Saturday, June 14, 2014

Piping hot

Having blogged on the hot springs of the more mountainous areas of Sichuan, there is still plenty of hot springs to be soaked in without having to take to the mountains. 

This website provides a short overview to the 5 most popular hot springs around Chengdu, Sichuan's provincial capital. In reality it's an overview of the better accommodation boasting their own soaks.

Mention is made of Herijun Hot Springs Hotel which lies within the confines of the city. Tripadvisor has a classic review apparently a guest had a medial collateral ligament ruptured here during a massage! Lexi abroad had a better experience and recounts that the place is divided by gender specific meaning bathing costumes (other than your birthday suit) are disregarded. Part of the experience:
'I didn’t know where to look. I couldn’t look up because then I would probably accidentally stare at all the different shapes of ladies that I was seeing. But I couldn’t look downward the whole time because then I would run into a naked lady. I didn’t think that was something that any of us wanted. I was amazed that none of the ladies were even trying to cover themselves with the washcloth provided. It was an insane mass of everyone walking around nude with the occasional little girl running like crazy with her giggling cohorts.
Nobody dared to stare at me. For the first time in China, stares were pretty much directed away from me. If they stared at me, they only looked at my face because to stare at the rest of me would’ve been breaking the unwritten laws of the hot springs. At first I tried to sneak around without being as naked as possible. Gradually, I realized the futility of this and just walked with the washcloth around my neck.
I spent around 3 hours lolling about in the tubs, the Jacuzzis, the steam room, the sauna, and a mysterious sort of tub with rapids'.
Also within Chengdu city  is the hot spring of Wenjiang (or the Yufu Hot Spring Hotel). It apparently incorporates
'... 50 types of indoor and outdoor hot spring pools'.
This website adds:
'The hot spring water is piped in from 1,800 meters underground, and is rich in minerals helpful in relieving cardiovascular, neural and respiratory illnesses'.
And then there is Taoyuan hot spring hotel.

More traces
, Dayi county which is part of Sichuan's capital Chengdu prefecture (and only 85 km from the city center) has a hot spring area which seems quite popular in combination with the nearby skiing area of Xiling. More info on this hot spring can be found here. As an investment project. As winner of the UN Habitat award (link gone). As having 21 hot spring pools, I was lead to believe. 
Tripadvisor in it's Huashuiwan hotel overview mentions 6 hotels with hot spring in their name.

'#hotspring  #huashuiwan  #relax  #hometown  #dayi'
Nearby, Tianfu Hot Spring Hotel in the 'development zone' of Zhougong (near Ya'an) is known as the no. 1 Sichuan hot spring. The hotel is also known as Dream Hot Spring Hotel according to Tripadvisor. However when looking into the overview of hotels in Xingzi county, one counts 6 hotels with hot spring facilities.

The above mentioned Wenjiang hotel should not be confused with Wen Jinjiang Hot Spring Hotel which is located in Chongzhou district's Huaiyuan, nearly 70 km from Chengdu. This webside adds:
'Wenjinjiang hot spring is a garden hotel built in Japanese style. There are over 30 hot spring pools containing various trace elements and minerals'.
Accross the road should be the Xintiandi Hot Spring hotel.

Further away from Chengdu in northeast direction is the hot spring of
Mianzhou in Mianyang city. It comprises of pools and a hotel, both of which claim to be the biggest indoor hot spring facility in China's southwest. Tripadvisor's rankings are quite good, though little info on the soaks them selves.

Thirty km's from Mianzhou is another hot spring hotel named
Luofushan. Near this hotel is another named Tai Feng Yuan Hot Spring hotel.

Near the so-called West Grand Canyon, south Sichuan, a number of hot springs can be found. Two to three kms away from Yibin is Guandou hot spring. The hot spring is said to be able to accommodate 500 visitors. For a pre-war photo go to verfainverfain's Flickr site. 

One of Yibin's hot springs has gained some notoriety, as soakers turn up with the cheapest swimwear ...! Located in Junlian county. There is an extensive account from 2007 which notes that whereas once the baths were divided in time (men during day, women at night) nowadays bathing is segregated with men being designated the more public site ...:

 'Less than half a meter wall stream, creek side is building the old house, Bamboo Castle, the women in the stream to wash rice vegetables, washboard fetch water for at naked men bathing in the pool without a trace of fear. Pool of men and no scruples, and we walk around, some even standing on the wall, toward the brook brush shampoo.People here are honest with no shilly shame shame, we are hard to come by this fickle social encounters. Prepare a very good one joyous world outside the living picture.Water is very low sulfur content, is said to always wash to treat rheumatism and cirrhosis of the liver, but also skin care. I looked at the old man's skin, it really skin tight flush. I do not know if preconceived sake'.
Translated with google! 

Further away from Yibin (30 km) is the hot spring of Shifu or alternatively known as the hot spring hotel of
West Grand Canyon (or Xibu Daxiagu) (see Tripadvisor). It's discharge is 8000 sq. cum. which ranks top in China. No less than 3000 people can soak here. Note that this may fall into Yunnan ....

Finally, due south of Chengdu is arguably what is regarded as one of China's best hot springs, E'mei. The hotel carrying the name of E'mei has not so bad reviews including this recent review:
'The hot springs on site deserves its own review as an attraction in itself, especially because it has its own entrance fee and is open to the public. The change rooms, showers and lockers are adequate. They even provide you with loaner flip-flops. The pool area consists of a few small warm specialty pools (one containing wine, another with some other concoction) atop a high ground overlooking a very large heated pool below. The source of the hot springs is from as deep as 9,840 ft underground and was formed more than 2,000 years ago. The quantity of heated water is huge with an average temperature of 140°F. This giant pool is divided into 3 sections of varying temperatures (cold, then medium warm, and bloody-hell boiling!)'.

There are actually another three hot springs near E'mei. These are Lingxiu, Hongzhu and Yoga hot springs. 
Yoga hot spring is a resort which offers ... yoga! Probably this doubles up under the name of E'mei Hot Spring Hotel. 
Lingxiu though is more well known (see here f.i.).  There is this description:
'But the hot spring is the main attraction. After you enter the massive lobby, you're given a pair of slippers and directed to your locker in the changing rooms, which are divided by gender. You change into a bathing suit and are promptly given a nice, soft bath robe to lounge around in. Walk out into the public area, and you are in cold-weather paradise with more than 10 indoor and outdoor pools, all steaming hot. Each pool is a different size and shape: Some are like any typical public swimming pool, while others are organically shaped with rocks to perch on. Some have shallow water for kids to play in, and some have whirlpool jets. They even have pools with "doctor fish"—the small fish that eat dead skin. (We tried them. Weird, but worth the experience. Not for the ticklish!)'.
Etta in China: Lingxiu hot spring

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald also notes the Dr. Fish treatment of Hongzhu. As well as offering soaks it also is a 5 star hotel, Tripadvisor reviews. 

Down Sichuan's south
Then near Panzhihua
city close to the border with Yunnan one can visit the hot spring of Hongge. Despite the town having a tradition of industrialization and mining without borders, the nearby Hongge hot spring has been swept up in a development called Holiday Inn Panzhihua, aimed at promoting tourism. The development covers an area of more than four km2 and is
'designed planned according to high standards by the Japanese hot spring experts'.
Not many people are attracted to Panzhihua, though this couple express their satisfaction (in Dutch) concerning the hot spring.
Caution? By Wubbo Womb.

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