Hot springs around the world have traditionally been used for relaxation as well as therapeutic purposes, and many hot springs have become tourist attractions. Thailand, in South East Asia, is no exception, and the country is dotted with a number of highly popular hot springs. But the ones towards the Northern parts of Thailand have always attracted larger crowds than in other parts, the main reason being the great natural beauty of these districts. Northern Thailand is hilly country, consisting of Verdure Mountains covered with lush green forests, with an abundance of wild animals and multihued birds. Did you know that the famous British naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, based one the episodes of his TV series, The Living Planet, on Northern Thailand? Such is the beauty of the place!
Pha Bong Hot Springs, Thailand
One of the most important cities of Northern Thailand, culturally as well as population wise, is the Mae Hong Son city, near the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Nestled in a deep valley and surrounded by mountains, it is dotted with hot springs, and in fact it is promoted as a “dream destination” by Thai tourist authorities. You can reach Mae Hong Son by air, either from Bangkok or from neighboring Chiang Mai city. There are daily connecting flights between Bangkok and Mae Hong Son airports, while the flight from Chiang Mai lasts only about half an hour. You will find plenty of options for staying at the city, with hotels ranging from the luxurious to the more pocket friendly. Once in Mae Hong Son, there are plenty of activities that you can engage in, and one of them is visiting the Pha Bong Hot Springs. It is located in the Pha Bong district, about 10 kilometers out from the city on Highway 108, and the recommended way of reaching the hot springs is by foot – the path will take you through steaming jungles covered with mist almost round the year.
The Pha Bong Hot Springs cover a large area of about 3 acres, and is promoted by local authorities for its therapeutic nature. You can take mineral water baths to rejuvenate yourself, or even relax in the stream itself, for the water temperature is not too high. The developers of the area have also constructed a concrete pathway around the rim of the hot springs, so you can walk around the waters and luxuriate in the natural beauty of the place. They will charge you 10baht per head for this, and you can spend the whole day relaxing, taking a bath or simply hanging around the place. The springs are open all days of the week, 8am to 5pm.