Thursday, 13 November 2008

Off the list

Sometimes shit happens. That's what they say, but what they imply is that things negative happen to which nothing can be done. Apparently.

Sukhothai Hot Springs are where?
The hot springs of Pong Nam Dueat of Sukhothai province are to be found or as this Sri Satchanalai National Park site claims:
'This hot spring is located 500 meters away from Pa Kha Village. The water here is so clear and clean and looks like boiling water evaporated of rotten egg gas. Unfortunately, the beautiful scenery of this hot spring was damaged by mineral business, only warm water left in the winter'.
The clue however is 'were to be found'. Because the hot water source has disappeared altogether. November is winter, at least the start of winter if something as such exists in Thailand. Maybe referring to the cool season is more correct.

So the other week found me trying to track down these 'hot' springs. Despite it being mentioned on the Sri Satchanalai National Park website (see above) it is actually outside the National Park itself, but only just, possibly a km before. It's not so obvious, there's certainly no signboard but after inquiring around it was established that it is about 1 km before the National Park entrance on the north side of the road.

What remains
That however was not sufficient and eventually I found myself trailing a local villager who was more than obliged to lead me there. As the springs have no significance anymore the site was slightly overgrown. It's only 10 m off the main road. The origin was at the confluence of 2 small streams were water sprang up. My informer mentioned how you could have boiled an egg within 5 minutes, but now at best the water was luke warm or not cold which ever you prefer. Sulphur could still be smelt however.

Discussing what had happened, if only my Thai vocabulary included words on mining I might have learnt more.

It's a pity for the villagers to have lost such a site. I've tried to look up more info on the mining but there's nothing there, at least not on the internet. It was not obvious when I visited, that mining was ongoing, possibly it had been just some exploration activities. It does seem however strange to allow mining to take place so near a national park, which has existed since 1976.

Swampy environs of the springs

So if it was ever on the list, it's not anymore alas. Remember no hot springs in Sukhothai province!

In the absence of a hot soak why not opt for a cold soak at the Tad Duean waterfall, 500m inside the Sri Satchananalai National Park. Easily accessible, beautiful setting.

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