Monday, 31 August 2009

Updates for August 2009

Looking for alternative energy it can occur to tap local hot springs. In the region there are already a number of countries with power plants derived from geothermal heat up and working.
Singapore is now looking into this as well. From the
Strait Times (15 August 2009):
'A hot spring tucked away in Sembawang might just hold the key to Singapore's untapped geothermal power potential, and at least one geologist is going full steam ahead on the idea'.
Co-incidentally, a recent
blog on Sembawang hot spring contained the following message:
'The authority should develop and make it a tourist attraction'.
Yes, why not? But it's not so bad as it is, mind you.
Then more is revealed on a comment to Temasek's finance strategy on
'A professor of NTU [major uni. of Singapore] is confident that with a $26m investment, he can tap geothermal heat at the Sembawang hot spring or Pulau Ubin to generate electricity for 200,000 homes'.
That's 4 times as many homes as two weeks before! Progress.

The Malaysian state of Sabah is looking into the same subject, reports the Star:
'Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Peter Pang said the idea was to tap hot springs in the Adrassy forest in Tawau [Sabah] to generate some 100MW of electricity'.

But back to real soaking. Much of the soaking is to do with health benefits.
An interesting non-Southeast Asia article titled
'Clays, Muds and Dirt for Anti-aging Beauty'.
Written by Lorne Caplan it looks specifically into claims of anti-aging and mud. She clearly sets out that many skin care products containing mud can't stand up to what they claim. Lathering in mud, adds nothing it appears. Her final advice:
'We do know that therapeutic massage, when given frequently, provides a true stimulation to our immune system and lymphatic system. Or,simply roll around in the mud with your kids and you’ll find your hormones on fire in a good way. Whether you’re in Alaska, Thailand or your backyard'.
This throws the claim in a recent article on Phu Klon hot spring, Mae Hong Son province, Thailand into doubt:
'The results from the laboratory showed that the mineral contents of the mud are good for the skin and blood circulation. There are some minerals that are found in the Dead Sea mud and volcano lava mud'.
Elsewhere in Asia, there are a number of resorts offering a mud bath (see below). Not worth it now? Possibly, but isn't it just fun in the mud?

'Thap Ba mud baths in Nha Trang, Vietnam' (source).
In paradise (Bali?) there are problems with developing hot springs. The article relates to development taking place without proper permits and failure of the projects to materialize. Despite one project promoting alternative healing, it was believed that part of the project was to threaten a local hot spring's water supply.
Elsewhere, a major investment is taking place on north Sulawesi, Indonesia:
'Located in Bitung Hills, this natural 60 m waterfall is an ideal place to enjoy nature and fresh water pools at the base of the falls, just on the Beach next to the Waterfront Hotel is a Hot Spring. The plan is to connect the Hot Spring to the Hotel to develop a Beach-Spa Resort.'
What about the hot spring?

  • Thap Ba proved to be nice place to frolic in the mud for traveling Peacecorps duo Carrienica:
    'The whole experience was fun since you're surrounded by more vietnamese tourists than foreigners. I loved seeing how the familes were interacting and how they all had fun playing in the water. I have to say that it was an experience I won't forget'.
    Fun indeed.
  • Want to know what Sari Alter hot spring looks like?
  • Poring, arguably one of Sabah states biggest tourist attractions fails to live up to it's fame. Here another disappointed blogger by the name of perutbesi:
    'I was expecting the natural hot springs like the ones I've experienced in Ipoh! All I saw were pools with warm water. Cis. Just like my own bathroom kinda experience. Cheap thrill!'
  • An extensive blog entry on Selayang hot spring, located not so far from KL. Is a trip there worth it?
    'To be honest with you, in general, Selayang Hot Spring has 'nothing to shout about' ... really. .... And while you are there, you can see all sort of antics and interesting behaviour of some of the bathers. Some of them can be downright funny though...but then again...of course...they have own reasons for behaving in such peculiar manners:).
    eSa had more laughs when reading a signboard:
    'Loosely translated: Please Take Note: To all visitors, kindly adhere to these guidelines>- do not place your feet in the pool- do not wash clothings in the pool- do not wear underwear while bathing!'
    Possibly the funny part is that no one adhere's to it, everyone has that days underwear and upperwear on. Yuck!
Vaneza provided me with this shot of the welcome words to Ardent hot spring on Camiguin, Philippines.
  • In my recent blog entry about visits to soaks in Thailand and Bali, it was mentioned that the springs were discovered / developed by Japanese. According to this site the Gadek spring was developed by the English. Hard to believe.
    'It was believed that local villagers discovered the hot spring in the forest after watching some English soldiers settled around the spring. After the war, visitors from far and wide discovered that the hot spring had strong healing elements unlike many that they had encountered before'.
  • Dressing up maybe the norm for locals visiting natural hot springs in Southeast Asia, but surf to this photo of a number of soakers complete with life jackets in knee deep water in Umphang, Tak province!
  • A great blog entry on Maquinit:
    'Everything seems right in place, the location of the pool, the mangroves even the scenic view around the area all conspires to make this a very unique place'.
  • To add, Marinduque hot spring on ... Marinduque island! Here a link to a German blog. There are actually two soaks on the island, Mainit and Malbog.

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