According to the old song, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. That seems a little exclusive — we think every traveller deserves the opportunity to develop sunstroke. With the onset of the hot season in Cambodia, follow these simple rules to dehydration and delirium in the kingdom.
Choose your transport wisely. The top deck of a boat where the wind disguises the sun’s heat is a good start and you should be able to get a few hours of uninterrupted rays. Whenever you’re travelling by bus, plan your journey so you arrives around the middle of the day. This will ensure that the sun is high and hot for your next activity …
Guesthouses should only be searched for on foot, while you carry all your belongings. No sneaky tricks like having one person look after the bags over an iced coffee near the bus station, while the other gambols around unencumbered. It is essential that you do not use the help of a motodop or tuk tuk driver — he might know where he’s going and where there are rooms available in your price range, cutting down on your sun exposure time. Extra points are awarded for hilly locations and places where the accommodation options are spread out. Kep is ideal for this.
The only appropriate reward for securing your bed for the night is a beer or other alcoholic beverage. Go on, spend the money you saved on that tuk tuk. In fact, why not have two? Under no circumstances should you indulge in Royal D, the wonder rehydration sachet pedalled in minimarts and pharmacies. Coconuts, isotonic drinks and, shudder, water, should equally not pass your lips.
When sightseeing, plan your itinerary so undercover activities take place earlier in the day, while it’s cool. Anything involving walking or open spaces, such as the Royal Palace, should be scheduled as close to noon as possible. Try to cram your daypack with as much stuff as the laws of physics allow. This will encourage the sweat to flow nicely as soon as you set foot outside. We recommend carrying two litres of water with you at all times – don’t feel obliged to use it, but it’s an easy 2 kilogram gain and you won’t be tempted to buy cold water and sit down under a shop’s umbrella to drink.
In fact, shade of any kind is to be avoided at all costs. Choose the sunny side of the street, and be sure there is no risk of shadow from trees or buildings when you need to stop and check the map. Under no circumstances should you wear a hat. Dedicated pros will also shun sun cream and shirts with any kind of arms, as a throbbing sunburn enhances other heat exposure symptoms.
While we can’t guarantee sweat rash, light-headedness, vomiting, headaches or fainting, heeding these guidelines is the best way we know to successfully suffer. As an added bonus, you may also secure lasting damage to friendships and relationships due to sun-fuelled irritation.
If you are feeling perverse and for some reason don’t wish to indulge in sun-related maladies, try this more sensible advice for keeping cool when it’s hitting 40 degrees.
By Abigail Gilbert
Last updated on 19th April, 2014.
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