Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Neglect

Recovery time! #jellylegs #poringhotsprings #borneo
When compiling a Top 10 of Southeast Asian hot springs, it's always exciting to see which hot spring comes out on top.

Well, it's not. 

Every year there's a slight change in how the list is compiled but the result remains the same.

Above was the starting text accompanying last years Southeast Asian Top 10, literally. I am allowed to copy and paste it, because this year, again not much change ...
Need I say Poring hot spring tops the 10? While searching for  the lead photo above, it's surprising how many hashtagged photo's simply reference the surroundings rather than the soak itself; possibly the winning formula? 
Poring hot springs is a nature park with pristine jungle, waterfalls, short walks, a canopy walk and even an opportunity to view a Rafflesia plant. 
Oh, and it's the source of a natural hot spring, though witness, the surroundings are nothing natural ...

As usual, a Tripadvisor reference to a recent guest:
'I have been to a number of hot springs and these are the saddest looking springs I have seen. The place was very sad looking and unkempt the baths and changing rooms dirty nobody around doing any cleaning at all. Cold taps were not running and eventually found a grumpy man who really didnt care. Come on Malaysia you can do so much better with your tourist areas! The springs area was so neglected it doest take much to make it a relaxing place to be'.
Not so tops.

Challenge

Si krucils pada kepanasan😂👫dah lama ja gak mau udahan😧 neneknya nyengir aje😹
📷foto by @hartareni #sariaterhotspring#berendam#pulosari#familyholiday
Last years star soaks have failed to challenge the top. 

In all honesty, the hot spring of Pai (Thailand) has fallen away, largely due to the fact that it's now sensed as having two separate hot springs: a sedate national park affair (flag bearer Tha Pai) and a rambling free for all packed with backpackers soak (Sai Ngam); together they would have pushed Pai close to the top 5.

I also looked at an international comparison using the same method. Internationally re-known hot spring resorts such as Peninsula (Australia), Tabacon (Costa Rica), Blue Lagoon (Iceland) or Takaragawa (Japan) would beat Southeast Asia's top ranking soak (Poring) big time.

The list for 2016:
1. Poring, Sabah, Malaysia (2015: 1)
2. Maquinit, Palawan, Philippines (2)
3. Banjar, Bali, Indonesia (3)
4. Ardent, Camiguin, Philippines (4)
5. Mainit, Luzon , Philippines (10)
6. Sari Ater, Java, Indonesia (9)
7. Banjaran, Perak, Malaysia (6; photo below)
8. Puning, Luzon, Philippines (7)
9. Sungai Klah, Perak, Malaysia (-)
10. Thap Ba, Nha Trang, Vietnam (8)
 
 
daphfinitely 
Major withdrawals. 💚
Just bubbling under the top 10 are the hot springs of Fang, Tha Pai (both Thailand), Sembawang (Singapore), Tambun and Annah Rais (both Malaysia). 

Anyway, what the above have in common, are structures with little resemblance to nature and often visited to the extent that one would say they are overcrowded, maybe it's more a list of hot springs in Southeast Asia to avoid ...?

The True Philippino Breakfast 3
Breakfast in volcanic sulfur river :) Сидеть в горячей вулканической серной речке под дождем с чаем в руке, поглащать вкусный завтрак и таращиться на джунгли... Что может быть лучше? :) #breakfast #philippines #mango #food #tea #hotwater #hotsprings #dauinhotspring #river #jungle #forest #granola #negrosoriental #negros #tropics #whitesulphursprings #whitesulfur #sulfur

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Soothing

DAY 18 of #eazy30daysinindonesia | Two gushing streams merge — one cold and the other steaming hot from the heart of Inerie volcano — at Malanage Hot Spring. It's the wonderfully soothing way to end a full-day exploring tribal villages and a volcanic crater in #Bajawa, central Flores. 🛀
Time for some update, however ther's precoius little to focus on. It looks like the timespan of internetters is decreasing by the day, so we end up with just a couple of views here and there. Still, let's give it a try.

Starting in Malaysia, Thinkgeoenergy (Aug. 5) has some info on geothermal development:
'The Apas Kiri in the Sabah east coast district in Malaysia is expected to be operational by June 2018, as reported locally.
The project is set to have an installed capacity of 30 MW and will be feeding its electricity into the grid of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd. under a feed-in-tariff scheme.
It will be Malaysia’s first geothermal power plant'.
Eco
Staying on-subject. Indonesia has much geothermal potential that it makes sense to exclude national parks for geothermal extraction. Mongabay (Sep. 12):
'The Indonesian environment ministry has denied the Aceh provincial government’s proposal to rezone part of Mount Leuser National Park for geothermal development, reacting to opposition from conservationists who argued the project would threaten key orangutan and rhino populations'.
The artille was cited by ThinkGeoEnergy (Sep. 13) which failed to copy the part in which doubts were raised to meeting the local needs (there were none) nor on the extent of the rezoning (nearly 8,000 ha instead of the 100 ha required). Better usage below.

I'm not much of a selfie taker, but when taking a bath in natural hot springs, exceptions have to be made! #swimming #travel #adventure #camping #trekking #hiking #ketambe #leuserecosystem #hotsprings #bathtime #indonesia #aceh #sumatra #forest #travellife #gopro #selfie #hillyfromtheotherside
Meanwhile the same source (ThinkGeoEnergy, Sep. 13) highlights the geothermal setup on Bali by translating an article from CNN Indonesia as it concludes
'There is though hope, as a lot of the opposition is likely rooted not in religious issues, but about who will be effected by development with regards to the division of land and compensation'.
Cover
Sometimes the hot springs can get too hot, figuratively speaking. TTR Weekly (Sept. 29) duplicates an AFP report on the most recent rumblings atop the Indonesian island of Lombok. A smaller vent situated in the crater of Rinjani has begun to erupt:
'Around 1,000 tourists, including about 600 foreigners, were believed to be in the area when Mount Barujari sent columns of ash and smoke shooting high into the sky over Lombok island, Tuesday, according to the official disaster agency'.
One of the highlights of a multiday trek over the volcano cone is a possibility to enjoy natural picturesque hot springs, as below.

 Indonesia last year. #hotsprings #rinjani #mountain #nature #beautifuldestinations #thevisualcollective #createexplore #earthfocus #visualsoflife #instagood #stanyandwander #igmasters #streetdreamsmag #agameoftones #illgrammers #urbanromantix #citybestviews
There's a list of famous hot springs in Vietnam (source).

Stranger soaking news from Indonesia. Coconuts Jakarta (Sep. 20):
'The warden of Soppeng State Prison in South Sulawesi, Irpan, was recently arrested by police in the tourist area of Lejja, Soppeng - famous for its hot springs.
Irpan was not on a family trip to the the hot springs. According to police, Irpan and three of the guards from his prison were on holiday, along with 17 prisoners'.
On fire
More hot news, this time from China's Yunnan state. Gokunming reports (Sep. 23):
'Fuxian (抚仙湖) is reputedly the cleanest lake in China, and also the deepest, containing an estimated ten percent of all the lake water in China.
...
The group was photographed bathing near a hot spring that feeds the lake by another unrelated traveler on September 12. While swimming is allowed in the lake, one of the trio was caught on camera washing her hair with shampoo. Once the image was published on Chinese social media the firestorm began, and continues unabated nearly two weeks later.
...
In addition to countless posts and discussions on social media, press outlets across the country seized on the misdeed to highlight the growing sense of environmental awareness amongst China's citizenry. One can only hope that such concern over Fuxian — the shores of which are ever more crowded with resorts and tourists — will prompt people around the country to think twice before littering'.
Quick internet searches reveal that the custom is quite prevalent. Even cars are seen wahed in the pristine (?) waters ...
South China Morning Post (Sep. 17) adds:
'The administration said it had hired 200 inspectors to stop “uncivilised behaviour” and one in charge of the hot spring section had been punished.
Mania
A couple of pictures, first from the Philippines, then a rustic springs northern Laos and finally a peculiar picture from Burma:

One of a series of pictures on Mainit hot springs, on Cebu island. From tumblr

 
Muang La Lodge Hot Spring
antoine.fievet at Dhang Kuang
#Myanmar #Birmanie #burma #inlelake #monks #hotsprings #buddhism #swimmingpool #travel #instatravel 
Expansion
Off to Thailand where ther is news from the Yunomori chain of onsen reports. Thailand tattler (Oct. 6)
'After the success of its Bangkok and Singapore branches, the unique concept of Yunomori Japanese Onsen and Spa has expanded to Pattaya. The Thai inspired onsen and spa combines Thailand’s natural hot spring waters with traditional Thai massage techniques and allows guests to restore their mind, body and spirit'.
Note it's unclear what is understood with natural hot spring waters, it certainly is trucked in at the least. 

Hot Springs Crew Dem #pai #hotsprings #friends #hostellife #vscocam #thailand #travel

Star TV (Aug. 25) has a vdo of Southeast Asia's first geothemal plant in Fang, Thailand, which is still the only geothermal plant in the Kingdom. 



Finally sad news from Malaysia. Free Malaysia today (Aug. 5):
'A five-year-old boy drowned while bathing in a pool at the Ulu Legong Hot Spring Recreational Centre near here last night'.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Treats

annaashbarry 
#Bali #hotsprings @bensingleton66
Just a short photographic whirlwind through the region. 
Above Bali's Angseri hot springs with a waterfall as backdrop, below a geothermal hot mud bath in South Vietnam.

Binh Chau Hot Springs. Горячие источники "Binh Chau" #вьетнам #турыизвунгтау #экскурсииповьетнаму #горячиеисточники #минеральныеводы #лечебнаягрязь #путешествия #туризм #vungtautravel #binhchau #hotsprings #mud #travelling #relaxation
Crossings
Hot Springs Krabi #hotsprings #krabi #travel #thunderstorm #thailand
Thailand always haves a perfect hot spring just waiting for you; above near the southern tourist hub of Krabi. Following another agreeable hot spring in the for Thai famous hot spring town of Ranong, though not so many foreign tourists visit.

To wrap up the chapter slightly further afield in Taiwan a more rustic experience 9and locally popular) from Wulai.
 
น้ำแร่ร้อน น้ำเย็น น้ำแร่ร้อน น้ำเย็น วนไปครัช #งานลงน้ำด่วน #บิ้กซีมีทุกอย่างที่ระนอง #เจ้าบ้านบอกต้องลองเองไม่งั้นจะขายของไม่ได้ #TacB #onsenranong #onsenthailand #ranong #thailand #blumonkeyhotelsemoji
#hotsprings
More fun
This chika galor moment while in the hotspring. I wanna go back @suecorleone 😭💦🙈👙 #hotsprings #pulangbato #redrockhotspring #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travel #byaherangseth #bucketlist 💯✅💋👣
Besides Thailand, both Indonesia and the Philippines are jam-packed with hot springs. Malaysia (the last photo in this paragraph) is less so fortunate, though the Banjaran is probably top-notch though also possibly overclassed ...
 
 42 Grad und es wird noch heißer! 🌞🌋 #hotsprings #therapeutic #neverstopexploring #Cebu #Visayas #Philippines #Pilipinas #itsmorefuninthephilippines #globelletravels #bisaya #Urlaub #Sommer
♨️ #birthdayretreat #banjaranhotspringsresort #hotsprings #ipoh #malaysia

Forests
Finishing off with a couple of Indonesia's forest hot springs.
 
Vai di terme... #hotsprings #malanage #bajawa #nusatenggara #timur #indonesiantour #selfie #flores #likes #beardedman #holiday #gopro #inked
Family outing on a hot springs #nature #forest #tropical #river #hotsprings #mataair #hutan #sumatra #indonesia

Sunday, 17 July 2016

No secrets

#naturalhotspring #hotsprings #indonesia
I would like to apologise for the lack of expanded updates on this blog, limited time being one factor. But the other is the discontinuation of the google search of blogs which means many firsthand accounts are disappearing forever.
Sign of the times? 
We seem more intent to throw our photo's on instagram rather than to be able to write a sentence or two on how an experience was. Certainly looks like the internet era has heralded a dumbing down.

T
alking about dumb, debate in the US is very much on hot springs conservation and access to nature. It's mostly a response to misuse of recreative and natural wonder sites. Apparently it is the era of the throw away consumption. No individual responsibility.

For instance take this local report (Telluride News, March 31) on a clean up: 
'Hidden just down an embankment off of Colorado Highway 145, the Rico Hot Springs used to be one of the best kept secrets in the area.
Now that residents and visitors alike have discovered the warm, soothing, mineral-rich waters of the spot just north of the town of Rico, the hot springs have become more popular. With that popularity have come problems. Recently, the area around the springs has become littered with trash, discarded clothing and other items left behind by soakers.
...
Wearing gloves, they collected whiskey bottles, beer cans, water jugs, undergarments, bathing suits, food containers and innumerable cigarette butts'.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is the heavy handedness of the authorities (Idahostatesman, Jun. 21):
'The Bureau of Land Management’s Tate Fischer said he’ll consider proposals to keep the Skinny Dipper hot pools open right up until the time his staff starts tearing them out and reclaiming the trail leading to them.
But for now, the hot springs are officially closed. Fischer announced the closure Tuesday after a notice was published in the Federal Register, a government journal that publishes federal decisions.
Let's hope that society comes to it's wits before more damage is done.

Dumbing down
Everybody knows I like to discuss geothermal power generation in relation to soaking: not often a successful combination as the tech-ies developing their power generation see no need for soaking nor for any community involvement whatsoever; the latter sits well with the governmental elite: centralising political power.


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/environment/article85008347.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/environment/article85008347.html#storylink=cpy
Indonesia's Aceh is another region hoping to hop on the geothermal power bandwagon. ThinkGeoEnergy (May 9):
'The ongoing electricity crisis, with not sufficient electricity available is a big concern in the semi-autonomous province of Aceh on the northwest tip of Sumatra Island in Indonesia.
The regional executive board council now urges the government to implement a geothermal project to serve as key element in helping it to deal with the crisis'.
Geothermal power generation can also go small scale. ThinkGeoEnergy (May 24): 
'MiniGeo is a small, modular geothermal power plant the size of a shipping container. The system is designed to generate renewable electricity for remote communities using the earth’s natural heat. The benefits of the MiniGeo are that it can generate power 24 hours a day, doesn’t require fuel, emits almost no CO2 and needs very little space'. 
First pilot programme to be in Indonesia.

Seeking to convert the soaking faithful in Japan, Japan Times (Jun. 20) notes this new instrument to allay fears for onsen operator: 
'Developers of geothermal power projects can now buy an insurance policy that covers the expense for surveys to determine if their projects are the cause of changes in the quality and volume of hot water'.
A day later the same source continues
'With centuries of tradition on their side, Japan’s hordes of naked bathers remain unmoved by the island nation’s bid to tap a rich reserve of power equivalent to about 20 nuclear reactors. 
...
“We strongly oppose geothermal development,” said Toru Terada, the senior managing director of the Japan Spa Association, which represents 1,200 members. “Geothermal plants can lower the temperature of the springs, as well as deplete volume. We can’t support the government’s plan to loosen regulations in order to expand facilities.” Hot springs are big business in Japan. More than 120 million people stay overnight at such resorts annually, while millions go for day trips, according to the association'.
Funny how ThinkGeoEnergy (Jul. 5) refers to the same article, taking the odd snippets here and there but finishes with this addition, supposedly their own words
'While other countries show that geothermal development for power generation can co-exist with direct use applications, such as spas and baths, there seems to be still a long way in Japan to find common grounds on the utilisation of the great geothermal resources of the country'.
One way to ease opposition is to let communities share in the proceeds. ThinkGeoEnergy (Jun. 21) has announced that 
'Local governments in Indonesia have been trying to get access to some of the profits derived from geothermal operations in their communities and it now seems like this is going to happen'.
What is actually meant are lower governments, not communities ....

#daharofamz #hotspring#sibayak#sibolangit #mask with Sulfur#sharangeo 😚
Onsenexit?
More developments but not geothermal.

X
enogears has an article (Jan. 2016) on the Japanese bathhouse:
'For the longest time, Japanese public baths were an integral aspect of Japanese society. In 1968, the industry peaked with 17,642 bath houses existing across the nation. However, by spring of 2008 that number dropped to a mere 4,343, and it continues to decrease at a rate of almost one a day. There simply aren’t enough customers to support the industry, not to mention that there are few young people prepared to take over the business, and the facilities themselves are breaking down due to their age. Japanese people who would like to bathe together are now more likely to attend a large-scale bath houses or make a day trip to a natural hot spring (onsen), rather than remain local'.
It puts its hopes on foreign tourists to keep the bathhouses afloat. 

Maybe it's a cultural thing, natural soaking in places such as Iceland, North America, New Zealand and Italy has seen quite an increase in recent years, with internet providing better info and the increased free time actually resulting in visits to hot springs. 
Japan will catch up soon I believe and the plenty availability of onsens will only reward the renewed interest.

Relief
Then over to the regional focus starting off a snippet on non(?) news. From the Travel Daily Media (May 10):
'Thailand’s Dusit International has unveiled plans to open a new luxury hot spring resort in southeast China’s Fujian province'.
Oh well, catering to rich and (nearly) famous. 
Anyway as stated above not much texts to focus on, so it's over to the picture section with the odd reference.
  • Thailand
aonjungnida Khanchanaburi's Rock Valley Hot Spring & Fish Spa

ทริปเพื่อนรัก 2016#happytrip#withlove#friends😍😘😙#kanjanaburitrip #thailand #travel #thailandtravels #summer #onsen #onsenthailand #aday
  • Singapore
Singapore's Sembawang generates quite some news. Let's start with Channelnews Asia (Apr. 18):
'The potential redevelopment of Sembawang Hot Spring into a national park has drawn mixed reactions from Members of Parliament (MPs) and regular visitors - but calls for the 108-year-old locale to resist commercialisation and retain its rusticity have been unanimous'.
But this seems to have been lost on some:
'Dr Chang Tou Chuang, a tourism geographer and associate professor at the National University of Singapore, also weighed in with suggestions on how to draw crowds to the Sembawang Hot Spring.
“The area is undeveloped and hence can only support a small crowd of visitors. It needs a larger critical mass of attractions in order to attract more people, including tourists,” he said, proposing a “nature-themed attraction that perhaps complements the spring with other water-related amenities and facilities”.
A neglected part of history:
'At the height of the spring’s popularity in the early 2000s, it would register hundreds of visitors daily, claimed 72-year-old retiree Mr Chen. Speaking in Mandarin, he said he has been bathing in the spring since he was a child living in a nearby kampung.
Mr Chen then related how the public were spooked and eventually left disinterested by the spring after an incident in 2002, when an elderly man lost six toes to gangrene after dipping his feet in the water - which was measured at a steaming 131°C in the late 1990s'.
Hot on this article's heels comes the Strait Times (Apr. 23): 
'The question of what to do with the Sembawang Hot Spring at Gambas Avenue has been mulled over for decades.
Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung said on Saturday (April 23) that the land where the hot spring is on will be returned to the State.
The area may be turned into a park, as Mr Ong said he hopes a public agency such as the National Parks Board can take over, and maintain it'.
Then an onsen has opened for business in Singapore. Asiaone (May 28): 
'Have you always yearned to soak your weary body into the hot spring baths at Japan's relaxing 'onsens'? Well, you're in luck because Singapore's first spa offering authentic Japanese-style public baths has opened its doors. Located at Kallang Wave Mall, Yunomori Onsen & Spa features 11 pools with six variations of baths'.
Things you should know: 
'no. 2. You don't have to be fully naked
Thankfully for us, the founders of Yunomori Onsen & Spa understand that we Singaporeans are pretty conservative and are a shy lot. Therefore, the spa offers disposable undergarments for both men and women. Yes, we can hear your sigh of relief'. 
No mention about whether or not the waters are natural. Doesn't seem so.
2. You don't have to be fully naked
Thankfully for us, the founders of Yunomori Onsen & Spa understand that we Singaporeans are pretty conservative and are a shy lot. Therefore, the spa offers disposable undergarments for both men and women. Yes, we can hear your sigh of relief.
- See more at: http://women.asiaone.com/women/beauty/5-things-you-should-know-about-singapores-very-first-japanese-onsen#sthash.822XVy4A.dpuf
  • Philippines

flipfloppintraveler at Mateo Hot & Cold Spring, San Benon, Irosin, Sorsogon
: reflecting relaxation

nothing more soothing to an aching body from surfing that to take a dip in this hot spring pool from Mt. Bulusan
  • Indonesia
Indonesia Trip Tips (Jun. 16) has a top 7 of Indonesia's best natural thermal baths. Surprisingly 6 of those are on Java and 1 on Bali, so much for the rest of Indonesia. 

No. 1 from the list (and Bali's only contribution), posted by yuragawashinkurou 
#banyuwedang #bali #hotspring #landscape
Finishing off with what seems a more often occurrence: not always are hot springs soothing. Channelnews Asia (May 11): 
'The Search and Rescue Team has found and recovered the body of a climber who reported drowned in the Aik Kalak hot spring of Mount Rinjani [Isle of Lombok] on Sunday (May 8).
Have you always yearned to soak your weary body into the hot spring baths at Japan's relaxing 'onsens'? Well, you're in luck because Singapore's first spa offering authentic Japanese-style public baths has opened its doors.
Located at Kallang Wave Mall, Yunomori Onsen & Spa features 11 pools with six variations of baths.
- See more at: http://women.asiaone.com/women/beauty/5-things-you-should-know-about-singapores-very-first-japanese-onsen#sthash.822XVy4A.dpuf
Better on Sulawesi, by refly51_around:
nature spa
#nature#spa#bathing#kelewaha#waterfall#hotspring#tombatu

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Varm

Air Panas Waigete #airpanas #waigete #maumere #flores #ntt
Long time, no see? Apparently that's what happens when u are busy busy. Or better said putting your priorities elsewhere.

Following are a couple of pictures from the region which might be to your likely. Well, better siad they are to my liking.
 
We started off with Indonesia (above) which always has some of the regions most enticing hot springs. Following in alphabetic order is just the soliatary soak from Burma:
 
#naturalresort #hotspring#taungngu#lovelyday

Gather
Indonesia condures up many a potential photo-op however somehow I've included another from Flores, with the second photo of having a shower: it's not often that having a shower is emphasied at the popular soaking possibilities in Southeast Asia.

 
    #hotsprings #niceandvarm #funnypictures
ncis_meira
Monthly gathering means showering together after #hotsprings #bali #kintamani #island #likeforlike #ilovebali #wonderfulindonesia #noedit #friendship
Sit back

#favourite #memory bathing in an #amazing #natural #hotspring with the local #village #people in #laos - the area was actually divided in two sections one for #men and the other for #women and #children - it was a #beautiful moment to be apart of and our presence excepted! #hotsprings #secrethotspring #washing #bathing #beautifulmoments #travel #travelgram #travelstories #backpacking #journey #destination #ilovepeople #laotian #ilovelaos #amazingplace 
source

Laos (above) is still a country where tourists are yet to discover the many soaking possibilities, leaving the hot springs as pristine as one could hope for.
Malaysia (below) in contrast has overdeveloped most of their hot springs, only those off the main road still having some attractive powers if only for avoiding the hordes of merry makers:

iamtravelist
#Borneo #hotspring #nature #sarawak #kuching #malaysia #travel #life #weekend #sitbackandrelax #spa #water #blue #countryroad #hot #naturalhotspring #kuchingtravel
More ... nerves
 
Only 35.8°C, much better! [sweat_smile] #hotsprings #cebuisland #philippines #travel #discover #itsmorefuninthephilippines #hotwater #nature #wanderlust #instatravel 
 source

Wrapping up this photo overview, we start with the Phillippines (above and below), followed by Thailand, with the last photo from Vietnam.
Hot spring is one of my fave natural waterpool. The warm water relaxes my nerves. Arden Hot Spring, Camiguin #camiguin #beautifulisland #adventuretime #rowinwonderland #hotspring 
nene_nae at Rock Valley Hot Spring and Fish Spa, Khanchanaburi:
ออนเซนแบบไทยๆ ตีโป่ง 😂 #onsen
aussieinwanderlust at one of Pai's hot spring resorts (Mae Hong Son province)
The happiness when you stumble along a cool natural springs resort....only to find out that it's SUPER HOT. This is not refreshing when it's 40 degrees out already! 😫😫😫
On👌 #waterweb #inaction #potd #hotspring #onpoint #flickonpoint #hairflickoftheday #albahotspring #vietnam #huecity #vietnamtrip2016
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