The Buffalo Tours’ team is full of seasoned travellers, destination experts and professed food fanatics – but
no one knows travel and tours in Southeast Asia quite like our tour guides.
That’s why, when it comes to the travel basics, we go to our on-the-ground travel experts. Thankfully, we have a whole team of them!
This time around in our Tips from a Tour Guide series, we talked to one of our top Hanoian tour guides Tinh, a Hanoi local who’s got his own clever tips for beating the heat in Vietnam and beyond. He let us in on the tips and tricks he’s learned during his adventures, and how to stay cool and comfortable in some of the region’s hottest places!
1. Pack a Towel
“Heat in Southeast Asia is sometimes a lot different from the kind of heat you’re used to from your home country. With high humidity, the heat in Asia can feel sticky and even hotter, thanks to the moisture in the air. To keep from feeling too uncomfortable, pack a towel or some wet wipes – they’re great for getting rid of that sticky feeling that can sometimes make the heat feel even worse!”
“The humidity and heat makes you sweat more than usual, so you will lose water much faster than in other parts of the world. Bring along much more water than you think you will need, just to be safe – and perhaps some sports drinks if you’ll be climbing, trekking or biking. If you forget, don’t worry – we always give our travelers lots of bottled water along the way!”
3. Grab a beer!
“Just like in other parts of the world, locals in Southeast Asia love cooling off with a beer. Unlike other parts of the world, though, lots of that beer is sold on the streets, so keeping it cool means adding some ice! If you’re in Hanoi, make sure you stop for some ‘bia hoi’, a super-cheap and very famous draft beer sold in the Old Quarter!”
4. Don’t Forget your Hat
“Sunglasses are great, but they don’t keep sun and heat off of your neck and shoulders. If you’ll be outside for a long time, trade your sunnies for a big hat. It will keep the sun off of more of you, and can even serve as a hand-held fan if you need it!”
5. Skip the Backpack
“Lots of heat escapes your body from your back, so covering it up will make you uncomfortable. Trade your backpack for a side bag or messenger bag for outdoor activities in the heat – that’ll make it easier for wind to reach your back to cool you off.”
6. Choose Your Destinations Wisely
“Lots of destinations in Southeast Asia – especially Hanoi – have parks, gardens and lakes. Because many Southeast Asian cities are very densely populated and often have lots of narrow roads and buildings, they absorb more heat and can be hotter to explore during the heat of the day. Instead, hang out by these parks and lakes during the hotter parts of the day, and explore urban areas in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.”
7. Eat Like the Locals
“Food in hot destinations like Siem Reap or Ho Chi Minh City – and cities with hot summers, like Hanoi or Laos – is designed to help you cool off. In Hanoi, a special treat called “che” is popular during the summer, because its fresh fruit mixed with coconut cream and refreshing ice. Alternatively, in the winter, lots of locals eat hot che to stay warm! Keep an eye out for what the locals are eating – often times, they’ll be choosing food to help them cool off.”
Brave the heat and head to Southeast Asia for a guided tour to its top destinations!