Monday, 20 April 2015

Money for nothing

Air Panas Cimanggu, Jawa Barat. Berlokasi 1,5 jam (47 km) dari Bandung ini hanya berjarak beberapa ratus meter dari wisata kawah putih. Waktu itu aku kesini bareng dengan mbak Roro sekeluarga, setelah mengunjungi kawah putih, situ patenggang, dan kebun teh. Berada di kaki Gunung Patuha Bandung Selatan dengan ketinggian + 1.100 m dpl. Jadi nikmat banget berendam saat sore karena hawa sekitar yang dingin dan hangat nya air , membuat kami betah berlama-lama. Di kolam ini fasilitas yang sediakan juga meliputi: Kolam renang air panas alam (3 kolam terbuka umum), Kamar Bilas, WC Umum, Mushola, Tempat Parkir, Gazebo untuk tempat istirahat yang disewain. Aku rasa, lebih nyaman berendam disini ketimbang di Ciater, karena air panas di Ciater suhunya lumayan tinggi, membuatku hampir pingsan. Kalo disini suhunya pas. Untuk tiket masuk air panas Cimanggu ini, per orang Rp 15.000. Jadi, kalo ke Bandung Selatan, nikmati tripmu dengan berendam disini ya... #mytripmyadventure #visitv3 #jawabarat #bandungselatan #ciwedey #hotspring #cimanggu

Not really much news to share, like said it's all eye candy nowadays ...

Do Asian 'values' change? From the South China Morning Post (Mar. 24): 
'Couples, covered in body paint and dressed in underwear, celebrate 'naked weddings' in Zhejiang province to protest against modern China's values, which focus more on money than love'.
Though possibly not in the same league, but I think that not only China's but a large part of Asia's love for money trumps natural soaking and soaking in nature.

Traditions / values changing, part II. Rocketnews24 (Mar 31) notes that sento's (these are public baths) in Japan are disappearing:
'But nowadays houses are all built with private baths, so the sento culture is dying out.
Local sento are few and far between these days but you can still catch a part of this Japanese bathing history if you search the oldest neighborhoods of any city. Look for a chimney that looks more like a smoke stack coming out of the top of the building (remember Spirited Away?) or a noren curtain out the front with the ゆ mark on it, the symbol of a sento' .
On Benjamin's mess (Apr. 10) there's more to lament concerning Japan's penchant for bathing and changing values:
'Japan is a nation whose fondness for sexual repression rivals only the Puritan US of A. Yet, for centuries, the tediously formal, pathologically uptight and insufferably stuffy Japanese have been shamelessly indulging themselves by lounging about, drinking saké and wearing washcloths on their heads, in steaming basins of volcanic water, boys and girls together buck naked.
Alas again, this tradition is fading. In the high-end onsen where we spent the night, the management segregates men and women in two common-bath rotenburo. Hotlips and I, who like to bathe together, deplore this arrangement 
True onsen —no walls between genders — are a threatened refuge. They’ve retreated into what we call the deep inaka, whose chaste and neighborly denizens still understand that the measure of modesty is how you behave when you ain’t got a stitch'.
A very nice blog entry.

To follow or not to follow tradition in Japan, source:
'Sodium - hydrogen carbonate / chloride spring. It naturally gushes out from cracks on both banks. There is an outdoor hot spring and also a footbath across the Uba-ga-taki Waterfall. You can see fountains gushing out hot water along the river'.
Rolling business
More from the hot spring travel front, Hot Spring Adventures has opened for business:
About Us
Hot Spring Adventures started as a group in June of 2013 and then taken off Meetup as a private group. This website serves as a place for existing members to join trips and for potential members to learn about the places we visit. In September 2014, the group was taken off and about 50 members joined the offline version.
Huffington Post (Mar. 12) has a feature on the various spa treatments which one might never have heard of. These include thermal pools (never heard of?), fish pedicure, mud baths, a Mayan sweat lodge, Reiki, Zareeba Treatment, Snow and Watsu treatments.

Singapore's Straits Times (Feb. 22) has a 10 beautiful spa's around the world highlight. Not very natural, but it includes Malaysia's Banjaran Hot Spring Retreat. Note that these are all very expensive places ...

The Organic Spa magazine has an entry (Mar. 4) on hot springs around the globe: of the 8 high end featured  soaks, none are from Southeast Asia ...

Not worth a mention, one of Southeat Asia's more popular hot springs, source
A hot spring foot bath on the .... train! Tohokukanko (Mar. 1):
'‘Treiyu’ comes from ‘Train’ and ‘Soleil’, sun in French. It is the first resort Shinkansen that operates between Fukushima and Shinjo.
Inside the train, there are ‘Ozashiki Reserved Seats’ made of Tatami, ‘Bar Counter’ that serves local sake, wine and juice of Yamagata, and ‘Footbath’ where you can relax while looking out the window. Experience the new way of enjoying trip on Shinkansen and travel around as if you are in a hot spring village'.
Finally, some disturbing yet curious news from Japan:
'At least three Japanese workers have died while working at a popular hot spring in the northeastern part of the country.
The men died on Wednesday after they were found suffering cardiac arrest near a source of Nyuto Hot Spring in Semboku, Akita Prefecture.
Local officials say the incident happened as at least four workers were working to adjust the temperature and amount of hot water in the hot spring resort'.
Possibly posionous gases involved ...

Dividing Line
Than let's look into the region:
  • Burma
At the end of our trek, our group was rewarded by hot springs. (I had the whole right side to myself as genders are separated by the dividing wall. emoji) #Myanmar #Burma #Hsipaw #hotsprings #longyi

  • Indonesia


Jakarta Post (Feb 24) has a list of five hot springs near Jakarta.
There is a list with Indonesia's best natural thermal baths. Surprisingly 6 of the seven are from Java ...

National Geographic (Mar. 3) has a look at Indonesia's geothermal potential. Snippets:
'Last year it [Indonesia] amended a law to stop defining geothermal development as "mining" and thus allow work in protected forests, where many resources are located. The revision also shifts project approval from local to federal officials.
Some projects have stalled for other reasons. Local officials stopped a proposed one on Bali, because residents were concerned about the impact of drilling in the Bedugul forests. Opposition may be softening, and the project may be reactivated, however, as increasing tourism on the island has caused frequent power shortages'.
Elsewhere (Mar. 11), authorities with investor interest in mind on Bali hope to continue ...

A natural sulfur hot spring in Dolok Tinggi Raja. #tinggiraja #kawahputih #dolok #simalungun #hotspring #visitsumut #visitindonesia
  • Philippines
Deep in the forest and sandwiched by a gorge somewhere in the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon is an uncharted territory with a hidden hot spring and waterfalls. It's off-the-beaten and getting there means trekking on all fours most of the time. #secretPlaces #negros #Philippines #backpacking #tambayTravel #adventure #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travel #hotSpring #waterfalls #sharePH #choosephilippines @natgeo @natgeotravel

For something lightly different, a radio reportage on Mindoro's geothermal projects, brought to my attention by the very complete Thinkgeoenergy. The Deutsche Welle piece (Mar. 19) notes not only the potential benefit for the locals but also their distrust of mining companies in general, as well as outside intervention. Very balanced.

#hotspring #pool in the #mountains behind #dumaguete #greatroad on the way up there! Such a #scenery !
  • Thailand
Forthcoming a forum on Thai hot springs at the World Spa and Well-being Convention 2015 this September. At 11:30 the forum discusses 
'The Rape and Pillage of our Natural Resources'. 
Now that could be interesting.

Found on Facebook, the Thai Hot Spring Club. Oddly it seems more about suited men at meetings looking important. Yawn.

Natural hot springs in Pai! Who knew hot springs in the heat would be so amazing?? #paistateofmind#pai#nature#hotsprings#latepost#water#thailand#natural#hot#mineral#bath #travel
The Lookeast magazine (Feb.) has a feature:
'With 112 natural hotsprings in Thailand, the kingdom is a veritable “land of hotsprings.” Not surprisingly, the country’s spa and well-being entrepreneurs are now trying to find more ways to harness the full potential of these hotsprings, business-wise and otherwise. Indeed, why not?
Such is the tourism potential of the hotspring sctor that even the government and other private sectors are joining the fray to develop them. In fact, The National Economic and Social Development Bureau, Thai Hot Spring Club, and other agencies are joining hands to not only tap but also maximize their potential further by building prototypes of “spa towns” in Krabi, Ranong, Kanchanaburi, Lampang, Chiang Mai, Chiangrai, and Lampang' .
Not the type of club I would want to be associated with ...
  • Timor Leste
#Marobo #HotSprings #Mountains #TimorLeste 
  • Vietnam
A list of 6 famous hot spring in north Vietnam: Moong (Son La), Quang Hanh - Quang Ninh, Tien Lang - Hai Phong,  Kim Boi - Hoa Binh, Thanh Thuy - Phu Tho and My Lam - Tuyen Quang. From eturbonews (Feb. 14). 

Khanh  Hoa province wants to develop Truong Xuan hot spring. What's stopping them? This is an example of how Southeast Asia is losing it's natural hot springs. Khanh Hoa News (Mar. 6):
'Pham Van Nghe, director of Thanh Cong Joint Stock Company – Khanh Hoa Branch said that the company hasn’t made investment in Truong Xuan Hot Spring because of worries about taking back capital. The company has carried out three surveys for a plan to build this spot with guest house, restaurant, swimming pool, mud bath area, camping area, entertainment area, etc; but, the construction needs too big investment' .
I know some people some big is beautiful, but not in the context of developing hot spring sites ....
A few years ago I visited here (see blog entry). Certainly it was not touristy, but very refreshing and down to earth. What's wrong with that?

олодный душ и горячие источники, что может быть лучше!?emoji🚿 #Vietnam #vietrip #Vacation #Yangbay #sun #swim #summer #seawaynotbad #natural #nature #NhaTrang

Lcimag (March 2015) has feature on mud bathing in Vietnam:
'Mud from these three spa resorts I introduced has abundant necessary minerals, which help to prevent and cure diseases, restore energy and boost immune system as well as maintain the young beauty. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s travel and relax with the mud bathing services in Vietnam' .
Something I didn't know, Mui Ne has it's own hot sring. I doubt it's natural but still it may be worth a visit. It gets 4 stars from tripadvisor, all very recent, so it looks like it was only recently opened. I've also found what I suppose to be the original website, not much info here but there are also mud baths available. (Feb. 20) has an extensive posting on what they call Mui Ne Hot Mineral Mud Centre. It seems the same place:
'The centre takes advantage of natural mud resource in Tuy Phong District (Binh Thuan Province) and hot mineral water, around 800m from the centre. Here, visitors can choose many healthful services such as hot mineral mud soaking, warm mineral water soaking, water massage, yoga…

The mud here is not as thick as the mud in Nha Trang, but Mui Ne Hot Mineral Mud Centre has the advantage of green and well-aired spaces. All the mud tubs are placed apart by bananas. It’s enough privacy for visitors to enjoy bathing'. 

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