Summery Snugness

A host of hot springs are dotted around Vietnam and provide a warm escape when the mercury falls.

By Le Diem on December 19,2019 08:11 AM

Summery Snugness

PHOTO: ODC TRAVEL

People naturally seek a warm shelter to fend off the winter chill and all around Vietnam are places to stay toasty without hiding indoors, sometimes in the middle of nature with views of mountains and forests filled with bird song. The Guide is pleased to take you to Vietnam’s best hot springs, where you can keep warm and take in an exceptional travel experience.

KIM BOI HOT SPRINGS IN NORTHERN HOA BINH PROVINCE

About 80 km from Hanoi, Kim Boi is one of the most popular hot springs in the north of Vietnam, easily reached for a short trip of two days and one night away from the city, especially on weekends.

In mountainous Ha Bi commune in Hoa Binh’s Kim Boi district, the hot springs are surrounded by mountains and forests and a great place to relax. As the springs are located deep underground, they are the “coolest” in the country, at only 34-360C. The water is good for both drinking and bathing and the treatment of arthritis, intestinal diseases, and high blood pressure, thanks to its high mineral content of calcium, lithium, and radium. Together with hot baths in two large pools, other options include mud baths, hot and cold baths, a Jacuzzi, massages, and saunas.

Kim Boi hot springs also present the opportunity to stay overnight in a stilt-house of the Muong ethnic minority people and discover delicious local dishes such as black pork, buffalo, mountain chicken, sour bamboo sprouts, and a range of forest vegetables, all of which taste different than elsewhere. A campfire also warms the air in some places, allowing visitors to soak up the local culture outdoors, from rice wine to the traditional dance and music of the Muong people.

PHOTO: VIETNAM JOURNEY
PHOTO: VIETNAM JOURNEY

KENH GA HOT SPRINGS IN NORTHERN NINH BINH PROVINCE

The rich network of karst mountains and rivers in Ninh Binh not only blesses the well-known UNESCO World Heritage’s stunning scenic landscape of Tam Coc and Trang An but also a special hot spring - all just 100 km from Hanoi.

Flowing from Hang Ca Mountain, Kenh Ga hot springs are located in Gia Thinh commune in Gia Vien district, about 15 km from Ninh Binh city. Hidden on a small island where the Hoang Long and Nho Quan Rivers converge, the springs can only be accessed by boat along the Hoang Long River, with every trip boasting sightseeing of mountains, fields, and the small houses of local people.

Kenh Ga has long been referred to by local people as “saint water”, with magical effects on health problems relating to skin and joints as well as other ailments. The springs were “discovered” by the French in 1940 and became known as one of Vietnam’s most precious natural hot springs, with a stable temperature of 53oC and a host of minerals good for the health like sodium chloride, calcium, and bicarbonate; similar to the Wiesbaden hot springs in Germany.

A tourism complex sits on the site, with public baths for dozens of people at the one time, private pine wooden baths, and accommodation.

In addition to a healthy bath at the hot springs, visitors can also head to the unique Kenh Ga floating village nearby to learn about life on the river with a stunning limestone karst backdrop. Everything in life is linked to the river and the boats, such as fishing, growing crops, trading, and getting to school.

BANG HOT SPRINGS IN CENTRAL QUANG BINH PROVINCE

Bang is the hottest of Vietnam’s hot springs, at 1050C.

The springs are located some 60 km to the southwest of Dong Hoi city, in Kim Thuy commune in Quang Binh’s Le Thuy district. It has a special history, as it was uncovered by local soldiers during the American War when they operated along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and hid in the forest where the spring lies. It became a valuable water source for the soldiers and was also found to be beneficial in treating their wounds and helping them recover their health during a particularly arduous time when few things were in good supply.

Visitors will appreciate what the soldiers went through as they trek through the primitive Truong Son forest. Approaching the hot springs, the scene turns mysterious, with steam blanketing the surroundings. Just 300 meters from its hottest point, the water cools to a pleasant 400C and joins up with a natural spring to provide a healthy bath or swim. Some take eggs to boil in the spring’s hottest parts, which are ready after just 15 minutes.

Not far from the spring are interesting sites for those who like history and wish to learn more about the local area, such as the tomb and temple of mandarin Nguyen Huu Canh, who made a significant contribution to Vietnam’s southern expansion in the 17th century, the military’s High Command Headquarters 559, the Memorial House of legendary military figure General Vo Nguyen Giap, and a temple for the heroic martyrs of Long Dai Ferry, who were killed by a bomb when building the ferry - a key means of transport along parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

DAM RONG HOT SPRINGS IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS’ LAM DONG PROVINCE

Only some 70 km from the popular tourist destination of Da Lat, Dam Rong hot springs are still unknown to many people as they are hidden in the rocky mountains of Da Long commune in Lam Dong’s Dam Rong district.

Reaching the hot springs is an exciting experience for those who love adventure. It requires a trek in single file along a small path cut into one side of a mountain. Once there, they can take a dip in hot water of 40-450C, relaxing the entire body after the trek in a setting of various shapes and sizes of rocks in the middle of a forest.

Dam Rong is also endowed with a natural sauna - a nearby cave with water at a constant 50oC. Everything is free, as it remains largely untouched.

When visiting during the festival season (from November to April), visitors can also discover the special culture of the central highlands’ minorities through their colorful outfits of brocade, unique gong music, and traditional ceremonies.

BINH CHAU HOT SPRINGS IN SOUTHERN BA RIA VUNG TAU PROVINCE

PHOTO: BINH CHAU HOT SPRING RESORT
PHOTO: BINH CHAU HOT SPRING RESORT

Binh Chau hot springs lie in Ba Ria Vung Tau province, a popular weekend beach escape some 150 km from Ho Chi Minh City.

Hemmed in by forests and the sea in Bung Rieng commune, Xuyen Moc district, the springs cover an area of about 33 ha and are the largest of their kind in Vietnam. “Discovered” by a French doctor in 1928, the hot mineral springs feature a cluster of 70 geysers spouting water at temperatures ranging from 40 to 800C.

Various types of baths are offered by the Binh Chau Hot Springs Resort, such as hot mineral water, mud, and therapy, as well as a foot massage in hot water. According to researchers who tested the springs in 1975, they contain silica, sulfur, sodium, and chlorine - all of which have healing properties and can aid rheumatism and circulation.

The resort also provides sports and recreation for tourists, such as golf, volleyball, tennis, swimming, a kids’ playground, fishing, and even crocodile feeding.

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