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There’s nothing quite like a trip to Thailand to broaden your horizons, but from the minute you step foot off the plane it can feel like you’re starting an uphill battle to keep cool under the blazing sun. With the average temperature in Thailand rarely dropping too far below 30°C all year round, it can be hard to stay cool, calm and collected – though it’s not impossible. Here are some top tips on how to beat the heat during your travels in Thailand.
If the price of a hotel room looks too good to be true, then a lot of the time it is. Plenty of travellers fall into the trap of booking a bargain-rate room without realising it doesn’t have air conditioning, and they soon regret it after spending the night toiling under an ineffective, under-powered fan. Fan rooms are especially common in lesser built-up islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. There aren’t many things worse than lying in bed as a sweaty, hot mess, and being tired and grumpy the following morning – so double check your hotel bookings if you’re worrying about coping with the heat.
If you’re planning on spending a longer amount of time in Thailand rather than just passing through it on your travels, then it’s important to not get too reliant on the air conditioning. Of course, it’s important and should be used if you can’t sleep, but using it as soon as you get in your room without really needing it means your body won’t adapt to the heat and you’ll always struggle with it once you leave your room. Slowly weaning yourself off the aircon is tough, but worth it once you’re able to go about your daily business without saturating your clothes with sweat.
Like in any country, the mornings and the evenings in Thailand are much more comfortable times to be active than the afternoon, which will see temperatures reach their peak for the day. With that in mind, if you’re planning on going to the beach, on a hike or even shopping, make sure to start early or in the evening. Heatstroke is a serious problem, as is dehydration, and by limiting your exposure to the afternoon heat and sun you can help prevent yourself from falling ill and generally have a more comfortable experience exploring this great country.
As you may well know, in Thailand 7-Eleven stores are everywhere, and there’s often more than one on the same street. Use these to your advantage and purchase ice creams, ice lollies or iced coffees to help keep you cool. Iced coffees are incredibly cheap from 7-Eleven stores and aren’t bad at all. Whilst many people are skeptical about the safety of the ice in Thailand, more often than not it’s fine and safe to consume – though if you’re worried, a hole in the middle of the ice chunks is an indicator that it was made by a safe ice company. It’s even popular here to drink a beer with ice in the glass – sacrilege back home, but perfectly acceptable here and a great way to keep cool.
As common and cool as all-black streetwear outfits are back home, if you tried to wear the same here in Thailand you’ll practically melt. Black clothing absorbs heat from the sun, making you much warmer than if you wear white clothing, as light colours do a better job at reflecting the heat. Lighter materials such as cotton and linens are also great at keeping you cool, whereas clothes with a high amount of polyester will feel much warmer and more uncomfortable – so make sure not to pack this material. There’s a reason that harem and elephant pants are so popular with tourists – they’re cheap, lightweight and fairly breathable, so make sure to stock up when you arrive.
Whether it’s nipping in to a 7-Eleven or heading to a shopping centre, these are places that are comfortably cool inside and can provide welcome refuge from the hot sun. As fun as local markets can be, they can also be remarkably warm and stuffy places, so head to modern shopping centres with their powerful air conditioning units to cool off. If you’re really in the mood to be chilly, head to a Thai cinema – these places are so cold, that locals will often bring a jacket with them to wear inside to prevent them from shivering.
Wherever you are in Thailand, you’re bound not to be too far from a pool, beach, waterfall or water park. Not only are these places a ton of fun, relaxing, swimming and playing in the water is a great way to cool down during a long, hot day. The Cartoon Network water park in Pattaya is a particular treat, with plenty of awesome rides to keep you busy. If you really want to escape the sun, Thailand is a great place to go diving, with manta rays, whale sharks and colourful corals all to be found here beneath the waves. Better still, head to Thailand during Songkran – their huge, New Year celebrations that are basically a nationwide water fight.
If you find yourself for whatever reason getting sick of the beaches, islands and sun down south, then opt for a change of scenery and head up north to places like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai. These locations are in the highlands and so are a lot cooler and far less humid. Here there are loads of trekking trails, waterfalls and hikes just waiting to be discovered, and all with a much cooler environment in which to enjoy them.