A survival guide to Asia’s heat

Planning a backpacking adventure trip to Asia isn’t easy. Especially if it’s your first time.

Having the right funds are important. So is getting the right backpack, the right tent, and the right tools. What is most important however is to be prepared for the heat that is bound to assault you as you land.

Asia as a region set right in the center of the equator isn’t exactly where you can expect a cool climate. It is sunny, with clear skies and usually humid, making first-time travelers to it susceptible to heat exhaustion and maybe heat stroke.

We know this as we have experienced it. And we write this to ensure you don’t.

Hydrate yourself

Thought this might seem like a no brainer, hydrating yourself is much more than simply chugging water enough to feed a camel.

Intense perspiration and diarrhea (bound to happen at one point or another) leave the body starved off of electrolytes that are important to maintain essential bodily functions.

The rapid decline of electrolytes needs fast replenishing and this is possible via a number of ways.

1. Oral rehydration salts- easily available at pharmacies over the counter, these help in replenishing the electrolytes lost and maintain a sense of balance in the body. These also come in several flavors and can be mixed in water since they arrive in powder or pill form.

2. Sports drinks- drinks made for sports are geared towards those who sweat profusely and need to replenish their water and electrolytes. It is therefore perfect for the sun-drenched, electrolyte starved traveler.

3. Fruit juices- needs no explanation as fruits are stuffed with water and vital nutrients.

Dress cool

Dressing in the least amount of clothing might seem like an attractive idea until you realize some parts of Asia are highly conservative and might look consider it an affront to the local culture.

It is therefore important to keep cultural sensitivities in mind when you dress.

We recommend steering clear of synthetic materials and wearing clothing made of cotton or linen as they are light, lets air in and allows perspiration to dissipate fast.
Do however remember to wear lighter colors. Colors of dark shades retain the sun more and are bound to raise your body temperature.

Wear loose-fitting clothes- such clothes let the body breather and the perspiration evaporate. Tight-fitting clothes will do the opposite and make you look as if you had just bathed (not a good look).

Stay cool

1. Shower often

2. Time your visits- it is wise to avoid the sun when it’s at its highest. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen when you do venture out, however!

3. Use umbrellas and/or wide-brimmed hats

4. Take periodical breaks from the heat. We recommend ducking into malls with air conditioning and even ATMs if need be!

Watch out for warning signs

1. Symptoms of heat exhaustion as per the UK National Health Service includes headache dizziness, loss of appetite, feeling sick, excessive sweating, clammy skin cream, fast breathing, pulse temperature of 38C or above intense thirst

2. Check your friends for signs of heat exhaustion

3. See a doctor when you must. Do not “toughen” it out as heat exhaustion is not an easy matter.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke