Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Still the same?

 Poring hot spring, Sabah, Malaysia. Instagrammed by krrsabah:
#poringhotspring #ranau #sabah
A few years have passed since the last listing of popular Southeast Asian hot springs. So maybe a new overview is required.

During the past years, some soaks have gained in popularity as tourism in the region booms and shifts. Others soaks have seen a wane in popularity.

But trends in publicizing soaks and putting them on the net have also changed.

So making a list will result in changes and surprises.

I have tried to include more current data than in the past, limiting for instance google searches to the past year. Including instagram helps.

But despite all the changes, as you can see below the hot springs of Poring remains top as was the case in 2 and 4 years back. Ergo, it must be very popular. Or so bad that everybody wants to share it!

1.   Poring           (Sabah, Malaysia) 98 pt (positions in 2011-2009: 1st-1st)
2.   Ardent           (Philippines) 80 pt (3-3)
3.   Maquinit        (Philippines) 78 pt (x-6)
4.   Sari Ater        (Java, Indonesia) 64 pt (x-x)
5.   Thap Ba         (Vietnam) 61 pt (7-x)
6.   Banjar           (Bali, Indonesia) 55 pt (4-5)
7.   Sungai Klah   (Malaysia) 50 pt (6-2)
8.   Pai                (Thailand) 43 pt (-)
9.   Puning           (Philippines) 36 (-)
      Binh Chau      (Vietnam) 36 (10-x)

Other noteworthy changes: Fang (Thailand) has disappeared all together despite a high ranking in previous lists, while Asin (Philippines) has also dropped away (from 5th) and would now be 11th. 
Odd is also that while using the same method Sankampaeng was recently ranked no. 1 in Thailand, the no. 2 in that list now ends higher, which is due to comparative ranking.

Which brings us to bias. The above of course is not free of bias.
For instance, shorter names are favoured over longer names. 
As previously stated in the previous  polls, language plays a large role as nearly all but Filipino citizens publish in their own language (English) so it´s quite natural to see hot springs from the Philippines doing well. Compare with Thap Ba which sees probably more tourists but less references as most of the tourists are Russians. 
There is a better overview of possible bias from the 2009 listing.

But despite this I do believe it is a fair representation. Of internet popularity.

Note though that it only is a list of popular places. Poring for instance despite it´s mentions is not well reviewed. I looked up all the reviews of the above soaks and note that based on quality, Thap Ba and Sankampaeng are ranked with 4.5* in Tripadvisor, while Poring and Puning have 3,5*. Maquinit, Ardent, Sari Ater, Banjar, Pai and Asin all have 4*.

So it´s more a potential list of hot spring areas to visit. Not necessarily a list of hot springs to visit.

Campagnal hot spring, Leyte island, Philippines. Leyte was in the eye on the super typhoon.
Odd caption to the photo (source)with buildings:
'The rugged and exotic beauty of sitio Campagal hot spring in Brgy Robas remains undefiled'.
Sources of comparison:
instagram, google search (past 12 months), google blog search (past 12 moths), bing, flickr, tripadvisor & youtube

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