Saturday, February 6, 2010

Secrets and Not So Secrets

Gega hot spring. Photo from website, but gone .... 
At least soakingspirit still has a copy of the original. With loads of text.

Sweeping along

Completing the sweep along Tibet's southern borders is the remaining prefecture of Nyingchi. Well outside most travelers routes and also at a distance from Lhasa, just a couple of hot springs find their way onto the internet.

Tibet's best kept secret
Receiving most of the soakers attention is the hot spring of Pailong (Paillong / Pailung) with it's 'own' web page existing of some description of where it is, how to get there and how the soaking is. It then ends with this summation:
'Extremely simple, and practically unknown, Pailong consists of just one small stone and brick pool. One of Tibet's best kept secrets, you're not likely to see crowds here'.
Funny that you can read exactly the same text in almost 100 other web entries, that this is one of Tibet's best kept secrets. Elsewhere Pailong hot spring makes China's Top 10 of hot springs. And it's mentioned as
'If you want something more au naturale, then head to the Pailong Hot Springs (排龙温泉) a bit further away'.
More info from this website:
The Pailong Hot spring is located in the north of the Menba Pailong town, abot 140 kilometers away from the Bayi township, and near Road No. 318 of the nation. The hot spring spurt crevice water at the edge of the Palung Tsangpo. It can reach three to five metres high. The temperature of the water is about 45-60 centigrate. The place is shrouded in the steam and the flavor of sulphur.
In favour
Unclear whether or not
Yumai hot spring is another alt for Pailong, even though this site makes a deliberate distinction. More:
'The water of the spring is quite adequ[a]te. It covers an area of about 100 square metres. The [t]emperature of the water is about 40-60 centigrade. It can help to cure many diseases, and the local people are in favor in it'.
Who said there's no democracy in China?

Yumai is also described as 'obscure' (1), though
'... one will feel like in a dreamy world'.
Eye candy (not) and developing heaven
Making it even more confusing is the existence of
Phaga hot spring in Gega village of Pai town. Luckily though is this description:
'The Phaga Hot Spring is located in the steep slope (about 280-300 high) in Gega village of Pai township in Milin [Mainling] county'.
Which excludes it being the same as Pailong which is located along the Brahmaputra river.
Also referred to as Gega hot spring, this
site has an odd idea of soaking:
'... a hot spring nearby Gega, where you can have a good stretch before leaving'.
Phaga hot spring looks set for re-development as a road is being built:
'To build a 3-kilometer road to the hot springs, and other supportive facilities including a hot-spring convalescent hotel in Tibetan style, a leisure resort, a Tibetan medical vapor bath center, a medical vaporous hall, an open-air bathroom, a medical center, a herbal research office, a lobby and so on'.
Cost 2.75 million $US. 
Now look at the photo below. Does this need 2.75 million? How the photo got taken as described by Yellofins, a now-defunct pbase account:
'We paid a local to take us up to the spring. Boy...the journey on foot was so tired as air was thin at high altitudes. We reached the spring and dipped in naked [take note Singapore...!]. The feeling was heavenly. As u can see from the pics. The spring is facing the opposite side of the gorge and theres a stream and waterfall....oh....perfect location for a spa. In warmer weathers, u can even dip in the pool in the evenings under the stars'.
Photo caption:
'Oh Yes...we are butt naked....except for candy'
Not mixing your Nun's and Lama's
Less of a secret, the so-called
Nangpo Gully hot springs feature prominently in Nyingchi prefecture hot springs. 
Officially named Nangpo Gully Scenic Zone, located 50 kms from the tongue twister Gongbo'gyamda county, the gully contains the Nun's hot spring, the Lama's hot spring and Boru (Buru / Bulu) hot spring (for the undecided?).
Adding more to the imagination:
'The water of the Bulu Hot Spring permeates from the rock. There is a mouth of the spring with the size like a bowl, surrounded by green trees and beautiful flowers in four seasons. And the frog is around the spring, too. Since the spring is connected with the subterranean rivers, the voice of the spring can be heard clearly on the ground. So the spring is also called "the hole for listening to the spring". The Bulu spring is the lowest, and the local people often come to take bath. The Lama hot spring in the middle, whose size is as large as a bed, is a rectangled spring pool. It can hold two or three persons to take bath at the same time. The water is quite clear. And it is about one meter deep.
Outside the natural bathing pool, there is a huge piece of rock served as the screen. And there is a hole in it. One can come and go through the hole. The spring in the upper is called "the nun spring". There are often some nuns coming here to get water or take bath. The primeval forest is around the hot springs. And the scream in the forest flows in the valley. There are a number of different holes in the forest, too'.
More info:
'A confluence of local streams, the gully is the birthing place of the Nun's, Lama's, and Boru Hot Springs, a collection of small pools all located near the Bagar Monastery, which is located in a cave adorned with Buddhist murals from the 5th century AD and onward. Below this is another spring, the Karst Hot Springs, which is another opportunity for communion with this distant part of the Earth'.

Elsewhere in Gongbo'gyamda county is Milashan hot spring (source ,link not working].

Then there is Jigong hot spring in Chayu / Zayu county.

[Updated July 2015]


(1) refers to the anonymous publication entitled Travel Guide to Tibet of China, published in 2003 by China International Press.

p.s.: some of the links have lost their ability to link through. As at the original time of writing this chapter they did exist, I've maintained them and their quotes as legacy to history ....

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