In each country we visit I will be keeping a log of the baby products that are easily available. In every case these are products that can be bought in the smaller high street stores in a town/city, rather than from larger out-of-town supermarkets.

Please note that nappy bags/sacks are NOT available in any smaller stores across SE Asia. The only bags we found were in an expat shop in Kuala Lumpur, but they were seven times the cost of the bags at home. Stock up on nappy bags before you leave and ration them for the use of smelly nappies. If you use an average of two bags per day, it’s feasible to carry enough bags for your entire trip.

BORNEO, MALAYSIA:

Milk powder:
Milk powder can be bought in tins, boxes or bags and are easily available across all of the towns we visited in Borneo. There is plenty to choose from but be aware that many of the brands come in different flavours (honey, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla are amongst some of the varieties), and it’s not always clear on first glance.

I tried the following:

  • Dugro – 350g @ RM14 (circa £3.00)
  • Dutch lady – 500g @ RM13 (circa £2.75)
  • Fernleaf – 550g @ RM12.75 (circa £2.60)

Not only was Fernleaf the best value, I also found it to be the better brand as it has reduced sugar content. Many of the other local brands tasted extremely sweet compared to UK products.

Nappies:
I found the nappies in Borneo to be of poor quality. They come in different pack sizes from a small travel 4 pack up to a large pack of 60. There are numerous brands to choose from but I chose to use the following:

  • Drypers – 34 nappies @ RM17 (circa £3.80)
  • Huggies – 20 nappies @ RM 16 (circa £3.60)

Both of the above brands had poor absorbancy and had to be changed regularly to avoid nappy rash.  Drypers had terrible sticky pads that once opened could not be re-afixed.

Baby wipes:
Surprisingly there is no choice of baby wipes. I found one brand that came in two sizes – standard or pocket:

  • Annaku alcohol free baby wipes – 30 per packet (pocket-size) @ RM2 (circa £0.45)

Medical supplies:
We found plenty if stores stocking baby medical supplies. Although not familiar products we found many reputable companies producing similar solutions to ones in the UK. We bought a Panadol based solution for ‘the boys’ teething which worked as effectively as Calpol:

  • (GSK) Panadol suspension for aged 1-6 (60ml) @ RM7 – (circa £1.60)

INDONESIA (JAVA AND BALI)

Milk Powder:
As with Borneo there are plenty of milk brands to choose from. The chemists tend to sell milk supplements in tins, but these are considerably more expensive than the brands that you can buy in the supermarkets or local stores.

Both my baby and I were happy with the first brand I tried and we were able to buy this across all of Java and Bali, regardless of the size of the town.

  • SGM– 600g @ Rp42,000 (circa £3.00)

SGM comes is boxed and can be bought in different sizes and to suit different age ranges. I bought the formula to suit babies aged 6-18 months. As per the varieties in Malaysia, they do come in various flavours; so don’t make the mistake of picking up a chocolate flavour milk powder.

Nappies:
I was extremely pleased to find Pampers available across Java and Bali. Similarly to the Western market these come in packs ranging from 8 nappies, up to 60. I found the mid sized pack suited us best as it easily fitted into our rucksack. They’re more expensive than the local brands but are identical to those found in the UK. They’re soft, highly absorbent and easy to reseal.

  • Pampers – 16 nappies @ Rp38,000 (circa £2.80)

Baby wipes:
There’s a huge number of brands to choose from each with their own range of products, such as chamomile, fresh, alcohol free, mild etc.

They come in two sizes, standard (as per the Western wipes) and pocket-sized.
I used the following and found them all to be adequate:

  • Huggies baby wipes – 30 per packet (standard size) @ Rp12,000 (circa £0.80)
  • Mamy Poko wipes – 30 x per packet (standard size) @ Rp 9,900 (circa £0.60)

Medical supplies:
The chemists stock a wide range of medical supplies suitable for your baby, but these tend to be local branded products. Beware when purchasing as many chemists in tourist locations will try and sell you the most expensive product when a similar product is available at less than half the price.

MALAYSIA (mainland)

Milk Powder:
Identical brands available as per Borneo. Again I chose to use Fernleaf.

  • Fernleaf – 550g @ RM12.75 (circa £2.60)

Nappies:
Identical brands available as per Borneo.

  • Drypers – 34 nappies @ RM17 (circa £3.80)
  • Huggies – 20 nappies @ RM 16 (circa £3.60)

Baby Wipes:
A much larger range of wipes were available in mainland Malaysia.  I used the following with no problems:

  • BB Star wipe (Aloe vera) – 30 per packet (standard size x 2 packets) @ RM8 (circa £1.60)

Medical supplies:
The range of products available in mainland Malaysia was far greater than that of Borneo. I found brands such as Bonjela (teething gel) available in most high street chemists.

I also bought a product similar to Savlon (antiseptic cream for cuts and grazes):

  • Burnol plus – antiseptic cream @ RM7 (circa £1.40)

Sun cream:

  • Nivea kids and Banana boat kids suncream is widely available @ RM40 – RM45 (circa £8.00 – £9.00)

THAILAND:

Milk Powder:
There are plenty of brands to choose from and easy to find in the smaller stores as well as the local supermarkets.  Powder can be bought in bags, boxes (with a bag inside) or tins and come in a range of sizes and different formulas to suit different age ranges. I chose to use the following during our time in Thailand:

  • Dumex milk powder 6 month – 24 month formula 600g @ 186baht (circa £3.70)

Nappies:
There are plenty of brands to choose from of differing qualities. Mamy Poko and Drypers are the two brands that are most widely available and can be bought at the small local shops, local 7/11 stores and supermarkets. After having bad experiences with Drypers in Borneo, I chose to use Mamy Poko. The Mamy Poko nappies in Thailand are of a similar quality to Pampers in the UK. They come in a range of sizes, nappies and pull up pants and girl/boy varieties. There were certainly the best nappies I have used in SE Asia to date:

  • Mamy Poko pull up boy/girl pants – 17 pack @ 169 baht (circa £3.40)
  • Mamy Poko pull up boy/girl pants – 3 pack @ 29baht (circa £0.60) – handy as a top up pack between destinations

Baby wipes:
Across most of Thailand baby wipe brands are limited but once you get to popular tourist destinations the choice increases with many shops stocking Western brands. I chose to use Mamy Poko, as these were best value but have included details of Boots wipes as a cost comparison:

  • Mamy Poko small wipes – 20 wipes @ 19 baht (circa £0.38)
  • Boots wipes large pack – 80 wipes @ 150-200baht (circa £3.00 – £4.00)

Medical supplies:
Chemists are well stocked, particularly in the tourist areas. Our baby had a bad chesty cold whilst in Krabi. The pharmacist prescribed us with the following:

  • Flemec kids cough syrup – 100ml @ 120baht (circa£2.40)

Toiletries:
Johnsons products are widely available and at a reasonable cost. I used:

  • Johnsons top to toe wash – 200ml @ 65baht (circa £1.30)
  • Johnsons baby powder – 50g @ 15baht (circa £0.30)
  • Johnsons hand and face wipes – 20 wipes @ 30baht (circa £0.60)
  • Baby tiger balm (soothing for bites) @ 30baht (circa £0.60)
  • Kleenex antibacterial moist wipes – 10 wipes @ 29 baht (circa £0.58)

Insect repellant:
For non malarial areas we chose to use natural repellants as per below:

  • Johnsons insect repellant – 100ml @ 106 baht (circa £2.12) – we found this repellant to be very good. It’s easy to apply, smells pleasant and can be use on a baby’s face.
  • Citronella natural insect repellant – 40ml @ 100baht (circa £2.00)

CAMBODIA:

General:
We followed the main tourist routes in Cambodia, therefore standard baby products such as nappies, milk powder and baby wipes were available, although the choice was not as vast as other countries in Asia. Based on the fact that the majority of babies in Cambodia, apart from those from very wealthy families, wear nappies, I suspect it would be very hard to buy supplies in the smaller towns. I would advise you to stock up when you can.

A bit of advice on costs:
In the larger stores (we went to Lucky supermarket in Phnom Penh) all items are priced and tend to be cheaper than the smaller shops. Be wary when buying products in independents, as often the items are not priced and the store workers will try and charge you what they think they can get away with. In Siem Reap, one store was trying to charge us $4.50 for a packet of baby wipes, when they should have cost $1.20! Use the prices below as a guide.

Milk Powder:
We only tried one baby powder, as it was the same brand that we had used previously in Thailand:

  • Dumex, Dupro milk powder 6 month – 24 month formula 800g @ $9.00 – $10.00 (circa £5.70)
  • Dumex, Dupro milk powder 6 month – 24 month formula 500g @ $5.00 (circa £3.20)

Nappies:
Familiar brands include Mamy Poko, Pampers and Huggies along with local brands and some very expensive Japanese imports. We were happy to see Pampers again but were very disappointed with the quality of the Cambodian variant. They are not the same quality as the UK or other Asian Pampers and are very thin, not very absorbent, with a plastic feel to them. On realising how different the same brand can be in a different country we opted to try Huggies again and found them the best option in terms of comfort and budget. Mamy Poko is seen as the premium brand here and is priced to reflect this (see below).

  • Mamy Poko pull up boy/girl pants – 52 pack @ $21.00 (circa £13.25)
  • Mamy Poko pull up boy/girl pants – 20 pack @ $10 (circa £6.35)
  • Pampers – 30 pack @ $7.00 (circa £4.40)
  • Huggies – 28 pack @ $6.00 (circa £3.75)

Baby Wipes:
There are many brands to choose from and most brands come in both standard and small packs:

  • Mamy Poko wipes standard size – 80 wipes @ $1.20 (circa £0.75)
  • Baby one Khan out standard size – 80 wipes @ $1.25 (circa £0.80)
Medical supplies:We met a Doctor on our travels that strongly advised us to only use U-Care chemists whilst in Cambodia. There are many independent chemists all over the country, but apparently some of the products have been found to be counterfeit and it’s not worth taking that risk when travelling with a baby. All of the products in U-Care are familiar brands, and although you pay more for them, it’s more important to have the peace of mind that what you’re using is a genuine product.

 

VIETNAM:

Milk Powder:
Even in Ho Chi Minh we had great difficulty in finding milk powder. The supermarkets were outside the city and therefore we were limited to looking in the smaller high street convenience shops. We only found one store selling milk powder in Ho Chi Minh, but they were charging 200,000 Dong for a small 400g tin (circa £10.00). We eventually found one shop in Dalat selling milk powder for 100,000 Dong for 400g (circa £5.00). I stupidly forgot to take down the details of the brand, but it was the only place we found milk powder on our trip to Vietnam.

As many of the basic rooms in Vietnam have fridges it meant we could buy 6floz cartons of milk:

  • Vinamilk, 180ml cartons @ 7,000 Dong (circa £0.30)

Nappies:
Huggies is one of the only brands that we saw in Vietnam. They come in standard nappies and the pull up variety, which are more expensive.

  • Huggies nappies – 9 nappies @ 35,000 – 45,000 Dong (circa £1.10-£1.40)
  • Huggies nappies – 18 nappies @ 75,000 Dong (circa £2.35)
  • Huggies pull up pants – 18 nappies @ 125,000 Dong (circa £3.95)

Baby wipes:
There’s limited of choice when it comes to baby wipes, but if a shop sells nappies, it normally sells wipes too:

  • Bao Bao baby wipes (alcohol free), standard size – 80 wipes @ 25,000 Dong (circa £0.80)
  • On care baby wipes (alcohol free), standard size – 80 wipes @ 20,000 Dong (circa £0.65)

***The above information and exchange rates were compiled between August 2011 and February 2012. If you have any questions regarding products available in SE Asia please feel free to post a comment on the blog and I will respond as soon as I can***.

4 responses »

  1. Thank you for such an awesome summary of what is available – my backpack will now have much more room without the nappies I was planning to take! Thanks again.

  2. Hi! We just traveled for 4 month with our 20 month old daughter. We went to New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur and Indonesia. Thanks to your blog preparation was easy! We took a Wompat carrier and a Sac ‘n Seat. We used the Wompat also in tuktuks, buses and taxi’s and even in the plane to get our baby to sleep. Worked like a charm!

    And your comments about type of diapers were also very usefull. We made the mistake to buy pampers in Cambodia… Your comments were spot on: plastic and non-absorbent!

    Just two updates: in Vietnam you will stumble on powder milk every where! I think even the elderly vietnamese drink powder milk! Apperently a big change since your blog in 2011.

    And in Indonesia you can get powder milk from Frisian Flag, which is the same brand as Dutch Lady in Malaysia (and Friese vlag in The Netherlands…).

    Thanks again!
    Nienke

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s