Thursday, 30 April 2009

Update for April 2009

As usual there is hardly any news to comment on. Then again if you mention hot springs in your national budget, as Thailand is doing, then this is important! Then again, it's only a mention.

Furthermore a news story from the Philippines:
'The Department of Tourism (DOT) has plans to develop the Mt. Kanlaon as Philippines’ newest eco-tourism site'.
Newest eco-tourism site? Probably what they mean is the newest developed eco-tourism site. Is that not a contradiction? Unfortunately the report does not mention what is planned. The relevance:
'The volcano has three hot springs on its slopes: Mambucal Hot Springs on the northwest, Bucalan Hot Spring, Bungol Hot Spring'.
Blog reports then. More soaks added to the lists. A consistent theme in many of the highlighted are comments on the clothing etiquette.

  • Naturally, Poring is mentioned oft in blogs on Malaysia. Experiences are far short of what is expected, as Diane points out:
    'It is poky little bath tubs that you stand in, and wait forever to the water to fill. For some reason taking a bath in public rather than chillin in a natural rock pool was not appealing to me. It was also holiday season so it was full of school kids running around'.
  • Jasin hot springs? A not yet included hot springs in Malacca state. Why not? Because!
    'This hot springs is also known as Taman Rekreasi Air Panas Jasin was built on the historic site of Natural Hot Springs Pool which was first opened on May 1884'.
    Woops! Does not look too bad. More info
    here as well. Is this not Gadek hot springs?
  • More question marks: Lubuk Timah, found here. Question mark no more.
  • Not more misses! After so much research I thought I had almost all Malaysian hot springs covered. It's not a volcanic actively country, so there can't be that many. But yet again. This time it's Ulu Legong in Kedah state. For a report visit this blog posting by Ed and Cher:
    'The place is actually opened 24 hours. Now, have you ever heard of a recreation park most visited after midnight??? Well this is just the place. There were tons and tons of people here hanging around the pool, swimming, camping and just lepaking around'.
    Lepaking? Gathering, researching and / or hanging out are the quick interpretations. Learning more every day. Any roads the site has many photo's and even a video.
    And believe it or not, but there's another blog from the same place. From aeiween with photo's and a short comment:
    'Because after i tried it my whole body's skin really feel soft and smooth! HoHo~ :)'.
  • Another disappointed soaker? Jelajah xplorer visited Kerling hot springs. Besides a number of good photo's, he has the briefest of comments on the soaks themselves:
    'The place is not well manage and the so called hot spring does not fit the profile of a hot spring'.
  • Jabing Aura though was not so disappointed with Annah Rais hot springs in Sarawak:
    'The place, to our surprise was well kept and clean. The unpolluted mountain air felt so refreshing, the stream water beside the hot spring was really cool, calm and welcoming.
    A caption to one of his photo's:
    'A view of the Hot Spring. Look at the clear water!!!'
  • What is with mud and Vietnam? Binh Chau have the mud bath. Alia in Korea describes a day at Binh Chau.
    "Our tour guide drove us over, but didn't mention that the hot springs was a bathing suit-necessary activity".
    An employee put a few bags of prepackaged mud and some scented oil in a bucket, and we just had to rub it on our skin and wait a little while for it to dry, while walking around outside'.
    She obviously had a good time, but was surprised by this:
    'was reminded how modest Americans are when some woman (I think most of the other foreign tourists that day were German) came into the bathroom and got naked to change without bothering to go into a stall. There was even a window in the restroom door, but she obviously wasn't concerned. It's funny to get little peeks of how other people and other cultures operate'.
  • National hot spot with mud are the Thap Ba springs near Nha Trang:
    'We had a mud bath in these mud pits, then layed in hot mineral water, and swam in mineral waterfalls. The water was very hot, but after your skin felt so good. It was really fun to splash around in the mud, and swim in the pools. The whole process was very unique including high pressure jets to wash all the mud off'.
    Such was
    Traveling Tami's experience.
  • In the town of Tu Le, Yen Bai province, things are less upmarket:
    'Thai ethnic people in the town bath in natural hot springs. In the afternoon, normally from 5pm, they come to the hot water pool next to the Nam Cuom spring, taking off their clothes and enjoying the hot water and natural surroundings'.
    Another miss on the list! [and now corrected]

  • More from northern Vietnam. While trekking in and around Sapa, NMCutler visited an unnamed hot spring:
    'The hot spring, unfortunately, was disappointing in scope but very, very nice at the same time'.
  • Singapore, having only two hot springs, one of which is off-limits, means the other, Sembawang, gets blogged quite often. See here a good (photo) report by ygblog4. He reminiscences a past visit:
    'what we saw were some kampong houses around a stream and some puddles. quite a number of kampong folks were around the spring, some washing their clothes and some cooking their eggs, like what we did today'.
    He also sheds some light (and a photo) on the area before authorities sanitized the soak:
    'the place is open from 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. every day. the scene today is a far cry from what we witnessed in 2006 when the place was packed throughout the day, regardless of weekday or weekend. before they cemented the place and put all those retrictions in place, you could cycle or even drive and park right next to the hot spring'.
    That's progress. But considering the reports from sites in neighbouring Malaysia, it's either a privatized money maker or a dump (or both).
  • More strange customs concerning clothing and soaking. This unnamed blog entry from Pai:
    'And we went to Pai Hot spring. It’s a wonderful natural hot spring and it is a major public service for thai and foriegners for a bath or a long soak (with clothes on) :). It’s Thailand so customs in hot spring is quite different than somewhere else. Local people who bathe in this hot springs always keep themselves covered with clothes or thai skirt (a simple skirt somewhat like a tube skirt / sarong). If you want to do local thai spa, just only bring one blanket and sit next to the pool! It works!! The Others hot pools can make an boiled eggs, the temperature is about 80 celcious!!'
  • Maquinit hot springs on Palawan. Zoechairein reports:
    'The hot water came from a spring in the mountain and it’s naturally hot and salty! The discoverer of this hot spring initiated to create a pool that will gather the hot water at the foot of the mountain'.
  • Though I have some of my own tough experiences finding hot springs, finding Baslay hot springs on Negros proved nearly insurmountable for Stupidlyperfect [what's in a name?]:
    The ride did not go smoothly and safe as what I’ve expected. While we were on our way up on the super rocky and bumpy road under the pouring rain, the habal-habal [moto-taxi] slid for two times.
    After the two slight accidents, we decided to walk the remaining part of the road leading to the entrance of the hot springs. And the walk was not a joke. I am already running out of breath in trekking the right-angled rocky road as the raindrops mixed my sweat.
    After the descending and ascending walk on the 400 concrete steps to the hot springs, we finally reached the spot.
    As soon as I dipped myself on the pool, I realized that it is not bad after all'.
    Who said soaking was no fun? Another hot springs to list.
    And would believe it, there's another blogger who made it there! Optimistic Dora describes her travels in getting to Baslay hot springs.
    'It is almost 10kms from the proper Dauin. It may sound just a short distance, but 3kms of this is what you need to walk to reach the spring, because of a bumpy road. The motorcycle cannot anymore resist to the roads, so we need to walk.
    Finally, we find it. But the misery of walking did not end there. We need to pass the thousand steps of their developed ladder in going down to the hot spring and the river near to it'.
    And oddly she ends her story such:
    'Until now, the clothes I wore in bathing in the spring still smells sulfur and that would remind me of Baslay hot spring'.
  • Asin hot springs, an easier find, a more pleasant experience?
    'It was a crowded Sunday so I got bummed out because the all the pools seem congested'.
    Courtesy of My shoeboxjournals.
  • Mateo hot springs:
    'The Mateo Hot Springs resort turned out to be a dump. The room cost 1000 pesos for a very basic room with its own bathroom. No facilities open for even a cup of coffee. So we were tired after a very long day and no food or drink with us. Got frustrated with the owner that she wouldn't even make us a drink. The hot springs were open and so we went for a relaxing soak to ease away the stresses of the day'.
    Jeff Brad's world travels.
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