Updated April 29, 2019

Keeping Cool in Vietnam’s Heat

Some tips and tricks on how to remain cool in Vietnam’s hot and humid summer months, from what to wear to places to go.

While it is possible to see snow in Sapa, Vietnam’s weather can get incredibly hot and humid, particularly in the summer. Here are a few tips on how to cope with the heat and avoid becoming a sweaty mess!

The Obvious

  • Turn on the AC. Don’t have AC? Strategically place your fans around. You can actually point them at the windows so that they push the hot air outside.
  • Make sure your ceiling fans turn counterclockwise, pulling the heat up and away from you.
  • Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks. Stay away from alcohol because it dehydrates you. Go for mineral water and lime.
  • Wear lightweight and light-colored cotton clothes. Avoid tightly fit garments.
  • Find a hotel or an apartment complex with a pool. Enjoy it during the hottest hours in the afternoon when the heat becomes particularly brutal when the sun is out.
  • Plan your outside activities early in the morning (the earlier the cooler!) and later in the afternoon and evening.
  • Your body warms up as it works to process larger meals. Eat smaller portions and more often. Avoid foods that are high in proteins.

Throughout the Day

It’s best to keep your curtains closed against direct sunlight to stop your place from heating up like a greenhouse.

Throughout out the day run your wrists under a cold tap for five seconds each every couple of hours. Keeping your extremities cool is the key. You could also put a wet small towel in your freezer and apply it on your hands or feet when you feel too hot. However, avoid really cold baths or showers, even if they will cool you down on the spot. In the long run, your body will generate heat afterward to compensate, making sleeping afterward almost impossible.

Similarly, you can try eating spicy food, even if it’s the last thing you desire in hot weather. Curries and chilies will stimulate the heat receptors located in your mouth, causing you to sweat and enhance your circulation, which in turn will cool you down.

When you end up going to bed sleep with a fan pointed directly at you (and ignore the urban legend that sleeping with a fan can cause death, it’s been discredited) and only cover your middle section, leaving your feet and hands open to the air.

Vietnamese Specific Tricks

The big malls in the main cities all have climatization, so you can seek refuge there for a little while to cool down. Supermarkets like Big-C, some ATMs as well as many other places such as coffee shops, bistros, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and bars have AC (sometimes exclusively on the first floor) where sweaty people can cool off.

Go for a ride. Rent or purchase a motorbike and drive around. Beware of sunburns because while the breeze will be enough to cool you down, the sun will still send you a bunch of UV rays… Wear protective clothes or apply a good sunscreen. But most importantly: do like the locals and don’t stop at the line at a red light. Stop where there is shade!

Enjoy a nap in a hammock. While not everyone has a balcony or a backyard to hang one, you can find some in many cafés alongside highways in the outskirts of most Vietnamese cities. Nothing goes better with a ca phe sua da or a nuoc mia

Purchase a coconut in the street, for 10,000 VND and drink its precious juice. It’s cheaper than Gatorade and almost as efficient in giving you potassium, electrolytes and sodium.

Do like the Vietnamese and take an umbrella with you to avoid the scorching sun. You could also get the traditional conical hat (non la) to protect yourself from both the sun and the rain, if you find yourself unlucky enough to be outside during a late-afternoon shower…

Or if you’re really feeling the heat you can consider a move to the beautiful city of Da Lat… The temperatures there rarely go higher than 25 degrees and at night it can get cold enough for the Vietnamese to wear their winter clothes like toques and scarves!

Watery Activities All Over the Country

How to keep cool in Vietnam's heat

Dam Sen Water Park (3 Hoa Binh, Ward 3, District 11, Ho Chi Minh) provides fun and entertainment to guests of all ages with a variety of slides and rides. It is perfect for kids and teenagers, with thrilling rides like Black Thunder and Boomerang, in which the brave can slide into pitch-black tubes with laser effects or free-fall for a scary 12 meters.

Suoi Tien Theme Park (120 Hanoi Highway, Tan Phu Ward, District 9, Ho Chi Minh City)

This Buddha-themed amusement park and water park has tons of rides for small children and can easily entertain a family, inexpensively, for a whole day. Go on a weekday or weekend and bring your camera for tons of amazing selfie!

How to keep cool in Vietnam's heat

Vinpearl Land Nha Trang (Hon Tre Island, Vinh Nguyen, Nha Trang)

The Vinpearl Land Nha Trang Amusement Park is an independent recreational area and is conveniently linked to the 5-Star International Vinpearl Resort. The Water Park is proud to accommodate South Asia’s biggest wave pool and if you thought that was impressive, Vinpearl Land is also home to the longest sea cable car in the world.

Ho Tay Water Park (614 Lac Long Quan, Nhat Tan, Tay Ho, Hanoi)

Located inside the amusement park of West Lake Park, this water park is a modern entertainment complex where you will find water attractions like pools, slides and a lazy river. The park is set in a green oasis 5 km north of Hanoi Old Quarter.

By Eric Trudel