Saturday, January 7, 2012

Leaving the best for last?

Heading for Porn
The town, néé the province of Ranong, is synonymous with hot springs. However this link is entirely focused on the existence of
Raksawarin hot spring, located not far from downtown Ranong. Developed and overdeveloped, this hot spring is hardy a natural feature anymore, even though it is a magnet for passing tourists, mostly locals.

But Ranong province is well-endowed with many other hot springs. On a relative scale. Including the above Raksawarin, Porn Rang (or Phon Rang) hot spring is the third hot spring on a 10 km stretch; Phu Lam Phi being the other. Elsewhere within the province are more hot springs with little or no information available.

Porn Rang seems to have survived the scourge of over-development or inadept development as it is located within a national park (Namtok Ngao N.P.). Though in Thailand that's not necesarily a guarantee, the hot spring of Porn Rang is certainly tastefully developed.

Not so long ago, much was made of pumping in more money to develop Porn. See Soaking in Siam's short exposé of last year. The ambitious Ranong Provincial Administrative Organisation chairman is quoted as hoping Porn Rang would become a major tourist attraction.

Gracefully, other than a well-signposted smooth entrance road and a big car-park, the bus loads of tourists have not added this soaking site to their stop-and-go loads of to-be-experienced sites.
Because, despite all the hoopla, Porn Rang is a hot spring worth a visit. And a soak.

The car park looks ominous, but beyond the small entrance gate, one walks along a small stream towards a weir. This being late afternoon, there are many locals, but only locals.

Beyond the weir, but on the same bank, are a few sala's with really nice hot pools. After a soak, one can jump in the adjacent stream to cool off and let little fish nibble your toes, no need to order the Dr. Fish treatment here!

Crossing the weir, there are more wells and roofed pools. Downstream are some older constructions, and a new foot bath. Even further downstream is a nice section with hot pools on either side of the stream and across the stream, rocks have made a nice pool.

Just one of the pools, waiting for soakers (or simply too hot?)

Changing facilities and even toilets are located near each villa. We change and go for a soak. Problem no. 1 is the intense heat, especially in the smaller pools. On the opposite side the bigger pool is more bearable and a great soak ensures whilst the evening encapsulates the surroundings. Slowly the sun is setting.

Porn Rang really is an exceptionally (for Thailand) attractive place for an evening soak. It's odd that tourists are yet to wash up here, why on earth would masses head for cemented-over imitations of what was originally there? Beats me.

Two of the springs

It may seem odd, but the above mentioned web-links are actually the only info available on the internet ...

Getting here
From Ranong town, head south on the main highway 4 for roughly 6 km and take the signposted turn towards the hills. The road winds itself up into the rolling foothills about 1,5 km away. The road finishes at the hot spring car park (see below). Follow the link on panoramio.

Soaking experience
: With the wide choice of different pools, all very clean and the opportunity to soak in the adjacent stream this must be heaven. However if clothing optional were even a distant dream, heaven would have been a step closer. For me that is.

Overall impression: Well-organized, well thought through, not over run, excellent experience, a must.

The river

1 comment:

  1. fabulous reviews. We are headed to thailand for 4 months with our baby boy and will be checking out a good number of the springs in ranong, krabi, trang and nakhom si thammarat.


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