Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Two entries already on European hot spring visits in the European Natural Soaking Society. More to follow.

Hot on the heels of the last update's weird and wacky hot spring and sauna experiences come's Estonia's sauna car! Follow the link and watch the clip.
I do not know if this applies to the sauna car, but in Japan you can visit a hot spring and earn airmiles!

Seldom do we see such good work in (re-)seeking hot springs in Southeast Asia, most prefer the over-trodden paths. However the blog entry 
'Unearthing Timor-Leste's Hidden Gems - Marobo's Natural Hot Springs 
by  Barry Greville-Eyres and Francisco Carlos de Araujo is a real gem by itself: 
'On a short descent we encountered ruins and remnants of what was supposedly spa or resort styled accommodation, at a picture-perfect location, surrounded by a labyrinth of ridges and valleys. Despite conflicting reports on the origins of the development - some sources attribute it to Japanese occupation forces during WWII (1942-1945) others to the Portuguese colonial occupation-era pre-dating WWII - its highly likely that local Timorese villages were instrumental in the construction of the associated infrastructure.
Much toil and backbreaking effort must have gone into the construction of the access road; distinguishable accommodation units; hundreds of metres of retaining walls; hot water diversion, distribution and drainage systems; the main bathing pool (approximately 25mx15m); an ablution facility and individual external mineral or mud baths.  Although the facility is now clearly abandoned, it still remains an important part of Timor-Leste's natural heritage and a potential drawcard for both domestic and international tourists'.
 It also lists a short overview of all Timor-Leste's hot springs. 

'A parting shot of Marobo's natural hot springs - 
yet another of Timor-Leste's hidden gems'.
Foreign control? Locals in Sabah state, Malaysia are worried that their natural wonders are being privatized. 
Always this never ending story: private ownership of public lands results in entrance fees / profiteering possibly exclusion of certain groups of persons (based on income) or public control by public organisations which (in Malaysia) don't seem to be interested in the public interests. The essence of the freemalaysiatoday article (7 June 2012):
'Ranau STAR division chief, Jalibin Paidi, said the transfer or takeover of the management of money-making Kinabalu Park or parts of it as well as the popular Poring Hot Spring near here had become a hot topic among people in Ranau and they want to know the truth'.
More worrying is the emphasis on foriegn control as if this makes non-public control worse ... 
Note also that the article mentions that all of this is rumour, hot air thus ...

The mud baths of Thap Ba (Nha Trang, Vietnam) now have a local competitor / imitator. Read more on the Thap Ba Soaking in Southeast Asia entry.
In the same area, Waterfalls of Southeast Asia reports that the famous Yangbay waterfall park, will soon expand, to include a (natural) hot spring ... 

Meanwhile in Los Baños, the Philippines, the gamble is on big-business tourism, so states inquirernews (30 May 2012): 
'The master plan also includes setting up a cable-car system along the Makiling terrain, rehabilitating the heritage sites in the town’s poblacion, and renovating the local spa and hot spring resorts'. 
More of the same thus?

Another entry on the Pinatubo hot springs:
'According to tour organizers, most of the resort’s clients are foreigners, with Koreans in the majority since it was developed by a Korean investor married to a Filipina. The resort also provides employment to indigenous Aetas, the original residents of the area, who were displaced during the volcano’s eruption.
With smoke billowing out from mountain crevices, natural pools and waterfalls sprouting from the dry earth, and oddly-shaped geologic formation, the terrain looks almost prehistoric.
It’s almost surreal to see modern amenities instead. Like in most developed resorts, there are several bathrooms and changing areas near the pools, with alert attendants handing out fresh towels to newly-arrived guests. Picnic huts, paved stairways and cement banisters made to look like wooden logs, have been carved from this mountain of stone and soil.
I dipped my foot gingerly into one of the hot pools and immediately retreated as the heat pierced through my skin. I moved to another pool where there were more people and found it relaxing in a feverish sort of way. Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead as my body slowly adjusted to the temperature. The heat of the pools really seeped in and soothed one’s aching muscles in no time'.
A great entry on an as-of-yet not-on-this-site-listed hot spring: Bogyah hot spring, neatly nestled in the Hapao rice terraces, Luzon, the Philippines. A great blog entry:
'When we got to Bogyah Hot Springs, there were locals relaxing in the hot spring. I did not mind, this was their place and I was happy that while dipping on the hot pool I get to know some bits and pieces of their life'. 
Note end line: 
'Let us not change Hungduan [where Bogyah is located] , let it change us'. Too ture.
Travelfish have added a section on the Dieng plateau, Java, Indonesia: 
'The main attractions in Dieng are the numerous temples and the geothermal area around Kawah Sikidang'.
Less local
More money being thrown around (or away?):
'GOCO Hospitality is working with Sanli Guo Yuan to develop the Xiangshan Hot Spring Wellness Center, a 6,000 sq,m. facility with an onsite natural hot spring, located 30 minutes outside Ningbo, China'. 
The cost will be only $US 25 million. For this: 
'The Xiangshan Hot Spring Wellness Center will offer exceptional wellness programs that are results-oriented and address the health concerns of the modern Chinese consumer—beauty enhancement, weight loss, detoxification, stress relief and ageing well. Benchmarked against leading thermal facilities internationally, Xiangshan will set a new standard in design aesthetics and service quality, seamlessly blending Western and Eastern wellness modalities'.
 Continuation of soaking vs geothermal energy dilemma:
'... opposition from local hot spring operators is stalling proposed large scale geothermal development in the Prefecture of Fukushima'. 
So reports the last month. Seeing how the nuclear plant nearby which should be one of the most regulated industries went haywire, how is one top believe assurances from companies? Take for instance a recent entry on the soakersforum which mentions hot springs being sucked up ...

More  energetic activity in the region. $11.5 have been allocated to the Tawau, Sab ah, Malaysia project, no soaking opportunities? The Leyte, Luzon, Philippines geothermal plant will cash in (read privitize), with global energy prices at a remaining all-time high. Then there is news on Sulawesi (potential) and elsewhere on the Philippines (Kalinga).

Banjar hot spring, Bali, Indonesia (source)

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