Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Former 'glory ' of Malinga Hot Springs

From a distance

Situated in the north of Chiang Mai province, Malinga Hot Springs is not well known, neither by tourists nor by locals. It must have been different 10-20 years before, that much is evident. The site itself is just off to the north of the main road, but if you’re not paying attention, you’ll wiz past it, it hasn’t seen development for quite some time. The access roads are slowly growing over or as is the case on the southern access road, this road has been partially washed away. So the car is parked short of the site itself and the last 100 meter or so are on foot.

The main springs, partially in a stream, watch out for the water buffalo!

The only visitors currently at this site however are the local water buffaloes, who do not seem to have much issue with the warmer surroundings. A couple of brick and cement buildings are proof of better times, though other than the main building, the others were unreachable as the surroundings had turned into a swamp brought on by the rains and then being used for wallowing by the water buffaloes. There were also some disintegrating bamboo huts, now used for storing straw, so as to feed the buffalo.

The hot springs themselves, are behind the main building as well as just beyond the drainage pipe under the northern access road. Just beyond this access road, some enterprising soul has constructed terraces each a couple of centimeters higher than the next as if to create Pamukkale terraces anew in miniature scale in northern Thailand (see photo below). The hot waters then mix with cooler streams and drain into a pond just before the main road.

Some local has tried to copy Pamukkale, using his imagination and a bit of cement

Soaking experience: you’d have to be hard up, if you insisted on soaking here. The main stream would be delicious if that (the stream) was just it; however the water buffaloes have churned the surroundings such that a 'main' stream is hard to find. What’s more you’re getting close to the main road, hardly the paradise sought after.

Getting there: Malinga Hot springs are 13 km north of Thaton village (which is where the main road crosses the Mae Kok river) on the road to Mae Chan. From both north as well as south there is a small access road.

Overall impression: despite the dilapidated state, the failure of any recent development has added to atmosphere, which often lacks elsewhere in some of the Thai ( or other international) hot springs.

Here you’re at the right place to dream about the possibility of winning the lottery and investing that in building a beauty of a resort, where this time round you would not have to side-step the buffalo turds, but could take the heavenly waters while gazing out at the verdant hills close by, followed by a gentle, though thorough massage in a forest with birds twittering around, followed by a salacious feast, after which ….

The 'infrastructure': hay storage

But(day?) dreaming aside, a 5 minute visit might suffice; to satisfy your curiosity.

Though I would like to give more info on Malinga Hot Springs, there is nothing out there on the internet!

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