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.

    Wednesday, 1 November 2017

    Muck

     
    jennifertwang on Flores:
     @meeshull masterfully bargained a taxi ride to moni, a little town of waterfalls and rice paddies and clusters of wooden houses ... also this small & strange "hot springs" where we dipped our feet, slapped at mosquitos, and politely stared at the locals who stared back, soaking and taking selfies. #wonderfulindonesia
    It's pretty often that we are delighted with the good news concerning geothermal power generation. Take this from Think GeoEnergy (Sep. 12):
    'With ongoing geothermal development and 345 MW of geothermal power generation capacity to come online next year, Indonesia is soon to overtake the Philippines as the second largest geothermal electricity producer in the world'.
    Don't get me wrong, generating power from the earth's inner heat is a good and sustainable way to harness nature without decimating the earth's resources in the pursuit of economic gains. 
    But geothermal power development doesn't necessarily equate sustainable development. 
    Too often local concerns / local development is ignored. Mongabay reports (Aug. 22) on protest on Java:
    'This January, the people of Karangtengah Village in Central Java were surprised to find that the river running past their homes had turned murky. Not only do the villagers rely on the Prukut River for freshwater, it also tumbles down in the scenic Cipendok Waterfall, the centerpiece of a local tourism industry.
    Before long, the villagers identified the source of the muck polluting the waterway: mud and debris from a once-forested plot of land that had been cleared to make way for a planned geothermal power plant in Baturraden, a tourist resort on the southern slopes of Mount Slamet.
    ...
    The Baturadden power plant, the development responsible for muddying the Prukut River, demonstrates that while these projects can bring tremendous benefits, they are not entirely without social and environmental costs.
    ...
    PT Sejahtera Alam Energy apologized for the incident, and said they would install filters to clear up the water, after the Banyumas public works department told the firm about the pollution.
    ...
    Despite these promises, the river turned brown again in July, prompting even stronger protests.
    ...
    In 2012, PT Sejahtera Alam Energy obtained an IPPKH — a permit which is required for firms wanting to carry out economic activity in forestry areas — from the then-Forestry Ministry for 44 hectares of land. But in October 2016, area covered by the permit was expanded to 488.28 hectares, according to a report from local news site Braling.com — although the Banyumas district office, which admits that 90 percent of the total concession area is indeed protection forest, insists the power plant and its related infrastructure will only span 137.5 hectares'.
    It seems that despite all the positives locals are still being sold short.

    chepybennington at Talaga Bodas, Garut (Java):
    Its time to relax 😌.
    .
    Emang udah paling enak kalo cuaca lagi dingin,berendam di air hangat,apalagi kalo viewnya Telaga Bodas,waah ajib bener dah.
    .
    Nah buat kalian yg punya masalah penyakit kulit seperti jerawat dll,mungkin harus nyoba berendam di sini karna di sini airnya mengandung belerang.
    .
    Dan untuk menikmati semua ini kalian cukup merogoh kocek Rp 15rb 😊.
    .
    📷 @rezamaulanamalik
    B(r)agging
    Other news.
    As old sites are apparently on the verge of disappearance (Soakersforum), new ones appear. Ultimatehotsprings has just launched and notes: 
    'This Website is dedicated to everything Hot Springs'. 
    Despite this, it's all Americana with it's hot springs. Nowadays, even babies (Willy Cosmo's guide to hot springs) are blogging and dispensing advice on hot springs.

    the_hot_springs_trail shows a copy of his book
    Win a FREE COPY of the newest version of the guidebook when it comes out! For details, see the most recent post on my Facebook page - The Hot Springs Trail.

    Good luck!

    #thruhiking #wilderness #thrusoaking #hotsprings #hotspringstrail #guidebooks #longdistancetrails #bikepacking #packrafting #peakbagging #ridgerunning #farmersmarkets #wildlifeencounters #offthebeatenpath #thetraillife #getonthetrail #yougotthis
    Hot spring resorts are opening in Taiwan (source and source).

    And in Japan spamusement park has opened (kyodonews, Jul. 29):
    'A Japanese city [Oita] boasting one of the world's largest hot-spring resorts opened a special amusement park on Saturday with a hot-tub merry-go-round and other rides featuring immersion in its famous thermal water.
    The "spamusement park" will operate for just three days at an existing amusement park in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, after the southwestern Japan city successfully raised funds to set up special rides featuring the local hot-spring water'.
    Exploration
    The Guardian (Aug. 18) has a photographic expose about
    'The joy of naked bathing.
    The young, the old, the slender, the majestic … Ruth Kaplan travelled the world taking shots of bathers lost in thought in hot springs, saunas and public bath'.
    More nudity and soaking, a call to enjoy the nakedness of Japan (Gaijinpot, Sep. 11)
    'The traditional onsen is a good place to start exploring the simple joys of getting naked — not for anyone else, but for ourselves'.
    Less hot, the Beijinger (Aug. 14) reports:
    'A newly-cleaned river located along Beijing's south Fourth Ring Road has been turned into a public bathing area by opportunistic nude bathers.
    ...
    Public nudity is frowned upon in China, but that hasn't stopped some people. Last month, security guards were assaulted by a group of seven men they attempted to stop from nude bathing in Fuyang, Anhui. In March, a group of men was spotted swimming in the nude in a clean water reservoir in Hui'an, Fujian'.
    Authorities in Vietnam are more relaxed. ChannelNews Asia (Jul.29) 
    'I first heard about people swimming in the nude at the banks of the Red River two years ago. Nudists in Hanoi, Vietnam’s conservative capital? Bizarre, but true.
    ...
    The origins of the club are unclear, but bathing in the buff is not new in Vietnam. The practice is common among ethnic groups in the rivers and streams of the country’s mountainous northwest, but it is still largely considered an oddity in big cities. Nudity is not illegal except in crowded public places, cultural or religious settings, which explains why the Red River nudists have never been bothered by the authorities'.
    Strict
    Over to the local tidings.
    Heading for Marobo hot spring, Timor? Atlas Obscura (Sep. 28):
    Know Before You Go
    The roads from Maliana or from Bobonaro are paved but dangerous, with massive potholes and segments of road that have collapsed. The dirt road leading down to the hot springs is very steep and slippery. To reach this location, you need a 4x4 vehicle or a motorbike, but most of all, you need an experienced driver.
    A list (WellandGood, Aug. 18) of global hot springs dreamy and rejuvenating. Thailand's Pai is one of the eighth.

    ammbertrekked at Pong Dued:
    Hot springs chilling
    #thailand #hotsprings #hot #chillin #jungle #chiangmai #trekking #fnez #livefree #green

    lookped_ya at Romanee hot spring (Phang Nga):
    สวัสดีพังงา แช่น้ำร้อนกัน.😛🙃
    yeklakwatsera What to do this weekend 🌿 🤔 .
    .
    .
    #livealittle #rain #hotspring #redrocks #river #wander #wild #nature #awesome #wilderness #adventure #wanderlust #travel #free #islandgirl #naturephotography #traveler #fresh #naturelover #gopro #hero4 #photography #isla #philippines #love #livetoexplore #yeklakwatsera 👣
    A note to nature lovers on visiting Poring (Malaysia) hot springs (and nature reserve):
     #Poring #Hotsprings #SabahParks
    Does this mean it's encouraged outside the park? 

    lleewoon at Panchor, Sarawak:
     | 暖 |
    The smoky air is real. Cold and rainy season definitely makes you need a remedy like this.🔥#hotspring #MalaysiaDay #thankful #讲去就去 #roadtrip
    Coconuts Jakarta (Jul. 31) has this curious and rather depressing news:
    'On Sunday, local police arrested 9 men at a hot spring located in Songgoriti, Kota Batu, East Java. Police allege the men were skinny dipping in the pool when the police raided the facility.
    ...
    The men, ranging in age from 18 to 42, were subjected to, according to media reports, “marathon questioning” by the police. But in the end, all were released after the police said they could find no evidence of any crime having been committed'.
    To finish a couple of Indonesian photo's:  
     
    bellajoy93 at Penantahan:
    Jumping in between the hot springs and the river 💦🏞#hotsprings #river #girlieday #naturesspa #relax #chilling #bali #baliretreat #wildswimming
     
    iceteaworld at Berastagi:
    After hike therapy #vulcano #hotspring #gadventures #gadv #sumatra

    Monday, 17 July 2017

    Insomnia

    inhinyeranglaagan at Kili, Abra, Philippines
    Below the hot spring is a small steam cave. #hotsprings #experiencethephilippines #explorephmag #SiAbra
    Stepping outside the region, the ever popular Peninsula hot springs of Australia have partnered in the research project named:
    ''Indulgence or therapy? Exploring the characteristics, motivations and experiences of hot springs bathers.'
    One of the very few forward looking and consumer driven hot spring institutions on the globe, the link provides an abstract:
    'Analysis revealed that “relaxation,” “peace and tranquility,” “indulgence” and “escape” were the most important motivators for bathing. Most respondents reported general health benefits (98%) and better sleep (82%) from bathing, one third experienced fainting/dizziness. One third of respondents also had medical conditions. Significant benefits were reported for back pain, arthritis, stress/anxiety, depression and insomnia. These results suggest that while relaxation is currently the major driver of hot spring visitation, balneotherapy warrants consideration from Australian health practitioners and insurers as a complementary therapy'.
    I don't known how much this is reflected by other significances (natural environment, social interaction, prospects of a day vacation), bathing does seem to drive the above. A common feature (whether it's the onsens of Japan, the sauna's of Scandinavia, the hot spring holidays of the Tibetans, the mineral bathing culture of Germany, the Turkish baths or the hot rock baths of Bhutan) communal bathing and thus leaving behind one's social setting are ever increasingly needed in today's complex world. 
    We need more. 
    We need more variation (if only, the above examples of global bathing cultural reflect there's more than 1 way to bathe). 
    And it's our common interest as a society to be as physically and mentally healthy, so why not have society assist in pursuing soaking?

    Nowhere
    It's regional stuff that's our next focus, starting off with a photo and an experience from Burma. 
     
    Day 5 (100517) - Khaung Daing Nature Hot Spring, Lake Inle Myanmar. Now who would have thought there would be a hot spring in the middle of nowhere! After a 25-minute ride into a more rural part of Lake Inle, we arrived at the destination only to ask ourselves what we were doing going into a hot spring when the sweltering midday sun was already all around us. Nevertheless we got into our swimwear and dipped in.
    There were 4 pools with unique temperatures: hot, warm, cool, and dead rat -- we didn't find out what temperature dead rat was -- and I was confused how they had different temperatures when it was supposed to be a natural hot spring. Perhaps only the water was from the hot spring, and the temperature was controlled by a heater. The hottest pool was a challenge getting into, but slowly and steadily we all got used to the heat, just like how we did with the Burmese weather. With the backdrop of lush greenery and hilly contours, it was a portrait of serenity.
    Think Geoenergy (Apr. 6) has an article on the creation of a geothermal tourism village near Kamojang, West Java, Indonesia.
    '“In addition to the drilling activities, we will build a tourist village area around the drilling site,” said President Director of PT PGE, Irfan Zanuddin in celebration activities on Exploration Wells BDN-B / 1 at the location of the PGE at Bukit Daun this week.
    What a geothermal tourism village actually entails, seems unclear.
    ruthmichellecody exuding a different kind of energy. I doubt that's a common practice, rather more a risque photo shoot.
    #Baliblues #happy #naked #travel #getnaked #bestwaytobe #simple #lovelife #travelphotography #mountbatur #hotsprings #bali #indonesia #beautiful #landscape #nudity #thetoplesstour
    Vital
    Malaysia's peninsular has quite a few of spruced-up hot springs that are so to say neither fish nor flesh: not natural enough, nor worthy of an extended stay. 
    With the odd (high-end) exception of Banjaran. 
    And with this mind, the future has been foretold. The edgemarkets.com (Jun. 14) reports:
    'Anzo Holdings Bhd secured a RM10.17 million [roughly 2 million $US] contract to revitalise Selayang Hot Spring near Selangor's Batu Caves'.
    More Malayan hot springs. KLnow (Jul. 12) has a list of 12 soothing hot springs. All with quite a bit of cement in sight.
    Hype.my (Jun. 23) has another list with
    '... 8 local hot springs you should visit when you need a little “me time”.
    Or as the title of the article says to rejuvenate. It manages to extend the list to Borneo so it's just slightly less concrete based.

    dianne_ditona at Hapao Rice Terraces and Hot Spring
    Eat some makeup and maybe you will look better from the inside. Add more bb cream to cover your bratty attitude. My value will not decrease base on your inability to see my worth. My ponytail is higher than your standards. Climb b*tch 😂 #relaxing #serenity #ignore #longhairdontcare #hotspring #skinnydeeping #jonsnow #knowsnothing
    More concrete. Redeveloping Singapore's Sembawang hot spring is not only seen as a positive thing. Channelnewsasia (Apr. 23):
    'Come end-2018, trips to this northern part of Singapore might be a tad different The National Parks Board (NParks) announced that the Sembawang Hot Spring area will soon be turned into a one-hectare park. Development of the park will start at the end of this year and is expected to be completed a year later.
    ...
     
    Mr Teo Lye Hock, 67, another member of the brisk walking group, hopes the place remains free of charge after the revamp, calling it a “poor man’s spa”.
    Another visitor, 59-year-old Mdm Pan Hiew Lian said in Mandarin: “I’ve already been coming here for more than 20 years. I don’t want it to be redeveloped because I think it brings a sense of nostalgia. Redevelopment might make it better, but it’ll lose its charm.”
    ...  
    However, one historian said modifying the hot spring’s present form could also mean losing a part of Singapore’s heritage. Mr Alex Tan Tiong Hee, the honorary secretary of the Singapore Heritage Society, said the hot spring is one of the few remaining places of interest outside of the city region that serves to highlight Singapore's heritage.
    "It’s something that doesn't just cater to the folks living around Yishun or Sembawang, (but it's also a place to show) tourists, our friends, that outside the urban areas we still have landmarks," he said.
    Mr Tan added that landmarks such as the hot spring help create, among residents, a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood. Without it, that sense of attachment is reduced'.
    denisa.e at Phapao, Takua Pa, Phang Nga province, Thailand:
    Ripples towards the right. That's because the water was boiling... #naturalhotspring
    What a common hot spring experience in Vietnam is meant to be (vietnamnet,  Mar. 13):
    'In the early 21st century, Saigon-Binh Chau Tourist JSC invested in the 33-hectare Binh Chau Hot Springs area. It is ranked four stars and listed as one of 64 locations in 47 countries across the globe which foster sustainable ecotourism by the World Tourism Organization.
    Binh Chau Hot Springs has 117 guest rooms and four-star villas. It is an ideal place for guests to enjoy special services such as mud bathing, hot spring water bathing, eggs boiled in hot spring water and crocodile fishing.
    Rooms with two or more beds are wise choices for groups of tourists. Meanwhile, classical style villas are suitable for high-end holidaymakers who want to enjoy their trip with their loved ones.
    The tourist site also features Suoi Mo (Dreaming Spring) hot pool with temperatures ranging from 50-60 degrees Celsius and hot herbal mud tubs. Hot spring water and mud combined with herbs can help people recover their health and cure skin diseases, fatigue and digestion problems.
    Furthermore, Hoa Rung Restaurant capable of receiving 500 guests at a time serves both a-la-carte and set menus replete with Vietnamese, Chinese, Asian and Western dishes. There are VIP rooms for those who want privacy.
    Tourists can also take an electric car tour around the site, play tennis or badminton and shop at stores'.
    Bearing
    Having had the region's precious little web-bits behind us, let's see if there's more to note on the wider area more or less on-topic. 
    It's interesting to follow where the (soaking) market is going. Leader New Zealand has seen quite a few new developments of hot spring pools with high degrees of privacy (and exclusivity) at area's not known for natural waters but these have been bored. On the flip side it seems that the busier leisure parks are facing tough times. NZ Herald (Jun. 18):
    'One of New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions is cutting back its opening hours for a refurbishment as it battles "high losses", sparking fears from staff about imminent job cuts.
    The Waiwera Thermal Resort - which is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Khimic - will operate for just three days a week from this week, with the "closed" sign to be outside from Mondays to Thursdays'.
    China's answer: more opulence, less riff-raff. heluxuryasia:
    Did we talk about take a dip in a such amazing design spa and private hot spring? | Who wants to join 🙌 #DusitDevarana #HotSpring #Canton #Conghua #Guangzhou #China 🍃🌞🍃
    .
    .
    📷 @dusitinternational #DusitHotel #PoolGoals
    Secret hot springs, not so secret anymore. Otherwise known as hitou (In Japan), on tofugu (Jun. 15) the secrets of the umm ..., secret onsen are revealed. More or less.
    'Hitou are tough to get to and they can be dangerous depending on the location.
    ...
    If you do go, I implore you to do extra research as well. And make sure you're prepared. Transportation can be less than ideal, and cell signal will likely be nonexistent. If you're hiking, bring the right gear (i.e. towels, headlamps, bug spray, snacks, etc). Do your research on surviving bear attacks (seriously, depending on where you go). And, because these onsen are mostly "wild," there may not be a temperature control system. You can get scalded, or even boiled, if you're not careful. Use common sense and be careful! We're not responsible if you die or get injured!
    Still want to dip your toe in after all that? Let's put on our hiking boots (then take them off again when we get there) and look at Japan's ten best hitou'.
    When I skim through the list, somehow I think some secrets are pretty main-stream others though look like dream, bears an' all.

    Another guide on how to enjoy an onsen. News.com.au (Apr. 18):
    'After my humiliating nudie run, I finally began to relax. I leant back against a rock and looked up at the night sky. Snow was falling out of the dark onto my frozen hair. My body was deliciously warm.
    They say the best way to forget a fear of public speaking is to picture everyone in the audience nude. Possibly the best way to overcome a fear of nude bathing is to remember that everyone else in the onsen IS nude — not just you.
    Natural hot water at vulcano galunggung in tasikmalaya (cipanas)! 🌋💥🙌🏻🌊🌠First Tourist at this Place! After hiking to the top of the vulcano and to the crater this hot Bath was wow so good for me! Beautiful landscape! Beautiful People!
    #tasikmalaya #Galunggung #nature #hotspring #backpacker #backpackers #travel #traveler #traveling #travelingram #instatravel #instatraveling #summer #happy #travelawesome #feeling #experience #germany #0711 #stuttgart #beautiful #love #travelgram #life #enjoy #instamoment #goodlife #backpacker_pics #iwasplacesiknow IFD @mige.c
    Cats
    In the past, I have reported on the Idaho (USA) hot spring bicycle route. Little did I know that the US also contains a even
    'The Hot Springs Trail From Santa Barbara to Canada'.
    I'm not sure why the trail (it's for hiking) heads to Canada (rather than head to the Pacific), but that seems the way. The Whole Food Hiker (otherwise known as Aria Zoner) has some background on this hike (Dec. 2016) which resulted in a publication.
    Postholer has more:
    'The Hot Springs Trail (HST) is a brand new long trail pioneered by veteran thruhiker Aria Zoner. It stretches 2,390 miles from Santa Barbara, CA to Priest Falls near the Idaho-Canada border. On the way it hits an amazing 80+ hot spring complexes'.
    One should note that there are not that many hikers who have made the whole trip ... Or soaked in all springs. The official guidebook can be obtained here.

    On the subject of guidebooks, does one know that Sally Jackson has just finished penning her new issue of the Aotearoa encyclopedia of soaks otherwise known as Hot Springs of New Zealand.

    arrinko0o at Muang La:
    旅の疲れは温泉でほっこり♪
    地元の人が通う温泉。のぼせたら隣の川でクールダウン。
    いいお湯できてます。

    #温泉 #なんとタダ #ちんちんに熱い #泥水… #トゥクトゥクで45分 #ラー郡 #ウドムサイ#hotsprings #ladistrict #oudomxay #laos
    Finally, a  bathhouse in Tokyo started organizing lessons on topics such as comedy and gaming in an attempt to appeal to young bathers and bring back the disappearing tradition of public baths in Japan.
    For example, one such session in the “Naked School” at the Hinodeyu bath house included nine men sitting around the bath, listening to an expert on the ancient board game Go.
    Odd. Well, it's innovative and has got the media's attention (in this case vanguarddaily, May 29).
    'At its peak, more than 500 people per day visited Hinodeyu, which is located near Tokyo’s Asakusa district. Today this number is only about 100, he [Manager of the Hinodeyu bathhouse] said. In the late 1960s, Tokyo alone had more than 2,600 traditional bathhouses or “sento” in Japanese, but since then there has been a steady drop...'.
    June's topic was stray cats.

    morgthecaptain at Pai hot spring, Thailand 
    What will I even do when I don't wake up to your face every morning #9days 😭
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