Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Updates for September 2009

A bit blatantly stated, but tinkering is what they believe will make Ranong, Thailand a
'health and wellness destination'.
Cost 4.9 million THB (just 150.000 USD). What they want to do with the dosh?
'... hire a company to study how to upgrade the province’s best site, Pornrang Hot Springs, in Bangrin sub district'.
The TTR weekly's article shows what's needed free of charge.
'There was a need to provide explanations on how the minerals benefit health and the ambient temperature at each pool. There were eight employees at the springs but none of them could communicate in English. ... To succeed provincial authorities should take a leaf out of the spa resorts’ manual on construction and landscaping. To be successful they need to balancing ambience, user-friendly facilities and quality in a manner that would justify higher entrance fees'.
Why? This well thought article continues to decry developments of hot spring resorts in Thailand.
'The dilemma for hot spring developers is that with every improvement, the natural ambiance is eroded. Often the interpretation of what visitors require from a hot springs results in tacky designs, poor maintenance regimes and ultimately a product that becomes unhygienic and less appealing as its popularity grows. Upkeep and maintenance is a crucial factor that is often overlooked, giving an overall negative impression of the facility. Left in their virgin state, hot springs are usually very appealing to the eye. But as developers move in to build tiled pools, changing rooms and toilet blocks, much of the ambiance of a natural hot spring is lost'.
So though tinkering is what the authors would like to see, is that what the 4.9 million THB will recommend? Too often in Southeast Asia what happens when governors try to attract tourists is as above. Make them less appealing. I hope I can visit this spring before the developers move in.

In the mean time, let's have a look at what it looks like now:
From Now why does she have minimal wear and he oversized shorts? Something with his thighs ...? There are more photo's ...

Western thinking revisited
In July, this blog highlighted a press report from China that mentioned that soaking nudey is so western like. In response Soaking in Southeast Asia gave quite a few examples contradicting this.

From comes this article, originally from
'Communal and co-ed nude bathing doesn’t only take place in Cancun hot tubs during spring break celebrations. In fact, for several Chinese minorities, nude bathing has long been a part of their traditions. It may not be purifying yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, but here are the best five best places in China for nude bathing; you can leave those bathing suits at home'.
It briefly describes five opportuntities to bath au-naturel complete with pixelated pictures. Do mind though, it's minorities who do this!

I also delved up these pictures which contradict aforementioned press opinion:

The first a hot springs festival (!) posted on a blog by
Fusansan: in 2008
'Every Spring Festival, the Lisu people gather at the Hot Springs by the Nujiang River [Yunnan]. By taking baths and washing off dirt with sacred spring water, people hope for forthcoming auspiciousness'.

The second from Tibet (Oh, oh. There goes my theory, these are examples from western China....).

"I soaked with the friendly ladies in the hot spring until I became too hot and had to hop out".
By Solemnyeti (2008).

Then, a much older picture (1950) and from Japan and involves no hot soaking, just fishing.

"A successful launch" by Iwase Yoshiyuki.

Odd though, this focus on females ....

In the same vein?
Asia Spa (printed in Singapore) July/August 2009 has an article of south Japans best baths. In the guide to onsen (hot spring) section (not online unfortunately) the author informs Japan's etiquette concerning bathing there:

'First you must be prepared to bathe completely naked, swimsuits are never worn. But Japan's baths are single sex, and in the steam and splash your naked state feels completely inconspicuous.
Before you enter either bath you must make sure you are clean.
Being spotlessly clean is essential'.
The blog world then

  • Sungai Klah? §oŁЇtǺ®ÿ ®o§ě went there and stayed a nite at the adjacent resort. Apparently the villa's come with private pool:
    '* Jacuzzi - babe not included with booking of villa * This villa does not come with bikini babe. Unless you book the babe along.. You have to bring your own bikini babe. LOL!!! This a picture taken candidly by my mom'.

  • More on Sungai Klah, a blog dedicated to a child who burnt herself, posts written by her mother. The burns came from cups of noodles, not from the hot spring.

  • What does Paku hot spring look like? Going by photo's by Wilson Tie, it's not much, certainly not a soak site ...

  • The Lost World of Tambun is a water based theme park based on a possible ancient Mayan city. It's based around a hot spring. Judging by sixthseal's blog entry the hot spring is the least interesting part of the park.

  • The Wiang Pa Pao hot spring in Chiang Rai claims to be the highest hot spring in Thailand. Not clear what they mean, they highest pumped spout or the highest located ...

  • A visit to Sembawang, Singapore by MoMo Post.
    'While we were there, an uncle came over & offered his help to ease the blue black on my wife's leg, as she had a really bad fall on Friday. He seems really helpful & the blue black really subsided after 30min of rubbing with the hot spring water. But some part of her skin on the blue black were also being "Rubbed Out" which we didn't notice until later. As we were leaving, we went over to say thanks & to our shock, he asked for a payment of $20 for his service.'
    Accompanied by lots of photo's.
This blog
Added link to Spacious Planet Guide to Japanese Onsen Bath by Anna Mar.
'Can you wear bathing suits at onsen?'
Jimboche's answer:
A site with more info in the form of questions and answers as well as some photo's, though all strictly Japan.

I've also expanded the number of hot springs in Vietnam ...

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