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World’s Top 10 Hot Springs – Part 1

By TravelKing
UpdatedUpdated November, 9, 2012
Pamukkale Hot Springs (Photo: Eva P.)

Pamukkale Hot Springs (Photo: Eva P.)

It is always great to have your body revitalized and relaxed through a hot spring bath. Today, you may discover the world’s top 10 hot springs with Sinotour.com.

1. Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, Iceland
Blue Lagoon Iceland Geothermal Spa is located in a lava field in Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula of southwestern Iceland. It is a unique geothermal spa with warm waters rich in minerals like silica and sulfur with an average water temperature of 37-39°C / 98-102°F in the bathing and swimming area, which is enjoyable year round, even during winter. The lagoon holds six million liters of geothermal seawater fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant-Svartsengi which is renewed every 40 hours, and the steamy waters are part of a lava formation.

The lagoon is a geothermal wonder that one should not miss during their visit to Iceland. It is an ideal place for one to relax and unwind in the warm geothermal seawater. Blue Lagoon is designed with a variety of recreational options where one may take a geothermal steam bath at one of the steam baths of a cave-like structure, built from lava rocks with benches and soft lighting and the other steam bath that has white walls that resembles white silica mud with views of the lagoon, enjoy a refreshing massage for shoulders and neck at the “Waterfall” and experience in-water treatments and massage for a moment of tranquility or sit back at one of the reclining chairs for a haven of tranquility at the relaxing area on the second floor of the indoor area. A walk in the Blue Lagoon’s spectacular surroundings may also give you some fun for your visit.

The Blue Café, Lagoon Bar and LAVA Restaurant are venues that will fulfill your hunger and quench your thirst. The Blue Café is designed with floor-to-ceiling windows and be there to serve a choice of light, ready-to-go bites, while the Lagoon Bar offers a range of refreshments that you do not even have to leave the water, perfect for a short break from bathing. And if you are looking for a more of a dining experience, the LAVA Restaurant provides light to gourmet meals that will satiate your taste buds.

Directions:
Reykjavik city center: 40 minutes drive
Keflavik International Airport: 20 minutes drive

By bus:
Reykjavik – Blue Lagoon: 08:30 & every hour from 09:00-18:00
Blue Lagoon – Reykjavik: every hour from 11:15-19:15 & 21:00
Blue Lagoon – Keflavik Int’l Airport: 12:15 & 14:15
Keflavik Int’l Airport – Blue Lagoon: 09:30/12:45/16:15/17:15

2. The Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Located in Yellowstone National Park, halfway between the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins at the Midway Geyser Basin, The Grand Prismatic Spring measures approximately 370 feet (112.8m) in diameter and over 121 feet (37m) deep, making it the largest hot spring located in the park. It is also the world’s third largest hot spring, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica. It was named by the geologists working in the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 for its striking coloration.

The Grand Prismatic Spring has brilliant colors including vibrant blue with red color like lava surrounding it, making the lava looks like pigmented bacteria with microbial mats formed around the edge of the water. The colors of microbial mats vary during each season. For instance in summer, the mats will be orange and red while in winter they are often dark green.

Pamukkale Hot Springs (Photo: Eva P.)

Pamukkale Hot Springs (Photo: Eva P.)

The water of the Grand Prismatic Spring gets heat from underground vents as part of the volcanic system that Yellowstone sits on. The spring discharges about 560 gallons per minute at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit which the water varies from 147 to 188 degrees Fahrenheit during the year. The high temperature makes it impossible to swim in the spring. However, visitors may get great views of the spring via the wooden walkway that takes visitors over the earth.

Transportation Inside Yellowstone:
If you want to explore Yellowstone on your own, you will need your own vehicle. There is no public transportation service provided within Yellowstone National Park. Thus, you will probably want to drive to the park or rent a car to tour the park.

3. Blood Pond Hot Spring (Chinoike-Jigoku), Japan
Located in the east of Kyushu, Beppu features the highest number of thermal sources and gush volume in Japan, making it the largest hot spring resort in western Japan with Mts. Tsurumi and Yufu as a backdrop facing Beppu Bay. Beppu Onsen (Beppu Hot Spring)’s gush volume is so great that it is second only to the Yellow Stone National Park Geyser and having 10 types of hot springs out of 11 types of the world’s hot springs.

Beppu has an astounding number of having 670 hot springs in total, containing 8 major thermal hot spots which are referred to as “Beipu Hells (Beppu Jigoku)”, which “Jigogu” in Japanese means “burning hell” from the ancient Buddhist sutras of the past. Beppu is also divided into eight major hot spring areas known as “Beppu Hatto” include Beppu Onsen, Hamawaki Onsen, Horita Onsen, Kankaiji Onsen, Kannawa Onsen, Kamegawa Onsen, Myoban Onsen, and Shibaseki Onsen. The name “Beppu Hatto was settled in1924 when the City of Beppu was formed as a result of several mergers of smaller surrounding towns and villages with a long history tracing back to the beginning of the 8th century.

Beippu’s top sights are the 8 hells include Chinoike Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell), Kamado Jigoku (Boiling Hell), Onishibouzu Jigoku (Shaven Monk’s Head Hell), Oniyama Jigoku (Demon Mountain Hell), Shiraike Jigoku (White Pond Hell), Tatsumaki Jigoku (Geyser Hell), Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell), and Yama Jigoku (Mountain Hell), famed for they are visually just extraordinary in various colors from white, red, bright blue to a cloud of steam, and with their high temperature with some above 99 degree centigrade, having a temperature that they are more than any human can probably bare. Visotors may find six of the hells in Kannawa District and two in the more remote Shibaseki District for an unforgettable Jigoku Meguri (Hell Tour).

Out of the 8 hells, Chinoike Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell), Shiraike Jigoku (White Pond Hell), Tatsumaki Jigoku (Geyser Hell) and Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell) are four recognized National Sites of Scenic Beauty of Japan. Chinoke Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell) is one of the world’s top most popular hot springs. The pond of hot, red water is the result of high concentration of iron salts in the area with an average temperature of 78 degrees centigrade which could better be used for cooking than a bath. Shiraike Jigoku (White Pond Hell) features a pond of colorless hot water of about 98 degree centigrade that naturally spouts from the ground mysteriously turns creamy white. Tatsumaki Jigoku (Geyser Hell) is a geyser and a natural monument designed by Beppu City that erupts ever half an hour for about 5 minutes. The short interval is significant among the world’s geysers. Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell) is a cobalt blue 200-meter deep hot spring which emerged 1200 years ago with a volcanic eruption.

The 8 hells are clustered around Kannawa, about a 20 minute bus ride from Beppu Station. These exhilarating hot spring sites are fascinating natural wonders that shouldn’t be missed. Jigoku Meguri (Hell Tour) can be done through the day up to 17:00 for 2, 000 yen. The sightseeing tour enables you to see the 8 phenomenal, natural hot spring sites in about 150 minutes.

Apart from the spectacular “hell spots”, one may also find a wide variety of local hot spring specials include bath powder at Umi Jigoku, Chinoike ointment at Chinoike Jigoku, Dango-jiru at Restaurant Umi, Jigoku baked pudding, Jigoku cap & T-shirt, Jigoku ramen/noodles, hot spring boiled egg, Kobosu (citrus) sold at Umi Jigoku(seasonal), and Pomelo sold at Tatsumaki Jigoku (seasonal).

Transportation:
By Air:
Take plane to Oita Airport.
From Tokyo Haneda Airport by JAL/ANA: 1 hour & 40 minutes
From Osaka Itami Airport by ANA, JAL Express (JEX) : 1 hour
From Nagoya Chubu Airport by ANA: 1 hour & 15 minutes
From the airport, take bus to Beppu Kitahama (all buses stop) or JR Beppu station. Or, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kokura station and transfer to the Sonic limited express train for Beppu.

From Tokyo:
There are frequent flights between Haneda and Oita Airport near Beppu. From the airport, take bus to Beppu Kitahama (all buses stop) or JR Beppu station. Or, if you prefer train, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kokura station and transfer to the Sonic limited express train for Beppu.

By Train:
Take Shinkansen line or Kagoshima Hon-sen line from Hakata to Kokura station -> transfer for Beppu.

Pamukkale Hot Springs (Photo: Eva P.)

Pamukkale Hot Springs (Photo: Eva P.)

 4. Jigokudani Hot Springs, Japan
Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen-Koen) is located about 850 meters above sea level in the Yokoyu River valley in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The name “Jigokudani” meaning “Hell Valley” was given by the ancient people due to the very steep cliffs and the steam coming off the springs. The area is covered in snow for about one third of the year and can get -15ºC when snow falls in winter.

Established in 1964, Jigokudani Monkey Park is the home to the world-famous Japanese Macaques, also referred as snow monkeys. The park is famed for being a great place to observe the interesting life of the snow monkeys and enjoy watching the snow monkeys bathing in a hot spring. The snow monkeys forage elsewhere in the national park during warmer months while in the roughly late October or early November they descend from the forests for some hot baths at the warm pools. The waters of Jigokudani Hot Springs are about 50 degrees Celsius and unfavorable for human to bathe with the monkeys due to hygiene concerns.

Transportation:

By public commute:
Take train to JR Nagano Station -> Take Nagano Dentetsu train to Yudanaka -> Take a bus or taxi to Kanbayashi Hot Spring (Kanbayashi Onsen) -> take about a 20 minute walk to the entrance of Jigokudani Monkey Park

Driving directions:
Get off the Joshinentsu Highway at Shinshu Nakano -> take route 292 towards Shiga Kogen -> Drive the road to Kanbayashi Hot Spring (Kanbayashi Onsen) then walk

5. Pamukkale Hot Springs, Turkey
Pamukkale, symbolized “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site that has been nominated for one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to carbon dioxide and degasses calcium deposits made by mineral-laden water from the hot spring in this area, Pamukkale looks like a winter wonderland covered with a layer of snow white-like deposit.

Pamukkale Hot Springs is situated on an almost 200 m high cliff which can overlook the amazing and spectacular view of the site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. This laddering hot springs was constructed after an earthquake, and the total area is covered about 600 meter wide and up to 160 meters high, composed of mineral forests, petrified cascades and a series of terraced pools. There are 17 hot springs in which the temperature ranges between 35°C (95°F) to 100 °C (212°F). The springs’ water is from one of the spring at the crest of the hill flowing down the terraces, which is rich in minerals and was known for its healing powers back in ancient times. It was name as the “Sacred Pool” for its curative powers since the days of the Romans. Moreover, except the picturesque view in the morning, this area is lighted at night, makes a different and romantic ambience in Pamukkale.

Pamukkale is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in Turkey for its unique geological formation, incomparable preternatural landscape, and also with its historical remains. Pamukkale Hot Springs and Hierapoils together are considered as a must-to-go landmark for one’s Turkey travel attracting thousands people each year. Visitors may only be allowed stepping on travertine with bare foot to prevent crush and damage on them.

Directions:
By Plane:
Take plane to Denizli-Cardak Airport from Istanbul or Ankara Transfer to shuttle or taxi to Pamukkale Village

By Train:
Take train to Denizli Station from Izmir ->Transfer to minibus or taxi to Pamukkale Village.

By Bus:
Take minibus from Denizli, Izmir or Ankara to Pamukkale Village