Keep Cool in an Apartment Without Air Conditioning in Bangkok, Thailand

As you may have heard, Bangkok is officially the world’s hottest city. That means, if you live in an apartment that does not have air conditioning, chances are you are going to be hot.

My apartment has air conditioning and, although I’m pretty frugal, I do run it several times during the day. But this week, for the second time in a month, my air conditioning has broken down. So, while waiting for the maintenance man to come and fix it I’m having to stay cool in a Bangkok apartment without air conditioning. Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult.

First, when you get up, open all the windows. This may seem counter-productive to keeping the cool air in, but it’s not. As any Thai will tell you, (and remember, they’ve lived in one of the world’s hottest countries most of their lives without air-con), getting a cross breeze going is the key to staying cool.

Open windows on both sides of your apartment if you have them, so a cooling breeze blows through. You’ll notice almost immediately the apartment will drop several degrees in temperature and, as long as the heat of the day doesn’t get too hot, it will stay that way.

Put a box fan in one of the windows and, the important thing here, is to keep it blowing outwards. Blowing outwards, the box fan pulls the warm air out of your apartment and allows more cooling air to flow in. This even works if you only have windows on one side of your apartment and so can’t get a good cross breeze flowing.

Run a small fan on yourself. With a small fan blowing on your face or body, you can usually keep yourself pretty cool, even when the Bangkok temperature creeps over 95 degrees.

Put your feet in a bowl of cold water if you are still hot. This causes your whole body to cool off and can keep you comfortably cool for a couple of hours.

Run the extraction fan if you’re still feeling the air is too warm. This is the fan above your oven or gas burners. Not every Bangkok apartment has one but, if you do, it can be a help as, just like a box fan in the window, an extraction fan pulls the warm air out of the apartment allowing the cool air to get in.