Saturday, 8 September 2018

Toolkit

anitadonas at Pangururan (Sumatera Utera, Indonesia):
Lo mejor de viajar solo es encontrarte con personas bonitas con las que compartir momentos, vivir experiencias nuevas y llenarte de recuerdos. ¡Maravilloso! Aquí en Sumatra, con Simon y @marieloche, descubrimos estas aguas calientes y nos dimos un buen chapuzón bajo la tormenta, gracias a nuestro querido host @harrysmanik🌫 #couchsurfing
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#airpanas #hotspring #pangururan #samosir#sumatra #sumatera #northsumatra#sumaterautara #wonderfulindonesia#indonesia #indtravel #traveltheworld#travelblog #travelgram #travelgirl#itravelalone #wanderlust #passportpassion#backpacker #solotravel #discovering#explore #gopro #goprohero #gopro3#goprooftheday #iamtb
Hot springs in Japan (onsen) get their regular free press due to what's regarded as an outlandish practice. 
Especially it's traditions concerning soaking as well about the soak itself. 
And prominent in these different traditions is the required non-clotheliness. 
An example: traveller.com.au (Aug 23):
'Regular visitors to Japan will know all about onsen.
....
It's not for everyone, that's for sure; especially if you don't like getting your kit off willy-nilly in front of strangers. 
I don't mind at all, which is why I found myself sitting naked in the open-air hot springs of the Kouno-Yu onsen with a bunch of local gentlemen when, on the wooded hillside above us, a lone deer came ambling along. We sat in silence and watched as the animal sauntered across the landscape and eventually disappeared into the trees'.
The author then continues with a description of Spa World (Osaka) and finishes the article off with: 
'Honestly, it's almost the most fun you can have with your clothes off'.
Another Japanese experience (Well+Good, Jul. 18), more personal though. And more interesting:
'I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant about the onsen because traditionally the bathing is done in the nude. As someone who covers up at least a little bit in the SoulCycle locker room, it felt boundary-pushing to drop my yukata and walk around totally naked. I kept trying to cover myself with my hands, but quickly realized that I… didn’t have enough hands.
Decatrel [Françoise Decatrel, founder of Japanese bathing product brand Amayori] told me it was common for a first-timer from the West to feel this way. “Communal bathing has deep roots in Japanese history and has always been viewed to strengthen community ties and foster bonding. Sometimes Westerners are a bit shocked by this, but the attitude towards nudity at an onsen is very different than what we are used to,” she explains. “It’s fantastic—there is no need to be self-conscious. Other bathers are simply enjoying their baths. No one is comparing bodies. It’s a chance to let go of your perceptions of your body and truly enjoy yourself.”
...
“Bathing in the Japanese manner is life changing and is a tool to a more mindful, calm, happy life,” says Decatrel, who notes that the practice can be incorporated into your daily routine even if you don’t have access to your own personal hillside hot spring. “These ancient Japanese bathing rituals translate to our modern times just as does yoga and meditation,” she says. “They will bring a sense of ease and calmness into your life that you never thought possible.”
Though the article adds little, the words used to describe how I would envision a soaking experience are spot on. The simpleness of bathing (naked) with fellow soakers, within nature, enables creating a shared experience; breaking barriers of class, income, race, gender even.
The South China Morning Post notes (Aug. 6) a similarity, but then in the so-called forest bathing:
'A walk through trees or sitting under a tree have been shown to be relaxing and therapeutic. Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku as the Japanese call it, lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system'.
Following through, though slightly off topic, the last few years western US has been losing a number of soaking sites, albeit temporary hopefully. These include  Harbin, Ojai and just recently Terwilliger hot springs. Culprits were forest fires.
Forest fires have taken the surroundings of these hot springs away completely, though mostly leaving the sources themselves intact (hopefully). It means soaking still can take place but very much in a denuded surrounding thereby revealing how important the surroundings are in the complete soaking experience.
What I also noticed is that social media is fast in pointing the finger to social media itself: internet invites too many careless soakers. Even though the cause of these fires is unknown, possibly even an event of nature. 

anastasia_bachykala at a naked Ojai (California, USA):
Healing earth for my digital wounds.
Situations to be loved through.
#california #hotsprings #nature #child#healing #mud #getaway #naturechild#peace #love #freedom #home
Back concerning onsen culture, an interesting article about an onsen on a cruise ship (Daily Telegraph, Sep. 3). Unfortunately the source seems to focus on the novelty of nakedness (yawn), though it emphasises the positive side of communal naked soaking:
'Move indoors and Japanese bathing traditions come into play. Matsuo [Hiroki Matsuo = Japanese bath attendant on board Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess] is only allowed access to the male baths and he remains fully clothed. “Even though the indoor baths are segregated into men and women’s, foreigners are usually anxious when they learn that nudity is compulsory,” he says'.
evabaerin at northern Thailand:
Went for a swim in the not so secret secret hot springs and even boiled an egg in there! 🥚 Did I mention that I LOVE PAI? 💦🌴 #hotsprings #pai
Art in hot spring settings, not an usual topic. Lonely Planet (Jul. 3) on KAI Sengokuhara:
'A new Japanese ryokan is being billed as the first “art-oriented hot spring ryokan”, where guests can celebrate creativity along with tradition.
...
When the new ryokan opens, twelve artists-in-residence will be brought in from around the world to create works that will be displayed in the rooms. It will combine an art gallery and studio along with the hot springs that Japan is known for. There will also be activities that help guests explore their own creative side, including a variety of materials in the common rooms for artists, guests and staff to use for painting, illustrating and more, as well as the studio for guided art experiences'.
At prices beyond 300$US a night, for a random night next April.

merytimtrasmonte from the Philippines:
Some like it hot. #Maquinit #hotspring #coron #palawan
Steamrolling
Heading for our Southeast Asian regions, starting with a couple of splashes from Malaysia. 
The local Daily Express (Aug. 14) on news regarding Southeast Asia's most internet savvy soak: 
'The popular Poring Hot Spring in Ranau will be upgraded and expanded with new facilities to cater to the rising visitors, including tourists.
... 
Following the working visit of Liew [Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew [of Sabah]] to Poring, Dr Jamili [Sabah Parks Director] said it can be concluded that the place could not cater anymore for the rising number of visitors that has reached its maximum level based on the existing capabilities of the facilities. 
Hence, he said there is a need to upgrade and expand the place by adding more features.
Liew said the proposed private chalets which will look like small bungalows aim to cater for high-end tourists who can afford the facilities and services.
She said at present, there is no accommodation facilities in Poring and building the chalets would meet the needs of visitors who wish to stay to enjoy the nature and scenic view.
"My ministry would prepare the working paper and submit it to the State Government," she said'.
More from Malaysia's Sabah state, once again the Daily Express (Jul. 17):
'[Sabah] State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew said a professional tourism architect will be hired to develop a conceptual plan for Tawau Hills Park (Taman Bukit Tawau) in order to turn it into a first class tourism resort in Tawau.
Christina, who is also Tawau Member of Parliament-cum-Api-Api Assemblywoman, said Taman Bukit Tawau has a wide area with 2,700 hectares with lots of potential such as waterfall, hot spring, the tallest tropical tree and beautiful rivers'.
#VisitSabah #TawauHotsprings spa
The Star of Malaysia (Jul. 5) on the Peninsula: 
'[Johor Bharu] City dwellers can now enjoy a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life with the opening of KSL Hot Spring Resort at Taman Daya, the first resort in Johor with hot spring water.
"One of the key features at this resort is the natural hot spring water or ‘Onsen water’ that is rich in minerals and calcium,” he [KSL Hotel and Resort assistant general manager Simon Cheng] said.
“University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) helped us locate the best source of the natural hot spring water in Jasin.
“After the water is transported here, it is kept in a water tank and undergoes treatment before we allow it to flow into our pools,” he said'.
Spoilt
Singapore's 
Strait Times (Aug. 11) reports on the development activities of it's main island hot spring of Sembawang:
'The Sembawang Hot Spring, Singapore's only natural hot spring on the mainland, was officially closed for development works on Friday (Aug 10).
The area will be developed into Sembawang Hot Spring Park, and is expected to reopen in October next year, according to a notice posted on the National Parks Board's (NParks) website'.
 
mzuuzu at Ardent, Camiguin (Philippines):
Устала от этой поездки. Почему-то выдохлась. 6 перелетов, минивэны, лодки, тук-туки, велорикши, мопед за неполные четыре недели.
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Снорклинг, дайвинг, обезьяны, черепахи, водопады, сардины, лагуны, каньонинг, снова дайвинг. Очень много ярких впечатлений и эмоций за очень короткое время.
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Три дня на разграбление острова, перелёт, новый остров, три дня, переезд. Индонезия-Гонконг-Филиппины.
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Осталось два перелёта, два ночных автобуса и самый большой остров Филиппин.
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Не знаю, как можно жить в режиме постоянной дороги. Сколько надо сил?
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Еще мне никогда не был понятен тревелливинг. Как можно постоянно путешествовать? И как при этом можно никуда постоянно не ломиться? Сидеть в кафе, ходить на рынок..
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Как научиться быть марафонцем, а не спринтером?
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#mzuuzu_philippines #путешествие#источник #hotsprings #alwaysontherun#филиппины #camiguin #юва #азия#nationalgeographic
Over to Vietnam. Vietnam news (Aug. 10) has a touristy feature on Vân Hồ District (Son La province):
'Chiềng Yên Hot Spring is very different from others of its kind. It is not planned as a professional service area. The hot spring runs from the mountain with an average temperature of 35°- 40° Celsius. It is embanked to create a 50m2 pool for people to have a hot bath. Both men and women in the village will share the same pool here. And it is also for tourists. It is the hot spring that provides local women with white skin, black hair, and attractive figures.
If the tourists spend a day conquering Mt Pha Luông, they are advised to enjoy the hot spring to ease their pain and complete the journey to the mountain'.
the.wolfbaby.lsk at Xã Trạm Tấu Huyện Trạm Tấu Tỉnh, Yên Bái province (Vietnam).

Vietnamnet (Aug. 16) has more serious news.
Much ado about hydropower going wrong. Blame is put on hydropower as a poor choice, though events point towards insufficient public scrutiny (read undemocratic decision taking), leaving locals disenfranchised:

'In 2000, Ban Ho, with its scenery and culture of ethnic minorities, was the ideal destination for travelers who came to Sa Pa [Lào Cai province]. There were nearly 30 homestays in Ban Ho at that time.
However, Muong Hoa Stream and La Ve Waterfall, which were always full of visitors, now have nothing except rocks and gravel.
...Dao Thi Tem felt lucky as her house was near La Ve waterfall, a favorite destination of travelers. She decided to borrow money from relatives to build a house for travelers. However, since the day Nam Toong hydropower plant was put into operation, the waterfall has been dry. “Su Pan 2 hydropower spoiled the hot spring. And now Nam Toong hydropower spoils the waterfall,” Tem said.To many people’s surprise, many of the hydropower plants are illegal'.
andika_anjani at Ciater (Java):
 Swimming time di kolam depan rumah mantan. 🙊
At least setelah janji ngajak temen gw ke sini, akhirnya gw juga bisa renang manis pagi-pagi. Berhubung belum bisa balik ke Aik Kalak Rinjani lagi, mending ke deket rumah aja.

Curug Cipanas Nagrak ini airnya hangat karena bersumber dari Ciater, Subang. Fasilitas warung dan toilet juga udah proper. Kemarin sih lagi dibangun kolam tambahan buat di bagian bawahnya.
Dengan HTM 10.000 rupiah, buat gw okelah ngacir berenang air anget sampe puas. Walau kolamnya memang buatan, tapi suasana alam di sini masih terasa asri. Bentuk kolamnya mirip-mirip Umbul Sidomukti gitu deh.
Saran gw kalo berenang ke sini pakelah kacamata renang, kecuali kuat perih kena air belerang, lalu datanglah pagi-pagi supaya dapet suasana sepinya. Dan jangan baper liat jalur masuk ke area curug soalnya dipenuhi plang sejenis 'Jalan sama aku, jadinya sama dia'. 😂
Jangan lupa jaga kebersihan dan patuhi larangan naik ke tebing atas curugnya, yes!
O iya, banyak yang kepo sama hasil foto-foto di sini sampe pengen buru-buru main ke Curug Nagrak. Nih, salah satunya yang bilang bakal dateng pas libur Lebaran @hafizhshofwan. Awas aja kalo pehape. Tenang, di rumah ada kamar kosong ko. Kamar mandi maksudnya. 🙊
~APL
#andikappuccino #explorewestjava#curugnagrak

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Magic

merel3ssen in Indonesia:
Taking a #shower with the locals of #flores #hotspring
This entries lead concerns Japan - hot springs - naked. Oh no!
Yes. Articles on how to behave while enjoying a Japanese hot spring have been circulating around the globe the last few months. A selection:
Star Tribune (Jun. 4):
'Japan is proud of its bathing traditions. For many Westerners, though, the fact that these traditions involve being naked with strangers is awkward at best, even though men and women bathe separately.
On my first trip I tried to wriggle out of a friend's offer to take me to an onsen, or hot springs resort. I suggested a different town that had an attraction I wanted to see, and thought I was off the hook.
...
It turned out for the best, though, because I've become a fan. Nothing is more relaxing after a tiring day of sightseeing than a long soak, and you can reassure yourself that you're experiencing authentic culture at the same time'.
A more personal experience from yahoo7.com.au (Apr. 5):
'I’m standing in a small room wrapped in a towel. I know I have to go in to a further room to shower, but I’m finding it hard to will myself to go in there because… well, when I get in there I will have to shower naked.. with other people.
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I get in and under before I’m spotted by anyone ('anyone' being the other three women - two of whom are already in the water, and one who is focusing on her own bits for the time being).
And then something magical happens.
It’s so relaxing... I allow the steaming hot water to envelop me. I do what I’ve read is customary and place the facecloth on my head, then lie back against a wall and relax.
...
My visit has made me realise that no one is really looking at me, that everyone has a body with bits that wobble or bits that we don't like, and yet, we’re all just wasting valuable time worrying about showing it'.
Shape.com (Apr. 20):
'I knew it was something I needed to do—a cultural experience to cross off my travel bucket list. But I was nervous about other people seeing me naked. I don't have any particular reason for my fear, other than years of American culture conditioning me (and all women) to shower solo, change your clothes as quickly as possible, and use robes and towels whenever possible. (You know, you've wrapped a towel around your waist while sliding underwear on and off in the locker room.) I worried that if I stripped down in front of other women and stayed that way for more than five seconds, then they would find something to silently judge. The cellulite on the back of my thighs. The slight pudge in my stomach. Hell, maybe I had too much—or too little—pubic hair for their liking. I didn't know, but certainly, they would find something.
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We weren't forced to use public onsens the entire trip. In fact, only four of the 11 days had them as our only option. The other, larger accommodations had private onsens or personal en suite bathing facilities available. But by the end of the trip, we were all forgoing those private tubs and opting for the public onsens instead. There wasn't much talk, if any, of who would go when. A simple, "I'm hitting the onsen!" sufficed as we checked into our rooms, ditched our dirty hiking clothes, and slipped into our yukatas. Sure, my heart still skipped a beat each time I derobed, but the cry for a rejuvenating soak was louder than my body image fears. And as the warm water soothed my achy muscles and the quiet conversation between other women buzzed around me, my fears were, little by little, washed away.
I may not be down to dip in my birthday suit on the regular, but if this trip taught me anything, it's that body confidence—just like everything else—is always a work in progress'.
Japan Today (Apr. 8) notes how some national bathing traditions are on the fade:
'If you find yourself on Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu, you will come upon delicacies that are not offered abundantly in other parts of the country. However, what the island is the most well known for are its onsen, or hot springs. Dipping into the thermal waters of Kyushu is a must, especially if you can do it with all of your friends or significant other.
These days, the konyoku onsen, or mixed gendered bath, is a rare and dying breed. Every year, more facilities are closing their doors or changing their policies so that men and women bathe separately. Traditionally, onsen were meant for men and women to bathe together, so many advocates are pushing to preserve the old ways'.
It then refers to gaijinpot blog which lists 9 Kyushu konyoku's.

yakushima.kamesennin.iwaki with friends, bathing in one of the referred to konyoku's:
平内海中♨️温泉♨️#屋久島 #yakushima #温泉 #屋久島ガイド亀仙人岩城輝龍 #屋久島ガイド亀仙人 #屋久島写真 #平内海中温泉
Channel News Asia (Apr. 13) tries to broaden the cultural thing.
'Travelling the world is about exploring new cultures and traditions. And sometimes you do that completely naked, surrounded by equally naked locals, wearing nothing but your warmest smile.
...
But contrary to what you might think, going au naturel won’t embarrass you in front of the locals as much as your lack of etiquette might. For instance, what is customary in a Japanese onsen may be downright rude in a Turkish bath house'.
What follows is just some pointers for sauna's, onsens, Turkish baths and jjimjilbangs.

Soakings stamped
Then the stranger side of soaking, more or less related. 

Spoon and Tamago (Feb. 12) on the peculiar art of soaking-themed stamps:
'Each of Hirose’s stamp designs depicts an individual bath house in Japan with a particular focus on the bath house’s unique features: a stunning mural of Mount Fuji, a stately front entrance, a water spout in the shape of a lion’s head. By highlighting these specific quirks, Hirose hopes to inspire others to visit local public bath houses more frequently. In fact, traditional bath houses are disappearing in Japan, where one public bath house goes out of business about once a week.
Last month, Hirose held two exhibitions in Tokyo of his stamp designs intended to generate interest in local public bath houses. The first, a partnership with the Tokyo Sento Association, included stamps Hirose created for the 22 public bath houses in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward, which has the second-highest ratio of bath houses to residents in Tokyo.
The second exhibition showcased roughly 100 stamps of individual bath houses all across Tokyo, representing what Hirose describes as a “sento pilgrimage.” Visitors can even embark on their own sento pilgrimages by collecting stamps from each bath house featured in Hirose’s designs'.

What happened to the Onsen Magazine? Pity, it seems there are no more updates.

Too much

lincy_rangsinee in Umphang, Tak, Thailand:
หนาวจัง แช่นำ้อุ่นหน่อย 🎋🎋 #privateonsen🏔♨️
And the trend in soaking Southeastasian-wise seems to replicate the Japanese experience, but then back home. And without the public viewing.
The Indonesiaexpat describes (Apr. 11) an onsen experience (The Onsen Resort) to be had in Batu, Eastern Java. 
'Batu’s most recent attraction has truly made this town unique in all of Java. The Onsen Hot Spring Resort opened its doors at Jalan Arumaldu, Songgoriti in December 2017. Though small, this resort is regarded as one of the most unique resorts in Southeast Asia as it is the very first resort with a Japanese bathhouse theme.
...
Though the water may seem dirty, it actually isn’t. The brown colouring comes from the sulphur powder used to prevent itching and cleanse the skin. It’s simply divine to soak in the hot water after a long day discovering the beautiful Japanese-inspired grounds of the resort'. 
A recent booking.com reviewer (average score 7.3) however notes: 
'The food!
The staffs were very friendly, the rooms were clean, there is a nice view, but the food was so bad [and] not tasty. The breakfast was also bad. A lot of empty food trays and the staffs were so slow too'. 
Tripadvisor, handing a visit with a review feedback of 3.0 stars, continues: 
'Japanese culture is popular around the world. In this place,I can experience it completely,no matter Japanese traditional clothes or onsen or food. Honestly, I like onsen most , because the water is yellow and not hot. It is really relaxed my body and mind. Of course, the lady clothes is fascinating and food price is suitable . I wanna get here again'. 
Quotes for a family villa for 2 nights, €508 no less.

_marnelli_ at Marawar hot springs, Kapatagan, Mindanao, Philippines:
💦 #nature #hotspring
More onsen, this time from Vietnam (Viet Nam News, Apr. 13): 
'Located 30km north of Huế City, the newly opened Alba Wellness Resort is nestled in a tranquil land cradled by tropical forest, hot and cold streams and a local lifestyle rich in Huế traditions.
...
Boasting a natural hot spring, a precious gift of nature scattering around the property, Alba Wellness Resort offers Việt Nam’s first authentic onsen and spa centre, where I enjoyed a seven-step contemporary Japanese bath.
Although I had experience with traditional onsen in Japan, where nudity is required, I was as a bit hesitant to strip off and bathe in front of other ladies. (There are separate spaces for men and women.) My embarrassment vanished quickly after I got into the ‘silk bath’ pool, which had thousands of small bubbles that I used to cover my skin'. 
Tripadvisor (the max of 5.0 stars no less): 
'The only minor thing was the water temperature of Onsen Spa. They were somehow lukewarm, and I was a bit unsatisfied with being an expert in hot springs. I left feedback so it will be fixed soon... I hope'.
This was the first review. Management responded that they would solve the problem and I see no repetitions of this comment.
Booking.com (8.9) on the same: 
'I like the beautiful atmosphere here. The staffs are very nice and helpful also. The hot spring here is a really great present of God'. 
Quotes are from US$180 and above.


Da Nang Corner on a visit to Nui Than. Google translates from Vietnamese: 

'Onsen bathing area is surrounded by two mountains of Thanh Long and Bach Ho, behind is Ba Na mountain, the two sides are the stream of water in front. This is a prime location with gas. Onsen Towers are built on the Japanese architecture and are standardized according to strict procedures of Beppu province, the home of hot springs in the world' 

It's not the only onsen experience to be had in Vietnam. Nui Than Tai Hot Springs Park (near Danang) boasts of an Onsen Tower
'Is a place for mineral bath in the tub with large size according the Japanese style and characteristic. At Onsen in Nui Than Tai hot spring park has qualified with standards of Beppu city - the famous city of Onsen in Japan'.
Tripadvisor (4.0 stars):
'We came during summer holidays on the weekends, so it was quite noisy and crowded in swimming pools. The Osen bathing facility was not too crowded so it was quite pleasant and relaxing. We tried out the 2 bathtubs, first with lemongrass then with milk, which we found very refreshing. There are more choices that we didn't try: with vietnamese wine, tea, coffee, and mud'. 
And: 
'Expensive, poorly run, slides closed, restaurants closed, 120k for Pho?? They made me share a mud tub with two other people?? Slippery tiles and screaming kids everywhere. Turned away from slides because of size (we are not overweight at all)'. 
Quotes from $60US. 
Booking.com gives it an 8.6.

hexezy in an onsen-like setting in Petchabun (Thailand). Read more here
『Hot spring ♨️』 バンコクから車で3時間かかる所です。 1時間で300バーツです。1人当たりで300バーツではなく、一部屋当たりで300バーツです。複数の人数でも入れます。肌がツルツルになるよ〜❤ 

ちなみに私は変態やな(笑)#温泉 #hotsprings #transgender #tanskin #まったり
Then in Thailand, Bangkok Post (May 8) posts the following:
'The popularity of onsens has been bubbling up in Thailand, even though it is a tropical country, says one wellness brand.

Thai onsen lovers no longer need to fly to Japan to enjoy a hot soak as onsen services are available across the country, particularly at major tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Bangkok -- specifically on Sukhumvit Road and at the K Village retail complex on Rama 4 Road.

Panpuri, a leading wellness brand, is set to open its first onsen on the 12th floor of the Gaysorn complex on Ratchaprasong Road next month, aiming to tap fans of the bathing ritual.

"It is the first onsen downtown. Apart from shopping in the area, onsen will be an alternative activity for visitors," said Vorravit Siripark, chief executive at Puri Co, the operator of Panpuri Wellness and Spa. Onsen will be one feature at the 100-million-baht Panpuri Wellness and Spa, which entails a variety of services, including organic spa, wellness bar, studio, body massage and meditation.

There are 10 onsen pools separated by gender and two small individual pools.The company has hired a consultant from Japan to design the onsen system, with hot springs imported in the form of powder from several Japanese cities. This wellness centre was soft launched last December.

"We've had better than expected responses, and about 60% of our customers are foreigners from China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong," said Mr Vorravit, a self-described spa and massage lover.
Mr Vorravit first opened a Panpuri store in a 120 square metre space at Gaysorn Complex to sell organic spa products for body care. He opened the space shortly after returning to Thailand from Italy in 2003, where he was studying for a master's degree and was inspired to realise his entrepreneurial ambitions.
"I had a chance to try spa treatments at famous hotel chains. Their services are excellent. But there are no Thai products available there. This inspired me to create my own health and services, without imaging they would one day become part of a global trend," said Mr Vorravit.
He said there is huge potential for spa and wellness centres in Thailand, with foreign tourist arrivals reaching 35.4 million in 2017. Thailand is ranked No.1 globally as a spa-holiday destination, generating revenue of 32 billion baht from foreign customers in 2015'.  
Dis-spelled


Mountains Waterfalls and hot spring.. what more could you ask for 😀#vietnsm #nahtrang #waterfalls #hotsprings#beautifuldestinations #natureboy#naturelover #greatday #gopro
Let's look at the more natural springs, starting with Vietnam. 
Above a more touristic destination near Yangbay, I believe.
Condé Nast (Jun. 25) announces it's 
'105 of the most stunning swimming pools in the world'.
Including Nha Trang's (Vietnam) hot spring I-resort.

Possibly more to do with the lead and the local spin-offs but nonetheless interesting:


Baomoi.com describes (Jan. 23) the hot springs of Ngoc Chien hot springs in Loi village (Ngoc Chien commune, Muong La district, Son La province). Afforded with google translate:
'And Pham Ngoc Son, a traveling tourist from Hanoi, shared, working week with computer, head tense, Mr. Son gathered group to go to relax. His group runs a distance of more than 300km from Hanoi along Highway 32, to the Kim junction (Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai province) to Ngoc Tuan to experience, relax, soak in the hot mineral water. Mr. Son and his friends all feel the same, when the bath is full of stress, tired all dispel them in a moment'.
_donsweet_ at Ngọc Chiến: 
------- Tắm tiên 👌Lần đầu thấy suối nước trong vắt sôi nổi bọt, ước chi mang được về để khỏi sợ tắm vào mùa đông 😆#NgọcChiến#MườngLa
Does Bali have some beautiful hot springs? Kura Kura Guide (Apr. 10) thinks affirmative. They
'... have summarized briefly 5 Natural Hot Springs in Bali with stunning scenery that will feast your eyes'.
In the Philippines, Nognoginthecity (Jun. 23) experiences Puning hot spring(s):
'It was a worth while experience that is combination of both fun and relaxation'.
 mr.cuthbert at Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines:
Hottest bath I've ever had 🛀🌡️
A visit to Laos Muang La hot spring (Daily Beast, Jun. 11) draws the author to see the future passing: 
'But the days of undisturbed authenticity are numbered in Muang La, and Laos in general. The Chinese are investing heavily across the country, building infrastructure that threatens the undeveloped tranquility of much of the country, including Muang La.
One of the biggest changes coming is a high-speed train line being built to China, which will cut through Oudomxay, a small city about an hour from Muang La. Today, Muang La villagers enjoy welcoming small groups of visitors, but they fear the train will bring development and crowds of tourists.
...
The villages were rustic, but a visit to Muang La can be luxurious. We stayed at Muang La Lodge, about a 45-minute drive from the mountains where the tribes live. The resort is set over a river with natural hot springs, with food from local markets, fisheries, and chefs, and only 10 rooms. It was an unpretentious indulgence. The only nuisance was a stray goat we had to shoo away from the pool'.
guterres05 Waicana Hot spring!•••#goprophoto#gopro#goprolife#gopronation#gopro_captures#goprouniverse#goprotravel#beahero#hero5#goprohero5#goprophotography#gopro_epic#lightroom#goprouniverse#gopro_moment#moodygrams#ig_masterpiece#goprooftheday#aov#hot_shotz#master_shots#exploretocreate#exploreeverything#fartoodope#earthpics#beautifulseasia#photooftheday#timorlesteparadise#timorleste🇹🇱#hotspring#turismotimorleste🇹🇱

Friday, 27 April 2018

If only


happy days spent in hotsprings

A quick look at some recent photo's emerging from Southeast Asia's soaks. More or less at random. Balancing between natural and lesser developed. 
Above may we say goofing around, in Northern Thailand's Pai. Below the Philippines.

If only I’d packed a thermometer in my bag, then I could tell you how HOT this water was! 🚣🏿💦🌴 #palawan #philippines#hotsprings #holiday #family#backpacking#sangat
Super 


jolin.lu at Wareerak, Krabi, south Thailand
Deserted hot spring in the middle of a jungle 😍
yolinautani on Flores, Indonesia
Bajawa#soa#airpanas#liburan
pepper.minh at Nui Than tai, Danang, Vietnam
I had an incredible first onsen experience at @hotspringspark!Although it was somewhat uncomfortable for me to completely undress myself in a public place, the fact that we had pretty much the whole place to ourselves made it so much easier to ease into it, as well as taking pictures for the gram 😜.Particularly, I enjoyed the hottest and the coldest baths there, which were around 40 and 18 degree, where both made my skin super smooth and nice afterward ✨..Nov 23, 2017 | #onsen #onsen♨️ #resort#skinnydipping #dipping#shutterremote#wanderlust #travelgram #travel #wander#instatravel#wandering #danang #trip#backtonature #hotsprings#luxurylife#hotspringspark #nuithantai #travelling#wearetravelgirls#exploringvietnam#takingabath
Lifestyle 
Hot but not spicy. ***📍Balite Hot Spring🗺Baganga, Davao Oriental🚏Region 11: Davao Region🇵🇭Philippines #lakwatsa #Philippines #MeanderInMindanao#Davao #DavaoOriental #Baganga#GoJustGo #SoloLakwatsero ***#travelph #exploreph#ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines#ChoosePhilippines #PinasMuna #the_ph#explorephmag #WooGoPH#BNDOnlineTravelDiary #TravelingPinoy#SeePilipinas #TraversePhilippines#DyanLangPH #allaboutphils#philippineimages #pinoytravel#somewhereinpinas #hotsprings #instagood#instatravel #naturelovers
nuelnius, central Malaysian peninsula
#travel#shortvacay#lovenature#menlifestyle#friends#happy#selayanghotspring
ellehalley at Nha Trang, Vietnam
Mud, mud glorious mud......#swampthing #mudbath #spa

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Light

7ennifer_tl at Marobo (Timor):
🚗⛰🍾🎲🎼💃🏽👙♨️...#Patron #Moet #HappyPills #EDM#MaroboHotSprings #Bobonaro #DroneIsLife#TimorLeste #TimorLesteFromAbove#HiddenParadise #JtAerialPhotography#EditedToTheMax #ThroughJtLens#BirdsEyeView #WorldFromAbove#FromWhereIDrone #DiscoverDrone#DJIMavic711 #SkySupply #Droning#DroneGrids #DroneStagram #GoneDroning#ShotzFromAbove #DjiGlobal #VisualOfEarth#SkyPixel #DroneAddict #DroneJunkie21.1.18
It seems that what's topical in the wider Asian soaking society is the quirky, the cashing-in and the experiencing Japan. 
On the latter, the Philippines Sunstar (Feb. 10):
'I went to Nagoya last week to get naked with strangers. Now if you find this gross, stop now. Put the paper down. Close the window on your screen. But if you think this could be interesting, read on.
...
Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded onsen—the popular hot spring bathing facilities all over Japan that requires all bathers to bathe in the buff. I was determined to go—and not because I’m an exhibitionist. As a matter of fact, when the onsen was first introduced to me exactly a year ago in Hokkaido, I was horrified by the idea of going naked in public.
...
In a nutshell, all my apprehensions at the onsen were unwarranted. You get over the nudity in less than 30 seconds. Truth to tell, no one stares and no one cares—at least at the females only onsen'.
Star2 (Malaysia, Mar. 12):
'I used to be the kid in school that was too shy to even change in the toilet if there were other schoolmates around.
When colleagues learned that I was visiting Club Med Tomamu in Hokkaido, Japan, where guests have access to an onsen operated by the neighbouring Hoshino Resorts, they were adamant I put my inhibitions aside and give it a go.
...
Meanwhile, neck up, the air was cool and refreshing. There were even snowflakes falling on my cheeks! It was just magical'.


But it's not only the Southeastasian perspective that notes cold feet to the Japanese au naturel soaking. The Independent (Feb. 23):
'“Welcome to paradise!” says the naked, middle-aged woman sitting beside me, grinning as she sinks deeper into the almost-too-hot spring water pool at Hotel Shiragiku in the Japanese city of Beppu.
She has travelled from Hong Kong to visit the laid-back spa city famous for its 2,500 mineral-rich hot springs, which are said to soothe the skin and relax the body. I nod my head interestedly to feign comfort and hide the fact I am becoming increasingly anxious that she can see my nipples through the water.
A Londoner uninitiated with onsen culture, I’m seemingly the only one of the dozen naked women in this hot spring bath to feel even a modicum of awkwardness at being in the nude with strangers. Having endured in Japan for thousands of years, onsens are much older than swimsuits and such clothing is thought to contaminate the spring water heated by the Earth’s crust. Instead, bathers must wash thoroughly in a communal area before entering the pool.
I try to relax; it would be remiss to let a little awkwardness get in the way of a dip in an onsen, an integral part of experiencing Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island. And I quickly learn there is something cathartic and freeing about chatting and relaxing communally. This is the antithesis of being shut away in a massage therapy room'.
The Tampa Bay Times (Mar. 8):
'In the bitter February cold, the idea of soaking in an onsen sounds like heaven.
The catch: naked.
In Japan, bathing is an essential ritual of life, at home and in public, often at the end of the day. The tub isn’t for washing, but resting, a chance to soak in natural nutrients.
...
I’m a woman from small-town Madison, Fla., who takes quick showers and wears one-pieces to the beach. I dragged conservative dress like a safety blanket from middle school into my married late 20s. "You once wore tights to the beach," a longtime friend told me.
Could I enjoy this?
...
I feel lightheaded.
I think I like this'. 
yoghijuliansa somewhere on Sumatra (Bengkulu):
________________________________________#curup #ayokecurup #exploresini #rejanglebong #bengkulu #explore_rejang_lebong #hometown #hotspring #nature #mainkesini #vacation #holiday #destination #backpack #travelindo #travellers #dolansebentar #jalanjalanmen #alamnusantara #alamindonesia #like4like #photooftheday #pergiyuk
Stretching it
While we're discussing the onsen culture: Japan Today asks (Mar. 9) when are boys not welcome anymore in the female section of the onsen?

'While some Japanese hot springs operate under a konyoku policy, in which male and female bathers share the same tubs, for the most part bathing in Japan is gender-segregated, even when it’s communal. However, an exception is usually made for young kids.
...
In many people’s opinions, though, once a child starts the first year of elementary school (which usually occurs at the age of five), it’s probably about time for them to start using the bath for their gender.
...
The issue of how to handle young kids in the opposite gender’s bath is particularly tricky, because onsen/sento bathing facilities aren’t private like a public bathroom stall, nor is the goal to get in and out as quickly as possible, like with a changing room at a public pool. The whole point of Japan’s traditional bathhouses is to stretch out the bathing process and make it a relaxing ritual, so operators can’t dismiss out of hand complaints from customers who dislike having boys in the women’s baths. Nevertheless, with a far greater number of single mothers in Japan now than in the past, and the reinvigoration of the country’s love of onsen over the past decade and a half, it’s a topic that’s likely to continue being debated'.
Quite right, as the article generates quite a few comments.

Meanwhile in Taiwan, no such problems:


面朝大海 春暖花開#EDNAKED#♨️ #溫泉男孩.....#liveoutdoors #earthfocus#thegreatoutdoors #optoutside #welltraveled#passionpassport #stayandwander#beautifuldestinations #discoverearth#letsgosomewhere #natgeo #welivetoexplore#lifeofadventure #modernvoyage#liveauthentic #exploretocreate#whereveryougo #hotsprings #八煙野溪溫泉#八煙溫泉 #野溪溫泉 #溫泉 #泳褲痕 #美尻 #野外露出 #野裸 #🍑
Strange news: yfs figureshop have a complete set of a Japanese onsen:

あ~温泉行きたい。職人が混浴露天風呂造っちゃいました。近日店頭にて展示予定です。#ミニチュア人形のyfs#nゲージ#nゲージジオラマ#nゲージで見る日常光景#露天風呂#混浴露天風呂#混浴温泉世界#ヌードフィギュア#ヌード人形#セクシーフィギュア#ミニチュアフィギュア#ミニチュア人形は演出です#ミニチュア写真#ミニチュアの世界#smallworlds #miniaturefigures#nakedfigures#nudefigures#hotspring#onsen♨️ #onsen♨️ #温泉旅行♨️#miniaturephotography#microworld #microphotography#diorama #ジオラマの世界
Australia's Kitchen Nine reports (Feb. 12) on another Japanese quirky hot spring feature:
'... we’ve recently stumbled on this glorious footage footage revealing a Valentine's Day special at Yunessun spa in Hakone; the chance to bathe in a melted chocolate hot spring. Yes, you heard that correctly. Chocolate all around your body'.
An impromptu hot spring from Taiwan, don't see this being the next big thing for 2018 ...


夜戰多望野溪♨️貨卡真的是太ㄅㄧㄤˋ了 !夏天可以是泳池 冬天可以是溫泉池#camping #hotsprings #4x4 #offroad4x4#offroadlife #jimny #amarok

Banyantree
The South China Morning Post (Mar. 12) looks at the Chinese soaking scene:
'The travel market for China’s hot springs is one of the fastest growing in the world. Revenues from hot springs trips, which follow the ancient custom of bathing in thermal waters for recuperative effect, more than quadrupled from 22.8 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) in 2006 to 100 billion yuan in 2016, according to online travel agent Ma Feng Wo. Happily for resort owners, cold weather only makes the prospect of a warm bath more enticing.
...
According to Ctrip, China’s love of hot springs is fuelled by women, who booked 70 per cent of the website’s trips in 2017.
Carolyn Mu, 28, a primary schoolteacher living in Weihai in Shandong Province, began visiting hot springs resorts regularly after graduating in 2014. “I usually go to hot springs with my friends. After having a bath, we get together in the lobby and have fun, watching TV, having a meal and playing cards,” she says'.
It then goes on to list 6 luxury hot spring resorts.
What we prefer. For instance these rustic hot springs that still exist in China. Here at Mangshi, Yunnan.

Hot springsUnder the banyan #hotsprings #hotspring #amazing #wash#swimming
Laos wants to develop (read spoil) it's hot springs. From the Vientiane Times (Jan. 19):
'Bokeo provincial authorities have identified naturally warm and mineral-rich waters and plan to develop the sites as new tourism attractions for bathers during Visit Laos Year.
Director of Bokeo province Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Bounsavath Keoduangta told Vientiane Times local authorities have surveyed three natural hot springs for sustainable development to increase the number of local and international visitors.
The first hot spring is located near Namkeung village, Tonpheung district, situated about 25 km from the north-western province’s capital and only a kilometre from an adjacent natural waterfall.
“Infrastructure at the location will include facilities such as a restaurant, guesthouse and designated bathing site. The project is in the design stage with construction to begin soon,” Mr Bounsavath said.
The second hot spring is located at Namfa-namter village, Tonpheung district, situated about 40km from the provincial capital.
“The two hot springs are warm but not too hot and considered quite fine for taking a bath, especially in the winter.”
According to provincial officials, the third hot spring in Pounglor village, Meung district has temperatures approaching 100 C and is about 60km from the urban centre with a 28 km section of road under construction to allow access for visitors.
The popularity of hot spring bathing among international guests is expected to attract more local and foreign visitors if suitably developed; therefore, authorities are welcoming investment proposals for facilities at the sites'. 
Following a photo of what the photographer attributes to as Xieng Khouan province, but I've done quite some searching but have yet to discover where exactly this new looking resort is located.

#hotsprings
Cocks
blog.tripviss (Jul. 22) has 
'8 Relaxing Hot Springs & Baths in Southeast Asia'
Forbes (Mar. 13) notes 5 hot springs in Asia. It includes Fang (Thailand) and Binh Chau (Vietnam).

Vietnam.net (Jan. 30) has a photographic overview of Tram Tau hot springs. Must be quite new, as tripadvisor has no reviews ...

jzentran at Tram Tau
#real #hotspring in #springtime only 1 dollar charge/visitor can you believe? 😯😱😭😍• Check out Yên Bái - Việt Nam and feel #reborn • #travel #travelphotography#adventure #adventurer #adventuretime #mountains #traveler #lifestyle #culture#vietnam #original #inspiration #inspire#nature #naturephotography #landscape#naturelovers #zen #indie #indieartist #dreamer #harmony #balance #reflection#clearwater • #jzentran
Patrik Lord Travel Blog (Feb. 4) goes to Baslay, Negros (the Philippines):
'The area is quiet and peaceful and if you are resonable fit and are not dependent of shops and changing rooms this is the place for you!
...
Going down to the hot springs. Indeed we saw many people at the turnback, but they were there for cock fights not for the hot springs'.

Less better news, as always in the same vein. Philippines News Agency (Jan. 20):

'The local government here is eyeing a hot spring within a natural park as a new tourism destination in Eastern Visayas.Burauen town tourism officer, Carmela Corazon Crebillo, said Friday they had already drawn up plans to develop the Calor Hot Spring, but were awaiting further comments from concerned national government agencies'.

In all honesty the plans seem more natural while enhancing the forested area around the springs with very limited eco-impact.

Giggles

Malaysia's New Strait Times heads for Bentong's hot spring (Feb. 22): 
'Nature enthusiasts who are looking for a break not far from Kuala Lumpur may want to consider staying at Erya by Suria Hot Spring Resort.
Surrounded by a rainforest the resort in Bentong, which is only an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur and 20 minutes from Bentong town, is perfect for those in need of a rejuvenating and healing retreat soaking in the geothermal hot spring pool.
...
As it is a short getaway, my travel companion and I do not delay taking a therapeutic dip in the 40-degree Celsius sulphuric hot spring pool where the water is directly channelled from the hot springs to the pool. The pool is also open to the public with different rates for children, adults and senior citizens'.
Tripadvisor notes 3,5 stars for the experience, booking.com a 7.2, they could probably use the publicity.

Staystripzilla (Mar. 8) has 
'Top 5 Hot Spring Resorts in Malaysia'.
No. 2 is the just mentioned Suria at Bentong and also mentioned is KSL Hot Spring Resort which is yet to open in Johore.

The Smarter Way (Jan. 2018) has 
'6 Hot Springs in Malaysia to Sweat Your Worries Away'.
Very similar to aforementioned.

Ten things to do on Bali (There V Goes Again). Number 8:
'Skinny Dip in a Hot spring
Ok obviously, you should skinny dip at your own risk- side note: We ended up getting stalked basically by these young boys (maybe 10-12 years old). They definitely thought it was hilarious that we were stranded and naked while they all stood around giggling and pointing. Anyhow, it was peaceful and as cliche as it sounds, I truly felt "at one with nature" while here. The hot spring we visited was called Asri Hot Springs. What I liked about going to this one rather than one of the super touristy ones is that we were right there with the locals, doing what local people do. Apparently, this is a place where some may come to bathe. I also loved that they had several different"bath houses" in addition to the outdoor springs'.

Travelfish (Jan. 28) head for Cipinas hot spring (Java).
'Cipanas is a small atmospheric mountain resort town famed for its volcanic hot springs that seep from nearby active volcano, Gunung Guntur.
...
the resort itself has a somewhat tawdry, downmarket vibe.
The surrounding area however, offers beautiful mountain scenery, active volcanos, ancient ruins, traditional villages and some good hiking opportunities and thus makes a worthwhile stopover
...
The warm water is very relaxing and hard to resist, which makes it easy to forgive some of the below average facilities, and offers the perfect antidote to ease weary muscles after hiking one of the nearby volcanoes.
...
Public baths are a cheaper option, but the ones we checked out were pretty scruffy and lacking in cleanliness'.
qee_3060 at Desa Penen Kec. Sibiru-biru (North Sumatra):
Let's keep you warm 😀#hotspring #pool #nature #cave #cliff #stone #bluelagoon #trip #today

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