How to tackle a tropical city round the world



There’s an argument for Kuala Lumpur being rather underrated. It has a surprising amount to do – Bird Park, caves, big towers to clamber up – as well as a big shopping scene and no shortage of good food. It may not be the sexiest place in South-East Asia, but it’s an enjoyable place to spend a few days, and far less draining than some of its counterparts in the region.

But Kuala Lumpur is, undeniably, hot and sweaty. Being so near the equator guarantees that. And this means you can’t really tackle it with the full-on whirlwind force you might apply to New York, Melbourne or Paris.

So, bearing that in mind, how DO you best go at a tropical city? Well, here are a few rules that generally work out for the best…


Do stuff early

The heat and sweatiness generally snowballs throughout the day, so if there are any activities you can tackle first thing in the morning – particularly anything that involves a fair bit of walking – do it then. It’ll still be fairly sticky going, but there will be at least a few wafts of freshness to stop it being too unpleasant.


Relish air-conditioning

Even if you’re not particularly into shopping malls, in tropical cities they’re often more relaxing and refreshing than the nice park you might otherwise head to. The remarkable cooling powers of air conditioning can really change your mood after you’ve been slogging away outside for a while. This also applies to museums as well as malls – save them for a bit later in the day when the aircon will suddenly make the exhibits much more interesting.


Take a nap

When the rain comes, it usually comes heavily, and you almost certainly don’t want to get caught in it. Luckily, it’s usually pretty predictable in when it arrives – and can be expected around 3pm after a day spent building up. This is a very good time to be back at the hotel, and to take a nap for a couple of hours. By then, there’s a strong chance you’ll be tired anyway. Just give into it.


Change clothes in the evening

If you’re trying to ration the amount of clothing you wear, the tropics can be a nightmare. Ideally, you want at least two sets of clothing per day. But if you can’t do that, then the time to change is before going out in the evening. The clothes you wear then will probably get a little sweaty, but will be just about passable for the next day. Do it the other way round and change in the mornings hoping to wear them all day, and you are in trouble, my friend.



Just pay for a damn taxi

Walking a mile to that restaurant is probably going to be highly unpleasant, and the taxi will cost the equivalent of a couple of quid. Don’t be so tight.


Pick a hotel with a pool

Hotels in South-East Asia are usually relatively cheap (although Singapore is an exception here), so you can aim for higher standards than normal. Get a hotel with a pool, and you can happily spend the afternoon half naked, reading and having an occasional splash. Scrimp elsewhere when you’re more bothered about exploring the city.