It's really, really hot in Thailand sometimes. Here are 10 satisfyingly cool things to do on hot days in Thailand.
Go to the cinema
The number one place to escape heat and city chaos. The only light source (other than from the movie itself) shines dimly from green fire escape signs – it could be midday or midnight outside and it’d make no difference to Thailand’s cold quiet arenas of film. It gets so cold in the cinemas of Thailand that you’ll be shivering and wishing for your woolly jumper after half an hour. Pack it in your bag before you leave the house, along with fluffy socks to ensure toasty toes.
Almost all cinemas show movies with the original English soundtrack and Thai subtitles, but check the listings before you buy your ticket. Did you know that you can see 4D movies throughout Thailand but at only ONE place in America and the UK? Make the most of this futuristic technology! Of course, 2D and 3D versions are also available.
Swim in the river and frolic in waterfalls
More of an outdoorsy kinda person? Swimming in rivers is a sublime way to beat the heat. A quick Google search should display locations of swimmable rivers and waterfalls near you. In Chiang Mai drive 45 minutes to Ob Khan National park. It’s free entry and the cool river is great for swimming. If you’re in Bangkok consider taking a few days out to explore this awesome swimming spot in Kanchanaburi.
Swim in the sea.
If you find yourself on a beautiful Thai beach in these hot summer months, I have zero sympathy for your heat-related woes and only one suggestion: get in those beautiful blue-green waves right now!
Work on making your millions in a coffee shop.
Digital nomads can be found tip-tapping on their computer keyboards in trendy coffee shops throughout Thailand – if there’s free WiFi available, of course. There are huge digital nomad communities in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and an increasingly heavier presence in other places like Koh Lanta – check out this directory for a list of co-working spaces in Thailand.
Shiver in the Snow Dome
Cool rivers and aircon not enough for you? Needing a more authentic arctic experience? Join in with Thai families at a snow dome, where you can throw snowballs, take polar-themed selfies and generally get up to all sorts of ice-cool mischief. In Chiang Mai you’ll find a fairly decent snow dome next to the pandas at Chiang Mai Zoo, and in Bangkok there’s a more impressive experience to be had at the snow dome in the Dreamworld theme park, just beyond Don Muang airport.
Party at the pool
Head to a pool party for a booze, food and music. In Chiang Mai Le Meridien’s regular pool parties are very popular and interestingly themed – the latest party was glow in the dark. Simmering Bangkok has a lot of choice, but we really like the massive venue, regular promotions and free entry at the Ocean Pool Lounge on Sukhumvit 33.
Run in the early morning
Exercising under the blazing sun is unpleasant work, but Italy has found a solution. Healthy Italians regularly meet in cities all over Italy at 5:30am to run 5.3 kilometres around empty the empty streets at events organised by Run5.30. Feel free to run the streets of Thailand at this time, but watch out for angry street dogs. Or, run past groups practicing Tai Chi and aerobics at Lumpini Park in Bangkok at around 7am or earlier, or head to Chiang Mai University or Muang Chiang Mai Stadium if you’re in Chiang Mai.
Eat homemade icecream
Ice cream parlours can be found all over Thailand. Popular chains include Swensons and Baskin Robbins, but we prefer making an adventure of it and sampling homemade, weird and interesting flavours at smaller chains and indie parlours – JUST LOOK at these photos from Creamery Boutique in Bangkok’s Facebook page!
Drive to the top of a mountain
The tallest mountain in Thailand is Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai. In the cool season you can actually see icicles hanging from the trees at the top. In the hot season there are no icicles, but it’s still noticeably much cooler and a very pleasant day-trip in a car or on your motorbike.
Visit an art gallery or museum
Keep cool and learn about the world and all the talented people who have lived here. There are a few extremely interesting, modern and eclectic art galleries and creative spaces in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Galleries in Thailand mostly showcase art by local designers and artists, so visiting a few means you can get a real insight into Thailand’s art scene. The Culture Trip have compiled a thorough list of Bangkok’s contemporary galleries here and Chiang Mai’s are here.
Bonus tip for the desperate: duck into a 7/11 and pretend to browse
We've all done this at some point, right? Thais even have a (mean / funny) name for those who go into 7-11s specifically to cool down: หมาเซเวน, or 'mar seven'. It means ‘7-11 dog’, and also refers to those dogs that sit in the doorways of 7-11s hoping to catch a cool aircon breeze when the doors open. Hey, sometimes needs must – see you in there!