Saturday, 18 March 2017

Freefalling

didian9_ at Curug Cilengkrang (Java):
Hot spring
Habis seharian dikerjain sama mobil, malemnya camping cantik diiringi irama biola pengantar tidur, besoknya gagal liat sunrise gara gara mendung yang akhirnya ngopi di jembatan bambu dan siangnya berendam di kolam air panas yang didepanyanya ada kolam air hangat terus di belakangnya ada air terjun air dingin, di depan kolam ada sungai aliran air terjun... Bayangin dulu lah kombinasinya.. kebayang gak tuh #apasih
Well, yang paling berharga adalah ilmu baru dari orang-orang baru...
#longjourney #exhausted #experience #hotspring #visitindonesia
In contrast to the above, let's look at some detail to a very interesting article from Japan on it's own soaking culture. It looks into what could possible be the imminent demise of traditional mixed gender bathing in Japan.

Where elsewhere in the globe bathing habits are slowly appreciating the likelihood for bathing and recreating naked, trends in Japan seem to be in the opposite direction. The Japan Times (Dec. 10):
'The problems seen in Shiobara fit in with a wider trend that has seen a precipitous decline in the number of konyoku around Japan. In 2013, the inaugural issue of Onsen Hihyo (Hot-spring Critique) dedicated its cover feature to the plight of mixed bathing.
“Nobody else was writing about it,” says the magazine’s editor, Takashi Ninomiya. “I had a feeling that they weren’t as many konyoku as before, but when I actually looked at the figures, there had been a massive drop.”
There are no official statistics on the number of mixed baths in Japan, so Ninomiya turned to Keita Oguro, a veteran onsen photographer with an encyclopedic knowledge of konyoku. When Oguro first totted up all such onsen 23 years ago, the total came to more than 1,200. By 2013, that figure had fallen to less than 700.
...
“This is really unusual, isn’t it? They’re in total free fall, but hardly anyone is standing up and saying, ‘This is weird,’ or, ‘I want to do something to stop this.'”
However, when you’re talking about a fragile social accord that permits men and women to bathe naked in the company of strangers, it’s hard to know where to start.
...
Mayumi Yamazaki, a prolific essayist who has penned multiple books about onsen culture, including 2008’s “Dakara Konyoku O Yamerarenai” (“That’s Why I Can’t Get Enough of Mixed Bathing”), says that people in hot-spring regions would share a single bath as a matter of course: they bathed wherever the spring was.
...
Ninomiya explains that such hot springs are unable to perform large-scale modifications, such as relocating a bath. And if they stop allowing mixed bathing, however briefly, there’s no going back.
“It’s not something that’s happened suddenly — there has been a gradual shift,” confirms Yamazaki. “However, the rules have definitely become stricter in recent years.”
...
While there are multiple books on the subject, the most comprehensive online guide to konyoku onsen was compiled by a former flight attendant who uses the moniker “Mixed Bath Journalist Mina.” Succhi no Konyoku Rotenburo Taikenki (Stewardess’s Outdoor Mixed Bath Diaries; www.food-travel.jp) has exhaustive photo reports on nearly 500 onsen, each of them rated for overall satisfaction and how potentially embarrassing they are for female bathers.
...
Tucked away on the site is a page listing places that have disappeared since she started out. There are more than 160, and while many have closed for business, a significant number have simply taken konyoku off the menu. Some have divided their existing baths between men and women, introduced a rotation system or converted their facilities into private family baths (kashikiri). In a few unfortunate cases, a single konyoku bath has been split in two.
“I worry that genuine konyoku may disappear altogether,” Mina says.
Yet she’s clear about where the problem lies.
“The main issue,” she says, “is bad manners amongst bathers.”
...
The main reason that mixed baths have endured for so long in the face of official opprobrium is that communities have still supported them. When an onsen stops being a gathering place for locals, there’s less to stop it slipping into disrepute.
...
Ninomiya laments the growing atomization of Japanese society, even in rural areas that until recently were bulwarks of mixed bathing. He describes how it would once be common for agrarian workers to finish a day’s labor by piling into the tub together, irrespective of gender.
“There’s an amazing sense of community when you decide it’s OK to get naked and hang out together, rather than just being ‘Me, me, me’ all the time,'” he says. “I think it’s one been of the good qualities of Japanese people and I’m sad to see it dying out. Those kinds of places are going to disappear. We’re turning increasingly into a world of ‘I’ll do my thing, you do yours.'”
...
“Being able to take a bath, naked, with a bunch of strangers would be unthinkable in a world that wasn’t peaceful,” she says. “The number (of konyoku baths) may keep decreasing, but I think this culture is going to survive.”
Ninomiya, however, is less convinced.
“I think I’d like to do another feature on the subject for Onsen Hihyo,” he says. “But the title next time wouldn’t be, ‘Are konyoku onsen in trouble?’ It would be something more like ‘Farewell, mixed bathing.'”
How to reverse this trend? Is it possible? It is though very unfortunate if this trend is not upheld.

In this it's interesting to see that incoming tourists from Southeast Asia see some  curiosity in soaking and acceptance in that in Rome one does as a Roman would do.
From the Philippines (Manilla Bulletin, Feb. 26):
'To cap off a long day on the road, nothing could be better than to go skinny-dipping outdoors in an onsen or hot spring pool in the dead of winter before retiring in your traditional ryokan hotel room with wall-to-wall tatami mats and a comfy futon bed. Now, don’t let dirty thoughts as well as your misplaced fear of exposing your naked bodies to members of the opposite sex get the better of you. Although a private onsen is a communal experience, decent ryokan hotels in Japan like the Aishinkan in Tsunagi and Hotel Jodogahama in Miyako have separate onsen facilities for men and women'.
taveeruechanok at Tsurunoyu:
 วันนี้มาออนเซนน้ำนม~💦🍼
Singapores' Strait Times (Feb 12) has a travel article on a journey to Kagoshima, Japan.
'... we walk back to the bathhouse for the next stop: the good old-fashioned onsen experience.
This is where it can get a little tricky. There are separate baths for men and women, but every one has to strip naked as custom dictates.
I have never shared a bath in my birthday suit with so many strangers - any stranger, in fact.
But seeing as nobody bats an eyelid, I quickly feel at ease, even liberated'.
Then Thailand's The Nation (Feb. 15) notes how the bullet train arrival in northern Japan's Hokkaido island whets potential Thai tourists appetites. The island's main attractions: hot springs ...

Further afield, the Brits (Daily Telegraph, Feb. 13) are also in on the act: 
'Take the plunge into one of Japan's best onsens'
An expansive introductionary article on Japan's hot springs.
'Onsen baths are taken at any time of day (or night), after washing and always naked (but for the optional flannel). For visitors to Japan, they are not only a pleasurable experience but a great way to get beneath – or at least down to – the skin of this fascinating, inscrutable country.  
With 2,300 known onsen across the nation, Japan offers a multitude of places in which to soak up the local ambience, from the deep south to the wilds of northern Hokkaido. Here is a selection of my favourites'.
Happy 
 tildaaagc at Marobo
Such an amazing but extremely hot place 🇹🇱💕 #hotsprings #timorleste
More onsen news.
How to grab attention? Rocketnews24 (Feb 13):
'As Japan gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, local and prefectural governments are working hard to find ways to accommodate foreign tourists and help overcome language barriers at establishments like restaurants and onsen hot springs around the country.
Iwate Prefecture in the northern Tohoku region has been implementing a plan to welcome foreign travellers to the area since April last year, with a set of pictograms for local businesses to download and use on their premises. Titled “Ten Ways to Make Travellers Happy”, this collection of black-and-white icons is designed to catch the eye of tourists with fun graphics, which include an image of a naked samurai with a topknot.
...

Unlike the controversial onsen hot spring mark and the traditional temple pictogram, these icons are a lot easier to understand universally so let’s hope they don’t run into any problems!'
More onsen curiosa, an article from Australia: why not copy the onsen experience at home? Traveller.com.au's (Jan. 19) author visits a non-named so-called Japanese onsen, probably in Melbourne's sweltering summer:
'I'd hoped to recreate the Japanese bathhouse experience, even on this warm Melbourne day. And yet, I'm now questioning whether that was really a good idea. Everything about this bathhouse looks right, but it doesn't feel right. It's lost some of the magic, some of the adventure, some of the exoticism'.
What's wrong? It
'... feels uncomfortable and even slightly creepy over here in Australia'.
Odd. I mean I understand that feeling, but what the author describes as quintessential Australian is in fact nothing more than connecting with friends or nature. The onsen experience could be likewise, it often is. In Japan. 
But without the cultural context in the center of a busy city, in as stated the sunny summer, it might be wrong. Maybe on a cooler day, or nighttime. Author's closing remarks:
'... sometimes it's better to just enjoy and appreciate what you have'.
Problems
at Penebel, Bali, Indonesia
 #relaxing#hotspring#inpeacwithnature👌
Moving on. Soaking naturally (well with natural waters for a starter) should assist in the idea of using communal waters for bathing and recreational purposes. A recent study (so reports BBC, Mar. 2) reveals all is not well in public pools:
'Canadian researchers have figured out a way to test just how much urine can be found in a swimming pool.
The results? In some cases, about 0.01% of pool water is urine.
It is a small amount but likely more than enough for most swimmers - and enough to be a public health concern.
...
The University of Alberta researchers analysed more than 250 samples from 31 pools and hot tubs. The samples were collected in two undisclosed Canadian cities, from public and private pools, hotels, and hot tubs.
...
When mixed with chlorine in a pool or hot tub, urine can contribute to the formation of so-called "disinfection by-products" in pool water that can be harmful to a swimmer's health.
Those compounds. specifically one called trichloramine, can potentially cause eye irritation, respiratory problems, and has been linked to occupational asthma for people who spend hours in pools, like pool workers and professional swimmers.
...
Urine is not the only factor in the formation of those disinfection by-products - sweat, body lotions and hair care products contribute to the problem as well.
The Edmonton-based researchers suggested that a public health campaign focusing on pool hygiene, like taking a quick shower before jumping in the pool, might help reduce exposure to those disinfection by-products'.
I like swimming a lot. Unfortunately winter months mean a swim in our local pool. I found out some time ago that I'm allergic to chlorine, no wonder natural waters swim nicer
My advice is to shower prolonged before and after swimming; before to saturate your skin, afterwards to rinse all the swim water off.
With the above findings it's odd that there's no more widespread use of say Iceland's precautions or Japan's bathing habits. What will be the future? Culture as it is, sees less and less need for hygiene for oneself but also deplores the lack of hygiene of others. Everybody has their own swim machine at home?

Finally, a slightly lighthearted feature from China which sees tradition  as opposed to a sanitised future. Nextshark (Feb. 9) asks what's with the Granddads soaking naked?

'A wall that previously provided some modesty for a hot spring bath in Wentang District in Chongqing got destroyed after a flood knocked it down. However, even with the lack of privacy, it didn’t stop several patrons from doing their usual business.
...
These old uncles and grandpas from China were certainly not shy about their public display of nudity, as can be seen in the photos that circulated on the internet. No matter how chilly the weather is, they’ll still jump into a hot spring to go skinny-dipping'.
On Order
kaminkretys on how soaking takes place in Burma
 #hotsprings #Hsipaw #Myanmar #fun #adventure #travel #nomad
Cambodia? Khmer Times (Feb. 23) reports on the nation's only hot spring and don't be surprised plans to develop it:
'The Ministry of Tourism is preparing to develop a hot spring area in Kampong Speu province to attract more local and international tourists. 
...
Tourism Minister Thong Khon ordered development of the area into a special attraction for the country and for the province. 
... 
“The hot spring area is a rare tourist attraction and has features that can attract international tourists from neighboring countries to visit the area,” he said. “After an inspection and study, an expert group from Japan found the hot spring of good quality for the treatment of various diseases and for skin care and beauty.” 
... 
Ho Vandy, the secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, welcomed the hot spring idea, saying that if the ministry is taking serious action by cooperating with the private sector for its development, it will be good for the area. “The hot spring development will attract more tourists, both local and international, and generate more income for local people and as well as the private sector,” Mr. Vandy said. “It can reduce poverty in the area. “We should maintain some parts of the original area of hot spring for tourists to see. “However, some parts of it have to be renovated like in other countries because the hot spring in Kampong Speu is so hot we have to  cool it down for tourists to soak in,” he said. 
... 
Hot springs are rare in Cambodia. Te Teuk Pus is 100 meters in diameter. The surface of the water, which comes from six sources and smells like sulfur, is 80 square meters. The water temperature is 70C, according to the ministry'.
antaurpe at Yeh Panes, Bali:
Thank you, spirit.
#bali #bliss #hotsprings #infinitesourceyoga #spiritled #trust #yogini #healing #yoga #pixiedust #mermaid #sacred #sulphursprings
Indonesia's geothermal exploitation seems to be all systems go. Thinkgeoenergy notes (Mar. 9):
'Today, the Indonesia Ministry of Environment and Forests (KLHK) has given a “green light” to uses of geothermal energy or geothermal for new renewable energy (EBT) in conservation area in “order to support energy security and sovereignty of energy and to help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases ( GRK).”, as reported by Antara News'.
Whether or not this is a good measure remains to be seen. But considering already how poor legislative enforcement is in Indonesia, one would have some doubts. Or many.

The controversy surrounding conservation and geothermal development in this republic is witnessed in upcoming elections. Mongabay (Mar. 11):
'The governor-elect of Aceh province said he would revoke a proposal to drill for geothermal energy and build a power plant in the heart of Sumatra’s largest intact rainforest, a victory for environmental and indigenous rights advocates who are struggling to secure the broader landscape’s protected status'.
Simmer
Between the well visited cities of #luangprabang and #vangvieng there is a secret spot only known by cyclists and motorbike travelers. The hot springs just 20km north of kasi. We stoped for lunch and fell in love with the scenery, so we decided to spend the night. Swimming at night in hot water with the brightest stars above you. Can anything top this? #laos #hotsprings #motorcyclediaries #secretspot #slowtravel #offthebeatenpath #morethantravel_mtt 🇱🇦🏍✨⛰

The Laotian Times (Feb. 23) has a short write up on the province of Huaphan's hot springs: 
'The hot springs of Hiem hold the title of being the hottest springs in the country, with a water temperature reaching as high as 100 degrees Celsius. The temperature of the spring is so heated in that a common activity for eco-tourists is egg boiling (or simmering). In addition to indulging in a natural Jacuzzi session (and a protein boost), visitors of the hot spring can enjoy the various delicious cuisines of Huaphan and enjoy cozy, forest picnics!'
Paul Eshoo visits Muang La hot spring resort (Oudomxai) and has some pointers (Jan. 27) such as :
  • The hot spring has been left open to the local public for bathing. This is a very nice community-oriented touch, as it is quite often the case with such resorts that locals are kept out. For the guests, there are private elevated tubs in addition to the public spring, which are filled every night and lit by candlelight in a very romantic setting overlooking the trees and river below. 
  • The food is quite the highlight, with special attention made to using local ingredients, colors and presentation. My favorite was the sorbet made with organic dragon fruit. The chefs are local women from the village and ensure that all dishes have an authentic flavor. 
  • The staff are all local except for one foreign intern who helps with welcoming and coordinating groups. Local staff are able to manage most everything with very little backup from the managers—a key element for any remote, community-oriented lodge.
Tipped
hot spring recovery -- 11.15.2016 #selayang #hotspring #recovery #KL #malaysia
The Guardian (Jan. 17) has an article of Malaysia's travel highlights. 
'Winning tip: Hot springs, Sabah 
Kundasang is a beautiful mountain town in Sabah. I stayed at the Kinabalu Pine Resort, which has a great view of the 4,000-metre Mount Kinabalu. A lovely excursion is to Poring Hot Spring, an hour’s drive away in Ranau. It has many shaded bath tubs but my favourites were the pools with different depths, starting from half a metre with the deepest being about seven metres'.

Hot springs today in the hills of Pamplona Phillipines...
🌴💆💏🐊

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Lock up
The Strait Times (Feb. 28) has an article on the future of the island's hot spring, Sembawang. Jammed between Singapore suburbia and a military camp, the hot spring site has seen little recent development, though by no means is the site poorly managed In a pursuit of better and best, the site has now been earmarked for more development.
'There were mixed reactions from visitors to Sembawang Hot Spring when told that the area will be turned into a park as soon as next year.
Some people who have been visiting it for years were cold to the prospect and expressed dismay, while others were warm to the idea of redeveloping the area, which sits in a military camp'.
Though it doesn't exactly mention what the development will be, change vexes crrent uusers:
'But people like Mr Gui Kim Toon, 74, who see the benefits of development, disagree.
"It would be nice if we had some shelter to protect us from the sun and rain," said Mr Gui, who visits it two to three times a week. "It can also get very messy now - sometimes people wash their clothes here and hang them up to dry. Regular visitors even padlock their buckets - or in one case, a metal bathtub - to the chain link fence enclosing the spring'.
ออนเซนเมืองไทย
#hotspring #onsen #spa
#kanchanaburi #thailand
Finishing off this blog entry a photo from north Vietnam's Serena hot spring resort also known as Kim boi hot spring.


 8 am 🌿
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#onsen #morning #japanesestyle #hotspring #bath #private #nature #green #outdoors #familytime #trip #holiday #vscocam #hkig #vscovietnam #landscape

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Symbolism

 
Bawean island, off the north coast of East Javan coast, Indonesia. 
Small island with a couple of hot springs.  
Viimeinen kuva Baweanilta, lupaan! Tuun muistamaan tän kauniin paikan aina❤ Nyt alkaa kotimatka😭 #hotsprings #nature #sisters #kumpionkumpi #hoeswithtoes #indonesia #eastjava
Let's start off with trends. Other than the trend to soak in nature is on the up. And the opportunities to do such are on the wane, especially in Southeast Asia. 

The wellness trends for the coming year? Insidersguidetospas has a forecast on the coming wellness trends, equally  scientific as those above:
'No longer a solitary, “meh” experience, the new, spectacular, social saunas are some “outside of the box” thinking . . . literally'.
So sauna's are in. What else? Architecture, silence, wellness with arts, inner beauty, meditation and cancer care. And bashing the rich:
'In a world where rising income and “wellbeing” inequalities are fueling a populist backlash, a wellness industry that’s become narrowly associated with rich elites (those $300 yoga pants and Reiki sessions) will change'.
Big news on the symbol change in Japan. Asia Nikkei (Dec. 13):
'A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it does not necessarily say the same thing to everyone. This was the conundrum Japan's trade ministry pondered as it planned to revamp the symbols used in public spaces such as train stations and tourist spots so as to make the country more visitor friendly.
Japan is preparing for an influx of overseas tourists during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But moves to change the traditional pictogram for hot springs has caused an uproar in the tourism industry.
....
According to a survey released by the ministry, around 60% of Japanese respondents said the original symbol is easier to understand. The same survey showed that about 70% of respondents from six countries, including the U.S., China and South Korea preferred the international standard.
But many well-known onsen resorts demanded the change be dropped. "The current symbol is used in train stations, on street signs and for souvenir packaging. It would cost the industry billions of yen to replace them," Seiji Hori, executive director of an association of inn owners in Beppu, on the southern island of Kyushu, told the Nikkei Asian Review. 
...
Yukio Ota, the Japanese designer who developed the ISO symbol for exit signs -- "the green-running-man" -- thinks the Japanese hot spring symbol is superior. "The original symbol is much more visible from far away, even when small. In terms of design, the original one is better," he said.
According to Ota, the key to a pictogram is visibility, which the international symbol does not take fully into account. "If you keep scaling it down, the symbol gets all squashed up, becoming less identifiable. A pictogram must be simplified as much as possible," he said'.

Does seem a bit odd that you need to change your symbols to explain to foreigners, should be the other way round? 
Then again I do like the social aspect of the new (?) symbol, but why three persons, not two? One person would be a bit anti-social (very foreign?). 
What happens with foot soaks? Geysers? No symbol

hot spring waterfall @Xichang, China. Amazing!!
More making foreigners at home in the local hot pot. CCTV (Dec. 8):
'The allure of ancient China can be highlighted by its colorful artworks, music and theater performances. But there’s more to it’s rich history, such as the prevalent hot springs bath culture, which remains popular in current Chinese society'.
It then has a general section of what positive attributes a soak has and ends the article thus:
'Many Chinese love to visit hot springs, but some expats remain reluctant to relax there. The communal atmosphere can intimidate visitors, especially Westerners, who value privacy more.
It can be uncomfortable to delve into steaming hot waters, which may feel like your skin and body are burning. Some pools are too small and with many people sitting in them.
Perhaps, Chinese hot springs baths can develop services that would be more appealing to foreign customers as well. If so, they could generate more substantial income by welcoming both Chinese and expat clientele'.
See, if you have a financial reward in the offering?

Tonic
purplepraeee at the hotsprings of Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai province:
โครตสดชื่น
More marginal soaking news
Starting with recent seismic activity in New Zealand that may well explain other geothermal phenomena such as hydrothermal eruptions in Lake Rotorua (NZ Herald - Nov. 28, NZ Herald - Nov. 30 and an interesting explanation on Nov. 29):
'Rotorua Lakes Council geothermal inspector Peter Brownbridge said it was nothing to worry about, although it was noisy and spectacular because of the geyser effect of the eruption'.
On November 2  Canada's The Star reports:
'One of four Canadian men accused of walking onto a sensitive hot spring at Yellowstone National Park has pleaded guilty to the charges.
The National Park Service says Hamish McNab Campbell Cross pleaded guilty Tuesday to foot travel in a thermal area and disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition. He agreed to pay more than $8,000 in fines and fees'.
🍀 Red Rock Hot Spring 🍀
After soaking in the icy cold waters of Casaroro and Pulang Bato waterfalls, we finally got a taste of the soothing water of this natural hot spring.
The spring's water temperature can get as high as 39° Celsius.
#hotspring #naturalspring #nature #Valencia #redrocks #NegrosOriental #Visayas #travelgram #travel #choosephilippines #experiencePH #discoverPH #photooftheday
Hot spring salt? I was drawn to this subject by alternet (Oct. 28):
'Baleni Salt comes from a hot spring on the Klein Letaba River and has been meticulously cultivated with ancient techniques for 2,000 years by the women of the Tsonga community'.
The hot spring claims to be the only undeveloped hot spring in southern Africa (source).

South Korea has it's jimjilbang soaking tradition, not usually using naturally heated waters, but nonetheless a sort of sento.  
Seektheworld has 10 steps of enjoyment for jimjilbang luvers in Seoul.  Conclusion:
'Throughout the experience, I realised that it made sense to spend so much time cleaning your body ’cause cleanliness is sacredness, which leads to happiness and contentment.
I surely had a pleasing experience at the Jjimjilbang and it was kind of an awkward experience for me but it was still fun and relaxing. I totally would recommend it on a must-do thing in Seoul'.
Forest bathing explained. Quartz (Oct. 22):
'The tonic of the wilderness was Henry David Thoreau’s classic prescription for civilization and its discontents, offered in the 1854 essay Walden: Or, Life in the Woods. Now there’s scientific evidence supporting eco-therapy. The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing'.
Finally, the wackiest news (Mashable, Nov. 27):
'The mayor of Beppu, a city known for its hot springs, issued a challenge on social media last week: If this YouTube video hits a million views, he'll build a "spamusement park" in the city.
...
Mayor Yasuhiro Nagano announced on Facebook that the video hit the million-view mark four days after it was released.
According to RocketNews24, the mayor's office released a statement to the press celebrating the project's commencement.
It hasn't said when the park will be completed, but the city is now seeking creative types to submit ideas for its rides and attractions.
We only have one question — how will people keep their towels on on some of these rides?
But what if ...

Sacred
Moving on, the regional section, starting off in Vietnam with some news ...

thanhpham275 at Tú Lệ - Văn Chấn - Yên Bái:
#throwback #mùcangchải #trip #naturalhottub có 4 người trong hình thì 3 người trên Mộc Châu. 1 người bị ốm ở nhà nằm up ảnh 😖😖
Crossingtravel (Jan. 2) has this on offer:
'Situated in Ba Na Nui Chua nature reserve area, the hot spring park on Than Tai Mount has been popular recently when tourists come to Da Nang. This summer, apart from familiar destinations, don’t forget to try a brand new experience in Japanese hot spring.
Under the direction by experts from Japan – the country of hot spring, you will find it worth to try'.
Классный вид, теплые термальные источники, лазурная вода, что еще нужно для счастья😍
Вьетнам не перестает удивлять:))🇻🇳
#yangbay #waterfall #vietnam #hotsprings
Over in Thailand, the Yunomori line of spa's opens a new spa resort in Pattaya (Pattaya Today, Oct. 19). Their other affiliates claim that their waters are sourced from natural hot springs, no word here though where their waters originate from. 
The Bangkok Post also has a visit to Pattaya (Oct. 28):
'People have been benefiting from the therapeutic effects of thermal springs for thousands of years. The natural relief and invigoration of the mineral-rich water -- which, by the way, Yunomori sources directly from the sacred springs of Kanchanaburi's Wat Wangkanai -- has such a tantalising and relaxing effect on you'.
Surrounded by nature
#HomePhutoey #homephutoeyriverkwai #boutiquehotels #adventure #kanchanaburi #riverkwai #treetopadventure #hotspring #กาญจนบุรีรีสอร์ท #โฮมพุเตย
Walls
Heading to Bentong, Malaysia; the New Strait Times, (Nov. 17):
'Welcome to Bentong Hot Springs! Located 16km south of Bentong, it consists of two pools. A portion of one pool has been taken by a resort for commercial use and a mural-covered brick wall separates the public and private sections. Some people pay an arm or a leg to visit exclusive mud spas like Turkey’s Sultaniye Hot Spring, California’s Calistoga Hot Spring and New Zealand’s Hell Gate. Here in Bentong Hot Spring, it’s free! 
That's about all it can mention about the hot springs.

lachgar_web at Suungai Klah?
Having a hot tub with some of the greatest minds .
#HotTub #HotSpring #Malaysia #Business
An article (Borneo Post, Nov. 20) on Sarawak's Long Semadoh valley with a stop at Merarap hot spring.

Meanwhile in Laos:

"Women from the village enjoying a bath" - Muang La Lodge is home to natural hot springs. The mineral & salty water has been used for centuries to heal and relax #muanglalodge #muangla #northernlaos #discoverlaos #hotsprings #relaxation #artdevivre #nature #healthybody @muanglalodge @secretretreats
Explanation
Hot spring tourism in Indonesia. Tempo.co (Jan. 3):
'Moreover, Yuki [PT Sari Ater Public Relations manager] said that Ciater has seen increased number of visitors from Middle Eastern countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, surpassing that of Asian countries, namely Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.
“It’s a surprising trend, but is welcomed nonetheless,” Yuki said. Saudi Arabian tourists see Ciater as heaven on earth due to its natural landscape, exotic mountains and cold temperature, unlike the Middle East'.
Lagi pada mau ambil selendang bidadari 🌈👸
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Lokasi : Pemandian air panas , Kawah Rengganis - Ciwidey Bandung
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#lingkarindonesia #explorebandung #vacation #trip #travellife #travelling #travelgram #traveller #mountaineer #mountaineering #hiking #tracking #jelajahnusantara #thisisindonesia #hotspring #kawahrengganis #rengganis #jawabarat #fog #sagalabandung #mlakuyuk #ciwidey #bandungbanget #bandunginframe #discoverbandung #infobandung #KerenGan #livefolkindonesia
The end is near? One of the globe's unique and laid back places to be is central Sumatra's Lake Toba. This particular backdrop is the setting for a new gold rush? Mongabay (Oct. 19):
'Starting this year, the government plans to whip the sleepy lake region into the “Monaco of Asia.” It’s an ambitious tourism initiative, and one that promises to boost the economy. The tourism minister has said he aims for the country to earn $1 billion annually from the lake’s foreign visitors'.
With hot springs located at the north of Toba lake, these would probably the first to be developed. The article notes how the little tourism the lake already sees is upsetting the ecosystem and foresees an end to the lake as we know it with the destruction of forests, water and the building of toll roads and an airport.

Somethings just can't be explained. 🎍#hotspring
But hot spring resorts have also been blamed for other natural disasters Jakarta Post (Sep. 26):
'In its immediate response to the flash floods in Garut, the West Java Environmental Management Board says the disaster was a result of large-scale construction activities in a number of conservation forest areas, which is surely a blatant violation of the regency’s detailed spatial planning. For years the sanctuaries have been converted, for the sake of financial gain, into resorts, restaurants and hot spring facilities'.
Not always positive news, Jakarta Globe reports (Nov. 9) on a death at the hot springs atop Mt. Rinjani, Lombok's signature volcano. And though the area was closed due to volcanic activity, the death seems to be a drowning (Freemalaysiatoday, Nov. 9).

Finishing off the regional section, a photo from Burma:

Men are enjoying the hot spring, after a long day of working. This photograph was taken in Kuang Daing, Shan State, Burma/Myanmar
#shower #qualitytime #men #swimmshorts #clean #workworkwork #hotspring #busy #hot #water #spring #nottheonlyone #travelburma #myanmar #burma #travel #photograph #natgeo #natgeotravel

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Neglect

Recovery time! #jellylegs #poringhotsprings #borneo
When compiling a Top 10 of Southeast Asian hot springs, it's always exciting to see which hot spring comes out on top.

Well, it's not. 

Every year there's a slight change in how the list is compiled but the result remains the same.

Above was the starting text accompanying last years Southeast Asian Top 10, literally. I am allowed to copy and paste it, because this year, again not much change ...
Need I say Poring hot spring tops the 10? While searching for  the lead photo above, it's surprising how many hashtagged photo's simply reference the surroundings rather than the soak itself; possibly the winning formula? 
Poring hot springs is a nature park with pristine jungle, waterfalls, short walks, a canopy walk and even an opportunity to view a Rafflesia plant. 
Oh, and it's the source of a natural hot spring, though witness, the surroundings are nothing natural ...

As usual, a Tripadvisor reference to a recent guest:
'I have been to a number of hot springs and these are the saddest looking springs I have seen. The place was very sad looking and unkempt the baths and changing rooms dirty nobody around doing any cleaning at all. Cold taps were not running and eventually found a grumpy man who really didnt care. Come on Malaysia you can do so much better with your tourist areas! The springs area was so neglected it doest take much to make it a relaxing place to be'.
Not so tops.

Challenge

Si krucils pada kepanasan😂👫dah lama ja gak mau udahan😧 neneknya nyengir aje😹
📷foto by @hartareni #sariaterhotspring#berendam#pulosari#familyholiday
Last years star soaks have failed to challenge the top. 

In all honesty, the hot spring of Pai (Thailand) has fallen away, largely due to the fact that it's now sensed as having two separate hot springs: a sedate national park affair (flag bearer Tha Pai) and a rambling free for all packed with backpackers soak (Sai Ngam); together they would have pushed Pai close to the top 5.

I also looked at an international comparison using the same method. Internationally re-known hot spring resorts such as Peninsula (Australia), Tabacon (Costa Rica), Blue Lagoon (Iceland) or Takaragawa (Japan) would beat Southeast Asia's top ranking soak (Poring) big time.

The list for 2016:
1. Poring, Sabah, Malaysia (2015: 1)
2. Maquinit, Palawan, Philippines (2)
3. Banjar, Bali, Indonesia (3)
4. Ardent, Camiguin, Philippines (4)
5. Mainit, Luzon , Philippines (10)
6. Sari Ater, Java, Indonesia (9)
7. Banjaran, Perak, Malaysia (6; photo below)
8. Puning, Luzon, Philippines (7)
9. Sungai Klah, Perak, Malaysia (-)
10. Thap Ba, Nha Trang, Vietnam (8)
 
 
daphfinitely 
Major withdrawals. 💚
Just bubbling under the top 10 are the hot springs of Fang, Tha Pai (both Thailand), Sembawang (Singapore), Tambun and Annah Rais (both Malaysia). 

Anyway, what the above have in common, are structures with little resemblance to nature and often visited to the extent that one would say they are overcrowded, maybe it's more a list of hot springs in Southeast Asia to avoid ...?

The True Philippino Breakfast 3
Breakfast in volcanic sulfur river :) Сидеть в горячей вулканической серной речке под дождем с чаем в руке, поглащать вкусный завтрак и таращиться на джунгли... Что может быть лучше? :) #breakfast #philippines #mango #food #tea #hotwater #hotsprings #dauinhotspring #river #jungle #forest #granola #negrosoriental #negros #tropics #whitesulphursprings #whitesulfur #sulfur
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