braces/supports (if you work out or play sports)
  • Baseball cap or other hat

For women

  • Four or five work outfits: light-colored collared blouses and dark-colored skirts (at least calflength, nothing shorter). Cambodian women dress very conservatively; women in villages do not wear clothing that shows their knees. You can have traditional Khmer skirts made cheaply incountry. Cambodian women do not wear pants at school, but do wear them at health centers.
  • Bathing suit (a one-piece is best). When you are on vacation with other foreigners, you may want a Western-style bathing suit, but be aware that Cambodian women generally swim fully clothed.
  • A good supply of bras and cotton underwear, including sports bras

For men

  • Five or six dress shirts (light colors, especially blue, are best)
  • Four or five casual dress pants
  • One necktie
  • Bathing trunks (Speedo-style swimsuits are not recommended)

Unless you wear hard-to-find sizes (for women 9 and above; for men, 12 and above), shoes, sandals, and flip-flops are easily found in Cambodia

  • One pair of casual dress shoes for work
  • One pair of sport sandals (e.g., Tevas/Chacos)
  • One pair of athletic shoes
  • One or two pairs of slip-on shoes (you will often have to take off your shoes before entering a building)
  • One or two pairs of flip-flops (you will live in them when you are not at school)

Note about PST: During PST trainees should wear professional clothing to all training sessions. This means collared shirts and slacks or skirts.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
The Peace Corps medical kit contains almost everything you will need for basic first aid, though not necessarily in the brands you like. You may want to bring a three-month supply of the following items for pre-service training. After training, you will be able to find a variety of these products in local shops.

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant (available in Phnom Penh, but bring a supply of your favorite brand if you are particular)
  • Good razor and supply of blades
  • Sunscreen
  • Allergy medication
  • Tampons, sanitary napkins, or a reusable menstrual cup (some Volunteers recommend “The Keeper” or “Diva” because they are easy to clean and you do not have as much trouble disposing of your sanitary products)
  • Volunteers who wear glasses should bring at least two pairs of glasses with them to Cambodia. If your glasses are lost, stolen, or broken, Peace Corps will replace one pair of glasses during two years of service. Sunglasses or photo gray lenses will not be provided. The Peace Corps advises against the use of contact lenses (see the Health section) and will not provide contacts or solutions.
  • Nail clippers or nail care kit
  • Earplugs (you may especially want them in your first few months as you are adjusting to your new surroundings)
  • Heat rash powder (Gold Bond is recommended)
  • Cosmetics (if you use them normally)


  • A portable music player (e.g., Walkman/Discman/MP3/iPod, etc.) and plenty of your favorite music
  • Inexpensive, portable speakers (also available at a low price in Phnom Penh)
  • Camera and film or digital with extra flash cards
  • A voltage converter (if you are bringing any electronics)
  • Flashlight and/or headlamp
  • Alarm clock (battery-operated)
  • Good batteries (solar batteries or battery rechargers may be a good alternative)
  • Sturdy but inexpensive watch, preferably waterproof
  • External hard drive
  • E-reader

Remember, there’s not enough room in your luggage for everything. Bring what is most important to you. The things that are important to you in the U.S. are likely to be important to you in Cambodia as well.

  • Sturdy backpacks (small packs for work and bike rides; larger packs for trips)
  • Leatherman, Swiss Army knife, or other multipurpose tool
  • A sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene, Camelbak)
  • Lightweight, quick-dry towel
  • One or two flat sheets and a pillowcase (bedding will be provided during training)
  • Zip-top bags to protect your camera, iPod, food, etc.
  • Good scissors (and/or hair-cutting scissors)
  • Sturdy sunglasses
  • Photos of your life in the United States to show to Cambodian friends
  • Small gifts from home for your host family during training and at site (magazines, coins, postcards, stamps, cool pens, hard candy, etc.)
  • Contact information for resources in U.S. (former employers, colleges, organizations, etc.)
  • Copies of important documents (résumé, cover letter, credit card information, etc.).
  • Things from home that will make you feel more comfortable (e.g., posters, books, journals, hobbies, music, photos)

Additional Items to Consider Bringing

  • Visual aids for teaching
  • Your favorite dictionary
  • Art supplies
  • U.S. and world maps
  • Travel games (e.g., chess, checkers, Frisbee, backgammon, Scrabble, Uno, Monopoly, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Risk—playing cards are available but associated with gambling, so these are less recommended)
  • Shortwave radio
  • Musical instrument
  • Calendar
  • Notecards, stationery, good writing pens, address book, books of U.S. stamps
  • Small toolkit (including locking pliers)
  • Eyeglass repair kit
  • American quality pens
  • Dry bags/packs

What Not To Bring

  • Food
  • Heavy coat
  • A large quantity of clothes (tailors and fabric are readily available)
  • Camouflage or military-style clothing
  • A lot of language materials
  • A lot of cash
  • A two-year supply of toiletries
  • Pots, pans, kitchen utensils, or cookstove
  • Water filter (provided by the Peace Corps)
  • For women: spaghetti strap tops or mini skirts