For the tired, the stressed and the sore, natural hot springs are a godsend. Not only do they ease away tension with their heated waters, but many people believe that the minerals in natural hot springs have the power to heal a range of ailments including bruises, sprains, skin irritations, indigestion, and asthma to name a few. Luckily for those of us in this part of the world, Southeast Asia is chock-a-block with soothing hot springs in gorgeous settings.
Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park, Malaysia
Built in 2003, this sprawling park is set amidst lush forests, rolling hills and flowing rivers. The hot and cold pools here are fed by natural springs under the ground and bubbling streams, and they include large public pools, private jacuzzis, and even a spot where you can boil eggs in the water. As an added bonus, there is also a restaurant on site and five villas should you want to stay overnight.
Where: 10 kilometres outside of the town of Sungkai, about 1.5 hours from Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: 8am to 10pm daily.
Maquinit Hot Springs, Philippines
The Maquinit Hot Springs are unique in that they are the only saltwater hot springs in Asia. The two main pools here are volcanically heated, connected to the sea and surrounded by interesting rock formations, trees, picnic tables and small gazebos. You can soak in the steamy waters while overlooking the sea and watch birds fly overhead and monitor lizards dart in and out of the underbrush.
Where: 30 minutes outside Coron town in Palawan.
Hours: 8am to 8pm daily.
Ciater Hot Springs, Java
Being part of a volcanic archipelago, it should come as no surprise that Indonesia has an abundance of hot springs. One of the better ones can be found in the midst of a tea estate in Ciater just outside of Bandung. The actual bathing pools are located in the Sari Ater Hot Spring Resort, and they include a number of shallow pools and a deeper pool with a waterfall that pummels warm sulfur-rich water onto your shoulders and back. Keep in mind that most Javanese are Muslim, so be sure to dress appropriately even in the pools.
Where: 32 kilometres north of Bandung.
Sankampaeng Hot Springs, Thailand
Swirling steam rising from the ground, beautiful gardens, and lofty trees make this spot a popular escape from nearby Chiang Mai. Stroll around the grounds and you will find a canal heated with sulphur rich water, two pools for soaking, private bath houses, and super heated pool reserved for boiling eggs. There is also a restaurant here that serves BBQ snacks and cold drinks.
Where: About 40 kilometres outside of Chiang Mai.
Banjar Hot Springs, Bali
These multi-level pools feature stone walls with carved dragon heads that draw water from an underground volcanic spring and pour it into two shallow pools and one deep pool surrounded by overhanging tropical flowers, bushes and palm trees. You’ll find a good mix of Balinese families and tourists here, and the restaurant is a great place to chill out with a cold drink.
Where: A short drive east of Lovina in North Bali.
Hours: 7am to 6pm daily.