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I’m back in Thailand after my Italian trip and it. is. hot. As I write this it’s 7:00 p.m. and still 36° C/97° F. It’s going to be a long, hot, stuffy night…
I know though that’s it’s only going to get hotter. I normally don’t shy away from traveling in off seasons (I mean, I just went to Italy in February) and would even recommend visiting Southeast Asia in the rainy season. But honestly, if you can stay away from Thailand in March and April – do.
It hasn’t rained in months (I know that’s hard to fathom for people living in places with four seasons that can get rain all year, but it literally has not rained a drop forever) and won’t for 1-2 more. The air is hot, stagnant and, if you’re in areas of the north like Chiang Mai, smoky. It can often feel suffocating and certainly doesn’t show off the country in the best light. (Two months ago it was beyond gorgeous – promise!).
So, what can you do to stay cool in the heat?
This is an obvious one, but still takes some effort and gentle reminders for most people. While water is always the #1 way to get your liquids, there are other options to mix it up. Fresh coconuts are an excellent source hydration and available everywhere. As are sliced fruits and smoothies made with water-fill fruits like watermelon, pineapple, oranges and pomelo. Caffeinated drinks are also often suggested to aid in hydration and all pharmacies and 7-11s stock hydration salts. Keep in mind that you may feel that more in the morning…
Eating smaller portions throughout the day will help you to not feel heavy or sluggish.
Coming from a place where people bust out their shorts in 15° C/60° F weather, covering up as the temperature gets hotter is difficult to accept. In actuality though, wearing loose layers that over your skin instead of shorts and tank tops that expose your body to the harsh sun keep you cooler and protect you from sunburn. I tend to wear loose pants or sweat-wicking yoga leggings in the heat and always carry a large long-sleeved button up shirt to throw on when I’m out on my motorbike.
It’s a fact: 7-11 has the coldest air-conditioning. I know several people, both tourists and expats, who have admitted to just browsing the aisles of 7-11 for a break from the heat.
If you’re waking up late and then wanting to start sight seeing or be outside, you’re not to going to get very far. Instead of seizing the day chances are you feel too hot and lethargic. Plan your walking in the mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler, and inside or under-cover activities for the middle of the afternoon. Notice how most of the outdoor markets are either closed up by 11:00 a.m. or open when the sun goes down? There’s a reason for that.
Regular cool showers, jumping in a pool, wetting a bandana or washcloth and wearing it around your neck – getting wet will help cool you down.