Staying Cool in Southeast Asia

Although totally natural, sweating is never fun or cute, no matter the destination! When the temperature is high it’s important to stay hydrated and take it easy. Also, just accept that you will sweat. Here are some tips on staying cool while dealing with the 90+ degree heat Southeast Asia is known for. 

Keep Handkerchiefs Handy

Yes, you read that correctly. One of the best investments I’ve ever made was handkerchiefs. They are a sweaty girl’s best friend. Confused? Let me dive in a bit deeper on how handkerchief will become your BFF while traveling.

You’re walking on the street going to dinner. The humidity is high and you can feel the sweat on your arms, dripping from your face, on the back of your legs. It’s killing your vibe and ruining your outfit. You wipe off your sweat with your sweaty hand. It doesn’t help. You get that cheap napkin from lunch but it’s rough and leaves specks on your face. Then you remember, YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF in your purse! You swiftly pull that baby out and within seconds your sweaty body is little less sweaty and already feeling cool. There’s something about being able to temporarily remove the drops of water from your face and arms that make you feel a little more human.

A bonus of having handkerchiefs? Not only can they be an accessory that makes a statement, they’re reusable, lightweight and fit into almost any bag. Having a sweat handkerchief allows you to wipe off the sweat with style. You can pick up handkerchiefs at almost any big store or online. Also, don’t pay any attention to if it is “Men’s” or not. If you see one you like GET IT, GIRL! Handle your sweaty gorgeous self one handkerchief use at a time.

Chub Rub

This is one of the worst things about the heat anywhere in the world, not just Southeast Asia. Everyone has something that works for them. I personally don’t ever leave without my Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick. I literally carry this bad boy in my purse, cause you never know when the sweat will come. There are TONS of these nowadays (praise be) so do some research and figure out what works for you. When in doubt, a good ole pair of shorts will never let you down.

Whatcha Wearing?

There’s a reason why linen and cotton are sold as holiday fabrics. It’s not only because they are lightweight but because they’re breathable fabrics. Have you wondered why flowy maxi dresses are big sellers and routine warm-weather clothes? It’s because they can help keep your body cool. How you ask… It seems counterintuitive but generally the more covered up you are, the easier it is to deal with the heat. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t rock that little dress or shorts but think about pairing it with a hat to cover your face or a long-sleeved top. It’s all about balance and fabric! 

View this post on Instagram

Yesterday marked one year since Sean and I took off and to celebrate just in time for #ValentinesDay, I share 12 moments that I have loved including sweating in Angor Wat to enjoying Pizza in Rome and dragging Sean to the Unicorn Cafe. I also talk mental health and share some (a lot) of pictures via #linkinbio. . . . . . . . . #plussizetravel #plussizeblogger #fatgirlstraveling #cambodia #rome #worldtraveller #girlsvsglobe #glt #blogger #blogsociety #anniversary #darlingescapes #travellingthroughtheworld #traveling #travelgram #travelbug #mytinyatlas #beautifuldestinations #postcardsfromtheworld #bloggers #girlsthatwander #globelletravels #peoplescreative #sheexplores #sheisnotlost #simplyadventure #darlingescapes #doyoutravel #globetrotting

A post shared by Amanda M – Travel lover (@arms.wideopen) on

When buying clothes for Southeast Asia try to buy summer blends, cotton, and linen. All allow air to circulate a bit more freely. Allowing you to cool your body PLUS it absorbs your sweat like a sponge. One of my favorite accessories is a baseball cap. It’s small but in a pinch, I put it on and instantly feel better and protected from the hot rays. Not all hats have to be beach ready! 

Hydrate, Hydrate and Did I Mention Hydrate?

Even if you think you are drinking enough water, chances are you aren’t. The more you’re sweating the more water you need. Make sure to pack a cute bottle to take with you cause it will be your best friend after your handkerchief.

Not only will it help keep you cool and prevent dehydration, it will keep your sweat at bay. Did I mention it is also environmentally friendly!? There’s nothing worse than having to sit back from an activity because you have a massive dehydration headache and are feeling sick. Whenever I’m having a chaotic few days of sightseeing I make sure to fill my bottle at least once with an electrolyte packet. It’s SO important for your body. Find a water bottle that is right for you and be one step closer to a cooler you. 

Fruit is a Gals Best Friend

Did you know that watermelon, oranges, and lemons have a high water content? Added bonus, they also have vitamins that are the perfect little pick-me-up on a sweltering day. So make sure to pack a few snacks and enjoy, one juicy fruit at a time!

View this post on Instagram

Wishing I was eating watermelon instead of laying in bed just after 4 AM when I only fell asleep two hours ago… #Jetlag is the worst! At least it isn’t as bad as when we were last here, 12 hour difference tests your limits and relationship 🤣 This time, it’s only 6 but, it still takes an adjustment and I may or may not be slightly resenting Sean as he sleeps next to me with no signs of stopping anytime soon. What’s been your worst jet lag experience? Tell me below. No really, tell me as I need entertainment as I can’t find my headphones or kindle so need a way to pass time until I can “accidentally” wake up Sean without feeling bad 🙃 (I kid… am probably kidding…). . . . . . . #blogger#watermelon #fatgirlstraveling #plussize #plussizeblogger #girlslovetravel #mytinyatlas #passportcollecive #travelgram #passionpassport #suitcasetravel #travelladies #wearetravelgirls #travelinspo #travelblogger #fatshion #bangkok #thailand #digitalmarketing #nomad #bkk #thaistagram #traveling #traveller #travelasia #jetlag #question #travelgram #digitalnomadgirls

A post shared by Amanda M – Travel lover (@arms.wideopen) on

Cold Showers and Air-Conditioning

Instinct says YAS to cold shower and air-con to helping yourself stay cool. This is, in fact, one of the biggest mistakes you can do to yourself.  More often than not these two will make you feel the heat more. Adapting to any new weather environment is important. I always recommend allowing a full-day for your body to get used to the shocking heat. Take it easy during that day as you adjust.

Love cold showers and cranking the AC? I get it, I do too and it doesn’t mean you can’t do it… just time it out correctly. Crank the AC for a half-hour after you get back from your morning. Then put it to less freezing temps so by the time you’re leaving for dinner, the heat won’t shock your body once more. Plus, getting a cold from the AC is legit the worst thing you can do to yourself. If you are a lover of cool showers, why not do it at night instead of the morning? If you want to cool down, lukewarm water is actually the way to go.  

Timing is Everything

The time of day will impact your sweat levels and or cooling factor a lot. It’s well known that early morning and evenings are the coolest time of the day. There’s a reason why locals are scarce mid-day. It’s too hot! They’re cooling down and avoiding the sun. So if you can, plan your day accordingly. Use this time to lounge by a pool, get a massage or hit a mall and do a bit of shopping!

Staying Cool isn’t Always Cool

The fact is sometimes staying cool won’t be easy or even a possibility. So balance it out with what you are wanting and feeling. Be smart, wear sunscreen and invest in products and clothing that will help, not hinder you. If the heat of Southeast Asia is keeping you from visiting, DON’T LET IT. Sweat happens, everywhere, and at least you’ll be steps away from a great adventure! 


Amanda Wilkinson

When Amanda is busy running While Fat she can be found running her own Digital Marketing Agency in Bristol, UK. Amanda can also be found reading books on her Bookstagram, drinking Aperol, and dreaming about her next trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *