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questions about traveling in S.E. Asia with only a carry-on

questions about traveling in S.E. Asia with only a carry-on

Old Oct 8, 19, 11:19 am
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questions about traveling in S.E. Asia with only a carry-on

I have a long trip to S.E. Asia coming up and I have very little experience in the region. I'll be traveling with only a carry-on in order to improve mobility, minimize airport time and risk of baggage loss, etc.

Are the carry-on rules for airports in S.E. Asia similar to those of the U.S.? For example, will I be okay packing nail clippers and a small metal scissors (from a men's grooming kit) in my carry-on? Are the liquids limits the same as the U.S.? What about mosquito spray? Should I bring a bunch of travel-size or just buy and dispose when in the region?

Thanks very much.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 2:25 pm
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It's too much work to keep looking up the rules before each flight.

So here's what I do because I don't want trouble: limit toothpaste, sunscreen, mouthwash etc. to 100ml containers each. No knives, but small nail clipper OK. I once had an exceptionally tiny screwdriver for eyeglasses confiscated as well as a tiny pair of scissors, so I don't carry those. Power packs have to be labelled with capacity, and no really big ones.

But overall rule is that anything that could be confiscated could be bought pretty cheaply on arrival, so I don't worry much. If they take your 125ml of mosquito spray it won't be a disaster.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 2:31 pm
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Thanks. I figure nowhere else could be even worse than the U.S. when it comes to these sorts of things, but I don't want trouble, either.

Do you remember where you had the tiny scissors confiscated? Last I knew, those were okay for U.S. flights, so it's interesting you had the opposite experience overseas. Thanks.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 2:46 pm
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carry on weight might also be an issue - many Asian carriers do not subscribe to the US version of excessive carry-on. 5-7kg in one bag is the norm in economy (if you're in business this might be different of course). Airlines vary in their weighing policies - but have had it done to me.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 2:50 pm
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Tiny scissors are not allowed at SIN.

At airports in Japan, I've been delayed when a supervisor was summoned with special tools to measure the length of manicure/cuticle scissor blades that were easily well within the permitted size.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by jeffrocowboy View Post
carry on weight might also be an issue - many Asian carriers do not subscribe to the US version of excessive carry-on. 5-7kg in one bag is the norm in economy (if you're in business this might be different of course). Airlines vary in their weighing policies - but have had it done to me.
Thanks. I'll be trying to keep the carry-on to the 7 kg limit. If I have to check it a time or two, no big deal.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Tiny scissors are not allowed at SIN.

At airports in Japan, I've been delayed when a supervisor was summoned with special tools to measure the length of manicure/cuticle scissor blades that were easily well within the permitted size.
Thanks. Not expecting to be through SIN or Japan on this trip, but I expect to fly out of any or all of MFM, MNL, CGK, SGN, HAN, DMK, and BKK.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
Thanks. I'll be trying to keep the carry-on to the 7 kg limit. If I have to check it a time or two, no big deal.



Thanks. Not expecting to be through SIN or Japan on this trip, but I expect to fly out of any or all of MFM, MNL, CGK, SGN, HAN, DMK, and BKK.
I just checked Philippine Airlines website - and as per usual there is conflicting information!

In one place it says scissor blades up to 6cm allowed - in another "The following articles are not allowed to be carried in the cabin. These items must be put in the checked-in baggage: Nail cutters, swiss knives, scissors, any bladed items or sharp objects.

I tend to try and avoid interactions with security staff!

Good luck!
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Last edited by jeffrocowboy; Oct 8, 19 at 5:02 pm
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Old Oct 8, 19, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
Thanks. I'll be trying to keep the carry-on to the 7 kg limit. If I have to check it a time or two, no big deal.



Thanks. Not expecting to be through SIN or Japan on this trip, but I expect to fly out of any or all of MFM, MNL, CGK, SGN, HAN, DMK, and BKK.
OK but the point is that to be safe, you'll need to check the rules for each airport and every airline separately.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 5:34 pm
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Slightly OT, when I travelled through MNL a couple of years back they confiscated my empty water plastic bottle (which I fill up before before I get on a plane). I asked why and they just said not allowed. First time that has happened to me anywhere.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
Slightly OT, when I travelled through MNL a couple of years back they confiscated my empty water plastic bottle (which I fill up before before I get on a plane). I asked why and they just said not allowed. First time that has happened to me anywhere.
.... and now they are advertising the water stations provided in the airport

but hey its Manila - logic and commonsense may not prevail
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Old Oct 8, 19, 11:53 pm
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I've had my carry-on toiletry bag checked a few time in a few SE Asian airports after x-raying due to my scissors (4-ish inches in total length), but each time they let me through with them because they had blunt tips. Hope that helps.
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Old Oct 9, 19, 4:51 am
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IME - Many countries in SE Asia will stop and measure your scissors. Thailand will almost always confiscate them regardless of size.
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Old Oct 9, 19, 6:39 am
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Leave the scissors at home, they’ll almost certainly be taken from you on the first Singapore or Thailand visit. Nail clippers have never been a problem for me. Weight won’t be an issue if it’s a backpack/rucksack (I’ve travelled to almost every country in Asia, SE or otherwise, with a backpack and never had it weighed) but I’ve seen companions’ trolley cases weighed and some SE Asian carriers have quite low weight restrictions.
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Old Oct 9, 19, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
Slightly OT, when I travelled through MNL a couple of years back they confiscated my empty water plastic bottle (which I fill up before before I get on a plane). I asked why and they just said not allowed. First time that has happened to me anywhere.
CGK had a second layer of security after the boarding gate (on the jetbridge approach) last time we departed there for HKG, and they tried to make my wife throw away the bottle of water she had just bought (post security). We argued a bit because she was feeling sick and needed the water, and they eventually relented and told her to just “hide it in her bag”. The theatre gets a bit tiring at times...
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Old Oct 9, 19, 7:32 am
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In Vietnam I had a wine corkscrew taken away.

With the language barrier it took quite awhile to understand what they were looking for.

When they finally opened the right inside pocket to take it out I couldn't believe that wasn't going to fly.

I've had one in my bag forever, and had to laugh as they took it away.

So, I would say the scissors probably won't be a good idea.

As mentioned above, how are you traveling around SE Asia? On the likes of Air Asia X, Peach, Vietjet, etc? On those kind of airlines a carry on means 5 to 7kg.

Even airlines like Cathay Pacific have weighed my carry on in SE Asia. It is really not the ideal place for a carry on.
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