Friday, 27 April 2018

If only


happy days spent in hotsprings

A quick look at some recent photo's emerging from Southeast Asia's soaks. More or less at random. Balancing between natural and lesser developed. 
Above may we say goofing around, in Northern Thailand's Pai. Below the Philippines.

If only I’d packed a thermometer in my bag, then I could tell you how HOT this water was! 🚣🏿💦🌴 #palawan #philippines#hotsprings #holiday #family#backpacking#sangat
Super 


jolin.lu at Wareerak, Krabi, south Thailand
Deserted hot spring in the middle of a jungle 😍
yolinautani on Flores, Indonesia
Bajawa#soa#airpanas#liburan
pepper.minh at Nui Than tai, Danang, Vietnam
I had an incredible first onsen experience at @hotspringspark!Although it was somewhat uncomfortable for me to completely undress myself in a public place, the fact that we had pretty much the whole place to ourselves made it so much easier to ease into it, as well as taking pictures for the gram 😜.Particularly, I enjoyed the hottest and the coldest baths there, which were around 40 and 18 degree, where both made my skin super smooth and nice afterward ✨..Nov 23, 2017 | #onsen #onsen♨️ #resort#skinnydipping #dipping#shutterremote#wanderlust #travelgram #travel #wander#instatravel#wandering #danang #trip#backtonature #hotsprings#luxurylife#hotspringspark #nuithantai #travelling#wearetravelgirls#exploringvietnam#takingabath
Lifestyle 
Hot but not spicy. ***📍Balite Hot Spring🗺Baganga, Davao Oriental🚏Region 11: Davao Region🇵🇭Philippines #lakwatsa #Philippines #MeanderInMindanao#Davao #DavaoOriental #Baganga#GoJustGo #SoloLakwatsero ***#travelph #exploreph#ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines#ChoosePhilippines #PinasMuna #the_ph#explorephmag #WooGoPH#BNDOnlineTravelDiary #TravelingPinoy#SeePilipinas #TraversePhilippines#DyanLangPH #allaboutphils#philippineimages #pinoytravel#somewhereinpinas #hotsprings #instagood#instatravel #naturelovers
nuelnius, central Malaysian peninsula
#travel#shortvacay#lovenature#menlifestyle#friends#happy#selayanghotspring
ellehalley at Nha Trang, Vietnam
Mud, mud glorious mud......#swampthing #mudbath #spa

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Light

7ennifer_tl at Marobo (Timor):
🚗⛰🍾🎲🎼💃🏽👙♨️...#Patron #Moet #HappyPills #EDM#MaroboHotSprings #Bobonaro #DroneIsLife#TimorLeste #TimorLesteFromAbove#HiddenParadise #JtAerialPhotography#EditedToTheMax #ThroughJtLens#BirdsEyeView #WorldFromAbove#FromWhereIDrone #DiscoverDrone#DJIMavic711 #SkySupply #Droning#DroneGrids #DroneStagram #GoneDroning#ShotzFromAbove #DjiGlobal #VisualOfEarth#SkyPixel #DroneAddict #DroneJunkie21.1.18
It seems that what's topical in the wider Asian soaking society is the quirky, the cashing-in and the experiencing Japan. 
On the latter, the Philippines Sunstar (Feb. 10):
'I went to Nagoya last week to get naked with strangers. Now if you find this gross, stop now. Put the paper down. Close the window on your screen. But if you think this could be interesting, read on.
...
Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded onsen—the popular hot spring bathing facilities all over Japan that requires all bathers to bathe in the buff. I was determined to go—and not because I’m an exhibitionist. As a matter of fact, when the onsen was first introduced to me exactly a year ago in Hokkaido, I was horrified by the idea of going naked in public.
...
In a nutshell, all my apprehensions at the onsen were unwarranted. You get over the nudity in less than 30 seconds. Truth to tell, no one stares and no one cares—at least at the females only onsen'.
Star2 (Malaysia, Mar. 12):
'I used to be the kid in school that was too shy to even change in the toilet if there were other schoolmates around.
When colleagues learned that I was visiting Club Med Tomamu in Hokkaido, Japan, where guests have access to an onsen operated by the neighbouring Hoshino Resorts, they were adamant I put my inhibitions aside and give it a go.
...
Meanwhile, neck up, the air was cool and refreshing. There were even snowflakes falling on my cheeks! It was just magical'.


But it's not only the Southeastasian perspective that notes cold feet to the Japanese au naturel soaking. The Independent (Feb. 23):
'“Welcome to paradise!” says the naked, middle-aged woman sitting beside me, grinning as she sinks deeper into the almost-too-hot spring water pool at Hotel Shiragiku in the Japanese city of Beppu.
She has travelled from Hong Kong to visit the laid-back spa city famous for its 2,500 mineral-rich hot springs, which are said to soothe the skin and relax the body. I nod my head interestedly to feign comfort and hide the fact I am becoming increasingly anxious that she can see my nipples through the water.
A Londoner uninitiated with onsen culture, I’m seemingly the only one of the dozen naked women in this hot spring bath to feel even a modicum of awkwardness at being in the nude with strangers. Having endured in Japan for thousands of years, onsens are much older than swimsuits and such clothing is thought to contaminate the spring water heated by the Earth’s crust. Instead, bathers must wash thoroughly in a communal area before entering the pool.
I try to relax; it would be remiss to let a little awkwardness get in the way of a dip in an onsen, an integral part of experiencing Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island. And I quickly learn there is something cathartic and freeing about chatting and relaxing communally. This is the antithesis of being shut away in a massage therapy room'.
The Tampa Bay Times (Mar. 8):
'In the bitter February cold, the idea of soaking in an onsen sounds like heaven.
The catch: naked.
In Japan, bathing is an essential ritual of life, at home and in public, often at the end of the day. The tub isn’t for washing, but resting, a chance to soak in natural nutrients.
...
I’m a woman from small-town Madison, Fla., who takes quick showers and wears one-pieces to the beach. I dragged conservative dress like a safety blanket from middle school into my married late 20s. "You once wore tights to the beach," a longtime friend told me.
Could I enjoy this?
...
I feel lightheaded.
I think I like this'. 
yoghijuliansa somewhere on Sumatra (Bengkulu):
________________________________________#curup #ayokecurup #exploresini #rejanglebong #bengkulu #explore_rejang_lebong #hometown #hotspring #nature #mainkesini #vacation #holiday #destination #backpack #travelindo #travellers #dolansebentar #jalanjalanmen #alamnusantara #alamindonesia #like4like #photooftheday #pergiyuk
Stretching it
While we're discussing the onsen culture: Japan Today asks (Mar. 9) when are boys not welcome anymore in the female section of the onsen?

'While some Japanese hot springs operate under a konyoku policy, in which male and female bathers share the same tubs, for the most part bathing in Japan is gender-segregated, even when it’s communal. However, an exception is usually made for young kids.
...
In many people’s opinions, though, once a child starts the first year of elementary school (which usually occurs at the age of five), it’s probably about time for them to start using the bath for their gender.
...
The issue of how to handle young kids in the opposite gender’s bath is particularly tricky, because onsen/sento bathing facilities aren’t private like a public bathroom stall, nor is the goal to get in and out as quickly as possible, like with a changing room at a public pool. The whole point of Japan’s traditional bathhouses is to stretch out the bathing process and make it a relaxing ritual, so operators can’t dismiss out of hand complaints from customers who dislike having boys in the women’s baths. Nevertheless, with a far greater number of single mothers in Japan now than in the past, and the reinvigoration of the country’s love of onsen over the past decade and a half, it’s a topic that’s likely to continue being debated'.
Quite right, as the article generates quite a few comments.

Meanwhile in Taiwan, no such problems:


面朝大海 春暖花開#EDNAKED#♨️ #溫泉男孩.....#liveoutdoors #earthfocus#thegreatoutdoors #optoutside #welltraveled#passionpassport #stayandwander#beautifuldestinations #discoverearth#letsgosomewhere #natgeo #welivetoexplore#lifeofadventure #modernvoyage#liveauthentic #exploretocreate#whereveryougo #hotsprings #八煙野溪溫泉#八煙溫泉 #野溪溫泉 #溫泉 #泳褲痕 #美尻 #野外露出 #野裸 #🍑
Strange news: yfs figureshop have a complete set of a Japanese onsen:

あ~温泉行きたい。職人が混浴露天風呂造っちゃいました。近日店頭にて展示予定です。#ミニチュア人形のyfs#nゲージ#nゲージジオラマ#nゲージで見る日常光景#露天風呂#混浴露天風呂#混浴温泉世界#ヌードフィギュア#ヌード人形#セクシーフィギュア#ミニチュアフィギュア#ミニチュア人形は演出です#ミニチュア写真#ミニチュアの世界#smallworlds #miniaturefigures#nakedfigures#nudefigures#hotspring#onsen♨️ #onsen♨️ #温泉旅行♨️#miniaturephotography#microworld #microphotography#diorama #ジオラマの世界
Australia's Kitchen Nine reports (Feb. 12) on another Japanese quirky hot spring feature:
'... we’ve recently stumbled on this glorious footage footage revealing a Valentine's Day special at Yunessun spa in Hakone; the chance to bathe in a melted chocolate hot spring. Yes, you heard that correctly. Chocolate all around your body'.
An impromptu hot spring from Taiwan, don't see this being the next big thing for 2018 ...


夜戰多望野溪♨️貨卡真的是太ㄅㄧㄤˋ了 !夏天可以是泳池 冬天可以是溫泉池#camping #hotsprings #4x4 #offroad4x4#offroadlife #jimny #amarok

Banyantree
The South China Morning Post (Mar. 12) looks at the Chinese soaking scene:
'The travel market for China’s hot springs is one of the fastest growing in the world. Revenues from hot springs trips, which follow the ancient custom of bathing in thermal waters for recuperative effect, more than quadrupled from 22.8 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) in 2006 to 100 billion yuan in 2016, according to online travel agent Ma Feng Wo. Happily for resort owners, cold weather only makes the prospect of a warm bath more enticing.
...
According to Ctrip, China’s love of hot springs is fuelled by women, who booked 70 per cent of the website’s trips in 2017.
Carolyn Mu, 28, a primary schoolteacher living in Weihai in Shandong Province, began visiting hot springs resorts regularly after graduating in 2014. “I usually go to hot springs with my friends. After having a bath, we get together in the lobby and have fun, watching TV, having a meal and playing cards,” she says'.
It then goes on to list 6 luxury hot spring resorts.
What we prefer. For instance these rustic hot springs that still exist in China. Here at Mangshi, Yunnan.

Hot springsUnder the banyan #hotsprings #hotspring #amazing #wash#swimming
Laos wants to develop (read spoil) it's hot springs. From the Vientiane Times (Jan. 19):
'Bokeo provincial authorities have identified naturally warm and mineral-rich waters and plan to develop the sites as new tourism attractions for bathers during Visit Laos Year.
Director of Bokeo province Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Bounsavath Keoduangta told Vientiane Times local authorities have surveyed three natural hot springs for sustainable development to increase the number of local and international visitors.
The first hot spring is located near Namkeung village, Tonpheung district, situated about 25 km from the north-western province’s capital and only a kilometre from an adjacent natural waterfall.
“Infrastructure at the location will include facilities such as a restaurant, guesthouse and designated bathing site. The project is in the design stage with construction to begin soon,” Mr Bounsavath said.
The second hot spring is located at Namfa-namter village, Tonpheung district, situated about 40km from the provincial capital.
“The two hot springs are warm but not too hot and considered quite fine for taking a bath, especially in the winter.”
According to provincial officials, the third hot spring in Pounglor village, Meung district has temperatures approaching 100 C and is about 60km from the urban centre with a 28 km section of road under construction to allow access for visitors.
The popularity of hot spring bathing among international guests is expected to attract more local and foreign visitors if suitably developed; therefore, authorities are welcoming investment proposals for facilities at the sites'. 
Following a photo of what the photographer attributes to as Xieng Khouan province, but I've done quite some searching but have yet to discover where exactly this new looking resort is located.

#hotsprings
Cocks
blog.tripviss (Jul. 22) has 
'8 Relaxing Hot Springs & Baths in Southeast Asia'
Forbes (Mar. 13) notes 5 hot springs in Asia. It includes Fang (Thailand) and Binh Chau (Vietnam).

Vietnam.net (Jan. 30) has a photographic overview of Tram Tau hot springs. Must be quite new, as tripadvisor has no reviews ...

jzentran at Tram Tau
#real #hotspring in #springtime only 1 dollar charge/visitor can you believe? 😯😱😭😍• Check out Yên Bái - Việt Nam and feel #reborn • #travel #travelphotography#adventure #adventurer #adventuretime #mountains #traveler #lifestyle #culture#vietnam #original #inspiration #inspire#nature #naturephotography #landscape#naturelovers #zen #indie #indieartist #dreamer #harmony #balance #reflection#clearwater • #jzentran
Patrik Lord Travel Blog (Feb. 4) goes to Baslay, Negros (the Philippines):
'The area is quiet and peaceful and if you are resonable fit and are not dependent of shops and changing rooms this is the place for you!
...
Going down to the hot springs. Indeed we saw many people at the turnback, but they were there for cock fights not for the hot springs'.

Less better news, as always in the same vein. Philippines News Agency (Jan. 20):

'The local government here is eyeing a hot spring within a natural park as a new tourism destination in Eastern Visayas.Burauen town tourism officer, Carmela Corazon Crebillo, said Friday they had already drawn up plans to develop the Calor Hot Spring, but were awaiting further comments from concerned national government agencies'.

In all honesty the plans seem more natural while enhancing the forested area around the springs with very limited eco-impact.

Giggles

Malaysia's New Strait Times heads for Bentong's hot spring (Feb. 22): 
'Nature enthusiasts who are looking for a break not far from Kuala Lumpur may want to consider staying at Erya by Suria Hot Spring Resort.
Surrounded by a rainforest the resort in Bentong, which is only an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur and 20 minutes from Bentong town, is perfect for those in need of a rejuvenating and healing retreat soaking in the geothermal hot spring pool.
...
As it is a short getaway, my travel companion and I do not delay taking a therapeutic dip in the 40-degree Celsius sulphuric hot spring pool where the water is directly channelled from the hot springs to the pool. The pool is also open to the public with different rates for children, adults and senior citizens'.
Tripadvisor notes 3,5 stars for the experience, booking.com a 7.2, they could probably use the publicity.

Staystripzilla (Mar. 8) has 
'Top 5 Hot Spring Resorts in Malaysia'.
No. 2 is the just mentioned Suria at Bentong and also mentioned is KSL Hot Spring Resort which is yet to open in Johore.

The Smarter Way (Jan. 2018) has 
'6 Hot Springs in Malaysia to Sweat Your Worries Away'.
Very similar to aforementioned.

Ten things to do on Bali (There V Goes Again). Number 8:
'Skinny Dip in a Hot spring
Ok obviously, you should skinny dip at your own risk- side note: We ended up getting stalked basically by these young boys (maybe 10-12 years old). They definitely thought it was hilarious that we were stranded and naked while they all stood around giggling and pointing. Anyhow, it was peaceful and as cliche as it sounds, I truly felt "at one with nature" while here. The hot spring we visited was called Asri Hot Springs. What I liked about going to this one rather than one of the super touristy ones is that we were right there with the locals, doing what local people do. Apparently, this is a place where some may come to bathe. I also loved that they had several different"bath houses" in addition to the outdoor springs'.

Travelfish (Jan. 28) head for Cipinas hot spring (Java).
'Cipanas is a small atmospheric mountain resort town famed for its volcanic hot springs that seep from nearby active volcano, Gunung Guntur.
...
the resort itself has a somewhat tawdry, downmarket vibe.
The surrounding area however, offers beautiful mountain scenery, active volcanos, ancient ruins, traditional villages and some good hiking opportunities and thus makes a worthwhile stopover
...
The warm water is very relaxing and hard to resist, which makes it easy to forgive some of the below average facilities, and offers the perfect antidote to ease weary muscles after hiking one of the nearby volcanoes.
...
Public baths are a cheaper option, but the ones we checked out were pretty scruffy and lacking in cleanliness'.
qee_3060 at Desa Penen Kec. Sibiru-biru (North Sumatra):
Let's keep you warm 😀#hotspring #pool #nature #cave #cliff #stone #bluelagoon #trip #today

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Traditionz


mrboiiii at Lake Agco (Mindanao, Philippines):
One with nature! #gopro
Japan and onsen seem inseparable. 
Taking an onsen is much more than just a soak. It revolves around traditions. Following traditions. And it's also about purity: pureness of water combined with pureness of human bodies and human souls. And spirituality.
But that was then.

Now, in order to attract more guests (no, no, no, it's about making more profits) we read that bath wear is allowed. 
Reported on quite a few websites in the region, I'll cite traveller.com.au (Nov. 14), though the original article is attributed to the Washington Post:
'The inn [Sui Suwako] is among an increasing number of hot spring resorts that allow guests to wear a garment while bathing, not only because more and more Japanese find it embarrassing to be naked when men and women can use the same bathing space, but also because of the growing number of foreign visitors who are not used to the traditional requirement that bathers be naked at these facilities.
...
The Japan Tourism Agency in March last year compiled guidelines - for onsen inns and other bathing facilities
...
[The agency] calls for operators to allow guests to use bathing wear.
...
According to Ishikawa [Michio Ishikawa, an onsen critic and chair of the Regional Science Association of Spa, Japan], some operators do not allow users to wear their own garments while bathing for hygienic reasons and instead have them use items they sell or lend'.
Allowing bath wear allows the sanctity of pureness to be dropped as well as allowing aspects such as class, social standing, religion and even politics to enter the onsen bathing process. 
It may not be the end of the world, but it does bring this closer. Ummm, sort of.

♨️Onsen rules series♨️ #onsen #温泉 #newrules #japan #illustration#sofreshsoclean #onsenszn #hotsprings
Giving in to foreigners rudeness may be one way to go, refinery29.uk (Nov. 14) looks at it differently:
'Elsewhere in the world, gendered communal baths are a cornerstone of how you hang out with friends. One country where this happens is Japan, where natural hot springs known as "onsen" are a big part of life. As Shino, a Kyoto resident who has been visiting the baths since she was four, explains: “Onsen are for relaxing and healing, as the waters are often high in minerals. As well as aches and pains, they’re supposed to be good for the skin, which is why a lot of women go.”
...
Pochi, from Tokyo, has her own bath at home (not necessarily a given in a city where space is at a premium) but still goes to the sentō two or three times per month to relax with friends or family. It’s like going to the pub, only wetter.
...
With women in Japan enjoying the longest life expectancy in the world, communal activities such as these play a vital role in maintaining the health and happiness of an ageing population.
...
Naturally, supply and demand plays a big part in the price structure: While the Romans and Victorians were big fans of a bathhouse, many have now been closed down. Plus the UK's level of geothermal activity means hot springs are never going to be – erm – springing up all over the place. But if communal bathing were as ubiquitous and budget-friendly as it is elsewhere, would we be ready to take the plunge?'
Discover
More. On soaking in general.
An article (Adventure.com, Nov. 8) on how internet is killing discovery.
'The internet has made many things, including travel, easier, safer and more accessible. But does too much information risk destroying the most rewarding aspects of travel?
...
And paradoxically—instead of always hunting out the highly-rated sights, hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars—we have to try harder to stop seeking the best experiences, and let them come to us. There might not be many corners of this world yet to be discovered by humankind, but there are plenty yet to be discovered by you.
So if you do manage to find somewhere extra-special and all on your own, perhaps don’t tell us about it via TripAdvisor or Instagram. Don’t even tell us about it when we ask you how your trip was. Save a few spots for the rest of us to ‘discover’'.
Discover what? tripviss.blogs (Jul. 22) has 
'8 Relaxing Hot Springs & Baths in Southeast Asia'.
A couple each from the major nations (in size).

A geothermal musical? ThinkGeoenergy (Nov. 20) reports on a geothermal themed musical, staged in Belgium.

Nikkei.com (Nov. 17) notes a number of new methods to breathe fresh air into older bathing establishments:
'Dwindling customers force public baths to try new ways to get them into hot water
...
Another sento attracting foreign visitors is Showayu in the Awaji district. Teruo Morikawa, who runs the facility, has teamed up with his brother, Masatsugu, to allow free, unlimited bathing for customers who stay at Masatsugu's guesthouse nearby. The service attracts many backpackers from Western countries, Morikawa said.
...
Irifune Onsen near Nishitanabe station specifically targets after-work joggers
..
One sento has turned itself into a venue for an entirely different use. Masataka Tamaru hosts live music performances at his Asahi Onsen
A shortage of successors for traditional family-run operations is also being blamed for sento closures. Some sento owners are handing over operations to people outside the family.
Hideaki Katsura began running Chidori Onsen in Konohana Ward in October, after the owner retired but had no one in the family to take over. The 51-year-old former company employee has a plan to attract a new type of customers -- he said he wants to turn the facility into a place where avid cyclists can gather'.
More soaking business. The Asia Times (Nov. 1) reports:
'Russian and Japanese investors have begun work on the first hot-springs spa resort in Russia to use geothermal mineral water and follow the traditional Japanese bathing style. The bathing complex, known in Japan as an “onsen,” is due to open in 2019 on Sakhalin island in the North Pacific, and will, it is hoped, attract tourists from various parts of the Asia Pacific region'.
Benefits
Time to explore the Southeast Asian region in topical bites, starting off in Indonesia.

A new concept? The onsenresort, Malang (Java). Opened from October last year:
'The one and the only natural hot spring resort and Japanese restaurant in Batu, Malang of East Java. It is ideally located in the amidst of lush pine trees scenery of the mountainous background in Batu, Malang. This is the ideal place for relaxing your mind and body .Our 24 hour friendly staff will welcome you with fresh welcoming drink, and will lead you to the true Japanese villas and also the Japanese bathing culture and experience: ‘Onsen’. It is believed that enjoying onsen will be beneficial for your well being'.
Facebook reviews count 2.5 stars from 14 reviews; quite a few were very negative. 
The Japanese bathing culture and experience? It seems that what is meant, is that it's more attuned to the Indonesian traditional (?) full clothing soaks.

Berendam hot spring di Giri tirta resort dengan air mineral supaya awet muda... yuuks.....#hotsprings#giritirtaresort#happyladies
Five most recommended hot spring destinations near the Toba lake on Sumatra (Laketoba.com, Sep. 17). 
Interesting. And surprising. To see yourself from a selfie. They could have asked ...

Then, the hot spring of Kasi (Vientiane province, Laos) announces on Facebook (Dec. 25) it's new pool has been completed. It looks like a new pool has been constructed in the old pool. 
How it was:

A tip for northern Laos - Kasi Hot Spring. We stayed two nights in one of those small huts on the hill and spent at least half of the time floating (jumping) around in the hot pool. #laos #kasihotspring #biketour
Basic
The (Malaysian) Star (Dec. 2):
'Far from being just a simple scenic spot by a river and waterfall, the Lubuk Timah Hotsprings and Recreational Centre has more than Mother Nature’s wonders to offer to visitors today.
...
Just a few years back though, the popular weekend destination had yet to be properly developed and it lacked many basic amenities.
After several upgrading projects started in 2015, thanks to the Tourism and Culture Ministry, it is now on its way to becoming an outstanding destination'.
The New Strait Times (Dec. 14) on the Setapak soak in KL:
'If you are new to Kuala Lumpur, chances are you probably don’t know that there is a hot springs spot in the city.
...
The pool lies in the compound of the Resource Springs apartment but it is still open to public, daily from 7am to 8pm. For a small fee of RM2 you can have a hot bath here. There is a bathroom with cubicles for men and women. The management has also provided a number of foot-baths around the pool and there is even a small kiddy pool fed by hot water from the main pool'.
    Panchor Hot Spring Serian#photooftheday #travelgram #websta #samsungs7edge #portrait #perspective #photography #panchorhotspring#hotspring #sarawak #borneo
    Philippinesnow (Sep. 13) has:
    '8 Timeless springs in the Philippines'.
    Note: hot and cold.

    Pampainit ng katawan#byaheNiJed #summer #laagan #lakwatsero #instravel #instagram #IG #wanderer #view #PilipinasDestination #nature #naturelover #naturePhotography #Philippines #promotePH #pinas #chasingwondersph #spring #Dauin #NegrosOriental #hotspring #baslay
    Singapore's Strait Times (Nov. 25) reports on Sembawang soaking developments:
    'The country's only natural hot spring on the mainland, the Sembawang Hot Spring, will soon be developed into a park 10 times its current size and feature a cafe, toilets and a floral walk.
    Construction work will start in early 2018 and be completed by 2019, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Saturday (Nov 25).
    ...
    News that the site was to be developed into a park was met with mixed reviews in April, with some wanting to keep its rustic character while others open to having facilities such as washrooms and basins'.
    To round off this post, just the single picture from northern Thailand:

    The Naked Man.#thailand #pai #nature #naturephotography #natureporn #naked #man #ass #nude #allnatural #hotsprings #mountains #landscape #clouds #summer #ink #river #asia #travel #travelphotography #instatravel #igtravel #travelgram #picoftheday #pictureoftheday

    Friday, 22 December 2017

    Preservation



    People call it rain vulcan because there's splashing hot spring like a rain, and also they do natural sauna with the sulfur smokes over there.. 🌳 #volcano #vulcan #smokes #mountain #nature #hotspring #naturalhotspring #westjava #indonesia #kamojang #explore #wanderlust #wanderer #traveler #travel #dontpanicgopicnic #picnic #adventure
    There's very little to report on, while establishing the most probable most popular hot spring sites in Southeast Asia. I say with intent sites, as most mentioned below are veritable fun parks with hot water and/or soaking possibilities being a side kick to the main reason why visitors come: to be fleeced.

    I'm gonna need a better way to establish soaking popularity. 
    Problem is, the less known the hot spring is, the higher the probability for a gracious soak. But less known means less internet impact.
    Hmmm.

    Anyway the past years top hot springs based on internet impact:

    1. Poring (2016: 1), Malaysia;
    2. Maquinit (2), Philippines;
    3. Banjar (3), Indonesia;
    4. Sariater (6), Indonesia;
    5. Toya Devasya (-) Indonesia;
    6. Banjaran (7), Malaysia;
    7. Thap Ba (10), Vietnam;
    8. Ciater (-), Indonesia;
    9. Laguna (-), Philippines;
    10. Rinjani (-), Indonesia / Ardent (4), Philippines.

    Looking for alternatives  I thought I use the ten springs above, select 60 most recent instagram photo's of each and counted how much were of people in water. Let's see the result:
    1. Banjar, 2 Toya Devasya and 3 Thap Ba. 
    Last of the ten? Poring ....

    But if I would add put say Sai Ngam (Thailand) in the mix, then this hot spring would be no. 1.

    So soakingswise the old and trusted top 10 may not be the best indicator. 

    pmakovec at my ideal hot spring, I believe northern Sumatra:
    Hot springs, naredijo še tako mrzlo reko v prav prijetno "mlakužo". Izbiraš lahko med večjim številom baxenčkov oz predelov vode z različno tempetaturo. V enem je voda tako vroča, nam je vodič skuhal jajca vanji.Hot springs with dofferent temperatre of wather is a nice spot to rest. Wather is so warm to cook a egg.
    What to do? 
    This new method has it's bias as well. 
    To name a few: language plays a role, sample size, time of year sample is taken.

    Maybe a better method would be to select contenders which have at least 50 instagram photo's and compare. 

    But just 1 way of measuring might not be reliable enough. 

    Does anyone have other suggestions? 

    Let's try next year to include the soaking element, possibly exclude the commercial element.

    Muang La (Northern Laos)  not on the tourist road but an excellent soaking opportunity. muanglalodge:

    Muang La Lodge offers the tradition of bathing in the hot spring at the foot of our Lodge. From the moment we began construction, we preserved access for the villagers to the thermal spring. So today, it is not rare to share a bath with the local people who believe in the virtues of the waters and use them to help ease the stresses and strains of their day.#muanglalodge #muangla #northernlaos #lodge #hotspring #relax #tradition #discoverlaos #laos#amazinglaos #explorelaos #visitlaos #laostravel #explore #travel #travelasia #instatravel #picoftheday #instago#instatravel #travelingram #voyage @secretretreats

    Friday, 24 November 2017

    Happy connections


    The past has proved that I'm not really addicted to write ups about published and bound materials otherwise known as books. 
    Maybe self-inflicted. 
    Or maybe there aren't too many distinctive books concerning hot springs enjoyment out there. Certainly not on Southeast Asia.

    So if I mention that this review concerns a book entitled Blue Mind which delves into the psychology of water through popular science, one could question why take the trouble in reviewing it here?

    I don't know how I came to decide to purchase this book, but the catchy subtitle
    "The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do"
    did vex my interest.

    Now I believe that I need not be more happier nor healthier; the limits to both are fully understood by myself. 
    Would I want more of either, I would need to trade in current circumstances with the possibility that I could get it wrong; playing it safe seems to work for me at this moment in time.

    But it's more the fact that I'm seeking justification as to why I'm satisfied with my levels of happiness or health that I'm currently experiencing. 
    In respect to being able to recreate with water: living near the sea, in winter I daily cycle along the shore even if only heading to work, while in summer I daily take a dive/swim.
    I also purchased a hot tub not too long ago and currently spend every evening enjoying the sounds of the distant waves interspersed with the various calls of the nearby birdlife. 
    I feel fit. Physically and psychologically.

    Treatment
    In Blue Mind, Wallace Nichols takes us on a journey passing various aspects of how water influences our mind and positively charges that same mind to counteract what he mentions as the red mind: that part of a brain which gets stressed out by various levels of modern day with it's 24/7 connected to screens and instant connectivity.

    Certainly the introduction to neuroscience, neurology of happiness and bringing us up to date on how our minds (are supposed to) work is interesting enough. With science there to provide the backdrop, there's no doubting how water is positively influencing individual and collective minds.
    "... the highest increase in happiness in an outdoor environment occured when people were near water".
    Though Blue Mind hopes to attract more people to experience natural water, in the paragraph on immersion therapy, the author shows that simply experiencing water under a shower already results in increasing Blue Mind attributes. 
    It's a pity that the same paragraph is the only paragraph which touches on soaking as such, though only regards to hot tubs not the natural soaks we crave.
    "And as a sign of therapeutic potency, in Japan, where bathing is a social as well as a personal ritual, several contemporary studies have shown that hot-water immersion can increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system while decreasing it in the sympathetic nervous system (an indication of relaxation)-..."
    Blue feelings
    The narrative is quite Americana-esque. Though proving through science that experiencing water and happiness are correlated, the author chooses to go beyond the conclusion and (in my understanding) seeks establishing a religion (WallaceJNichols.org) of worshipping water connectedness, complete with it's get-togethers and the passing on of blue marbles to prospective (happy) disciples.

    In a time where public concern about our collective future is overriding (think climate change), Mr. Nichols fails to use the findings and his established movement to encourage protection of our natural waters. 
    For instance, just view a recent episode of the popular BBC documentary Blue Planet II and you'll realise how action trumps words and why the lack of using his platform to encourage conservation is a major miss
    Let's hope more Blue Mindfullness is to come ...

    Off
    Is there a message we can take from this book? 

    Besides the individual pursuit of  happiness, there's precious little advice on how to protect and share the dwindling opportunities to interact with water. Especially in Southeast Asia where public access is easily sold-off for private gain, there should be more shouldering calls for expansion of nature parks and protecting pristine areas and keeping the few remaining natural (thermal) areas as pristine as possible.

    But it is a very positive book which does encourage us to get out there and enjoy.

    On internet you'll be able to find more reviews of Blue Mind. Take this from the Guardian (16 Jul. 2014):
    'To be filed under "popular psychology", Blue Mind is a study in water and why it makes us happy. It's also, almost accidentally, a sort of autobiography.  
    ... 
    Almost against my will, I liked this book for its mad spirit'.
    A recent interview with Wallace (USAToday, 13 Nov. 2017):
    'Blue mind is not achieved while you are on Instagram ... ever. It’s impossible. One of the requirements is logging out, turning off and putting the screens away'.
    Notes:
    Nichols, W.J. (2014) Blue Mind. Back Bay Books, New York, U.S.A.
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