Friday, 28 November 2008


Experiencing hot springs for health reasons seems to be getting more and more outspoken. This time
Vietnam news reports.
'An increasing number of people are combining tourism with the advantages of natural medicine'.
In a country where growth the last few years is close to 10%, the presented statistics though are hardly stunning:
'The director of the Thap Ba Hot Spring Centre, Hoang Quang, told Viet Nam News that despite the fact that natural medicinal tourism is new to the country, his centre has received nearly 400,000 travellers this year, up 5 per cent against the same period last year, including 30,629 foreign tourists by October, up 10 per cent from the same period last year'.
The article continues with the focus on Thap Ba hot spring:
'Although the secluded spa, which can accommodate 400 customers an hour, offers only basic amenities, it is becoming increasingly popular and visitors may find it crowded with both locals and foreigners'.
More on health or lack of it from Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree discussion forum. Question concerned hot springs around Malaysia's capital KL.
'Not sure why you fancy hot spring so much, in Malaysia generally, there are little or no civic minded visitors. People don't generally protect or preserve the natural wonder usually, so you might wanna re-consider since there could be some disgusting findings around there, and little facility to clean up after that'.
Show's that there is only that much you can do, with excellent PR. The forum thread continues:
'As mentioned by #3, Malaysia like Indonesia seems to have a tendency of implementing white elephant "resort projects" all over the countryside which are not properly upkept and allowed to become eyesores with rubbish and plastic bags strewn all over the place. A real pity as some of the locations were originally pristine forest reserves with idyllic waterfall and streams'.
Well, there are still some
exceptions (see below).

Hot springs blogging

Then fellow blogger
putri (from Malaysia) is taking up visiting and posting hot springs on his/her site, until now there are two posts on Sembawang (Singapore) as well as others on Malaysia's Grisek and Sungai Klah.

More posts from other bloggers on hot spring visits:
  • Another visit to previously mentioned Sungai Klah. Looks like a great place to soak, especially look at the tasteful private soaks! Though I don't fully comprehend why you would rent a private pool, and then to use it as a public pool ...
    'Soaking in the hot water without any disturbance from outsiders is bliss'.
    Foreigners like me, are crazy I suppose.
    More Sungai Klah here.
    'I must say I was at first skeptical about Malaysian hot springs, you know we are not in the volcanic band per se, so I wonder how hot can this water be ? Moreover, as someone who draws great enjoyment from Japanese hot springs, I was ready to be contented with Malaysian sub-standards.
    Kudos to the resort management for such a splendid idea. The only question I forgot to ask ... whether they change the water in the pool of the Family Spa before the next group dips in'.
  • Bentong hot springs, Malaysia. This time with soakers! Then again the post includes:
    'But maybe due to it is a natural spring so do not have ppl to take care of it, there were many lichen growed. Arghh feel so dirty. I dare not to douse at all. Even look at it'.
  • Bali, but where?
  • Suban, Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Candi Umbul, Java, Indonesia. Though the blogger is not so satisfied:
    'The local government looked haven’t response for these potential recreation site. The algae growing prosperous on the stones of these pools and made the water looked green. The bathroom and dressing room looked dirty and some of them where broken, there’s no light in these rooms'.
Top tens
Do listing top tens (Top 12 most astonishing hot springs, not even a mention for Southeast Asia, 9 Amazing hot springs, Top 10 most extraordinary places to take a bath) add to more information to soakers?
Possibly, though it depends a lot on how the listings relate to the information required. And based on some sort of real experience.

Though I've visited quite a few hot springs during the years, I might able to table my top ten, but only based on my own experience. I could also research with google, though this would be unfair. Sights visited / listed do not really reflect any kind of popularity, but simply how well marketeers are at selling the sight or two. In area's such as Java with many hot springs, not much mention is made of 1 particular hot spring, however a visit to Sabah state in Malaysia is not complete without a visit to Poring hot springs visitors are made to believe; so naturally Poring hot springs gets mentioned much more.

I could try to put a top 3 of Thai hot springs, I am well acquainted with a number of them. But what do I base the top 3 on? Soaks are usually great, but an 'au naturel' soaking, so often depends on private facilities which tend to be depressing at best. So should I look at the naturalness? Or cleanliness or the local management?

Some (4) nominations for the best hot springs could be:

  • Pong Duet, Chiang Mai province
    + springs kept in natural circumstances, huge and nice soaking pools nicely adapted to the surroundings, soaking possible while having great view
    - private soaking facilities claustrophobic
  • Fang, Chiang Mai province
    + Much has been done to protect the springs site, nice soaking pools / facilities
    - private facilities claustrophobic
  • Bo Klueng, Rathchaburi province
    + springs not enhanced at all, nicely landscaped public pool, surroundings accessible (waterfalls)
    - could be a great site, if only they would use some signboards to highlight the attractions
  • Pha Soet, Chiang Rai province
    + accessibility, nice public pool
    - claustrophobic private facilities, cleanliness

The worst:
  • Malinga, Chiang Mai province: on it's eve of return to nature
  • Huai Hin Fon, Chiang Rai, haphazard development
The most desired to be visited:
Klong Thom, Krabi province; Jaeson, Lampang province

Hmm, that last list is not very long.

Here's a
top ten from China, which is near enough ..., but they also include spa's, what can you expect from a commercial site?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Copyright 2009 © Soaking in Southeast Asia. All rights reserved.
No reproduction or republication without written permission.