Monday, June 21, 2010

As locals do

While discussing hot springs in Kyrgyzstan it's easy to confuse this with political affairs. And certainly the humanitarian state of this country is in dire straits. My sympathy goes out to all those fleeing bigotry and hatred.

Bigger picture
But I still would like to concentrate on hot springs as in geothermality. In this blog most of my postings have been highlighting the naturalness of the hot springs or the naturality of the soaking experience itself. However in Kyrgystan the opposite is also well-known. Soviet times saw grander schemes to develop naturally occurring thermal water into workers paradises, the sanatoriums. Since the collapse of the workers pie-in-the-sky these places have been neglected and in some cases are turning into ruins.

What to think of this (geographic unclear) sanatorium experience?
'I am sitting in the outdoor hot spring pool of the Sanatorium At The End Of The Universe. The tiles are chipped and the water is murky. But, I’ve been assured by my local friend, “don’t worry, the water is changed at least once a week. Anyway, the U.S. military guys came down and did tests. They said the water was fine, but men shouldn’t soak for more than 15 minutes.” What about women, I ask. She shrugs. So I soak a little longer'.
Despite the chipped tiles, this internet reference clearly establishes that the Kyrgyz like soaking. From things the Kyrgyz love:
'Hot Spring Baths – This seems to be a universally healthy thing around the world. What you use it to treat depends on the chemical make-up of each individual spring. The hot springs we went to, Bar Bulak (lit. trans. Fire Spring), had a high sulfur and iron content and according to the sign posted on the wall of the spa it can be used to treat, “Problems of the Skin and the Digestion, Also Useful for Treating Women’s Problems”.
It actually was quite stimulating and our skin was very healthy for the following month. But you have to be careful about which spring you bathe in. Near Kara Kol, one of the more popular springs has Radon in the water'.
For the insane?
Sanatoria are located in

- Jalalabad, also known as Kochkor-Ata:
'While in Osh I made a daytrip to Jalalabad where they had a thermal hot spring with sanatorium. I say had as most of the buildings where in ruins and the only hot spring water I saw came from a tap where you had to pay for drinking it'.
'Djalal-Abad is famous for its spas. There is a legend that the water from the Hozret-Ayub-Paigambar spa cured lepers. According to the legend there was a grave, a mosque and the khan's palace near the spa. The Djalal Abad sanatoria, “Kurort”, is based on one of the spas on one of the hills overlooking the town – the waters are salty, but people from a wide area to collect bottles of it. Near the entrance to the Kurort (the health resort) is a cafe with a fine view over the town – the "Ikram-Ajy" Panorama, at a height of 1000 meters , with a complex that consists of a “national crafts hall”, souvenir shop and an entertainment hall –from here you can appreciate how green the city is, as the trees rise above the low-rise building. The spas are also the source for several different brands of mineral water'. (source)
- Ak Suu. There are some photo's of the slowly deteriorating sanatorium as well as other photo's here. Then's there is this:
'For those with too little time to visit Altyn Arashan this is an opportunity to bathe in natural hot springs. The waters are said to have healing properties curing everything from insomnia to rheumatism. Al-Suu's sanatorium 7 km from Karakol is set in a pretty gorge and has numerous relaxing bathhouses. Local people come here at weekends to wallow in the waters, chat and ramble through the gorge. The village of Ak Suu close has plenty of attractive wooden cottages, a Orthodox church and shops where you can stock up on traditional post-bath bread, fish, vodka and beer.
It is located on the north slope of Terskey Ala-Too chain in a narrow gorge in Ak-Suu river valley at an altitude of 1950m above sea level in a distance of 16 km from Karakol town. It works all year. The curative spring water wells have been known since the ancient times. A bath and 2 rooms were built in 1896. Since 1957 the sanatorium works as children hospital. The climate of resort is highland. A non-polluted air, ultraviolet rays create appropriate conditions for climate therapy. In the winter the temperature extends to -17C, in the summer the temperature is 20-25C. The general curative factor is mineral water, nitrogen thermal water (till 60C) sulfate-chloride-sodium water with weak mineralization, consists of silicon, acidy fluorine, free sulfur-hydrogen and small quantity of radon.
The sanatorium takes in some patients with child cerebal paralysis, consequences og meningitis, myletis, polymyletis, neuritis, cranium-brain traumas, skin ailments supporting-motion system and etc.
In the summer time there are 3 pavilions, in the winter -1. The capacity is 250 positions. The term of treatment for mothers with children from 1 to 3 years old is 45 days, children from 4 to 14 years old – 60 days.
In the 3 story building there are massage and procedure room sport hall, physiotherapy room, bath department, swimming pool, playing rooms, chambers, kitchen, library, school. The bathes curative exercises mechanic therapy massage and etc. are applied for treatment'.
- Issyk Ata, also known as Dzuuku or as its translation of warm father (source)! This combines a sanatorium with the existence of public baths. Immediately the web entries are a lot more positive.
'Don't know if it is because of the altitude (nearly1800 meters) but I was feeling little strange there in Issyk Ata. This hot spring water spot situated at less than 2 hours from Bishkek was not only smelling the sulfur of its bathes but also something like a soviet perfume. Ok maybe I was sad because not so many chaikhanas up there!'.
An other visitor says though somewhat rudimentary facilities it does have good views. There's a big waterfall nearby.
'Not far up the valley is the Djety Orguz sanatoria built in and the sight of the first meeting between Presidents Akayev and Yelsin in 1991 after the abortive coup in Moscow'. (source)
This reference also claims that there are more than 50 hot springs in Kyrgyzstan though only lists 4 ...
- Bar Bulak:
'Really its not that bad. Its only the iron in the water. The springs are said to be very useful to the health. We can actually see some improvement in the quality of our skin'.
Possibly this is a reference to the same sanatorium as others under names such as Issyk Kul. The lake of Issyk Kul is quite unique as ice never forms.
'It is fed by springs including many hot springs and snow melt-off'.
This according to wikipedia.

As nature intends
But then there is the soakers paradise of Altyn Arashan, also known as Teplokluenchka, Golden Spa, Ak Suu and/or Karakol. Teplokluenchka is actually Russian for hot springs; since, the village name has been referred to Ak Suu. However in reality there is no village and Ak Suu is used as reference to the sanatorium referred to above.
Altyn Arashan is by far the most photographed (
photo of 'heaven') and experiences-shared hot spring in Kyrgyzstan.
'The Altyn Arashan ("Golden Spa") valley leads up from the Ak Suu valley, just South of the village of Teplokluenchka, to a Spartan "hot spring" complex. The road is not an easy one, very steep in places. (source)
More info can be found here. Though experiences elsewhere in Kyrgyzstan seem more attuned to the suited, both the following experience and the photo show that there's more than the eye meets when soaking in Altyn. It's also referred to as old style the kind of style I just might like ...
'Luckily, our worn out and beat selves were welcomed by terrific scenery and a hot spring! It is a sort of old-style natural hot spring with a bathing pool reminiscent of older Japanese spas'.

'We didn't do as the locals did however and run nude from the cabins to the chilly mountain stream about 10 meters away for an icy dip followed by a return to the hot spring. We don't have any pictures of that!'

Photo entitled
'Natural hot spring bath'.
On virtualtourist (by Tipper) with report:
'But healthy people get even healther'.
Nearby is a structure which most say resembles a space pod, others a cave. Hot water is piped in and two persons fit in the pod (source). A photo of such can be seen on this picasa account.

Nearby is also a half cave like structure for soaking purposes (see below).

'Hot spring in Altyn Arashan 001'.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yunnan-ing around

Previously covered in three separate entries (Lijiang, Zhongdian and Nujiang), it seems folly not to cover the rest of the Yunnan province as well. That said many of Yunnan's hot springs have undergone development and are now quite often part of the commercialized and bland 'spa and entertainment' culture with little to choose between them.
In all, it's said that there are 654 centers of hot springs within Yunnan. The provincial government tourism website, Seeyunnan, purports there to be 700.

Hot Spring Culture
Most of these hot springs are to be found in the volcanic region of Tengchong, Baoshan prefecture, Yunnan's southwest.
'Over 80 vapor springs and hot springs are scattered around the volcanoes, making this the second largest vapor field in China. The famous Yihong Hot Lake is one of the biggest hot spring lakes in China, covering a total area of 10 square kilometers. The most magnificent Dagunguo (boiling pan) Hot Spring, 6.12 meters in diameter and 1.5 meters deep, has a water temperature of 96.6 degrees centigrade, and resembles a pan of boiling water, sending steam high into the sky. The Hamazui Fountain, with a water temperature of 95.5 degrees centigrade, looks like two frogs spraying out hot spring water. Pearl Spring is a pool of water with hundreds of spray holes in the bottom sending out pearl-like strings of hot bubbling water.
Other spectacular sights include Huaitaijing, Gumingquan, Xiaogunguo and Yanjingquan springs and waterfalls. Hot springs in the adjacent Longling County are also popular with visitors because of their medicinal effects on the human body'. (Source).
Tengchong however is swiftly becoming part of China tourism trail thanks in part to the new airport. To confirm this there is even a celebration called the Volcano Hot Spring Cultural Tourism Festival of Tengchong. However it seems another spectacular show with little or nothing to do with hot springs nor with soaking culture.
And though viewing the waters from a distance seems to be the number 1 activity, soaking in Tengchong is reasonably priced. See this photo of hot spring bathing in Tengchong.
With over 80 hot springs naming the hot springs can be fun. Brian Powers has photographic documentation on the Cherry Blossoms hot spring. Canyonlovers adds
'This is one of the best trips from TengChong for the nature lover and hiker has rustic accommodations and good food available. This canyon is located in the Gaolingshan Mountain nature reserve and has “many pink wild cherry
blossoms everywhere in the valley…falls gushing from the steeps of the mountainside swiftly drop down like flying dragons…the drips splash in all directions like pearls…” What beautiful local language. The reader can go and judge for themselves if it is all true. Cherry Blossom Valley is about 20km east of TengChong 20km along a cobble stone road'.
Tengchong possesses a number of hot spring hotels, among them Beauty Pool Hot Spring Hotel, Tengchong (tripadvisor).
Nearby Baoshan boasts Bang Na Zhang hot spring (info) and the Fenghuang Hot Spring Resort, Baoshan (tripadvisor).

Around the capital
Though Kunming, Yunnan's provincial capital, is known for it's eternal spring, less information is available concerning soaking. There are though more hot spring hotels located in and around Kunming. These are
- Dianchi Garden Hotel Spa, Kunming (virtual tourist),
- Tianyi Hot Spring Hotel, Kunming (tripadvisor),
- Eshan Hot Spring hotel, Kunming (tripadvisor),
- Brilliant Spa, Kunming (website and short description) and
- Xizhu Spa Country Estate (info).

Nearby Anning, 21 km southwest of Kunming, is noted as it has 11 hot springs to invest in. Jinfang (Golden) Forest Hot Spring is by far the best known, which is listed in China's Top 10 of hot springs. One first hand described visit:
'Although the hot springs at Senlin are shared, there are enough of them (around 20) to allow for relaxing privacy. Other visitors are generally polite. They also don’t want to share a hot spring that’s occupied. On the other hand, they may be repulsed by the prospect of sharing bathwater with a waiguoren, the all-purpose word for anyone non-Chinese'.
Other hot springs in Anning are Kunming Hot Spring View Garden Hotel and Spring Soul Garden Spa & Resort.

Yuxi prefecture, to the south of Kunming contains another high amount of hot springs.
'Yuxi is distributed with spas of various sizes. In adjacency, there are various spas in all scales on Daying Street in Hongta District of Yuxi City. Yingyuetan Spa is one of the famous spas. Far away, there is Zaojie Spa of Jiangchuan County, Luosipu Spa, Dalongtan Spa in Eshan County, Hot Water Pond in Chengjiang County, Warm Water Pond in Tonghai County, Hot Spring in Meiyun Lao’ao Village in Yimen County, Xiangbi Spa of Huaning, etc'.
Holiday Village of Yingyuetan hot spring is one of the many hot springs just 15 min. from Yuxi:
'The nicest of these is Moon Lake, comprised of a series of 12 pools with different herbs, mineral salts, and liquors to soak away a day'.
Then there are the
- Tianziyuan hot spring (
mention and description),
- Xiangbi (or Elephant trunk) Mountain hot spring (website and website) which is 8 km from Huaning county, Yuxi:
'Xiangbi Hot-spring was developed in East Han Dynasty which was about 2,000 years ago. The water temperature remains between 39℃ to 41℃',
Tripadvisor has a short thread on this hot spring
- Tobacco hot spring, Huaning county, Yuxi (tripadvisor) and
- Wana hot spring, Honghegu of Yuanjiang county (info on development needed).

West and South
Further away in Dali autonomous prefecture besides the earlier posted Er Yuan hot spring there is the hot spring located not far out of town of Xiaguan also known under it's commercial name of Phoenix (Fenghuang) Hot Spring Resort.
'The Resort is characterized by natural hot spring development. Dali hot spring comes from 3800 meters deep below the earth's crust, therefore, the water quality is very high'.
Others are in the southeast. Mile (Mi Le) Hot Spring Hotel (tripadvisor, photo on flickr) and another of China's Top 10, Jinping Mengla (near the city of Geiju) which is famous for it's masseuse rocks.

To the south (near Simao) lies Manzhongtian Hot Spring Holiday Village (photo's and description).

Crowning standards for hot springs
New developments have been the development of special provincial assessments of hot spring tourism facilities:
'China Yunnan Tengchong Volcano Atami Tourism Development and Management Corporation, Dianchi Spring Spa, Kunming Spring Soul Garden Spa & Resort , and Kunming Junhao Spa have passed the assessment of the Yunnan Spa and Hot Spring Rating Assessment Committee and have all been awarded five-crown certificates and plates — becoming the first enterprises that have passed the assessment both in Yunnan and in China.
In 2008 Yunnan province published China's first comprehensive set of local hot spring standards, including the Standard for Tourist Hot Spring Sign Usage, Hot Spring Tourism Service Specifications, Hot Spring Tourism Operators Grading and Evaluation, and Spa Operators Grading and Evaluation.
The committee evaluated the business facilities and services, facilities and equipment maintenance, cleaning and service quality, and the management of the four hot spring enterprises'.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Beyong China's Xinjiang lie the Central Asian republics ending with stan. Tajikistan in particular seems jam packed with mostly undeveloped hot springs, especially in the Pamir region (see this listing).

Surprise surprise
Making a loop in the Pamir region starting from the town of Khorog, due south and up a side road is most probably the biggest and most well-known hot spring named
Garm Chashma (Gharm Chasma).

The hot spring of 2,700m high located Garm consists of a larger tavertine pool and smaller bath house. Local soaking traditions are conservative but sans suit.
'The top attraction in this place is the hot spring that runs nearby. The sanatorium has setup a little indoor pool where you can splash around in the 75c degree water, while it’s negative something temperature outside. Sharing the pool with a dozen naked Pamiris (as, we were joined by another jolly group later on) was definitely an experience that won’t fade quickly'.
On centralasianliving blog there's this entry by a shy Finnish lady:
'It was ladies time to bathe in the outside pool and we headed up a little hill to find this pool behind a wall. There were some local women bathing there. And they did not wear swimming suits. But do not fear, we did. We, the brave, Northern, Finnish people who spend all our lives going to sauna naked carefully covered ourselves. Somehow swimming outside in a hot spring in our birth suits did not feel comfortable. But local ladies were very comfortable and even commented on our swimming suits. 'You don't need to wear one!' 'Oh, yes, I need to!'.
Why would anyone need to?
The times which each gender can enjoy the different hot spring pools alternate. It can give cause to some
'It alternates between men and women, and I'd looked across from the hotel and seen men getting changed, so decided it was safe to go. There was no-one around at the entrance so I walked up the steps in the travertine deposit and was greeted by the sight of lots of naked women. I dashed back down the steps hoping that no-one had seen me; there were no shouts so I guess I got away with it. Abdullah was at the bottom laughing and herded me into a bath house for another soak'.
Because it reliefs pain it got a reputation of a holy spring.
'There in the end of the 19th century the local inhabitants built altars - small niches in the rock near the place where water comes onto the surface; they put there various sacred objects and burning lamps'.
More in depth info available as well as a video.Or here.

The above photo's are on Flickr (2007) taken by Bogsnes:
'Garm Chasma natural hot springs. Tajikistan'.
Continuing southwards towards the Wakhan border there is the small and little known hot spring of Oudzh. Presumably this following refers to Oudzh:
'Back on the road I saw a hot spring flowing into a round pool . Of course I had to jump in; the water was at about body temperature which was blissful on a hot day. From the pool I could see Afghan farmers working in the fields onthe other side of the valley and the snow capped peaks of the Hindu Kush in the distance. It was quite surreal. A local lad turned up who bizarrely spoke French so we chatted for a while and I started to think about getting out of the pool. Just then an old guy appeared, collecting fire wood. I wasn't sure about whether it was appropriate for me to emerge near naked from the pool with him around, so I decided to stay submerged till he was gone. I needn't have worried though; when he'd collected the wood he needed he asked me if it was OK to get in the pool, stripped off and jumped in. We chatted for a bit, then I got dressed and carried on'.
The picture below from the same report as above says it all ....

Holy grotto
Next is the other famous hot spring of this region, that of Bibi Fatima.
'The full name is the Ostoni Bibi Fotimai Zakhro hot spring, which literally means ‘holy site of the sleeves of Bibi Fatima.’ The story behind the hot springs is that it is believed to improve female fertility. I'm not sue about the fertility part, but the hot spring sure was relaxing'.
'Hot water spring in the Wakhan valley - Bibi Fatima'.
By Kjartans bilder

Located 7kms uphill this hot spring in a cave again has alternating sessions:
'Mathieu and Yann had the first session, then Myriam and I got to enter the hot spring water with a bunch of cute old naked Tajik women. Women supposedly come to bathe here for help with fertility problems. The water comes directly from the spring into a small cave where a cabin has been built to shelter the cave'.
There's a waterfall nearby as well as views over the Wakhan valley and closer the Yamchun fort.

Heading westwards from here there are many mentions of hot springs. Zong hot spring is located
between Vrang and Langar.
'Zong has loads of hot springs which we liked the sound of. We found a nice homestay run by a friendly woman who spoke a bit of English, then set off to the hot springs to have a wash before dinner. It was actually quite a mission to find the springs; we climbed endlessly up and down steep village paths, but we got there eventually, completely freaking out the lads from the village who were already there'.

Taking the side road (way) into the Wakhan valley proper, there are a few small villages some with hot springs. This source refers to hot springs in Sheulk and Sarhad. There is a hot spring located near Sargaz (Sargez):
'This hot spring is located in Sargez just past Kipkut. Two mud huts have been built over the hot spring for privacy. It is not five star but when you have been short of hot water it's a welcome treat. The water is emptied after each person, so it can take a short time to fill. The man who runs it is extremely friendly, we paid 100 Afghanis each to support his work'.
Kipkut may have it's own hot spring?

Trekking further would bring you possibly to Ararakar hot spring near Bourguitar village.

Instead of going up the valley one can continue enroute to Murghab. Before though are the hot springs of Issyk Bulak (Issyk-Bulok) near the village of Bulunkul and the Yashikul lake. In fact there are many hot springs:
'Near the Alichur estuary there is a hot hydrogen sulphide spring named Issyk-bulak. The water wells up from four geysers located along the foot of the granite mountain, with temperatures reaching 71 °C. The spring is surrounded by ruins of clay buildings (probably tombs), and local residents consider it to be holy. One small clay construction has a pool for collecting hot spring water'.
Some springs are as below.

'warm water spring near Bulunkul'
[translation] by
driving dutchmen

Other hot springs seem a little less inspiring:
'a DIY hot spring – a small shed with a bathtub in the centre with a small black polythene pipe flowing into it. The place looked pretty filthy so despite having not showered for several days we decided to give the spring a miss'.
Completing a loop and while returning to Khorough one can visit the hot spring of Jelandy (Jilinda, Julandee, Djelandi, Jelondy). Here is a photo of outside of bathing complex.
Some people make odd cultural discoveries while soaking:
'We arrived in Jelandy in the late afternoon, where we checked into the local truckstop / hot springs. We were pretty keen on more hots prings, but were disappointed by the grotty settings: lots of men (including one carrying a large rifle), public baths with tiles covered in about 2 years worth of scum filled with luke warm spring water. We hadn't bathed in almost a week, otherwise we probably wouldn't have entered the pools. Myriam and I didn't even take a pre-bath shower, a taboo, since we were covered in dirt (this really grossed Mathieu and Yann out when they heard). We also made an important Tajik cultural discovery pertaining to shaving. We had already observed that Tajik women don't shave their legs nor their armpits, but after two naked public baths we were able to conclude that there seems to be widespread shaving of another part of the body...weird (note this was mainly Myriam's discovery)'.
Beyond Murghab are is the hot spring of Madiyan (Madjan, Madian, Median) located in the Olesu valley. Located at 2 hours from Murghab it's suggested in a UN doc that it has ecotourism potential. It's current status though is described as follows:
'Hot springs are developed, with a bathhouse, greenhouse, cafe and yurt camp'.
A German language blog on Madiyan adds that there are two bathhouses with 3 by 6 m pools. An experience:
'After spending what was apparently a sufficient amount of time questioning and commiserating with the greenhouse’s keepers, we were invited to take a dip in the hot springs. I looked around, confused; all I saw were yurts and the very cold-looking brook. I caught sight of my boss just as he was ducking into a rectangular dried-mud hut; he pointed his disappearing arm around the corner to what turned out to be the women’s half of the indoor hot springs.
When packing for a road trip that ranged in liberating climate from Afghanistan to the frigidly cold Eastern Pamirs, I didn’t exactly think to bring my bathing suit. Thankfully, I was informed that people don’t wear any clothes in Tajik hot springs. Um, what?! I wasn’t overly comfortable with the thought of someone – perhaps even my male colleagues, if fate decided to serve me up a particularly unlucky day – walking in on me stark naked. I decided to go the conservative route and remain fully clothed (in my head scarf and floor-length kurta, to boot) and instead just give my feet a soak.To call it a ‘hot’ spring was a bit of an understatement. I might as well have stuck my feet in a tub of molten lava because I’m pretty sure that’s how hot the water was. I’m just glad I was enough of a prude to not have gone ‘all-in’ and that it was only my feet that suffered what felt like third-degree burns'.
Others also describe it as relaxing or too hot ...
More than 120 km due south of Murghab is the 'undeveloped' hot spring of Shaimak.

Closer to Dushabe
Elsewhere in Tadjikistan closer to it's capital of Dushanbe is the hot spring of
Obigarm. To the south east. Due to the proximity to the more populated world it's been redeveloped and now is known as a sanatorium.

Not to be confused with Obigarm, Obigram-Kodja is due north of Dushanbe, higher in the mountains. And though one associates soaking with pleasure, it seems here the soakers are patients:
'This is a large comfortable health center for 700 people. There are several sanatoriums and health care buildings. One can also find here a special complex of "paroemanatorium" - where vapor of set proportion and temperature is used for treatment. All necessary conditions and conveniences are at the patients' disposal after medical procedures'.
For a full back ground look at this website complete with Soviet style 'resort'.

Other info:
'In 1948, a hole of 1,300 meters deep was drilled by geologists in Khavotag, Ura-Tube district. The hot water coming from the drill-hole was proved to be curative for many diseases. Now, the healing water of Khavotag is used for the treating many muscle and bone diseases, distal nervous system and dermal problems'.
'Shohambary sanatorium operates at the territory of Hissar District. Its mineral water temperature ranges from 37 to 42 C. In summer time, besides in-patients, the sanatorium also hosts out-patients. Digestive system diseases are treated here'.
Other of Tajikistan's best-known springs are: Anzob, Sangkhok, Yavroz, and Tashbulak. Unfortunately no other details? Possibly cooler soaks?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Soaks in the desert

Active volcano
Having blogged on most of the Himal hot soaks one can take a look at the wider area beyond the Himal area. As stated before deeper into China there are little hot springs still in natural state. Nor are the sites non-commercial. North of the Himal lies another huge administrative area, the autonomous region of Xinjiang Uyghur.
Zhang Wei Zhou (2002) puts the number of hot springs in Xinjiang at nearly 80. He also notes
'the utilization of geothermal resources in Xinjiang remains in a pretty low level at this moment. Only a little of them has been developed for medical treating and bathing use'.
He ends by stating the problems needed to solve for geothermal development, the last of which states:
'there is no any active volcano in Xinjiang'.
A nice problem to solve.

Capital of the province is the city of Ürümqi. Shimougou is one of the city's districts:
'There is famous hot spring there with a temperature of 28-30 centigrade, containing kalium, natrium, magnesium, nitre, radon, zinc, etc. it is effective to arthritis and skin disease. It is also can be drunk as mineral water. In 1982, a hot-spring hospital was built here and some Japanese medical treatment equipment was introduced into here. Some tourists come here for recuperation'. (source)
Otherwise known as Guanghui it features an
'standard international indoor swimming pool'.
And is sometimes known as Water mill Gully.

Another major attraction of Ürümqi is the Swan Lake. Near the Swan Lake of Bayinburuke (Mongolia for rich springs) is the hot spring of
Aerxia (Arxian). It is reputed to have healing powers. Angela Yeo has just the one photo of presumably the hot spring of Swan Lake, as well as others from the same area.

wiwei has been to Arxian.

1, 2, 3, ... To the west of Ürümqi lies Tacheng prefecture. There are 4 hot springs in Tacheng, most notably that of Shawan. One of the grade 2a tourist areas of the region there is this description of Shawan:
'There are dozens of hot springs, which are dominated by three hot springs at the foot of Laojun Temple, namely No.1 Spring, No.2 Spring and No.3 Spring, also one “Eyes Spring” with flux of 0.5 liter per second, which can cure eye disease'.
Other than that there are two hot springs in Wusu (Wuzu). A link provides photo's entitled Wusu hot spring as well as extensive other info on Wusu.

In Ingouhe hot spring is mentioned in a World Bank document:
'Located in Shawan county cures sikness slowerilv among the local people'.
Fuhai county has a hot spring 'gully' named Alashan; more cryptical info can be found here.

Further away

In Kashgar prefecture on the western border of China lies the Tashkurgan Tajik autonomous county.
Shufu is a hot spring that receives at least 1 favourable mention:
'... despite its modest exterior, the main building housed a large clean pool and several bath tubs that were continously fed by hot water from the spring nearby'.
Near Tagarma is another hot spring (or possibly the same?) which receives extensive photo coverage on Flickr by Daniela Cameroni in a set of photo's entitled 'Tashkorgan hot spring'. Or Tashkurgan ...

The Bortala Mongolian autonomous prefecture contains the hot spring of Bozhou Bogeda in Wenquan county. Tot hier This is a national class 2a scenic area. Others describe the hot spring as magical.

Southern Xinjiang consists mostly of Bayingolin autonomous prefecture. Here plans are of exploiting / upgrading the local hot spring of Usu. Or were (link disappeared Nov. 2011).

Unfortunately mostly the hot soaks of Xinjiang remain quite unknown. No doubt there are many more with little or no info on the web. That said many on the web fail to go beyond some small scale descriptions with little photographic and / or actual experience.

Song Huang (2010) has a recent publication which briefly touches on hot springs in Xinjiang. He lists a number of hot springs requiring protection. Not included above are Tianshan Shenmu (?), Fish-eye, Beullaclacris, Wushi, Jinhegou, Yining Huolongdong and Huocheng Huolongdong.

Together not quite 80 ...

Swedish connection
Finally a word on Wucaiwan hot spring.

'五彩灣溫泉 (hot spring)


Wucaiwan is located in Jimsar county, Changji Hui autonomous prefecture. It's main claim to fame is the naming of a geological formation. A MSc thesis by Weijun Li (2010) draws comparisons between a Swedish bathing town and possible development of Wucaiwan. An interesting read.

The picture above is part of a $400 million investment drive, only 10 years ago. Apparently it still attracts only 100 soakers a day which means someone is losing money or the amounts thrown at the spa facilities were slightly overstated. Included in the report are equally bleak pictures with virtually no-one existent.

Overall the report lacks depth (easy MSc?) and recommends linking the resort more to the overall tourist infrastructure.

Song Huang (2010) Geological heritages in Xinjiang,China: Its featues and protection. Journal of Geographical Sciences, vol.20, no. 3, 357 - 374.
Journal of Geographical Sciences, Springer.
Weijun Li (2010) The planning of hot spring travel region. MSc thesis, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
Zhang Wei Zhou (2002) The basic characteristics of geothermal resources in Xinjiang, China. Geological Survey Institute of Xinjiang.