Sunday, 15 January 2017

Symbolism

 
Bawean island, off the north coast of East Javan coast, Indonesia. 
Small island with a couple of hot springs.  
Viimeinen kuva Baweanilta, lupaan! Tuun muistamaan tän kauniin paikan aina❤ Nyt alkaa kotimatka😭 #hotsprings #nature #sisters #kumpionkumpi #hoeswithtoes #indonesia #eastjava
Let's start off with trends. Other than the trend to soak in nature is on the up. And the opportunities to do such are on the wane, especially in Southeast Asia. 

The wellness trends for the coming year? Insidersguidetospas has a forecast on the coming wellness trends, equally  scientific as those above:
'No longer a solitary, “meh” experience, the new, spectacular, social saunas are some “outside of the box” thinking . . . literally'.
So sauna's are in. What else? Architecture, silence, wellness with arts, inner beauty, meditation and cancer care. And bashing the rich:
'In a world where rising income and “wellbeing” inequalities are fueling a populist backlash, a wellness industry that’s become narrowly associated with rich elites (those $300 yoga pants and Reiki sessions) will change'.
Big news on the symbol change in Japan. Asia Nikkei (Dec. 13):
'A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it does not necessarily say the same thing to everyone. This was the conundrum Japan's trade ministry pondered as it planned to revamp the symbols used in public spaces such as train stations and tourist spots so as to make the country more visitor friendly.
Japan is preparing for an influx of overseas tourists during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But moves to change the traditional pictogram for hot springs has caused an uproar in the tourism industry.
....
According to a survey released by the ministry, around 60% of Japanese respondents said the original symbol is easier to understand. The same survey showed that about 70% of respondents from six countries, including the U.S., China and South Korea preferred the international standard.
But many well-known onsen resorts demanded the change be dropped. "The current symbol is used in train stations, on street signs and for souvenir packaging. It would cost the industry billions of yen to replace them," Seiji Hori, executive director of an association of inn owners in Beppu, on the southern island of Kyushu, told the Nikkei Asian Review. 
...
Yukio Ota, the Japanese designer who developed the ISO symbol for exit signs -- "the green-running-man" -- thinks the Japanese hot spring symbol is superior. "The original symbol is much more visible from far away, even when small. In terms of design, the original one is better," he said.
According to Ota, the key to a pictogram is visibility, which the international symbol does not take fully into account. "If you keep scaling it down, the symbol gets all squashed up, becoming less identifiable. A pictogram must be simplified as much as possible," he said'.

Does seem a bit odd that you need to change your symbols to explain to foreigners, should be the other way round? 
Then again I do like the social aspect of the new (?) symbol, but why three persons, not two? One person would be a bit anti-social (very foreign?). 
What happens with foot soaks? Geysers? No symbol

hot spring waterfall @Xichang, China. Amazing!!
More making foreigners at home in the local hot pot. CCTV (Dec. 8):
'The allure of ancient China can be highlighted by its colorful artworks, music and theater performances. But there’s more to it’s rich history, such as the prevalent hot springs bath culture, which remains popular in current Chinese society'.
It then has a general section of what positive attributes a soak has and ends the article thus:
'Many Chinese love to visit hot springs, but some expats remain reluctant to relax there. The communal atmosphere can intimidate visitors, especially Westerners, who value privacy more.
It can be uncomfortable to delve into steaming hot waters, which may feel like your skin and body are burning. Some pools are too small and with many people sitting in them.
Perhaps, Chinese hot springs baths can develop services that would be more appealing to foreign customers as well. If so, they could generate more substantial income by welcoming both Chinese and expat clientele'.
See, if you have a financial reward in the offering?

Tonic
purplepraeee at the hotsprings of Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai province:
โครตสดชื่น
More marginal soaking news
Starting with recent seismic activity in New Zealand that may well explain other geothermal phenomena such as hydrothermal eruptions in Lake Rotorua (NZ Herald - Nov. 28, NZ Herald - Nov. 30 and an interesting explanation on Nov. 29):
'Rotorua Lakes Council geothermal inspector Peter Brownbridge said it was nothing to worry about, although it was noisy and spectacular because of the geyser effect of the eruption'.
On November 2  Canada's The Star reports:
'One of four Canadian men accused of walking onto a sensitive hot spring at Yellowstone National Park has pleaded guilty to the charges.
The National Park Service says Hamish McNab Campbell Cross pleaded guilty Tuesday to foot travel in a thermal area and disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition. He agreed to pay more than $8,000 in fines and fees'.
🍀 Red Rock Hot Spring 🍀
After soaking in the icy cold waters of Casaroro and Pulang Bato waterfalls, we finally got a taste of the soothing water of this natural hot spring.
The spring's water temperature can get as high as 39° Celsius.
#hotspring #naturalspring #nature #Valencia #redrocks #NegrosOriental #Visayas #travelgram #travel #choosephilippines #experiencePH #discoverPH #photooftheday
Hot spring salt? I was drawn to this subject by alternet (Oct. 28):
'Baleni Salt comes from a hot spring on the Klein Letaba River and has been meticulously cultivated with ancient techniques for 2,000 years by the women of the Tsonga community'.
The hot spring claims to be the only undeveloped hot spring in southern Africa (source).

South Korea has it's jimjilbang soaking tradition, not usually using naturally heated waters, but nonetheless a sort of sento.  
Seektheworld has 10 steps of enjoyment for jimjilbang luvers in Seoul.  Conclusion:
'Throughout the experience, I realised that it made sense to spend so much time cleaning your body ’cause cleanliness is sacredness, which leads to happiness and contentment.
I surely had a pleasing experience at the Jjimjilbang and it was kind of an awkward experience for me but it was still fun and relaxing. I totally would recommend it on a must-do thing in Seoul'.
Forest bathing explained. Quartz (Oct. 22):
'The tonic of the wilderness was Henry David Thoreau’s classic prescription for civilization and its discontents, offered in the 1854 essay Walden: Or, Life in the Woods. Now there’s scientific evidence supporting eco-therapy. The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing'.
Finally, the wackiest news (Mashable, Nov. 27):
'The mayor of Beppu, a city known for its hot springs, issued a challenge on social media last week: If this YouTube video hits a million views, he'll build a "spamusement park" in the city.
...
Mayor Yasuhiro Nagano announced on Facebook that the video hit the million-view mark four days after it was released.
According to RocketNews24, the mayor's office released a statement to the press celebrating the project's commencement.
It hasn't said when the park will be completed, but the city is now seeking creative types to submit ideas for its rides and attractions.
We only have one question — how will people keep their towels on on some of these rides?
But what if ...

Sacred
Moving on, the regional section, starting off in Vietnam with some news ...

thanhpham275 at Tú Lệ - Văn Chấn - Yên Bái:
#throwback #mùcangchải #trip #naturalhottub có 4 người trong hình thì 3 người trên Mộc Châu. 1 người bị ốm ở nhà nằm up ảnh 😖😖
Crossingtravel (Jan. 2) has this on offer:
'Situated in Ba Na Nui Chua nature reserve area, the hot spring park on Than Tai Mount has been popular recently when tourists come to Da Nang. This summer, apart from familiar destinations, don’t forget to try a brand new experience in Japanese hot spring.
Under the direction by experts from Japan – the country of hot spring, you will find it worth to try'.
Классный вид, теплые термальные источники, лазурная вода, что еще нужно для счастья😍
Вьетнам не перестает удивлять:))🇻🇳
#yangbay #waterfall #vietnam #hotsprings
Over in Thailand, the Yunomori line of spa's opens a new spa resort in Pattaya (Pattaya Today, Oct. 19). Their other affiliates claim that their waters are sourced from natural hot springs, no word here though where their waters originate from. 
The Bangkok Post also has a visit to Pattaya (Oct. 28):
'People have been benefiting from the therapeutic effects of thermal springs for thousands of years. The natural relief and invigoration of the mineral-rich water -- which, by the way, Yunomori sources directly from the sacred springs of Kanchanaburi's Wat Wangkanai -- has such a tantalising and relaxing effect on you'.
Surrounded by nature
#HomePhutoey #homephutoeyriverkwai #boutiquehotels #adventure #kanchanaburi #riverkwai #treetopadventure #hotspring #กาญจนบุรีรีสอร์ท #โฮมพุเตย
Walls
Heading to Bentong, Malaysia; the New Strait Times, (Nov. 17):
'Welcome to Bentong Hot Springs! Located 16km south of Bentong, it consists of two pools. A portion of one pool has been taken by a resort for commercial use and a mural-covered brick wall separates the public and private sections. Some people pay an arm or a leg to visit exclusive mud spas like Turkey’s Sultaniye Hot Spring, California’s Calistoga Hot Spring and New Zealand’s Hell Gate. Here in Bentong Hot Spring, it’s free! 
That's about all it can mention about the hot springs.

lachgar_web at Suungai Klah?
Having a hot tub with some of the greatest minds .
#HotTub #HotSpring #Malaysia #Business
An article (Borneo Post, Nov. 20) on Sarawak's Long Semadoh valley with a stop at Merarap hot spring.

Meanwhile in Laos:

"Women from the village enjoying a bath" - Muang La Lodge is home to natural hot springs. The mineral & salty water has been used for centuries to heal and relax #muanglalodge #muangla #northernlaos #discoverlaos #hotsprings #relaxation #artdevivre #nature #healthybody @muanglalodge @secretretreats
Explanation
Hot spring tourism in Indonesia. Tempo.co (Jan. 3):
'Moreover, Yuki [PT Sari Ater Public Relations manager] said that Ciater has seen increased number of visitors from Middle Eastern countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, surpassing that of Asian countries, namely Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.
“It’s a surprising trend, but is welcomed nonetheless,” Yuki said. Saudi Arabian tourists see Ciater as heaven on earth due to its natural landscape, exotic mountains and cold temperature, unlike the Middle East'.
Lagi pada mau ambil selendang bidadari 🌈👸
.
.
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Lokasi : Pemandian air panas , Kawah Rengganis - Ciwidey Bandung
.
.
.
#lingkarindonesia #explorebandung #vacation #trip #travellife #travelling #travelgram #traveller #mountaineer #mountaineering #hiking #tracking #jelajahnusantara #thisisindonesia #hotspring #kawahrengganis #rengganis #jawabarat #fog #sagalabandung #mlakuyuk #ciwidey #bandungbanget #bandunginframe #discoverbandung #infobandung #KerenGan #livefolkindonesia
The end is near? One of the globe's unique and laid back places to be is central Sumatra's Lake Toba. This particular backdrop is the setting for a new gold rush? Mongabay (Oct. 19):
'Starting this year, the government plans to whip the sleepy lake region into the “Monaco of Asia.” It’s an ambitious tourism initiative, and one that promises to boost the economy. The tourism minister has said he aims for the country to earn $1 billion annually from the lake’s foreign visitors'.
With hot springs located at the north of Toba lake, these would probably the first to be developed. The article notes how the little tourism the lake already sees is upsetting the ecosystem and foresees an end to the lake as we know it with the destruction of forests, water and the building of toll roads and an airport.

Somethings just can't be explained. 🎍#hotspring
But hot spring resorts have also been blamed for other natural disasters Jakarta Post (Sep. 26):
'In its immediate response to the flash floods in Garut, the West Java Environmental Management Board says the disaster was a result of large-scale construction activities in a number of conservation forest areas, which is surely a blatant violation of the regency’s detailed spatial planning. For years the sanctuaries have been converted, for the sake of financial gain, into resorts, restaurants and hot spring facilities'.
Not always positive news, Jakarta Globe reports (Nov. 9) on a death at the hot springs atop Mt. Rinjani, Lombok's signature volcano. And though the area was closed due to volcanic activity, the death seems to be a drowning (Freemalaysiatoday, Nov. 9).

Finishing off the regional section, a photo from Burma:

Men are enjoying the hot spring, after a long day of working. This photograph was taken in Kuang Daing, Shan State, Burma/Myanmar
#shower #qualitytime #men #swimmshorts #clean #workworkwork #hotspring #busy #hot #water #spring #nottheonlyone #travelburma #myanmar #burma #travel #photograph #natgeo #natgeotravel

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
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