Taking the edge off
Put yourself in hot water to soak up the healing energies of hot springs to get rid of fatigue at this turn of the season.
For millennia now, people have sought out natural pools of water to bathe in, and to reap in the healing benefits of such water. Hot springs occur when ground or rainwater is heated geothermally from the earth’s mantle, and can reach temperatures of up to 82˚C. While the heat of the water is great for relaxing tight muscles, the benefits of soaking in a hot spring do not just end there.
The mineral-rich waters, containing sediments of calcium, sodium bicarbonate, sulphur, iron, alum and more have restorative properties as well, such as moisturising skin, alleviating eczema and psoriasis, and even aiding in relieving rheumatism and arthritis symptoms. Get a soak in over a weekend getaway at these natural hot spring resorts just hours away.
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
Hidden in a lush, tropical rainforest is one of Perak’s best-kept secrets. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is a luxurious, natural wellness getaway tucked away in an oasis of geothermal hot springs, natural caves, cascading waterfalls and ancient limestone caves. The hot springs flow at the base of the hill where the retreat is located, and bubbles through the natural rock pool at about 3 million litres per day. Water percolates through limestone hills and granite, collecting minerals along the way to enrich the healing properties of the waters, as well as heat the water to a comfortably hot 65–70˚C. This creates a natural sauna that works best on soothing aching muscles and detoxifying the body.
The hot springs are connected to the retreat’s own Ice Bath, where travellers can take the plunge into freezing cold water, which will help increase circulation throughout the body. Other natural wellness features of The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat include a Meditation Cave, a quiet and private limestone cave perfect for emptying the mind, and a Crystal Cave where amethyst and quartz crystals facilitate metaphysical healing.
Continue the holistic wellness journey at Pomelo, the all-day diner that serves healthy cuisine made with locally sourced organic produce. Pair nutritious yet hearty meals with a bottle of red or white from the magnificent Jeff’s Cellar, which holds a private collection of wines hidden within the deep crevices of a cave.
Toya Devasya Wellness Resort
Hot and humid Bali might not call for any use of a hot spring, but soaking in the natural hot spring pools at Toya Devasya Wellness Resort has been a locally known hideaway for curing rheumatic diseases. The hot springs here are one of the rare ones that completely colourless and odourless, making it perfect for travellers who are sensitive to strong sulphuric smells. Flowing at a comfortable 37˚C, the waters here are just warm enough to allow for long soaks. The tepid temperature is perfect for dipping in after a day of adventurous activities, like hiking, canoeing and cycling, all of which are available right at the resort.
To enjoy uninterrupted views of the calming hot springs, take the chance to stay at the resort’s glamping grounds. Take in a grand barbeque dinner by a roaring bonfire, before heading to bed in cosy tents fitted with beds and other necessary amenities. The next morning, wake up to views of the nearby lake and mountains before taking a quick morning soak in the hot springs to get the day started.
Grand View Resort Beitou Hotel
Taiwan was formerly colonised by the Japanese, who brought with them their love of ramen and hot springs to the local people. Long after the Japanese have left, Taiwan has fully embraced the culture of spending time soaking in hot springs as a way to relax and fight fatigue from the stress of daily life. Beitou is one such place that has become a favourite among locals and travellers for its proximity to Taipei City. For a completely private experience, head over to Grand View Resort Beitou Hotel, which channels the thermal waters from the Beitou Hot Springs into private soaking pool rooms that come with their own en suite lounge area and changing rooms.
For a longer stay or for a soak at any time of the day, check into any one of the hotel’s well-appointed superior or deluxe suites that come integrated with their own hot spring and cold spring baths. After a warm bath, submerging one’s self into a cold spring will help tighten skin and pores, adding a beauty benefit to the already therapeutic experience.
Visiting hot springs is very much still alive and thriving in Japan. The act of bathing in an onsen is ingrained deeply into the culture, and much of what attracts local Japanese to travel to other prefectures are the quality onsen found in the area. While there are many accessible onsen available in more touristy towns like Kyoto and Hokkaido, only Ehime Prefecture can claim that it has the oldest standing hot spring recorded. Dogo Onsen, located in Matsuyama of Ehime Prefecture has an extensive history of 3,000 years (although some records claim it is even older than that), and has an impressive list of clientele, including many of Japan’s noblemen, scholars and the Imperial Family. The main building of Dogo Onsen is the communal bathhouse that was built in 1894, and is said to be the inspiration for the incredible bathhouse in Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning film, Spirited Away.
To fully enjoy the splendour of Dogo Onsen, check into nearby Dogo-kan, a ryokan (Japanese-style guesthouse) known for its Japanese and Western-style rooms. Dogo-kan has its own onsen facilities that share the same hot spring waters that run through Dogo Onsen. For a special treat, book a stay at the seventh-floor Shofuro, which has its own private hot spring bath in the middle of a Japanese garden under the moonlit sky.