Jun 16, 2024 4 min read

How to cope with the heat in the sizzling Chinese summer

Blue skyes hot day

We have just landed in China and the boiling heat makes for a pleasant change to the dull seasons back home. To be sinical the UK only really has two seasons, two weeks of sunshine and the rest may as well be called the rainy season.

So its no surprise that a sizzling Chinese summer is welcome but also challenging. China has a few innovative ways to stay cool in the heat that I feel could benefit any avid traveller.

First China is great at its gadgets and tech. With nearly all of it home made these innovations can be affordable to all and super fun. For example the hanging neck fan will keep you cool while looking cool ... well they might not be pretty and look a bit futuristic they will certainly keep the heat at bay.

Or alternatively go old school and get yourself a bamboo hand fand for a sweeping breeze. And if you are as lucky as my partner get someone else to fan you and imagine you are royalty in an exotic land. I personally like the varied selection of pocket fans with anime and cartoon character designs.

neck fan
neck fan

China also has great culinary ways to keep you cool in the heat. With noodles as a staple part of the Chinese diet, the way to eat them in the summer is as a cold dish. Unsurprisingly these noodles are delicious and refreshing. A mix of garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, tahini, chilli oil, spring onions and peanuts gives the dish a complex taste that helps brings the heat out of your body.

If you are ever at a pub quiz and need to know which country invented the ice cream its China. Quite a surprising fact but its makes perfect sense, what would an emperor of the Qin dynasty want in the scorching heat other than a ice cold refreshing ice cream served up by his faithful entourage.

Ok this is a bit of creative imagination but the invention is true. China still leads the way in creative ice creams. My personal favourite is lemon with a jelly centre but if you are a bit more adventurous than I am make sure you try the sweetcorn ice cream.

A modern variation on the ice cream is shaved frozen ice and is often served with a selection of treats to accompany it. Shaved frozen ice will take you from 100 degrees to as cold as ice. These ices can come in savoury versions which are not to my personal taste but are fan favourites in China.

For example sweet potatoes, taro and red bean ice are there for you to try but if you prefer sweeter tastes like me, you can get citrus flavours, lychee and even durian. Lets not forget the accompanying treats, you will likely be given an appropriate berry, red bean and sweet balls to make for a luxurious treat.

Shaved ice

There are great variety of teas in China with some dedicated to keeping you cool. Take the red cooling tea "Yi Pi Guan", the properties in the leaves help to extract the heat from your body while keeping you hydrated and alert.

But if you are like me and have become addicted to bubble teas and fruit teas you have found their home in China. Just remember to increase you percentage of ice for those hotter days. You will even find speciality milk teas in the summer that offer ice cream toppings. Imagine your favourite tea with a scoop of coconut ice cream, delicious!

You've tried the tech, the food and the ice creams its time to try Chinese fashion. Not only does China boast the invention of the ice cream it can also claim a rich history in fashion with the development of harvesting silk from the silk worm. These worms can produce the perfect material for keeping you cool in the heat.

A silk shirt will make you feel as though you are wearing nothing at all and when the breeze hits you will feel heavenly. If you are really lucky try silk sheets for a perfect nights sleep.

You should also consider living like a local too, when in Rome ... Consider dressing like a local and wear arm protectors known as ice sleeves ironically these might not necessarily cool you down but they stop you from getting sun burnt. Its also worth taking a umbrella around to shield you from the sun, even if it feels daft that there is no rain you will be grateful for the extra shade.

If you can get up early and avoid the hottest parts of the day do it. Plan some in door activities with aircon almost guaranteed in public spaces like malls, museums and cinemas.

My favourite way to stay cool in the summer months is to have a dip in the river like the locals. While it might not be 100% safe to do so with Chinese folk tales of ghosts ready to pull you into the depths of the river, you will certainly feel the risk was worth it.

Stay cool and enjoy the summer where ever you are and consider taking a trip to China with Happy Li Travel.

Also don't forget its farther day, with this blog dedicated to my old man who boiled me a live on a route march in Rome or a family stroll as he might call it... Happy Fathers day 😄

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