Previously we had travelled there on a bus tour, which is also a good idea if you want to sit back and relax rather than driving, but this time we decided to go in our own car. As we had learned during previous trips, a great place to stop on the way to the hot spring is Wat Suwan Kuha, also known as the “Monkey Temple”. Here you can take a rest from driving, watch the monkeys and take a pleasant stroll through the temple, which is located in a cave under towering limestone cliffs. It is full of statues of Buddha and its centrepiece is a big reclining Buddha statue on a large platform. If you venture deeper into the cave, you will also see bunch of stalactites and even a few bats!
My favourite part of the drive is crossing the bridge to Phang Nga. A tour guide once told us that you have to hold your breathe and make a wish while you drive across, a practice from the days when cars used to cross on the old Sarasin Bridge, which is now a tourist attraction in itself. So my family now do exactly that every time we cross over the bridge.
Almost at our destination, travelling along the curvy road that hugs the coast as you approach the resort, my mother decided that we should stop at the beach and have a look around.
The beach was absolutely deserted, not a soul was there and we had the endless expanse of sand completely to ourselves. The monsoon weather had whipped up some huge waves, up to two or three metres tall, which I captured with my camera. After a while, we jumped back in the car and 10 minutes later we finally reached our destination. The whole journey only took us about one and a half hours.
The Hotspring Beach Resort and Spa has very spacious grounds, dotted with pools that capture the hot water as it flows up from the depths of the earth. There are two hot pools, both with a decidedly hot temperature of about 40ºC. There are also two cold pools, the coldest of which is about 16ºC – a stark contrast to the hot pools.
The hot spring itself was found about 40 years ago and water tests revealed that it contained significant amounts of calcium, ammonia, iron, magnesium chloride, nitrogen sulphur and more – all minerals believed to be helpful for your body and can help treat skin problems. Also, the very hot water, at around 40-45ºC can help to relieve muscle tension and tiredness, and soaking in it is generally a very relaxing experience.
Each of the minerals found in the water have different properties that can improve health. The calcium helps to develop strong bone density, the iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen more effectively and the magnesium is one of the most important constituents of muscular tissue. Besides swimming, tourists can also enjoy various other therapeutic activities such as aroma therapy, facial treatments and Thai massage.
After swimming for about an hour, we took a walk around the resort so we could take some more photographs. The atmosphere around the hot spring was very peaceful, quiet and enjoyable; in part due to the large size of the grounds that lets people spread out without crowding any one spot. Later we walked to the beach, located close to the hotel. We strolled along the beach for about 15 minutes to the relaxing sounds of crushing waves, stopping occasionally to examine some interesting sea shells.
By the time we returned to the resort it had started raining and we quickly went upstairs to the restaurant near the pools to eat lunch. We ordered some traditional Thai dishes such as khao pad gai (fried rice with chicken), som tam (papaya salad), pad thai (stir-fried noodles) and for the drink I chose to have a fresh young coconut. All off the dishes were served quite quickly and we enjoyed every single one of them. As we ate, the grey rain clouds covered the sky – the perfect weather to relax you while you are at the hot spring.
After the lunch we plunged into the hot pool again to warm ourselves, and then jumped straight in the cold one. The rapid contrast of the temperatures make your body tingle and feel like it is burning. It is said that the change in temperature helps your pores breathe and absorb more oxygen, also it helps to make your skin cleaner and clearer.
About 4pm we started to pack our things for the drive back to Phuket, and by 4:30pm we had left the hot spring and started our journey home. The drive back took us a little bit more than one hour, as it was Sunday we managed to avoid the traffic that often adds significant time to the journey. During the drive we took the chance to discuss our trip and share our pleasant experiences and feeling about the hot springs with each other. We hope to come back to the Hotspring Beach Resort and Spa one more time to enjoy more relaxation and positivity!
– Vera Vestfal