Travellers to the tropics can use a number of preventative measures to keep insects at bay when the sun sets, or even after a tropical shower.
Across the Kingdom of Thailand every April, Thai New Year is ushered in with wild style. April’s Songkran festival brings festivities, parades and water fights that usually mean everyone gets a good soaking as part of the party. The festival also marks the end of the dry season in many parts of the country and also across Southeast Asia, which often attracts a few extra guests – insects.
When visiting a tropical country, however, there is no reason to let irritating insects get the best of you on your relaxation time. Travellers can take a number of preventative measures (many of which don’t involve chemicals) to beat the bugs – from slipping on a suitable evening outfit to indulging in a garlic-rich meal.
Here are some bug-busting tips to help you minimize the holiday itches.
The Natural Solution
Non-chemical solutions are often a pleasant alternative to products like Deet. For holiday-makers that want to smell sweet and keep the insects away, natural oils offer the perfect solution. Lavender oil is one of nature’s best insect repellents, and offers an even more fragrant aroma when it is diluted with sweet almond or coconut oil and massaged into the skin. A few drops of essential lavender oil in the villa bath tub will also do the trick, in addition to providing a relaxing aromatherapy session at the start of your evening. Double check your essential oil is pure before applying it to your skin or the bath water.
One easy way to escape the wrath of bothersome insects is to don clothing that covers your skin, offering an extra layer of protection. Loose, cotton clothing is best for balmy, tropical nights, and there is no reason that covering up has to be any less elegant in terms of style. Tailored linen trousers, colourful cotton shrugs and silky shawls are popular evening choices for many ladies who want to keep the insects away on a warm, Thai evening. A quick spritz of natural insect repellent on your clothes offers an additional protective boost.
It seems that lotus flowers are not just pretty pink plants that bob on the surface of lakes in tropical countries like Thailand. According to new research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, lotus is a highly effective insect repellent which also helps to exterminate baby mozzies before they can mature into bothersome adults. Decorate your private villa with a few fresh lotus flowers for a little extra protection and colour, and breathe a sigh of relief that you will never again have to spray unwanted chemicals around the place.
You are what you Eat
There are many reasons to smile when you are feasting on the explosive flavours of Asian cuisine, especially the spicy delights in Thailand, and a satisfied appetite is only one of them. Another of the main reasons is that you can be safe in the knowledge that consuming garlic (one or two cloves a day) is a sure fire way to keep insects away. Other ingredients like black pepper also possess a strong aroma that for some reason, insects can’t stand. So that tempting dish of tofu infused with black pepper and garlic is looking extra tasty now.
Slumber in Peace
Sleeping with a mosquito net over your bed is a must in most tropical countries, unless the windows are closed well before sunset or have screens attached, particularly if you are staying anywhere near a pond or lake where mosquitos like to hang out. The tent-like feel of a mosquito net also offers the indulgent feel of a relaxed cocoon, sheltered from the buzz of the outside world. Many villas in Thailand come with four poster beds and nets draped luxuriously over the bed to ensure you get the best night’s sleep possible.
by Max Vee