While the hottest places on earth tend to be forbidding moonscapes in the Mojave Desert’s Death Valley or among the dusty dunes of the Sahara, city-dwellers have to contend with some ultra-sweaty conditions too.
We’ve compiled a list of urban areas where residents are the most likely to ask each other “Hot enough for ya?” and what they do to beat the heat.
1. Bangkok, Thailand
The Thai capital topped the World Meteorological Organization’s list of the world’s hottest cities in 2008 and frequently has a presence on other hottest city lists. Just how bad is the heat? Bangkok typically averages around 40 C (104 F). The cool season doesn’t offer much relief either with temperatures routinely rising to around 30 C (86 F) For a few days in April, Thailand celebrates Songkran, the beginning of the new solar year and the summer season. Though families often visit temples and splash water on each other for good luck, the revelry has evolved into a city-wide water fight that not only sounds fun, but relieves residents from the near-constant heat.
2. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Located in the Mohave Country of Arizona, the city is largely known as a resort destination, but it also records some scorching temperatures, with highs ranging between 43C – 50C (109F and 122F), though they’re known to soar to 52C (125F) during the summer. The highest overnight low-temperature ever recorded in the city was 37 C (98F) on July 22nd 2003. Luckily, the city’s on the banks of a large reservoir on the Colorado River on the border between California and Arizona, meaning boating, fishing and water sports are popular.
3. Kuwait City, Kuwait
The city of 2.38 million frequently swelters through the summers with July temperatures coming in a 38.7C (101.7F) on average. Like many super-hot zones, Kuwait City locals cools down with a dip: the Aqua Park near the Kuwait Towers is a popular spot, especially for tourists. Otherwise, there’s also the Persian Gulf. And some of the biggest and most well-known spaces, such as the Grand Mosque, are equipped with air-conditioning.
4. Kamloops, British Columbia
Okay, so it’s not exactly Death Valley. However, Environment Canada deemed Kamloops the warmest city in the reputably cold country as it averages 26.9 C (80.42) in summer and 29 days of the year registered at least 30C (86F). The city is also the second-sunniest in the province with over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year. Best way to beat the heat? Inner tubing down the Thompson River is a relaxing way to stay cool.
Photo: Richard Vignola/Flickr
5. Timbuktu, Mali
Right on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, the storied town of 54,453 faces pretty extreme temperatures. In April, May and June, the hottest months of the year, they frequently climb past 40C (104F), with the recorded high climbing to 54C or 129F. There’s little reprieve in winter when even the cooler months don’t see lower temperatures than 30C (86F). Linen, and loose clothing (women mostly where the boubou and pangne typical of west Africa) helps make the hot and dusty weather easier to bear.
Photo: emilio labrador/Flickr
6. Seville, Spain
The largest city in the Andalusia region is known for its blazing summers, which are frequently ranked the hottest among European cities. In July, the average daily high reaches 35.3C (96 F) and over-40 temperatures are fairly commonplace. The best way to keep cool is to avoid the heat altogether by sleeping it off. There’s a reason why the term siesta is Spanish: many businesses close up between 1pm and 4pm to rest during peak heat.
7. Hong Kong
The humid, sub-tropical climate of Hong Kong doesn’t reach the same eye-ball melting highs as some desert cities, but with a population of seven million people living in an incredibly dense, smoggy area, we feel they deserve a spot on the list. Thunderstorms, showers and typhoons plague the summer months, and temperatures above 30 degrees are frequent. The extra-muggy conditions are so bad that residents often devise specific paths to to their destinations via shopping malls so that they stay within air conditioned environs.