Thursday, 21 October 2010

Update October 2010

In the ever expanding soaking related blogs concerning Thailand, Southeast Asia and the mainland Asia more has been added.
Visits to hot springs in Indonesia (Songgoriti, Cangar, Parang Wedang, Cumbleng/Saptatirta and Thailand (Mae Kasa and Mae Klong).
In depth features on now nearly all hot springs in the Himal (added Afghanistan, India's Northeast) Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan Guanxi/Guizhou and Mongolia) and north of that.
And the addition of a Tumblr photo site, just to celebrate soaking. Called Spirit of Soaking it compiles photo's from all over the world of people enjoying a hot soak as naturally as possible.

Just one of today's entries to Spirit of Soaking: Skinnydipper hot springs, Idaho, USA.

Many of Southeast Asia's soaking sites are replicable and certainly not inspiring. Often it's the natural setting that makes them more likeable.
However that may not need to be the case always. An example of thinking out of the box came via this
article on Naoshima sento (bathhouse), Miyanoura Japan. Residents in Miyanoura, Japan can now soak in their bathhouse which doubles as a work of art itself.

Naoshima bathhouse exterior

More art. Jennifer West makes films. Two and a half minutes long. One film from 2007 is entitled: 'Naked Deep Creek Hot Springs Film'. Not posted on Youtube?

Avoiding face
Despite some places in Asia where bathing naked is the custom, when entertaining guests from here, not always is this practice commonplace / accepted.
Alan Eagle:
'When night falls during the Canadian summer, vacationers often peel off their clothes and jump in the water for a refreshing dip. It's partly to feel naughty, but mostly to feel free of society's burdens, gliding through the water like happy wild animals.
Recently a friend and I visited the beach at Beidaihe, and after a few late night drinks, decided it was time for a skinny dip. We invited some other friends to join in, but there were no takers. In fact, our Chinese friends seemed absolutely scandalized.
This puzzles me. I peeled off my clothes steps from the water, in the dark, where no one had a chance to see me au naturel. I think you could say the act was quite modest.
Especially as the tight Speedos favored by Chinese men leave no detail to the imagination. You can easily take the full measure of a man with a quick glance - something impossible to do with the baggy bathers preferred by Westerners.
(This is in contrast to the modest one-piece swimsuits with attached dresses and built-in falsies favored by Chinese women.)
So I'm not sure by what standard my midnight swim would be calculated as immodest. At any rate, I don't care because I enjoy shocking people'.
Talking about swimming naked, CNNGo has nothing better to do than list
'7 sexy skinny dips - Seven spots in Asia where clothing is just a chore'.
China, Sri Lanka, Thailand; all are places where going au naturel is fine. But strangely they are all exclusive resorts where the privacy you might want comes at a gigantic price, the cheapest quote 373 $US, most above $600. Surely the are other secluded places where the same effect can be achieved at no cost at all?

A slightly delayed update on Banjaran hot spring, near Ipoh. Since opening it has been getting good feedback and winning awards. Pity though that the price makes it exclusive. Nice for photo opts, not so for soaking ... the Star signs out as follows:
'The Banjaran experience calms your mind, energises your body and gives you a healthy glow, but since it is a plush retreat, expect a dent in your wallet . . . but worth every sen'.

A new resort in Thailand's upcoming destination of Krabi. Scheduled for a January 2011 opening, Natthawaree is a hot spring resort and spa located at Ban Phueng, south of Krabi town. Forty four rooms (source) and many pools though the website says 77 rooms, so let's just see.
It's located near all other Krabi hot springs, might just be worthwhile visiting there this November ...

More info on the history of Singapore's only public hot spring Sembawang. A very thorough article.

People gather around the hot springs
'People gather around the hot springs. Kawah Domas, Mount Tangkuban Perahu'
by Ripi

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