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... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

Five Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

Singapore Living, by Stephanie Kolentsis

Some people acclimatise to the Singapore heat. I’m not one of those people. After seven years in Southeast Asia, I still sweat just walking to the bus stop. I haven’t mastered being calm and collected in 40-degree weather, but I have picked up a few tricks to keep cool. Here are the top five things that help me survive summer in Singapore.

1. Hydrate Better

credit: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

When you sweat, you lose more than just water; you also lose minerals, sugar, and salts. If you’re spending a day outdoors, I recommend picking up some rehydration salts from the pharmacy. They cost pennies and can be added to your water bottle to replace the sugar and salts you lose while sweating.

Drinking cold water will help to lower your body temperature and keep you cool. Klean Kanteen sells bottles that keep your water ice cold for over 24 hours. These are great for keeping at your desk or taking to the beach. Metal canteens can be heavy, so I also like to have a collapsible water bottle on hand that I can pop in my handbag and refill throughout the day. Stojo has some sturdy and stylish options.

2. Up Your Sunscreen Game

Credit: Moos Photos from Pexels

Make sunscreen part of your everyday routine. This is essential not just to stay cool, but also to protect against skin cancer and photoaging. Use the ‘two-finger rule’ to make sure you’re applying enough sunscreen to protect yourself. Squeeze the sunscreen onto two fingers--this is how much to apply to your face. Reapply every two hours.

If you haven’t yet found a sunscreen you love, keep looking. Korean and Japanese brands make excellent formulas that are hydrating and comfortable to wear. Some popular drugstore brands are Canmake, Anessa, Biore, and Kose.

I reach for the Kose Suncut Perfect UV Gel when I want something waterproof that I won’t sweat off by the pool. Beauty of Joseon also makes a sun stick that’s great for hands-free reapplying.

3. Take an Ice Bath (and a Sauna!)

Credit: Max Rahubovskiy from Pexels

For the ultimate cool down, try an ice bath. Altered States and Soma Haus offer breathwork & ice bath workshops where they teach Wim Hoff breathing techniques before taking the plunge.

Cold immersion therapy can help your body to handle real-life stress by putting it in a stressful (read: freezing) situation while you breathe through it. It’s also just a great escape from the heat.

Warm up again with a hot sauna. There’s research showing that saunas improve heat acclimation for athletes. Regular trips to the sauna could help you relax and make your next outdoor activity feel less strenuous. I visit Yunomori Onsen in Kallang when I want to enjoy a steam sauna and a cold plunge.

4. Pick the Right Fabrics

Credit: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

It’s normal to spend your first year in Singapore in nothing but beach dresses, flip-flops and sports clothes. I get it. It’s hard to find clothes that can stand up to 100% humidity. But picking the right fabrics makes all of the difference. Natural fibres like linen and cotton breathe so much better than synthetics like polyester. Slinky fabrics like bamboo, modal and jersey are also solid picks. Check the tag to know what you’re buying.

Stick to lighter colours like pastels, cream, and white. Light colours reflect the sun’s rays and will trap less heat. They are also less likely to fade from the sun, so you’ll get more wear out of your clothes.

I like Palem for its comfortable, stylish designs. You’ll also find boutiques in Tanglin Mall, Cluny Court, and along Joo Chiat Road with flowy dresses in Singapore-friendly fabrics.

5. Rethink Your Routine

Credit: Utpal Sarkar from Pexels

Try to schedule outdoor activities for early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. If you’re an early riser you’ll find that 6:00 to 9:00 am is the perfect time to take a long walk or go cycling.

During the middle of the day, spend time indoors. Get your errands out of the way, go to the gym, reply to work emails, or visit a museum. Anything with air-conditioning. If you want to enjoy a bit of nature, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay will keep you cool and entertained for hours.

After dark, night owls can beat the heat by enjoying a breezy rooftop bar or checking out an outdoor concert at the Esplanade.


​Stephanie Kolentsis is a learning designer with over 13 years of experience working as an educator across Asia. She’s also an explorer who loves to share her adventures with the AWA community. You can check out her website at


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AWA members are women who come from many countries and life experiences but they all have one thing in common — they have chosen to live in Singapore. Some members are new to Singapore,  while some have been here a long time or have returned to Singapore after time away. Our magazine - written and curated by AWA members - focuses on a diverse range of topics including wellness and family, travel tips, cultural events and information, and other helpful tips around navigating and experiencing life in Singapore to it's fullest. 

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