Monday, June 20, 2011

Way Forward

Developing Yunnan
In all, it's said that there are 654 centers of hot springs within Yunnan. The provincial government tourism website, Seeyunnan, purports there to be 700. The Yunnan Provincial Tourism Adminstration has actually set up a site with descriptions of 28 hot springs, all over Yunnan.
Yunnan has a considerable reputation for being a hot spring destination. 
Take the example of Tengchong county where Baoshan is marketed as the hot spring home of China. 
Another aspect in the marketing of Yunnan's hot springs are the fact that they often frequented on a daily basis by locals, though often referred to as minorities. They have been using the springs since time immemorial and have included the soaks in their traditions. What's more they tend to take the waters with little or no shame, a fact which enthralls the hordes of tour groups, rendering this part of the tradition as something of the past. But the legends continue thanks to modern day marketing ...

Embracing tourism not only negatively influences the privacy of the soakers, many a hot spring falls prey to developers who see money in turning nature into concrete (?). 

Much destruction has already taken place. 
On a more positive note the local government seeks to introduce standards for hot spring facilities:
'China Yunnan Tengchong Volcano Atami Tourism Development and Management Corporation, Dianchi Spring Spa, Kunming Spring Soul Garden Spa & Resort , and Kunming Junhao Spa have passed the assessment of the Yunnan Spa and Hot Spring Rating Assessment Committee and have all been awarded five-crown certificates and plates — becoming the first enterprises that have passed the assessment both in Yunnan and in China.
In 2008 Yunnan province published China's first comprehensive set of local hot spring standards, including the Standard for Tourist Hot Spring Sign Usage, Hot Spring Tourism Service Specifications, Hot Spring Tourism Operators Grading and Evaluation, and Spa Operators Grading and Evaluation.
The committee evaluated the business facilities and services, facilities and equipment maintenance, cleaning and service quality, and the management of the four hot spring enterprises'.
Though no doubt well intended, the outcome means that the nominees go upmarket and if not already excluding the locals, they'll become sterile nothings for the well-heeled noveau-riche. Yes, they will be stylish, peaceful and attentive, but isn't the journey there as much if not more important? And what if the like minded are also sterile loving, upward mobilites? Does one seek a mirror of one self?

Around the capital
Well, as you can see in the sidebar menu Hot Soaks of the Himalaya has carved the Yunnan province into bite sizes, each entry representing an administrative division. 
With exception of this entry. 
This blog entry will include much of the hot springs surrounding Yunnan's provincial capital of Kunming.

Deja vu has a nice entry on Kunming and it's surrounding hot springs (2010 edition), listing no less than 18 hot springs, some though will require a better part of a week to visit. 

Let's focus a little more nearby.
Kunming, Yunnan's provincial capital, is known for it's eternal spring: it never get's too hot nor does it stay cold for long: an ideal tourism destination.
There are quite a few hot spring hotels located in and around Kunming. Not clear whether or not these are all natural. the current hausse suggests that some of the resorts may well be cutting corners.
These are
(mostly referenced by tripadvisor):
  • Dianchi Garden Hotel Spa, Kunming (virtual tourist); nearly 300 rooms; Hotspring Tours:
    'Quasi silicate hot spring is available with its water being piped from 1,100 meters under ground'.
  • Tianyi Hot Spring Hotel, Kunming (tripadvisor),
  • Yisite Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Yunhai Lantianyu Hot Spring (tripadvisor),
  • Yunwu Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Herton hot sspring hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Eshan Hot Spring hotel, Kunming (tripadvisor)
  • Fude Hot Spring Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Golden Pond Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Dali Dongyuan Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Haigeng Yishan Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor),
  • Yangzonghai Brilliant Spa, 37 km from Kunming (website and short description); Hotspring Tours:
    'For those who pursue more comfortable and elegant hot-spring bathing, the recommended one is Brilliant Spa in Yangzong Lake, where one could choose to stay in any of the 26 different spas featured as aroma, forest, therapy and lake view. The spas here are totally natural sulfur hot springs, with water temperature being between 68℃ and 72℃ to make it wholesome. Here, spas of different sizes are equipped with convenient facilities and the price is reasonable. The best hot-spring bathing and intriguing sceneries would be enjoyed in Brilliant Spa Resort'.
  • Xizhu Spa Country Estate, the entry on Hotspring Tours; 15 km northwest of the city.
Most of these have been added in the last 5 years, so expect a lot of swanky buildings, little of substance on the soaks though ... 

Nearby Anning, 21 km southwest of Kunming, is noted as it has 11 hot springs to invest in. 
Surprisingly in the past, LP has advised travelers to give this place a miss (source). has a short overview of the characteristics of Anning's hot springs, very informative stuff:
'The welltemperature curves can be grouped into four types,i.e.,the temperature-increasing type,the constant-temperature type,the suddenly increasing-decreasing type and the temperature-increasing-temperature-decreasing type'.
An overview of some of the hot springs of Anning:
  • Jinfang (Golden) Forest Hot Spring is by far the best known, which is listed in China's Top 10 of hot springs. One first hand described visit:
    'Although the hot springs at Senlin are shared, there are enough of them (around 20) to allow for relaxing privacy. Other visitors are generally polite. They also don’t want to share a hot spring that’s occupied. On the other hand, they may be repulsed by the prospect of sharing bathwater with a waiguoren, the all-purpose word for anyone non-Chinese'.
A nice tale from a group of westerners to Anning includes
'Befitting the theme of our trip, every time our group entered a spring, the incumbent Chinese family immediately departed. We didn’t mind. After our trying day, it took 4 hours of physical and spiritual cleansing before we were ready to part from the heavenly warmth of those hot springs. The experience was worth every penny and every wrinkled finger and toe. ...
All in all, one of the most exciting weekends of my life.
And that's how soaking should be.

Updated May 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment