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10 ways to use your sarong when travelling

A sarong in Asia typically refers to a fabric sewn together at both ends to to form a fabric tube, and is often used to wrap around the waist. For women, this common casual wear in Southeast Asia is a travel hack must-have.

Here are ten ways to fully utilise your sarong when travelling:

Sarongs are also known as kain batik in Malaysia. Credits: Pixabay.
1. As beachwear

Tie it around your waist on top of your bikini and you have an instant skirt. Wrap it around your chest and you have an instant tube dress.

2. To change clothes

Do you know that you can change your clothes in public using a sarong without exposing your body? Firstly, it requires a little bit of skill and practice. If you want to change your shirt, wear the sarong and pull the fabric out from underneath your shirt. Give the sarong a small bite to make sure you don’t drop it and pull off your shirt.

You can do the same thing when you want to change your bottoms. Wear it, pull it up and hold it with your teeth. While doing that, make sure your hands are underneath the sarong and you can zip up or down and change your bottoms in a jiffy!

3.To take a shower in public

In some parts of Sarawak, it used to be common to see women taking baths by the river in their sarongs. This life skill is important if you need to take shower in the public toilet or just a dip in the river and you forget your bikini or change of clothes.

Just make sure to wrap it tightly around your chest before your bath.

4. As a blanket

A sleeping bag works way better than a sarong to keep yourself warm at night when you are outdoor camping. But if the sleeping bag is too warm for places like a  tropical country, use your sarong as a blanket instead.

5. As a lightweight towel

One of the ways to travel light is to leave your big, thick towel at home and bring a small towel and a sarong instead. Use the small towel to pat yourself dry and wrap your body with the sarong if you need to walk out from the bathroom.

6. As a beach mat

Your ultimate island essentials should include a drybag, a beach hat, a mat, sunscreen and more. Just in case you forget to bring your mat or you do not travel with one, spread the sarong like a mat.

7. As an emergency bed sheet

If you are on a budget travelling trip, you might not end up on the cleanest accommodation. When the bed feels icky or you just want to be safe, spread the sarong on your bed sheet like a mattress cover.

8. As an emergency pillow

The same thing goes when you feel uncomfortable with the pillow provided when travelling. Make use of the tube structure of the fabric to turn it into an emergency pillow. First of all, you need some cotton clothes preferably T-shirts and your sarong. Put all your T-shirts inside the tube and tie knots at both ends of the fabric. Voila! You have your pillow! This is a good travel hack especially when you are going camping.

9.To cover yourself at sacred places

When visiting sacred places like a temple, sarongs are provided to cover yourself before entering. However, it is still best to wear your own sarong.

10.To cover yourself to go to the loo

When you need to go, you really need to go, even when you are in the jungle.

For ladies, it might be tricky but with a sarong there is no need for you to worry. There are some local jungle superstitions that might to be observe when going to the loo. And when you already picked the right spot in the bush and asked for permission, used the sarong to cover yourself. Using the same trick to change your clothes; bite the fabric nicely and expand it with your hands to keep it clean while doing your business.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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