Sunday, 8 July 2018

Magic

merel3ssen in Indonesia:
Taking a #shower with the locals of #flores #hotspring
This entries lead concerns Japan - hot springs - naked. Oh no!
Yes. Articles on how to behave while enjoying a Japanese hot spring have been circulating around the globe the last few months. A selection:
Star Tribune (Jun. 4):
'Japan is proud of its bathing traditions. For many Westerners, though, the fact that these traditions involve being naked with strangers is awkward at best, even though men and women bathe separately.
On my first trip I tried to wriggle out of a friend's offer to take me to an onsen, or hot springs resort. I suggested a different town that had an attraction I wanted to see, and thought I was off the hook.
...
It turned out for the best, though, because I've become a fan. Nothing is more relaxing after a tiring day of sightseeing than a long soak, and you can reassure yourself that you're experiencing authentic culture at the same time'.
A more personal experience from yahoo7.com.au (Apr. 5):
'I’m standing in a small room wrapped in a towel. I know I have to go in to a further room to shower, but I’m finding it hard to will myself to go in there because… well, when I get in there I will have to shower naked.. with other people.
...
I get in and under before I’m spotted by anyone ('anyone' being the other three women - two of whom are already in the water, and one who is focusing on her own bits for the time being).
And then something magical happens.
It’s so relaxing... I allow the steaming hot water to envelop me. I do what I’ve read is customary and place the facecloth on my head, then lie back against a wall and relax.
...
My visit has made me realise that no one is really looking at me, that everyone has a body with bits that wobble or bits that we don't like, and yet, we’re all just wasting valuable time worrying about showing it'.
Shape.com (Apr. 20):
'I knew it was something I needed to do—a cultural experience to cross off my travel bucket list. But I was nervous about other people seeing me naked. I don't have any particular reason for my fear, other than years of American culture conditioning me (and all women) to shower solo, change your clothes as quickly as possible, and use robes and towels whenever possible. (You know, you've wrapped a towel around your waist while sliding underwear on and off in the locker room.) I worried that if I stripped down in front of other women and stayed that way for more than five seconds, then they would find something to silently judge. The cellulite on the back of my thighs. The slight pudge in my stomach. Hell, maybe I had too much—or too little—pubic hair for their liking. I didn't know, but certainly, they would find something.
....
We weren't forced to use public onsens the entire trip. In fact, only four of the 11 days had them as our only option. The other, larger accommodations had private onsens or personal en suite bathing facilities available. But by the end of the trip, we were all forgoing those private tubs and opting for the public onsens instead. There wasn't much talk, if any, of who would go when. A simple, "I'm hitting the onsen!" sufficed as we checked into our rooms, ditched our dirty hiking clothes, and slipped into our yukatas. Sure, my heart still skipped a beat each time I derobed, but the cry for a rejuvenating soak was louder than my body image fears. And as the warm water soothed my achy muscles and the quiet conversation between other women buzzed around me, my fears were, little by little, washed away.
I may not be down to dip in my birthday suit on the regular, but if this trip taught me anything, it's that body confidence—just like everything else—is always a work in progress'.
Japan Today (Apr. 8) notes how some national bathing traditions are on the fade:
'If you find yourself on Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu, you will come upon delicacies that are not offered abundantly in other parts of the country. However, what the island is the most well known for are its onsen, or hot springs. Dipping into the thermal waters of Kyushu is a must, especially if you can do it with all of your friends or significant other.
These days, the konyoku onsen, or mixed gendered bath, is a rare and dying breed. Every year, more facilities are closing their doors or changing their policies so that men and women bathe separately. Traditionally, onsen were meant for men and women to bathe together, so many advocates are pushing to preserve the old ways'.
It then refers to gaijinpot blog which lists 9 Kyushu konyoku's.

yakushima.kamesennin.iwaki with friends, bathing in one of the referred to konyoku's:
平内海中♨️温泉♨️#屋久島 #yakushima #温泉 #屋久島ガイド亀仙人岩城輝龍 #屋久島ガイド亀仙人 #屋久島写真 #平内海中温泉
Channel News Asia (Apr. 13) tries to broaden the cultural thing.
'Travelling the world is about exploring new cultures and traditions. And sometimes you do that completely naked, surrounded by equally naked locals, wearing nothing but your warmest smile.
...
But contrary to what you might think, going au naturel won’t embarrass you in front of the locals as much as your lack of etiquette might. For instance, what is customary in a Japanese onsen may be downright rude in a Turkish bath house'.
What follows is just some pointers for sauna's, onsens, Turkish baths and jjimjilbangs.

Soakings stamped
Then the stranger side of soaking, more or less related. 

Spoon and Tamago (Feb. 12) on the peculiar art of soaking-themed stamps:
'Each of Hirose’s stamp designs depicts an individual bath house in Japan with a particular focus on the bath house’s unique features: a stunning mural of Mount Fuji, a stately front entrance, a water spout in the shape of a lion’s head. By highlighting these specific quirks, Hirose hopes to inspire others to visit local public bath houses more frequently. In fact, traditional bath houses are disappearing in Japan, where one public bath house goes out of business about once a week.
Last month, Hirose held two exhibitions in Tokyo of his stamp designs intended to generate interest in local public bath houses. The first, a partnership with the Tokyo Sento Association, included stamps Hirose created for the 22 public bath houses in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward, which has the second-highest ratio of bath houses to residents in Tokyo.
The second exhibition showcased roughly 100 stamps of individual bath houses all across Tokyo, representing what Hirose describes as a “sento pilgrimage.” Visitors can even embark on their own sento pilgrimages by collecting stamps from each bath house featured in Hirose’s designs'.

What happened to the Onsen Magazine? Pity, it seems there are no more updates.

Too much

lincy_rangsinee in Umphang, Tak, Thailand:
หนาวจัง แช่นำ้อุ่นหน่อย 🎋🎋 #privateonsen🏔♨️
And the trend in soaking Southeastasian-wise seems to replicate the Japanese experience, but then back home. And without the public viewing.
The Indonesiaexpat describes (Apr. 11) an onsen experience (The Onsen Resort) to be had in Batu, Eastern Java. 
'Batu’s most recent attraction has truly made this town unique in all of Java. The Onsen Hot Spring Resort opened its doors at Jalan Arumaldu, Songgoriti in December 2017. Though small, this resort is regarded as one of the most unique resorts in Southeast Asia as it is the very first resort with a Japanese bathhouse theme.
...
Though the water may seem dirty, it actually isn’t. The brown colouring comes from the sulphur powder used to prevent itching and cleanse the skin. It’s simply divine to soak in the hot water after a long day discovering the beautiful Japanese-inspired grounds of the resort'. 
A recent booking.com reviewer (average score 7.3) however notes: 
'The food!
The staffs were very friendly, the rooms were clean, there is a nice view, but the food was so bad [and] not tasty. The breakfast was also bad. A lot of empty food trays and the staffs were so slow too'. 
Tripadvisor, handing a visit with a review feedback of 3.0 stars, continues: 
'Japanese culture is popular around the world. In this place,I can experience it completely,no matter Japanese traditional clothes or onsen or food. Honestly, I like onsen most , because the water is yellow and not hot. It is really relaxed my body and mind. Of course, the lady clothes is fascinating and food price is suitable . I wanna get here again'. 
Quotes for a family villa for 2 nights, €508 no less.

_marnelli_ at Marawar hot springs, Kapatagan, Mindanao, Philippines:
💦 #nature #hotspring
More onsen, this time from Vietnam (Viet Nam News, Apr. 13): 
'Located 30km north of Huế City, the newly opened Alba Wellness Resort is nestled in a tranquil land cradled by tropical forest, hot and cold streams and a local lifestyle rich in Huế traditions.
...
Boasting a natural hot spring, a precious gift of nature scattering around the property, Alba Wellness Resort offers Việt Nam’s first authentic onsen and spa centre, where I enjoyed a seven-step contemporary Japanese bath.
Although I had experience with traditional onsen in Japan, where nudity is required, I was as a bit hesitant to strip off and bathe in front of other ladies. (There are separate spaces for men and women.) My embarrassment vanished quickly after I got into the ‘silk bath’ pool, which had thousands of small bubbles that I used to cover my skin'. 
Tripadvisor (the max of 5.0 stars no less): 
'The only minor thing was the water temperature of Onsen Spa. They were somehow lukewarm, and I was a bit unsatisfied with being an expert in hot springs. I left feedback so it will be fixed soon... I hope'.
This was the first review. Management responded that they would solve the problem and I see no repetitions of this comment.
Booking.com (8.9) on the same: 
'I like the beautiful atmosphere here. The staffs are very nice and helpful also. The hot spring here is a really great present of God'. 
Quotes are from US$180 and above.


Da Nang Corner on a visit to Nui Than. Google translates from Vietnamese: 

'Onsen bathing area is surrounded by two mountains of Thanh Long and Bach Ho, behind is Ba Na mountain, the two sides are the stream of water in front. This is a prime location with gas. Onsen Towers are built on the Japanese architecture and are standardized according to strict procedures of Beppu province, the home of hot springs in the world' 

It's not the only onsen experience to be had in Vietnam. Nui Than Tai Hot Springs Park (near Danang) boasts of an Onsen Tower
'Is a place for mineral bath in the tub with large size according the Japanese style and characteristic. At Onsen in Nui Than Tai hot spring park has qualified with standards of Beppu city - the famous city of Onsen in Japan'.
Tripadvisor (4.0 stars):
'We came during summer holidays on the weekends, so it was quite noisy and crowded in swimming pools. The Osen bathing facility was not too crowded so it was quite pleasant and relaxing. We tried out the 2 bathtubs, first with lemongrass then with milk, which we found very refreshing. There are more choices that we didn't try: with vietnamese wine, tea, coffee, and mud'. 
And: 
'Expensive, poorly run, slides closed, restaurants closed, 120k for Pho?? They made me share a mud tub with two other people?? Slippery tiles and screaming kids everywhere. Turned away from slides because of size (we are not overweight at all)'. 
Quotes from $60US. 
Booking.com gives it an 8.6.

hexezy in an onsen-like setting in Petchabun (Thailand). Read more here
『Hot spring ♨️』 バンコクから車で3時間かかる所です。 1時間で300バーツです。1人当たりで300バーツではなく、一部屋当たりで300バーツです。複数の人数でも入れます。肌がツルツルになるよ〜❤ 

ちなみに私は変態やな(笑)#温泉 #hotsprings #transgender #tanskin #まったり
Then in Thailand, Bangkok Post (May 8) posts the following:
'The popularity of onsens has been bubbling up in Thailand, even though it is a tropical country, says one wellness brand.

Thai onsen lovers no longer need to fly to Japan to enjoy a hot soak as onsen services are available across the country, particularly at major tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Bangkok -- specifically on Sukhumvit Road and at the K Village retail complex on Rama 4 Road.

Panpuri, a leading wellness brand, is set to open its first onsen on the 12th floor of the Gaysorn complex on Ratchaprasong Road next month, aiming to tap fans of the bathing ritual.

"It is the first onsen downtown. Apart from shopping in the area, onsen will be an alternative activity for visitors," said Vorravit Siripark, chief executive at Puri Co, the operator of Panpuri Wellness and Spa. Onsen will be one feature at the 100-million-baht Panpuri Wellness and Spa, which entails a variety of services, including organic spa, wellness bar, studio, body massage and meditation.

There are 10 onsen pools separated by gender and two small individual pools.The company has hired a consultant from Japan to design the onsen system, with hot springs imported in the form of powder from several Japanese cities. This wellness centre was soft launched last December.

"We've had better than expected responses, and about 60% of our customers are foreigners from China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong," said Mr Vorravit, a self-described spa and massage lover.
Mr Vorravit first opened a Panpuri store in a 120 square metre space at Gaysorn Complex to sell organic spa products for body care. He opened the space shortly after returning to Thailand from Italy in 2003, where he was studying for a master's degree and was inspired to realise his entrepreneurial ambitions.
"I had a chance to try spa treatments at famous hotel chains. Their services are excellent. But there are no Thai products available there. This inspired me to create my own health and services, without imaging they would one day become part of a global trend," said Mr Vorravit.
He said there is huge potential for spa and wellness centres in Thailand, with foreign tourist arrivals reaching 35.4 million in 2017. Thailand is ranked No.1 globally as a spa-holiday destination, generating revenue of 32 billion baht from foreign customers in 2015'.  
Dis-spelled


Mountains Waterfalls and hot spring.. what more could you ask for 😀#vietnsm #nahtrang #waterfalls #hotsprings#beautifuldestinations #natureboy#naturelover #greatday #gopro
Let's look at the more natural springs, starting with Vietnam. 
Above a more touristic destination near Yangbay, I believe.
Condé Nast (Jun. 25) announces it's 
'105 of the most stunning swimming pools in the world'.
Including Nha Trang's (Vietnam) hot spring I-resort.

Possibly more to do with the lead and the local spin-offs but nonetheless interesting:


Baomoi.com describes (Jan. 23) the hot springs of Ngoc Chien hot springs in Loi village (Ngoc Chien commune, Muong La district, Son La province). Afforded with google translate:
'And Pham Ngoc Son, a traveling tourist from Hanoi, shared, working week with computer, head tense, Mr. Son gathered group to go to relax. His group runs a distance of more than 300km from Hanoi along Highway 32, to the Kim junction (Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai province) to Ngoc Tuan to experience, relax, soak in the hot mineral water. Mr. Son and his friends all feel the same, when the bath is full of stress, tired all dispel them in a moment'.
_donsweet_ at Ngọc Chiến: 
------- Tắm tiên 👌Lần đầu thấy suối nước trong vắt sôi nổi bọt, ước chi mang được về để khỏi sợ tắm vào mùa đông 😆#NgọcChiến#MườngLa
Does Bali have some beautiful hot springs? Kura Kura Guide (Apr. 10) thinks affirmative. They
'... have summarized briefly 5 Natural Hot Springs in Bali with stunning scenery that will feast your eyes'.
In the Philippines, Nognoginthecity (Jun. 23) experiences Puning hot spring(s):
'It was a worth while experience that is combination of both fun and relaxation'.
 mr.cuthbert at Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines:
Hottest bath I've ever had 🛀🌡️
A visit to Laos Muang La hot spring (Daily Beast, Jun. 11) draws the author to see the future passing: 
'But the days of undisturbed authenticity are numbered in Muang La, and Laos in general. The Chinese are investing heavily across the country, building infrastructure that threatens the undeveloped tranquility of much of the country, including Muang La.
One of the biggest changes coming is a high-speed train line being built to China, which will cut through Oudomxay, a small city about an hour from Muang La. Today, Muang La villagers enjoy welcoming small groups of visitors, but they fear the train will bring development and crowds of tourists.
...
The villages were rustic, but a visit to Muang La can be luxurious. We stayed at Muang La Lodge, about a 45-minute drive from the mountains where the tribes live. The resort is set over a river with natural hot springs, with food from local markets, fisheries, and chefs, and only 10 rooms. It was an unpretentious indulgence. The only nuisance was a stray goat we had to shoo away from the pool'.
guterres05 Waicana Hot spring!•••#goprophoto#gopro#goprolife#gopronation#gopro_captures#goprouniverse#goprotravel#beahero#hero5#goprohero5#goprophotography#gopro_epic#lightroom#goprouniverse#gopro_moment#moodygrams#ig_masterpiece#goprooftheday#aov#hot_shotz#master_shots#exploretocreate#exploreeverything#fartoodope#earthpics#beautifulseasia#photooftheday#timorlesteparadise#timorleste🇹🇱#hotspring#turismotimorleste🇹🇱

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