Sunday, July 10, 2011


In all honesty there's not much to distinguish visit's to some of Thailand's hot springs from each other. Sometimes well signposted, sometimes not at all. They are all are designated to 'wow' the visitors, attract more tourists and line the pockets of local entrepreneurs and governments. That's the theory. In reality very low costing improvements have been put through, often resulting in nothing really enhancing. Or money has been thrown into sterilizing the surroundings resulting in high maintenance costs with no corresponding budgets.

Arguably it are those that develop organically that contain the most charm.

Election day
Nong Ya Plong is the name of a district in Phetchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok. Fifteen kms away from the sleepy district town, up towards the mountains along a winding and twisting road one arrives at a graveled car park flanked by a number of food stalls who on this July election sunday are looking forward to the visitors despite not being able serve alcohol. There is a sign saying
"wellcome to hotspring",
so this is it.

As the road was also heading to a waterfall, (7 km yonder), I inquire what happened to the road, believing a visit to a waterfall followed by a soak is an even better prospect, better than a soak alone. The road has a barrier gate over it and the answer given is that this is to avoid allowing cars like mine, non-four-wheel drive, entrance to the waterfall as the road is apparently too steep.

Well, part of the plan shelved, let's look at the soak. A track leading down passes the amenities building and leads to a large star-like formed bassin which looks aesthetically nice if not for the large blue pipe hovering above the pool. The tap to this pipe is closed and as could be expected the water in the bassin is not warm.

Returning we quickly have a look at the bathing house, which in fact is a couple of tubs.

Bath building

Heading upwards from the car park is another cement path. We have hardly made it a couple of meters on this path after we are attached on by half a dozen small kids who, by the looks of it, are interested in selling us flower garlands. With no communication possible we continue with our taggers running around and between us.

The path goes up and over a hillock, then drops to a streamlet. Two large pipes are to be seen and both fell very hot.

We continue onwards and arrive at the actual springs. A wooden fence around a meter high wall with a tree in one point of the triangular shape fencing. Beyond are two small temples covered in flowers while down stream of the pond, underneath a tree, a small section of the stream has been cemented, cement stools added and thus one can soak one's feet in the very hot water.

The small temples add an unknown quantity / quality to these springs, as well as the fact that with the exception of some washing on the wooden fence, the area around the springs are immaculately clean.

The hot pond with temples beyond.

On a picnic table there's even an honesty box which the caretaker takes considerable effort to communicate this to us.

Captain says
On internet, the Phetechaburi travelguide mentions this as Punmaron hot spring:
'People have used the hot spring water in therapeutic baths to treat rheumatism and other ailments. The reservation eventually developed into a well-known resort because it attracted many health seekers all year round. Also, the hot spring area and surrounding mountains give a spectacular example of the forest ecosystem.Today there are two bathhouses and a service center to provide visitors with hot spring baths ...'.

Then there is Panoramio. A photo road trip by Captain Slash.

And? Your votes?

Getting there: From the main highway south take the 3340 towards Nong Ya Plong but just before town head west again. From here there are only about 100 signboards!

Soaking experience: No big tubs, sort of distracts from the soaking experience. Still are not fond of prisoner situations, 4 large walls, not even someone to talk to!

Overall impression: The place is very relaxed and down to earth. A soak is to be had as well as some insight in local life. A worthy stopover.

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