Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Resourcing Nepal and Eastern Nepal

Nepal possess many, many hot springs. So many, that most are still unknown, let alone out there on the internet.

Some of the best sources as of November 2011 are:

  • 'Getting into Hot Water' on It mentions roughly a dozen hot springs, mostly the more well known.
  • mentions
    'more than 50 hot springs exist in Nepal'
    and lists about a dozen hot springs. the list is most probably a copy of the list included in 'Geology for Technical Students'
    by Rajan Kumar Dahal, a course publication for nepali students. Unfortunately only two pages are dedicated to hot springs and not much real information is provided.
  • ECS Nepal has a feature on hot springs in Nepal. Entitled 'Tectonic Gifts Hot Springs of the Himalaya', authored by P. Kauba, it's of March earlier this year and gives an enthusiastic call for all readers to soak.
  • Ranjit (2000) is one of the few true scientific overviews. It mentions 28 hot springs with more characteristics on nearly 20 of these.
  • With quite a bit of info on hot spring, the e-book 'Water and Culture' by Shaphalya (2003) provides some great points on hot spring culture in Nepal.
There is other printed material available, I know. Before the so-called Maoist revolt there were a number of tourist magazines and I know that there were various articles focusing on lesser well-known hot springs, but Nepal is not really wired and especially back then.

From the Himalayan Times 3 April 2011 a photo by Krishnamani Baral:
'Local women taking a dip in the hot springs at Tatopani Kunda in SardiKhola‚ Kaski on Sunday‚ April 3‚ 2011. The hot springs are believed to have a healing effect on ailments including constipation‚ joint pains and skin diseases'.

Eastern Nepal
Not many hot springs are known in eastern Nepal. Safe to say there are none near the Everest. However both references above mention Hotiyana (or Hatiya?), Sankhuwasaba district, but nothing more is known.

Then there is the mention of a hot spring at the start of the Nepal/India border river the Mechi:
'"Mechi is said to come from Min Chu Ung Kyong, meaning either "big river," or "hot spring." The name hot spring might sound unlikely, but in Antu, where Mechi starts, it is said that a long time ago people would indeed come to enjoy the hotspring, not only for pleasure but also for curing. The river forms border between Nepal and India and has played an important role in the history of Ilam." '
But that's about all for eastern Nepal. Look at the sidebar for more info on Nepal's hot springs.

Ranjit, M. (2000) Geothermal energy update of Nepal. Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2000. pp. 387-395. International Geothermal Association, Bochum, Germany.
Shiphalya, A (2003) Water & Culture. Jalasrot Vikas Sanrot, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Soaks in the desert [updated]

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.