2560-01-02 13:15 ChineseTime

Happy to be in hot water
Nestled in the foothills of Jinyun Mountain Natural Reserve, Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei surrounds you in an ambience of spirituality, tranquillity and cultural charm.[Photo provided to China Daily]

If you want to soak away the winter blues, there is one place where you can do it in style. Tan Yingzi reports from Chongqing

Soaking yourself in warm water is a wonderful thing to do when you've had enough of the freezing winter weather.

If you crave a natural cure for the winter blues, there is a hidden gem in inland China that offers a high quality and unique hot spring experience.

It is said that as early as 1,600 years ago people were using the hot springs in the north of Chongqing, a mountain fringed city by the Yangtze River in Southwest China.

The city boasts one of the oldest hot springs in the world, which is more than 200 years older than Japan's famous Arima Onsen hot spring, built by monks in the 8th century.

In 423, the Hot Spring Temple was established at the foot of Jinyun Mountain and it has seen many changes over the centuries. In July, 1259, the Mongol Khan, who led the army to attack a city nearby, died in the temple after being hit by cannon fire from inside the city walls. Learning of his death, his brother Kublai returned north to secure his power base, giving the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279) a respite from continuous war.

Happy to be in hot water
[Photo provided to China Daily]

It reached its peak time during the Ming and Qing Dynasties as the emperors gave orders to rebuild and expand the temple. They put roofs on the outdoor hot spring pools to allow people to bathe in any weather.

In modern times, the magical water with its healing effects - it is rich in calcium sulfate and as warm as 25 to 39 C - has attracted more people.

In 1927, local business tycoon Lu Zuofu built a hot spring park near the temple. The North Hot Spring Park, which spreads along the Jialing River, was the first public park in China, where ordinary people could buy a ticket and enjoy the hot spring facilities.

Nowadays, thanks to ample geothermal resources and beautiful landscape, Chongqing has developed dozens of hot spring spots, located in the east, south, west and north of the city.

In 2012, FEMTEC (the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy) held its annual conference there and named the city the "Global Capital of Hot Springs", the first of its kind in the world.

Many believe that the oldest North Hot Spring area is the best.

The large, garden-like hot spring compound at Bolian Resorts & SPA Chongqing is inside the North Hot Spring Park and next door to the Hot Spring Temple.[Photo provided to China Daily]

International luxury brand Banyan Tree built its first hot spring resort in Beibei District, Chongqing. It is located in Hot Spring Road, where more similar resorts being developed. It can be reached with a 50 minute drive from downtown, 40 minutes from the airport.

Nestled in the foothills of Jinyun Mountain Natural Reserve, the hotel offers curative waters from the ancient North Hot Spring in its 96 suites and villas, each with its own private hot spring bath on the terrace or in the courtyard.

With an ambience of spirituality, tranquillity and cultural charm, the retro villas built in local style are scattered along the valley and creeks. This resort seems like a retreat from the world.

Guests can also relax and soak in the indoor hot spring baths or outdoor pool. The indoor hot spring baths are separated for male and female guests. The outdoor hot spring has nine pools of different temperatures and medical functions.

If you are not staying at the hotel, you can just buy a hot spring ticket, which costs about 300 yuan (US$43), at the hotel reception and enjoy the indoor and outdoor pools.

Not far away from the Hot Spring Road, on the Jialing River, Chinese boutique hotel brand Bolian opened Bolian Resorts & SPA Chongqing in 2010, inside the North Hot Spring Park and next door to the Hot Spring Temple.

Imagine a world where misty mountain peaks, karst caves, lush foliage, steep gorges and the hushed reverence of beautifully preserved history rise gently to enfold you in gracious welcome.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Its large, garden-like hot spring compound is open to the public and an adult ticket costs about 300 yuan, including a light meal after bathing.

There are 26 hot spring pools with various temperatures, functions and landscapes.

Whirlpool and Bubble Springs can stimulate the nerves; the Fragrant Spring, with petals, rose and lavender essential oils, can rejuvenate the skin; and with added fine white wine, the Joy Tsin Spring is good for dehumidification and blood-activating.

The wonderful location has provided inspiration for designers. Some pools are built on the cliffs looking over the beautiful Jialing River; some baths are hidden among bamboo trees in the hills; there is a pool in an underground cave which can only hold three or four people.

If you want to indulge yourself, you can visit its Spa Center, with a river view and location among ancient trees. Through the French windows, you can enjoy the nature while taking treatment.

All its 31 villas are facing the river and each has a private hot spring pool. Though the rate can reach $1,000 a night, it is often fully booked over the weekend and holidays.

As well as high-end attractions, Chongqing has built more than 100 hot spring themed parks and hotels in recent years which offer a wide range of prices and services.

(China Daily)


Our new members


Scan now
Responsive image