Walk through a winter wonderland in India
Record highs in India in June, July, and August (temperatures peaked at an astonishing 123.8° F in 2016) means that the summer months in India can feel endless. Sometimes it’s just so hot that all you can do is dream of winter. At Imagica Snow Park just outside Mumbai, you don’t have to dream about winter—you can live it! This 15,000 square foot facility is kept at a chilly 23° F and is filled with real snow (mechanically condensed from purified water). Patrons can enjoy toboggan rides, snow basketball, snow “mountain climbing”, or a stroll through the frozen park with hot chocolate in hand. Other cities in India also have similar snow parks for locals (and visitors) who need a bit of a break from the scorching summers.
Savor some shave ice in Hawaii
Hawaiians are lucky to experience warm weather practically year-round, but as temperatures rise in the summer it can be difficult to find some relief from the baking sun. The solution? Hawaiian shave ice. Originally brought to the islands by Japanese immigrants, shave ice has become a ubiquitous Hawaiian treat. Shaved from a large block of ice, this sweet dessert is then topped with flavored syrups and occasionally vanilla ice cream or sweetened condensed milk for extra creaminess. Local specialties will often influence the flavors available, so it wouldn’t be uncommon to see pineapple, lychee, or passion fruit syrups on the menu. The ultimate hot-weather snack, this dessert cools you down without being too heavy.
Indulge in an ice pillow in Japan
Although the majority of Japan experiences fairly temperate weather, in certain areas temperatures can skyrocket to 104° F in the summer. One of the worst side effects of hot weather is being unable to sleep through the sweltering nights, particularly if air conditioning is hard to come by. A popular Japanese solution to this problem is the ice pillow, which is essentially just a malleable ice pack with a cover that functions as a pillow. The most basic and cheapest will run you less than a dollar, while nicer models will be more expensive. The idea is that if you keep your head cool, the rest of your body will cool down naturally, allowing you to sleep peacefully through even the most scorching nights.
Go jump in a lake in Berlin, Germany
Berlin is probably more notorious for its harsh winters than its steamy summers, but that doesn’t make the hot days any less unbearable. Built on a swamp, the city can can easily reach uncomfortable levels of humidity. How do the landlocked locals deal with the surging heat? They hop on the metro to one of the many lakes on the outskirts of the city. Whether one wants to join the young student crowd at Krumme Lanke or relax with a cold drink at the beer garden near Schlachtensee, there are plenty of lakes for locals and tourists to choose from. And for those truly committed to shedding those pesky summer clothes, there is always the option to join the FKK beaches (FKK stands for Freikörper-Kultur, or “Free Body Culture”, and indicates a nude beach)
Surrender to the siesta in Spain
Spain is well known for its high temperatures, particularly the balmy southern cities like Malaga and Sevilla. Regardless of where you live, you can bet that the hottest part of a summer day usually comes between 2 and 4 pm. So what to do during those baking hours right in the middle of the day? Spaniards have found the perfect solution for dealing with the peak heat—just sleep through it. In many Spanish workplaces, employees will take a break in the middle of the workday to go for a long lunch, catch up with friends, or simply snooze through the high temps. To fit in with the locals, don’t make the mistake of trying to go to the shops in the afternoon and instead indulge in a bit of midday shut-eye.
Call on another continent in China
When you think of the best places to escape the heat, certain areas come to mind—Alaska, Iceland, maybe even Russia. Africa usually wouldn’t be top of the list, but for many Chinese citizens, certain African countries have become hotspots for summer getaways to escape the oppressive heat of July and August. In 2017, the newspaper China Daily reported that more and more tourists from China were planning vacations in countries like Kenya and Mauritius. Although it’s partly due to the relatively cool temperatures these countries experience during China’s summer months, the surge in tourism is likely also due to relaxed visa protocols for Chinese citizens.
by Grace Henes