Hot, hot, hot in Vietnam

Vietnam has recorded its highest ever temperature, a mercury-expanding 43.4 degrees (110F)…in April!

The record breaking temperature occurred in the Huong Khe district of Ha Tinh province about 150 miles south of the capital Hanoi. Given that it was only April when this happened, it is slightly worrying to think about the temperatures this summer.

Traditionally, the hottest months are June, July and August. September can be pretty hot too. The real killer isn’t the temperature per se, weeks of 40 degrees plus, but the coupling of heat with humidity. At its height, it can feel like breathing soup as you try and dash from one air conditioned place to the next.

If, like me, you are from more northern climes you’d better get used to walking around like a giant sweat patch most of the time. If it’s any consolation, though, so is everyone else. And only stale sweat smells; fresh sweat doesn’t. During the summer months, three showers a day is a welcome relief.

Also important is to stay hydrated. Simply drinking water isn’t enough. In the summer I drink electrolyte daily to compensate for salt loss through sweating. It’s best too to curb your alcohol intake and steer clear of sugary drinks as they make you sweat even more. Your best bet is tra da (iced green tea) which is sold everywhere at street stalls and costs between 3,000 and 5,000 VND per glass.

You should be urinating once every two hours. If not, you are already dehydrated. Symptoms include lethargy, sleepiness and headache. In sunny weather, at least invest in a hat to keep the rays off your head. Better still is an umbrella. Or simply staying indoors between 12 and 4 pm to miss the worst of the day’s heat. Plan your day for an early start, a mid day break, and then pick up again in the late afternoon or early evening.

Most importantly, though…enjoy your visit to Vietnam.

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